CBD Extraction Methods

Cannabidiol — better known as CBD — continues to grow in popularity, all around the country. But for some people, CBD remains something of a novelty. What exactly is CBD? What does it do? Where does it come from?

With so many claims circulating about the potential beneficial uses of CBD, it helps to know exactly what you are talking about. Read on to learn more about the CBD extraction methods, and how this all connects to the CBD you buy in stores.


What Is CBD?

Before getting into the CBD extraction process, it’s a good idea to review just what CBD is. According to the Mayo Clinic, CBD is a chemical found in marijuana. So does that mean that CBD will get you high? Not exactly. Unlike another chemical in marijuana called THC, CBD is non-psychoactive.


Is CBD Safe?

Studies on CBD still remain limited, but CBD is generally considered to be pretty safe. In fact, cannabidiol is even used in an FDA-approved medication to treat epilepsy.

Of course, it is still a good idea to speak with a medical professional if you are taking CBD for any particular reason — whether it is a physical ailment, for mental health, or for some other purpose. It is also important to recognize that the CBD oil extraction process may vary from maker to maker, so you want to be sure you are using a high-quality CBD product for your needs.

cbd oil extraction process


How Is CBD Taken?

CBD may be taken in several ways. CBD oil is often taken under the tongue via a dropper, but this is not the only method of ingesting cannabidiol. Topical CBD products including balms and salves are very common, as are a variety of CBD-infused foods and drinks.

CBD oil is the most popular method of CBD ingestion. To take CBD oil, place the desired amount under your tongue using the dropper and hold it there for 60-90 seconds before swallowing. This allows the oil to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the sublingual artery.

CBD may also be taken in capsule form. These are easy to take and offer a pre-measured dose of cannabidiol. For those who prefer not to taste the hemp oil, capsules are a good option.

CBD can also be vaped. This is a popular method for taking cannabidiol, but it is important to note that not all CBD oils are meant for vaping. So make sure to check the labels before purchasing any CBD vape oil.


Is CBD Legal?

CBD has been widely legalized in most parts of the United States, but its legality does vary by jurisdiction. In some cases, the legal status of CBD is dependent on how the CBD is derived. Some states do put restrictions on who can buy CBD, and the chemical contents allowed in it.

All in all, it is a good idea to check the legal status of CBD wherever you are purchasing it.


How Does CBD Extraction Work?

While CBD does derive from the hemp plant, there is a lengthy process from when it is growing in the field to when it is used as an oil under your tongue. This process involves some form of CBD extraction, a variety of techniques that, through a heating process, take the chemicals from the plant and transfer them to the oils and infusions with which most consumers are familiar.

Read on to learn a little more about the CBD process, and the different ways extraction is conducted.


Steam Distillation Extraction

Steam distillation is a common and time-honored method of extracting essential oils from a variety of plants, including the hemp plant (which produces CBD). This method essentially works by using steam from boiled water, which passes through plant material and separates the oil, which is then condensed into a flask.

While steam distillation is considered very reliable for many types of essential oils, it can sometimes be less desirable as a CBD oil extraction process and may require a lot of plant material.


Extraction via Solvents

Solvents — like alcohol, olive oil, or even propane — are used as another method of CBD extraction. This method essentially replicates steam distillation but uses one of these solvents in place of water. While this can be a more efficient means of extracting CBD, it can also pose problems. The use of certain solvents may make the chemical process more volatile and prone to disturbances. With some solvents, there may also be a risk that they do not fully evaporate, potentially tainting the CBD.


Carbon Dioxide Extraction

Finally, CO2 extraction is arguably the most reliable method of CBD extraction currently available. In this method, supercritical carbon dioxide is used to break down the hemp plant, separating the CBD oil, which is ultimately left behind once the carbon dioxide evaporates.

This is a safe and reliable method of extracting CBD, with little risk of toxic byproducts left over in the resulting CBD concentrate.

CBD Extraction


Is One Type of CBD Extraction Better Than Others?

In general, carbon dioxide extraction is considered the most reliable and efficient method, typically producing the highest-quality and most consistent CBD concentrations. Of course, this comes at a cost, and CO2 extraction is also generally the most expensive method of extraction.

Fortunately, other methods can still be highly effective. Solvent extraction can be good, particularly when the solvent used is more natural (like olive oil, for example).

Ultimately, it is your decision to determine what kind of CBD extraction makes the most sense for you to take. It is a good idea to research companies to determine how they extract CBD, asking them directly if necessary. Trying a couple of different products can also help to clue you to the best ones for your needs.


Is CBD Right For You?

CBD’s growing popularity is definitely worth noting. As more studies come out suggesting benefits to CBD, the benefits of this naturally-derived product may grow in importance.

So is CBD right for you? The best way to determine that may be to try some yourself. Whether it is CBD oil, a CBD-infused drink or snack, or a CBD salve, there are many ways to try this unique product and get to know its benefits.

Again, it’s also always good to check in with a medical professional before using CBD as a method of self-treatment.


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Exterior Luke Awtry

Written in partnership with Upstate Elevator.