The CBD wave is rising, but there’s still a lot to learn. We know CBD can have many benefits, but CBD’s efficacy and quality depends on several factors, including how the CBD was extracted.
In this article, we’ll discuss the three most common extraction methods, as well as a newer extraction method, and how they can influence the quality of your CBD product.
The CO2 extraction method is the newest, as well as the most advanced method, however, it is also the most expensive and difficult process.
But, the end result, if done correctly, is potent, safe, and free of harmful chemical solvents, making CO2 one of the best extraction methods.
The CO2 extraction method is normally done with a piece of equipment called a “closed loop extractor.” The machine has three different chambers.
- The first chamber holds solid, pressurized CO2, also known as dry ice.
- The second chamber holds the cannabis plant material.
- The third chamber separates the CBD fluid from the plant.
How does it work? The CO2 is pumped from the first chamber into the second chamber where the cannabis plant material sits. Then, the solid CO2 takes on the form of supercritical CO2, a form between a liquid and gas.
The supercritical CO2 runs through the plant material extracting cannabinoids.
Finally, the supercritical CO2 is pumped into the third chamber where the CO2 moves to the top of the chamber and the fluid containing the cannabinoids moves to the bottom.
Despite the learning curve and financial cost, CO2 extraction results in a healthy, safe, effective product.
Liquid Solvent (Ethanol)
Liquid solvents like ethanol, butane, alcohol, or isopropyl are commonly used to extract CBD.
Ethanol is the most common solvent used.
How does it work? Cannabis plant material must first be put in a container. Then, the liquid solvent is run through the material stripping it of cannabinoids.
The cannabinoids are transferred to the liquid solvent. The liquid solvent is then evaporated from the mixture leaving the cannabinoids in oil form.
This process is cheaper than the CO2 method, as well as fast, and simple. Sounds great, right?
Well, there are a few major downsides.
First, liquid solvents are extremely flammable, making this the most dangerous extraction method.
Second, liquid solvents destroy important plant materials, including cannabinoids and terpenes that hold potential health benefits, inhibiting the final product’s performance.
Third, there’s a potential for unsafe residue to remain from the solvents used in the process, which can result in health issues.
All in all, this method is not ideal for consumer CBD products.
The olive oil extraction method is commonly used by CBD hobbyists, rather than commercial producers because it’s impractical for producing CBD on a large scale.
How does it work? First, the cannabis plant material needs to be decarboxylated. This means it has to be heated to a certain temperature for a certain amount of time in order for the plant cannabinoids to “activate.”
Then, the plant material is added to olive oil and heated again to extract the cannabinoids.
Unlike the liquid solvent method, the olive oil should not be evaporated from the mixture. As a result, the oil is also not as highly concentrated as other methods, necessitating a higher dose.
CBD produced from olive oil is perishable and should be kept somewhere cool and dark.
This is one of the oldest extraction methods known. It is also safe, affordable, and relatively simple.
Whole Flower Fluid
We’ve discussed the three most popular extraction methods, but as CBD’s popularity grows and more and more products enter the market, producers are coming up with new ways to extract.
At Brizo Pure, we use a new, proprietary, 100% natural whole flower fluid extraction process, similar to a cold press.
The whole flower extraction method CBD significantly differs from other methods. Rather than isolate the many components of the plant, whole flower extraction is designed to keep all of the plant components together and intact, resulting in higher bioavailability. We believe our extraction method is the best out there.