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  • by Nicola Boulton August 12, 2022 5 min read


    Do you ever wonder how CBD Oil is obtained or made? What processes are involved in having the Oil finally? These are some of the questions you may ask yourself or inquire from someone else.

    Siciliano et al. (2019) defined CBD (Cannabidiol) as a natural compound obtained from the hemp plant of cannabis. Cannabis is grouped as marijuana or hemp, depending on how much THC is contained. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is a chemical that results in a high effect when taken. Hemp contains THC, which is below 0.3%, while marijuana contains THC, above 0.3%. For this reason, hemp is used more for CBD extractions for various benefits of health and for relaxing the mind. CBD Oil is obtained from the buds and flowers of the hemp plant. It is incorporated into different products like gummies, drinks, lotions, and lip balms. Manufacturers use different ways of extracting CBD from the hemp plant. The methods differ in efficiency and safety. This article shows some of the methods used in the extraction of CBD.


    Use of Carbon Dioxides

    The use of carbon dioxide is one of the most known and popularly used methods, using closed-loop extractors. Rovetto & Aieta (2017) stated that Carbon dioxide could function in a liquid, gas, and solid-state. The extraction process begins with solid CO2 placed in a first chamber, then, under pressure, pushed into a second chamber that contains the cannabis plant material. The pressure in this chamber is maintained, making the carbon dioxide turn into liquid and remain in that state, thus absorbing the cannabis flavors and oils. The CO2-cannabidiol mixture is then pumped into a third chamber which turns the CO2 into gas that separates the gas from the plant’s flavors and oil. The use of carbon dioxide can produce the purest CBD oil if used correctly.

    Use of Ethanol

    The use of ethanol is another process used in the extraction of CBD. It is often considered to be effective, safe, and simple. To separate CBD from other cannabidiol compounds, ethanol is used as a solvent, as it is high-grade grain alcohol. This process is considered time-efficient compared to other processes like the use of CO2, as the process can be done under cold and warm conditions. The CBD oil produced out of this method is mostly used for vape cartridges.

    Use of Liquid Solvents

    This method uses liquids like isopropyl alcohol, butane, and hexane, naturally liquid substances. It is considered dangerous to use as most of the solvents are highly volatile. The method works just like the process involving CO2 or ethanol. The harvested hemp is soaked or is run through solvents that remove cannabinoids from the hemp plant. The obtained liquid is then heated to evaporation leaving behind an oily form of cannabinoid. The evaporation process eliminates terpenes and other cannabidiol. This process is easier and simpler. However, it may leave traces of the chlorophyll pigment making the oil greenish and have a bitter taste, and it never removes all impurities from the hemp plant.

    Oil Infusion Method

    This extraction method can be used even at home and is known as an archaic way of CBD oil extraction. It involves heating the olive oil plant to a certain temperature to activate the natural chemical compounds found in the plant, a process known as decarboxylation. Once decarboxylation is done, the oil is heated again with the hemp plant, and then the cannabidiols are extracted. The oil extracted is not always concentrated compared to other extraction methods. Since the oils are perishable, they must be stored in a cool and dry area.

    The processes discussed above do not result in pure CBD oil, and manufacturers perform other processes to obtain pure CBD. Valizadehderakhshan et al. (2021) discussed the extraction method for pure CBD. They are known as secondary processes, and they involve winterization and distillation.


    Raber et al. (2015) defined it as a secondary process that removes impurities from CBD oil, resulting in pure CBD. After oil extraction, it is mixed with alcohol and stirred thoroughly until a uniform solution is obtained. The crude oil is thinned by the alcohol, as wanted parts of the crude oil will form a solution with the alcohol, and the unwanted parts will solidify and freeze, making it easier to be filtered out. The solution is put in a deep freezer and allowed to freeze overnight. This makes it have a cloudy appearance and be ready for filtration, which removes fat and any other impurities. The solution is further passed through vessels with paper filters where the CBD oil and alcohol solution pass through while frozen particles are trapped in the filters. When the desired quality of the oil has been obtained, the mixture is heated to alcohol’s boiling point, which is lower than the boiling point of CBD oil. In the process, CBD oil is left behind as alcohol evaporates.


    It is passed through a process known as short path distillation to refine the CBD oil further. This process uses the advantage that different compounds of CBD have individual boiling points. The process starts by heating the CBD Oil slowly to a point where unnecessary compounds like flavonoids, terpenes, and other contaminants start to boil off. A vacuum may also separate vapors with a lower boiling point. Vapors formed are passed through distillation tubes until they reach the cooling coils, where they are condensed and drip down into another container. The process continues until pure CBD oil is collected in the first or original container.


    As the article outlines, you have seen what CBD oil is and how it is obtained. There are different processes and methods involved in the extraction of CBD oil. Manufacturers employ different methods to obtain both pure and impure CBD oil depending on the products to be made. When consuming CBD oil, it is good to know the type you are consuming, depending on personal needs: Is it Isolate CBD that is pure or Full-spectrum that contains all the occurring compounds of cannabis?


    Raber, J. C., Elzinga, S., & Kaplan, C. (2015). Understanding Dabs: Contamination Concerns Of Cannabis Concentrates And Cannabinoid Transfer During The Act Of Dabbing. The Journal Of Toxicological Sciences, 40(6), 797-803.

    Rovetto Et Al. (2017). Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extraction Of Cannabinoids From Cannabis Sativa L. The Journal Of Supercritical Fluids, 129, 16-27.

    Siciliano, C., Bartella, L., Mazzotti, F., Aiello, D., Napoli, A., De Luca, P., & Temperini, A. (2019, July). 1H NMR Quantification Of Cannabidiol (CBD) In Industrial Products Derived From Cannabis Sativa L.(Hemp) Seeds. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science And Engineering (Vol. 572, No. 1, P. 012010). IOP Publishing.

    Valizadehderakhshan Et Al.  (2021). Extraction Of Cannabinoids From Cannabis Sativa L. (Hemp). Agriculture, 11(5), 384.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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