Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, wasn’t really heard of a few years ago. Now you can find it in tampons, face creams, ice creams, hummus, water, and more. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry: the UK’s CBD market alone has been forecast to reach $1.2 billion by 2025.
No wonder many are starting to wonder, how is CBD made?
Even though the market is full of different CBD products, like gummies, coffee, and many others, CBD is mostly obtainable in oil form, which is extracted from the hemp plant and combined with a ‘carrier’ oil. If you’re a consumer, maybe you’ve wondered what the process is to create CBD oil. If you’re interested in learning how oil is made in detail, keep reading!
How CBD is made? Cultivating the hemp plant
The first thing is that the CBD has to be extracted from ‘industrial hemp’ that is cultivated legally in Europe and the US. This is acquired from seeds that contain less than 0.2% THC as per EU regulations. Instead of THC, these plants are grown and nurtured so that they contain high levels of CBD.
How CBD is made? Extracting, refining and distilling CBD oil from the hemp plant
To really answer the question how is CBD made? we need to take a look at the extraction first. CBD is not really made as this is a natural compound after all.
There are many different methods to extract CBD from the hemp plant.
Usually, any commercial CBD extraction technique is going to need the use of solvents. These solvents are essential because they’re very efficient in separating the CBD molecule from the other compounds found in the cannabis plant, and in purifying the solution. Later, the solvent evaporates, leaving behind only pure CBD Oil.
- CO2 extraction
The most typical method for extracting CBD is CO2 extraction, (supercritical carbon dioxide). This method uses a closed-loop extractor, which is a system for extracting essential oils for perfumes, as well as creating food additives. The hemp is put in a chamber that gets loaded with carbon dioxide.
By applying pressure to the chamber, the carbon dioxide turns into a liquid, which then absorbs the hemp’s oils and flavours. The result is a liquid consisting of both carbon dioxide and CBD. This liquid is then pumped into a final chamber where the carbon dioxide is turned into gas.
Even though this extraction process is understood to be safe, efficient and with a potent result, it’s important to know that this process isn’t always alcohol-free. Material extracted with CO2 typically needs to be more refined with an alcohol solvent to make CBD isolate or distillate.
- Alcohol extraction
Another possible way of extracting CBD is by using liquid solvents such as ethanol, butane, or isopropyl alcohol. This is considered one of the simplest extraction methods. As a plant-based solvent, experts claim that ethanol helps to keep hemp’s natural chemical properties during extraction.
However, some studies have shown that the solvent residue isn’t always eliminated during the evaporation step. In addition, when natural solvents like ethanol are used, chlorophyll may also be extracted during the process and this gives the resulting oil an icky taste.
How is CBD made? Testing
Even though it’s easy to just concentrate on the specific type of process or solvent a product uses, this doesn’t tell the whole story about your CBD. Extraction is only the start.
While it’s true that in the extraction process solvents are used, in the end, all that’s left is refined CBD. Furthermore, the quality of the final product is dependent on stringent manufacturing practices and standards, as well as the significant investment in lab testing.
Do you have any other questions on the process of how is CBD made? Let us know below.
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