CBD has been all the rage in the last few years, and its popularity only continues to grow, with the CBD industry expected to reach $47.22 billion by 2028. However, an ordinary CBD enthusiast doesn’t go beyond getting to know different types of products, and they certainly don’t bother themselves with reading about different CBD extraction methods.
But to fully know what you take, understand the potential of CBD, and choose something truly suitable to your needs and preferences, you might want to familiarize yourself with some technical tidbits. One of the essential pieces of knowledge you might want to acquire is how the extraction process influences the end product.
While manufacturers need to get their hands on CBD hemp flower or delta 8 flower bulk to begin the process, it is only the first step. The extraction method is just as important in creating a high-quality product.
So, if that’s something you’re interested in, join us as we go through the most popular CBD extraction methods, including but not limited to extraction by solvent, CO2 extraction, and steam distillation and their intricacies below.
Extraction by Solvent
The first and most common type of CBD extraction is the one by solvent. In this method, a solvent like butane or ethanol is used to extract CBD from the plant material.
To do this, the solvent is first passed through the plant material to dissolve the cannabinoids. After that, the solution is evaporated to remove the solvent and leave only the CBD behind.
This method is quick and relatively simple, making it popular among manufacturers. However, it also has certain disadvantages. The main one is the fact that the solvent may also destroy some of the beneficial compounds in the plant material, including cannabinoids and terpenes.
CO2 extraction is a more sophisticated method that uses carbon dioxide to extract CBD from plant material.
In this process, the CO2 is first converted into a “supercritical” state by adding pressure and reducing temperature. It makes the substance behave like both a gas and a liquid.
Then, the supercritical CO2 is passed through the plant material, where it absorbs the cannabinoids. After that, the solution is evaporated to remove the CO2 and leave only the CBD behind.
This method is more expensive and complex than the solvent extraction method. Yet, it’s also considered more effective as it doesn’t destroy the beneficial compounds in the plant material and provides high-quality CBD. Moreover, it allows manufacturers to control the extraction process better, produce a more consistent product, or even extract specific compounds.
Steam distillation is another popular method of CBD extraction. In this process, steam vaporizes the cannabinoids and other compounds from the plant material.
After that, the vapor is condensed and passed through a cooling system, where it turns into a liquid. This liquid contains CBD, as well as other compounds from the plant material. Finally, the liquid is evaporated to remove the water and leave only the CBD oil behind.
This method is relatively easy and cheap but not very efficient or consistent. That’s because it can only extract a small amount of CBD from the plant material, and it’s harder to control the compounds you extract.
Olive Oil Extraction
Olive oil extraction is a more traditional method that has been used for centuries to extract various compounds from plants.
To extract CBD using this method, you need to heat the plant material first, then add olive oil. Then, you have to heat the mixture again until the cannabinoids are extracted into the oil. And voila, you have your CBD olive oil!
This method is simple and relatively cheap, but it’s not very efficient as the final product is more perishable, and it’s difficult to quantify the CBD content.
Dry Ice Extraction
Dry ice extraction is another popular method, particularly among home users, as it doesn’t require any special equipment or skills. It is also one of the fastest methods available.
To extract CBD using this method, you first need to freeze the chopped plant material using dry ice. Then, it needs to be sieved to separate the trichomes, the basis of your cannabidiol oil.
It’s not the most consistent method out there, as you can’t really control the process or the amount of CBD you extract. However, it is simple, quick, and inexpensive. Also, as no solvent is needed, the end product is cleaner and purer.
Closed-Loop Hydrocarbon Extraction
Closed-loop hydrocarbon extraction is the most advanced method that’s only performed in laboratories by professional extractors with specialized equipment.
In this process, a hydrocarbon like butane or propane is used as a solvent to extract CBD from the plant material. The solvent is constantly looped, never coming in contact with the outside atmosphere.
The advantage of this method is that it’s very efficient, quick, and can produce a highly potent extract. On the other hand, it’s also very complex, expensive, and potentially dangerous if not done properly. That’s why it’s not really suitable for home use.
There you have it — a quick overview of different CBD extraction methods and their pros and cons. Now, the next time you see a “CBD olive oil,” “CO2-extracted CBD”, or “CBD distillate,” you’ll know exactly what that means.
Remember that the extraction method you choose will affect how well the final product will be. If you want the purest and most potent CBD product, you might want to go for the CO2 extraction method. However, dry ice extraction or olive oil extraction might be better if you’re on a budget or want something simple. It’s up to you to decide which one is the best for you.