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  • by Nicola Boulton August 26, 2022 5 min read

    CBD Extraction

    Recently, cannabidiol (CBD) has garnered popularity because of its therapeutic effects. For example, it improves skin health, and sleep quality, reduces anxiety, and improves mood. If you are curious about its extraction, this article will explain more about it.

    Various processes are involved during CBD extraction. They include identifying a particular hemp strain and processing it in a factory using alcohol or pressurized CO2. After that, CBD oil is packaged and distributed to local convenience stores, chemists, and dispensaries. Several methods of extracting CBD vary in their advantages and setbacks. For example, some extraction methods are expensive and produce high-quality CBD, while some are cheap but produce impure CBD. This article explains the common CBD extraction methods, their effects, cost, and efficiency. Also,

    What is CBD?

    Cannabidiol is an active chemical compound found in hemp and has various therapeutic benefits, such as relieving pain, inflammation, mental disorders, and sleeping disorders. CBD is also more popular because it does not have any psychoactive effect since it lacks THC. Furthermore, CBD is an organic compound with minimal side effects compared to other inorganic supplements. Various scientists are conducting scientific research to understand CBD's therapeutic effects further.

    Extraction of CBD from the Hemp

    CBD extraction is an advanced activity that requires high technology and skill to produce pure and high potency CBD products. Without modern extraction processes, exploration of CBD would only involve the flowers, thus limiting the growth of cannabis and related products. Extraction processes facilitate manufacturing CBD oils, gummies, capsules, and topicals. Understanding CBD extraction methods will give you more insight into purchasing the best CBD products.

    Is CBD Legal?

    CBD can be extracted from hemp and marijuana, although hemp-based CBD is preferred because of the higher CBD concentration. Moreover, hemp-based CBD has lower THC levels than marijuana-based CBD. The source of CBD is key in determining the legality of the end product.

    Hemp-based CBD has less than 0.3% THC and does not cause any euphoric effects. The low THC levels in CBD guarantee its legality under Federal law, although state governments have developed regulations that control the use of CBD in their states. Thirty-six states have legalized CBD so far; you can easily buy CBD-related products.

    However, marijuana-based CBD has a higher concentration of THC, taking up to 10%  of the CBD extract. This level is way too high and can induce intoxicating effects. Furthermore, federal law holds it as a controlled substance due to its psychoactive effects. The laws governing the distribution and use of THC differ depending on the state. There are currently sixteen states that have fully legalized the recreational use of marijuana. In contrast, about forty-eight agreed to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, although it's still illegal.

    Methods of CBD extraction

    CO2 Extraction

    This is the main CBD extraction method that has proven to be more efficient. . CO2 is a gas at room temperature. Still, it can be manipulated to different forms under varying state conditions such as pressure and temperature. CO2 extraction is also popular because it maintains higher purity and potency levels. Furthermore, CO2 extraction preserves CBD's phytochemical profile that determines the quality of the processed CBD oil. When the temperature is lowered to -69 Fahrenheits and pressure increases above 75 atmospheres, CO2 turns into a supercritical state.

    Supercritical CO2 fills the extraction chamber where hemp is contained, thus acting as an ideal solvent. After that, CBD is dissolved in supercritical CO2, producing a pure solvent with a high concentration of CBD and terpenes. CO2 pulls the rewired compounds into the solvent by breaking the trichomes in the extraction chamber and leaving insoluble molecules and impurities.

    After CO2 pulls out the essential oils and plant waxes, a separator is used to split the mixture into isolated compounds. CBD, terpenes, and flavonoids are then sent to the collection chamber. Meanwhile, the remaining CO2 is compressed into liquid form and is stored in special recycling containers.

    CO2 Extraction Equipment

    The equipment is modernized and of high technology. It features multiple chamber machines using special piston pumps that force supercritical CO2 into the extraction chamber. The CO2 then interacts with hemp-based CBD, resulting in the breakdown of trichomes. Unfortunately, these machines are costly, which makes this extraction method more expensive. However, it maintains higher purity and potency levels of CBD. Learn more about what are flavonoids?

    Alcohol  Extraction

    This extraction method is relatively cheaper than CO2 extraction. The method involves soaking hemp material in ethanol, which runs through hemp, extracting cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, and CBC. After that, CBD, terpenes, and ethanol moisture are collected in a special dish and evaporated. The required compound floats on the carrier oil, which is collected.

    Alcohol extraction does not require high expertise and can easily be replicated locally. Although ethanol is relatively safer, purging it from the final CBD needs caution and high precision; otherwise, it may trigger explosions. Learn more about what are homeopathic remedies?

    Benefits of CBD

    According to Atalay et al. (2020), CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce muscle and skin inflammation.

    Linher-Melville et al. (2020) suggested that CBD has analgesic properties that reduce muscle soreness, mainly after an intense workout.

    According to Dawidowicz et al. (2021), CBD has anti-oxidant properties that stabilize free radicals that cause skin dehydration and reduce collagen production on the skin

    According to Taylor et al. (2018), CBD has anti-emetic properties which improve stomach health and gastrointestinal health

    Blessing et al. (2015) suggested that CBD has anti-depressant properties that reduce high levels of stress and anxiety

    What to consider before buying CBD

    Besides the extraction method, there are other factors to consider before purchasing CBD oil:

    • Check the THC levels
    • Confirm the hemp source
    • Confirm that the product has undergone intensive independent third-party testing.
    • Read the product label and ensure that the product is free from pesticides and heavy metals.

    The Bottom Line

    CBD extraction is an advanced activity that needs high technology and skill to produce pure and highly potent CBD products. Without modern extraction processes, exploration of CBD would only involve the flowers, thus limiting the growth of cannabis and related products.

    CBD extraction facilitates the manufacturing of various CBD products, such as CBD oils, gummies, capsules, and topicals. Moreover, CO2 extraction and alcohol extraction are the main methods used by various brands.

    CO2 extraction requires higher expertise and is more expensive. However, it is popular because it maintains higher purity and potency levels of CBD. on the other hand, alcohol extraction may leave behind a solvent residue that impurifies that CBD oil, reducing its quality.



    Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2020). Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol. Anti-oxidants, 9(1), 21.


    Linher-Melville, K., Zhu, Y. F., Sidhu, J., Parzei, N., Shahid, A., Seesankar, G., ... & Singh, G. (2020). Evaluation of the preclinical analgesic efficacy of naturally derived, orally administered oil forms of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and their 1: 1 combination. PLoS One, 15(6), e0234176.

    Dawidowicz, A. L., Olszowy-Tomczyk, M., & Typek, R. (2021). CBG, CBD, Δ9-THC, CBN, CBGA, CBDA and Δ9-THCA as anti-oxidant agents and their intervention abilities in anti-oxidant action. Fitoterapia, 152, 104915.

    Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825-836.

    Taylor, B. N., Mueller, M., & Sauls, R. S. (2018). Cannaboinoid anti-emetic therapy.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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