Most of us don’t even know how CBD oil is made. Read on to learn more about the process to generate everyone’s favourite natural supplement. Depending on the production method, the solvents and equipment used in the manufacturing process will differ. There are three methods used today. Each has merit, though the supercritical CO2 extraction process tends to be looked at the most favourably by consumers and connoisseurs.
CO2 Extraction (ZeeBeeDee’s choice)
Also known as supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, it is one of the most popular extraction methods for CBD oil. This system takes advantage of CO2’s unique properties that allow it to function in solid, liquid, and gas states of matter. Closed-loop extractors are most commonly used for this process. This is a favourable alternative to a chemical process and is used in the food industry for items like coffee and omega-3 oil.
CO2 extraction starts with a solid piece of CO2 that gets pumped into a second chamber containing cannabis material. The chamber is kept at such a pressure that the CO2 stays in a liquid-like state and absorbs the oils and flavours of the plant. Then, the CO2-cannabinoid mixture gets pumped into a third chamber where the CO2 is allowed to return to a gas state, leaving behind the oil and flavours from the plants.
While this process is the most expensive, it produces the highest quality and purest product, and that’s why it’s our extraction method of choice at ZeeBeeDee.
The idea of using liquid to absorb CBD oil from the cannabis plant doesn’t stop with CO2. Substances which are more naturally in a liquid state are also used, including ethanol, butane, hexane, or isopropyl alcohol. The process works much the same as the CO2 extraction process.
Liquid solvent extraction is a cheaper, easier way to extract CBD oil, but it has its downsides. Certain solvents may carry impurities and chlorophyll from the plant, which can give the oil a greenish tinge and a bitter taste. But adjusting the extraction process can minimise most of these risks.
Oil infusion is one of the most ancient techniques for harvesting CBD oil. In fact, many home growers and producers still use this method today. It’s one of the most straightforward methods, but it does come with some drawbacks.
Before you start oil infusion, you must first decarboxylate the plant material, or heat it to a certain temperature to activate the compounds. Then you add it to olive oil or a similar carrier oil and heat it at 100 C for an hour or two. You can’t evaporate olive oil out of the CBD oil, so one of the primary downsides is you have to use a lot more oil to get the same effect. Afterwards, the processes of winterization and distillation are followed to remove unwanted substances and refine the extraction.