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5 Best CBD Extraction Methods

CBD is a cannabinoid present in cannabis plant. It’s known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and pain relieving properties. CBD oil is legal in Canada, Spain, certain states of USA and several countries in the world. Comparing to THC it’s non-psychoactive and safe for the person using it. But how are CBD products it exactly made? Considering how many various substances are in cannabis, what do the manufacturers do to achieve CBD Extraction?

1. Carbon Dioxide CBD Extraction

Among all extraction types this one is probably the most common when it comes to big players. That’s likely due to its effectiveness but also: expensiveness. Cannabidiol extracted this way is safe, very clear, contains no residue and retains most of its healthy qualities. 

How does it work? Pressurized CO2 turns into liquid in low temperature (below 70F), and it reaches supercritical fluid state when heated afterwards. Thanks to its dissolving qualities, using it on cannabismakes it extract CBD in a natural, non-toxic way, safer and better than other solvents. You actually have to use quite a lot of CO2 – almost the same volume as the amount of cannabis plant you’re working on, but the final results are more than worth it. 

2. CBD Extraction with Solvents

Other solvents offer an alternative approach to the subject. The taste of CBD extract might be less neutral and more “weedy” here. Most common solvents used to extract cannabidiol include alcohol and butane. 

This method is almost equally efficient but there’s one huge difference. It extracts much wider array of substances from the plant, and that may include some THC, which happens to be illegal in many places around the world and might be harmful to animals. The end product may also pose some dangers to human health and is flammable. These effects can be slightly lowered and avoided by proper filtering.

3. Dry Ice CBD Extraction

This one is without doubt easier to achieve than CO2 extraction, but still requires some specialist equipment, mainly protective one. You by all means don’t want to touch dry ice! Industry scale CBD production with this method might not be the most effective, but it works when you’re doing it on a smaller scale.

After dropping some dry ice on chopped cannabis plants placed in a bowl, and pouring some water, the extract gets separated from the plant. This takes up to 4 minutes. Filtering comes next and allows separating your desired extract from unnecessary elements. The more times you filter, the purer the results become. Filtering is done by straining the mixture through a mesh bag. In the end both liquids separate: water stays in the lower part of the container, while the CBD oil moves to the top.

4. Olive Oil CBD Extraction

Extraction with the help of olive oil starts by heating the cannabis plant. After it reaches the desirable temperature, we mix it with oil and heat them both together for a couple of hours. Afterwards the oil has to be strained, similarly to the dry ice method described above. 

Olive oil is easily the cheapest CBD extraction method and requires the least specialist equipment (if any at all). It also poses no danger to the person working on it. On the other hand: it’s not possible to extract bigger amounts of CBD this way, and the extract has to be stored in a very specific conditions in cold enough temperature.

 5. Steam Based CBD Extraction

A natural, centuries-old CBD extraction process, that doesn’t rely on solvents, although it might be less efficient and use more of the plant than say, the CO2 method. Some professional lab equipment is required here. Plant material is placed in a glass container and connected with another container filled with water as well as a condenser tube.

The liquid reachs boiling state thanks to a burner below the container, vaporizes and moves toward the top of the container with the plant. Meanwhile the essential oils break from the plant and join the vapor while getting towards the condenser together. At the end of the condenser the product turns back into water and oil, so the oil itself can be easily separated. 

Summarizing: the CO2 CBD extraction seems to be the most popular and effective, but is also far more costly than other methods. Alternatives work fine, but are often used only during small scale production and some of them might be risky or give a lower quality CBD product.

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