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  • by Nicola Boulton August 31, 2022 5 min read

    How is CBD Made?

    For an individual to understand this particular topic, they must first know what CBD is and, after its making, what it is used for. The article explains a snip hit of CBDs whole-making process and the different companies' extraction methods extract CBD.

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical in the cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or hemp. It is one of the many natural extracts of the hemp plant. Cannabidiol is an active ingredient in the cannabis plant but does not cause a high. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the one responsible for the high. A high is a euphoric feeling one gets after consuming a THC-infused product. THC is the primary psychoactive compound among the at least 113 total cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant as it is the one that produces the high sensation. It can be consumed by smoking cannabis. CBD is also not addictive. Hemp and marijuana are both species of cannabis. However, marijuana is bred to have high levels of THC, and CBD is extracted from the hemp plant with less THC.  CBD has been advertised as providing relief for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also marketed to promote sleep. CBD's popularity is because it purports not to be psychoactive, and consumers can reap its health benefits from the plant without the high or munchies.


    CBD is extracted from industrial hemp grown in many parts of the world. Divisic et al. (2021) explained that the plants are grown and nurtured because they contain high levels of CBD and very minute levels of THC. CBD is available in oil and mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, or arnica oil. Carrier oils are the lipid or fatty extracts squeezed out of the seeds of plants. Their primary function is to deliver the active compound's contents and dilute essential oils because the essential oil may be too strong on its own. They may help the body to absorb and process the CBD. Amongst other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, CBD oil comes from the leaves, flowers, and stems. Individuals should know that not all CBD is created equal. The quality of CBD starts at the seed, moves to how the hemp plant is grown, and finishes with the extraction. For one to find high-quality CBD that they can consider some aspects;

    Source of the plant

     Luyckx (2021) explained that hemp could draw impurities out of the soil; thus, many farmers worldwide use hemp plants to clean the dirt in preparation for planting food crops. If the hemp plants are being cultivated near other crops, the likelihood of being contaminated is very high because other farmers may use pesticide sprays. If these sprays come in contact with the hemp plant, the CBD accessed from there will also be contaminated. Therefore, the contaminants in the ground end up in the plant and the CBD extract.

    Techniques for Extracting CBD

    There are many different techniques for extracting, refining, and distilling CBD from the hemp plant. Extraction is necessary to make usable CBD products. According to Rømer Thomsen et al. (2019), when CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, it is in the form of a concentration that is effective for human use. The concentrated extracts are only helpful because of the decarboxylating process, which applies heat. Decarboxylation is needed to absorb the active ingredients when one ingests cannabinoids through capsules, edibles, or oils. Dried cannabis can decarboxylate partially and, if heated, get fully decarboxylated. These techniques determine the purity of CBD one is to get in the end. In general, any commercial CBD extraction technique requires the use of solvents. These solvents are essential because they are essential in separating the CBD molecule from other compounds found in the cannabis plant and finally purifying the solution. Later the solvent evaporates, leaving behind only the pure CBD oil. Some of the extraction methods are as below. The plans are explained from the least efficient to the most efficient extraction method.

    Steam Distillation

    This method makes use of a distillation tank with an inlet and outlet. It is connected to another tank with a channel below the distillation tank. The outlet of the distillation tank connects to a condensing tube depositing into a collecting flask. Water is boiled in the first tank, and then the steam travels upwards to the material tank separating the oil vapors with CBD. These vapors are captured in the condensing tube, turning them into oil and water. These liquids are collected to be distilled, separating CBD oil from water. It is less effective because it requires more plant material per extraction. Learn more about cbd delivery methods

    Solvent Extraction

    It includes the use of butane, alcohol, or propane. Plant materials are combined with a solvent stripping the cannabinoids. Then the solvent is evaporated, leaving behind a concentration of cannabinoids in oil form. This process uses flammable solvents, and it is dangerous. It can also leave behind potential toxins in your CBD. Learn more about does cbd get you high?

    Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction

    It includes multiple pressurized chambers which funnel and pump the CO2, exposing it to very high pressure and low temperatures. In this process, CO2 is pumped from the first chamber to the second one containing the hemp plant. It is then exposed to supercritical carbon dioxide. This exposure breaks down the hemp plant material causing the oil to separate. Lazarjani et al. (2015) explained that the gas form evaporates, leaving the pure CBD oil. It is believed to be the best extraction method because the oil is pure here.


    CBD use is rising because of its claimed medical and health benefits. The FDA has not regulated the consumption of CBD and related products; thus, individuals should be keen when purchasing the products. One should trace it from planting to extraction and final product to get the best CBD. Having learned how it is made, one knows how to choose the best.


    Divisic, A., Avagnina, I., De Tommasi, V., Santini, A., Brogelli, L., Giacomelli, L., & Benini, F. (2021). The use of medical cannabis in pediatric palliative care: a case series. Italian Journal of Pediatrics, 47(1), 1-10.

    Lazarjani, M. P., Young, O., Kebede, L., & Seyfoddin, A. (2021). Processing and extraction methods of medicinal cannabis: A narrative review. Journal of Cannabis Research, 3(1), 1-15.

    Luyckx, M. (2021). Interest of hemp for phytomanagement of heavy metal contaminated agricultural soil: putative impact of silicon in relation to fibre production (Doctoral dissertation, UCL-Université Catholique de Louvain).

    Rømer Thomsen, K., Lindholst, C., Thylstrup, B., Kvamme, S., Reitzel, L. A., Worm-Leonhard, M., ... & Hesse, M. (2019). Changes in the composition of cannabis from 2000–2017 in Denmark: Analysis of confiscated samples of cannabis resin. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 27(4), 402.


    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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