scientist in white lab coat holding flask while doing CBD extraction

CBD is fast becoming an accepted therapy for many ailments. In its various forms, cannabidiol is today at the forefront of the food supplement sector because of its advantages in the maintenance of our well-being. CBD is only one part of the cannabis plant, so we will explain how CBD extraction takes place.

The booming CBD trend has caused entrepreneurs and scientists alike to improve and expand its methods of extracting cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytochemicals present in cannabis. At the same time, extractions of CBD of good quality can be obtained without excessive complications.

There are several CBD extraction methods to obtain cannabidiol from cannabis. CBD is present in the plant as carboxylic acid (CBDA), an ingredient called inactively. The conversion of CBDA to active CBD, from the pharmacological point of view, is called decarboxylation. In this process, a carbon dioxide molecule is separated from the CBDA by heating or by enzymatic catalysis. This process is similar to the decarboxylation of THCA in THC, a process that is achieved by burning THCA through the tobacco (heat) to release the THC psychoactive substances.

Ethanol and C02 extraction are two commonly used CBD extraction methods to extract cannabidiol. They are two of the cleanest and safest ways to extract CBD for both human and animal consumption. There are also traditional methods, such as Spagyria or infusion. These forms of extraction, more homemade, are very effective in obtaining a good extract of full spectrum.

Obtaining Full Spectrum CBD Oil Through CBD Extraction

The full-spectrum CBD oil is the oil that has all the important chemical content that can be found in the original plant. Simply put, you will get all the benefits of natural CBD oil. In the full-spectrum CBD oil, there is a variety of available nutrients known as minerals, vitamins, proteins, fatty acids, terpenes, chlorophyll, fibers.

When referring to CBD extracted from the hemp plant, it is important to keep in mind that there are several cannabinoids present in the compounds that help in the treatment of the disease in question.

In full-spectrum CBD oil, we can get all the elements in the purest form. Whereas, in isolation, most of the important elements are not present because the severe heating process destroys the nutritional content of the elements.

1. CBD Extraction with liquid solvents

In this method, all the plant matter (stems and flowers) are used. The mixture is made with a liquid solvent (usually ethanol or oils). In this way, the cannabinoids are separated from the plant and transferred to the liquid. Later, in the case of ethanol, the liquid evaporates from this mixture. Finally, what remains are the plant’s components in the form of resin. This resin is the one that is diluted in a carrier oil, which gives it its final appearance.

The benefits of this method are many. It is the simplest and most economical way to extract CBD. Besides, it eliminates unwanted components, such as chlorophyll, from dried hemp. For this, extraction is carried out at very cold temperatures, using Ethanol.

The resulting resin is chromatographed, to remove unwanted plant phytochemicals from the extracted material. Cannabinoids have a strong interaction with chromatography media. This facilitates the separation of unwanted plant material, such as chlorophyll. Once separated, cannabidiol and other terpenes can be isolated quickly and safely.

2. Extraction with vegetable oil

Vegetable oil can also be used to extract CBD, but as the ethanol, it has its advantages and disadvantages. The good thing about extracting cannabinoids with olive oil is that the technique is very simple. It only requires heating the olive oil to about 90 degrees Celsius, then filters the extract. As a result, we get a non-concentrated extract, so users should use a much higher dose to benefit from its effects.

3. Decarboxylation through heat

In general, the higher the temperature, the faster the decarboxylation. At a temperature of 210 ° C, almost 100% of the substance can be converted in a few seconds. However, this may be at the expense of terpenes, which also contribute to the pharmacological effect of cannabis.

This process involves heating in two stages, in the first stage, the plant material is heated to a temperature of 100 ° C to 110 ° C for 10-20 minutes, humidity residual in the plants is vaporized and in the second stage, a temperature of 120 ° C is provided for 60 minutes.

4. Extraction with CO2 (supercritical CO2 method)

The Canna CBD Extraction Method shown in an infographic
How Canna CBD extracts CBD from the cannabis plant using the supercritical CO2 method

The extraction of CO2 is the most known method among CBD extraction methods. It involves filtering the parts of the plant through a series of chambers, which control the temperature and pressure.

Once certain conditions of pressure and temperature have been reached, carbon dioxide behaves like a liquid, instead of a gas. This is known as a supercritical fluid. The liquid CO2 passes through the plant material and begins to dissolve the oils. It can isolate cannabinoids with an efficiency close to 90% purity.

There are many pros to these CBD extraction methods with CO2. It does not require a prolonged evaporation process, such as extraction with a liquid solvent. It is also the method, where the final product has fewer contaminants, once finished.

5. Extraction with butane

In this method, the organic compound butane (C4H10) is used to extract CBD from the plant material. Butane is highly flammable and, therefore, caution is advised. Industrially, this process is carried out under closed-circuit control, which ensures that butane can not escape. Butane is praised by many experts as an ideal solvent because it is cheap and has a low boiling point of -1 ° C and therefore easily dissolves from the final product. However, butane is a product derived from petroleum and, therefore, is not sustainable. Also, there is a risk of explosion if it is not handled correctly. Besides, care must be taken not to use contaminated butane.

6. CBD Distilled

This method allows separating cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant, as well as treating the molecules, with minimal thermal degradation. The whole process is carried out at vacuum levels below 0.01 mm Hg, which allows the distillation of products that need high boiling temperatures, at moderate temperatures. In this way, the desired compounds are not degraded. The CBD percentage of this method can reach figures close to 99%.

7. Extraction by Spagyria

Spagyric is the set of processes that is carried out to obtain a pure extract of medicinal plants. The objective is to obtain all the components that are beneficial for health. It is a technique that comes from ancient Greece and reached its peak during the Middle Ages. It is considered an important part of alchemy, and a precursor of various techniques in modern medicine.

Spagyria is translated into a tincture. To obtain a pure tincture, the stems and branches of the cannabis or hemp plants are first crushed. Once the green matter has been crushed, it is carbonized at a low temperature. It is necessary to watch that the temperature does not exceed the adequate levels, that keep the mineral components of the plant intact. Then, it is mixed with water, filtered, and alcohol is added. Subsequently, the solution is distilled. In short, it consists of separating the mineral components of the plant, to recombine them later.