CBD extraction from the plant can be done both on an industrial scale and by amateurs. It can be safely extracted even at home, although it might not be as pure as that extracted professionally. Even if someone is not intending to extract CBD by self, knowing more about the extraction process may help choose CBD products better.
One should start by procuring the right kind of hemp. There are many varieties of hemp that are legally grown in various parts of the world. These hemp varieties are very low in THC. It means that CBD extracted from them will contain psychoactive compound only in traces. Thus, the whole extraction process will be legal.
Olive oil extraction method
It is the simplest method of CBD extraction that can be performed at home. In this method, olive oil is heated at 248 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 mins or at a higher temperature of 284 Fahrenheit for 30 mins. After that hemp is added to the olive oil and mixture is heated at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for more than an hour (two hours is recommended). Although this method is relatively straightforward, it does not provide a very high yield. Moreover, CBD produced in this way is highly perishable and should be stored in a dark place. CBD produced in this way should be consumed as soon as possible.
Dry ice extraction method
Yet another method that can be carried out by amateurs. In this method, chopped pieces of the plant are paced into the bucket. After that dry ice (ice made of carbon dioxide) is added to the bucket. Leave the bucket for about three minutes, and after that, shake it for another four minutes. Now put the 73-micron mesh bag on the bucket. Turn the bucket upside down on the plexiglass and shake out as much resin as possible and after that use 160- and 220-micron bags.
It is a simple and clean method, though the yield is just medium. However, getting good results requires practice. Moreover, getting dry ice in itself could be challenging.
Solvent extraction method
In this method, either alcohol (ethanol) or butane are used as solvents. This method is useful in a way that all the beneficial compounds of hemp get dissolved into these solvents. On the downside, this extract is also rich in chlorophyll and perhaps other unwanted compounds. One can remove chlorophyll and other impurities by filtering it, but this also results in reduced potency.
Although this method is pretty straightforward, it is not a safe way to extract CBD. Both high-grade ethanol and butane are highly inflammable substances. Since this method produces CBD that is low in purity, it also means the higher risk of side effects, allergic reactions, and so on.
Liquid CO2 extraction
It is the most complicated method requiring special equipment, but it produces commercial-grade CBD. In this method, CO2 is used as a solvent. CO2 is a very safe gas; it does not change the chemical structure of natural compounds. In this method, manufacturers use liquid CO2, obtained at temperatures below -69 degrees Fahrenheit and pressure over 75 pounds per square inch (psi).
There are multiple ways to use liquid CO2 for CBD extraction, but the most common way is using supercritical extraction. In supercritical extraction, the temperature is increased, and pressure is lowered so that CO2 achieves a state that is halfway between liquid and gas. This supercritical CO2 is then passed through plant material. This process is complicated, but it produces high purity CBD.
Other ways are subcritical and mid-critical extractions, and they also produce a good yield. However, these methods produce CBD with higher impurity rate.
It is vital to understand that CBD extract created by using supercritical and subcritical differs in its content of various compounds. It means that many companies combine these methods to get the full-spectrum extract.
The industry prefers the CO2 extraction method as CO2 is very safe gas; it is the same gas that is added to carbonated drinks. This method is highly effective and has various other usages in the food industry, like removing caffeine from coffee. It also produces highly pure CBD that is safer to consume. Perhaps the only downside of this method is that it is not something that can be attempted at home or by an amateur chemist.
Most people would never extract CBD. Nonetheless, it is necessary to know about the various methods used to extract it, as it may help when choosing CBD products. It is essential to understand that the extraction method dramatically influences the quality of the end product.