How is CBD Made?

Cannabis contains multiple chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Some of the most well-known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is the chemical associated with the relaxing and calming feeling that marijuana induces in many people, while THC is the chemical that induces the sensation of euphoria, or the ‘high,’ associated with marijuana. When isolated, CBD may induce a feeling of relief and calm, making it an increasingly popular health supplement.  

Many people use CBD as supplementary treatment for various health issues such as anxiety, stress, chronic pain, or epilepsy because of its alleged positive effects for these conditions. Nowadays, different CBD products like oils, tinctures, topical creams, and edibles can be bought in convenience stores, dispensaries, and even online. You can visit trusted retailers like for high-quality CBD products if you wish to experience the purported health benefits of CBD.   

But before CBD is sold in convenient packaging, or is made available for public use, cannabis plants, like hemp, first undergo a process to extract the desired cannabinoid compounds.   

How is It Extracted?  

The cannabis compounds that can be used safely to potentially assist different health conditions are extracted from the plant in the form of oil, also called crude extract. The process is done by passing a solvent through dried plant material to separate the active compounds from undesired ones. The resulting product is a dark oil that contains cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds like chlorophyll and fatty acids. The oil is then processed further to filter it more before converting it into consumable CBD products.   

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Here are some of the different extraction methods that are most commonly used to isolate CBD: 

  1. CO2 Extraction  

The preferred method for extracting CBD is CO2 extraction. This method uses carbon dioxide at a low temperature while under high pressure, which converts it to liquid form that can pass through the cannabis material. 

The resulting oil is a highly-concentrated and pure extract. This process requires advanced equipment and experienced operators to be successful, so it can be more expensive, but the resulting oil often requires less post-processing than other types of extraction and is of a higher quality. 

  1. Ethanol Extraction   

This extraction method uses ethanol as an alcohol solvent. Ethanol is a polar solvent that mixes with water, and dissolves water-soluble molecules and the desired cannabis compounds.   

Aside from the cannabinoid chemicals, chlorophyll is also extracted due to the process, resulting in a bitter, grassy, and dark-colored oil. The chlorophyll can be removed via further filtering, but the additional post-process extractions may also remove other cannabinoids, which will result in a lower quality CBD oil product.   

Ethanol extraction is a cheaper method than CO2 extraction, but can still be sufficient to produce high-quality oils as long as it’s done well.  

  1. Hydrocarbon Extraction  

Hydrocarbon extraction uses solvents like acetone, butane, propane, pentane, hexane, or isopropyl alcohol to extract CBD from the plant. These solvents are suitable materials for extraction since they all have low boiling points, making it easy to extract the oil. This process is cheap and easy, but is less desirable for producing CBD oil since the end product tends to have more traces of undesired cannabinoids and other chemical compounds found in cannabis.

  1. Lipid Extraction  

Another method used to extract CBD is lipid extraction. This process utilizes lipids—or fats—to absorb and contain the cannabinoid compounds. Lipid extraction usually uses organic coconut oil for the process and, as compared to other methods, does not use any harsh solvents. This process is a less popular way to extract CBD than the other methods above, but you may find some companies using it.   

Once the cannabinoids are successfully extracted, it goes through an additional purification process, called winterization, to help filter out any unwanted chemicals or compounds. Once the extraction and filtering are done, the resulting CBD extract can be used for a variety of products.

Are There Different Types of CBD?  

  • CBD Isolate 

You may have encountered the term CBD isolate while you are browsing for cannabinoid products in the market. CBD isolate is the purest form available because it doesn’t contain any other cannabinoids or compounds aside from CBD. This form of CBD typically comes in a powder. 

  • Full-Spectrum CBD 

Full-spectrum CBD products include all other cannabinoids and chemicals found in cannabis plants, including trace amounts of THC. These chemicals are all left in the product in order to produce the entourage effect, an effect in which all of the natural compounds found in cannabis work together to enhance the potential benefits of the product.

If you are concerned about the presence of THC, don’t be—for CBD products to be sold in the U.S., they have to contain either no THC or trace amounts at 0.3% or below. These levels are so low that they cannot produce the ‘high’ associated with marijuana. 

  • Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD contains, aside from the CBD, other cannabinoids and chemicals present in cannabis plants. However, broad-spectrum CBD does not contain any THC, which is removed from the product during a secondary filtering process.

What Kind of CBD Products Can You Purchase?  

You can purchase a variety of CBD products according to your needs and preferences. Each kind of product also comes in varying doses and concentrations of CBD, so you can adjust your dosage as desired. 

  • CBD Vape Oils: One of the most common CBD products is vape oil. It’s usually sold by the bottle, and the CBD concentration is indicated on the label. Most people who wish to experience relief prefer vaping CBD since it can induce possible effects in as little as 10 minutes. 
  • Tinctures: Tinctures comes in a liquid form, similar to the consistency of oil, and are used by placing a few drops of the concentration under the tongue. 
  • Edibles: CBD can also be packaged in small edible forms such as capsules, tablets, or gummies. Edibles will indicate the dosage per piece, making it more convenient for those who closely monitor their dosage.  
  • Topicals: Those who are not comfortable with ingesting CBD can use topicals instead. There are lotions, creams, salves, and even lip balms infused with CBD which can be used to target isolated locations for problems like joint or muscle pain

Final Thoughts 

CBD has been purported to have many health benefits, especially for those who suffer from health conditions like epilepsy, anxiety, chronic pain, or stress.  

If you are a bit skeptical about CBD products’ safety, then know that the cannabis plant must first undergo a meticulous process to isolate the compound before it’s available for public use.  

In addition, CBD is generally safe to use. So, as long as you are purchasing your product from a trusted source, you can be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. However, if you want to be certain, consult your doctor to decide if supplementing your wellness regimen with CBD is the right choice for you. 

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