A journey of CBD from seed to shelf

Many people know that CBD comes from the cannabis plant. But what exactly happens from the moment when the seed is planted to the moment when CBD oil lays in your shopping cart?

Seed selection

Today thousands of hemp seed varieties are available. A farmer growing cannabis plants can choose a specific seed and ensure the appropriate content of THC. Considering that according to the legal requirement, the final product should contain no more than 0.2 % THC, it is very important that seeds meet all the requirements.

Soils

Hemp cannot be grown anywhere. Hemp grows best on a loose, well-aerated loam soil with high fertility and abundant organic matter with a pH of 6.0-7.5. Sandy soils can grow good hemp, with adequate irrigation and fertilisation, but it requires additional costs that make production uneconomical.

Organic hemp and non-organic hemp

Organic hemp grows in natural surroundings, with sunlight and water. Non-organic hemp grows with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers1. Therefore, organic CBD oil is CBD oil extracted from organically grown hemp. In the UK, organic CBD will be labeled “Certified Organic”.

Indoor and outdoor growth

Hemp can be grown either indoor or outdoor. Outdoor growth is an environmentally-friendly option. Indoor growth requires lighting, humidity, air, and humidity control2. This method gives the possibility for farmers to grow the hemp all year round.

Harvesting

Hemp matures in 90-120 days depending on a number of factors like variety, seeding date and temperature. Industrial hemp is harvested when the seed begins to shatter2.

Extraction methods of CBD

There are numerous methods to extract CBD from the hemp plant. EU rules determine cold pressing as the only method allowed. Under the authorization, other methods can be approved. They include the following:

  • Propane or butane extraction. It is the most common method for extracting compounds because butane or propane gas passes through the plant material and leaves only a safe residual trace in the oil. This kind of extract is also known as shatter, which is clear material including THC, CBD, and other chemicals like terpenes3.
  • Supercritical Co2 extraction. It is considered safer than propane or butane extraction, and it is a non-toxic one. The extraction agent in the supercritical Co2 extraction process is carbon dioxide compressed under high pressure. As the process finishes, the gaseous element discharges to the atmosphere, leaving no trace and with no need for additional removal. The plant extracts obtained by this method are microbiologically sterile while preserving the full spectrum of natural ingredients. It is now the most modern and the most effective means of getting polyunsaturated oils, flavonoids and anthocyanins4.
  • Alcohol extraction. It is the method when the plant is soaked in alcohol. The plant material is removed, the liquid is filtered, and the alcohol is evaporated, leaving only the oil5.

Oil carriers

CBD oil is heavily dense, and various oils are used to carry the constituents of hemp. They may be the following:

  • MCT
  • Almond oil
  • Olive oil
  • Palm oil

Certification and lab testing

When lab testing is performed on a CBD product, samples for testing typically are taken from several portions of a large batch to ensure accurate readings. Once the samples are submitted to a lab, they may be subjected to a screening to determine potency and purity. The certificate of analysis provides the sample information.

Pricing

The price depends on size, strength and product type. But one should remember, a good product cannon be cheap. It is always better to pay a bit more for a high-quality product.

References

  1. Bennett C. Growing Hemp for CBD, Seed or Fiber. AgWeb. https://www.agweb.com/article/growing-hemp-for-cbd-seed-or-fiber-NAA-chris-bennett. Accessed December 8, 2019.
  2. Wissett R. On the Cultivation and Preparation of Hemp. Cox and Son; 1804.
  3. Tallon S, Moreno T, Montanes F, Watson M. Extraction and fractionation of cannabinoids from “cannabis sativa.” Chemeca 2018. 2018:133.
  4. Rovetto LJ, Aieta NV. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L. J Supercrit Fluids. 2017;129:16-27. doi:10.1016/j.supflu.2017.03.014
  5. Pavlovic R, Nenna G, Calvi L, et al. Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations. Mol J Synth Chem Nat Prod Chem. 2018;23(5). doi:10.3390/molecules23051230

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