The term Hemp Extract can often be seen on the labels of various CBD products. This is because CBD or cannabinol is an oil that is extracted from the hemp plant, thus the name refers to the process of obtaining CBD. Plants and most living things are held together by a mixture of water and fats, plants don’t have fats like we do, they have oils. To make the CBD products you know and love, skilled professionals use an assortment of methods to separate or extract this oil from the hemp plate. We will cover the main processes from simple to complex.
The word distillation refers to a process of refining or purifying something by heating up a liquid until it evaporates, collecting the steam, condensing it into water, rinse and repeat. Are you a fan of spirits like whiskey and vodka? So are we, they use the same process.
To extract CBD, hemp plant matter is mixed with water, heated then the resulting steam is collected and since water and oil have a different properties and weight they can be separated.
This is process for extraction is ancient, people have been using it for thousands of years longer than governments have been squabbling over legalities (that’s a joke). Because of that it’s a process that is well understood and safe.
The immediate drawback of this long-used process is that is at not as efficient as more modern scientific methods. Also, you may know this from cooking up your favorite dishes in the kitchen, when dealing with plants, you need to keep a close eye on temperature, too much heat can cause changes in the chemical properties of the hemp material resulting in off flavors or improper ratios of different cannabinoids.
Another way to separate the different substances in plants is to use a solvent. Here, chemical compounds in liquid form are used to break down the plant and absorb the oil. The liquids are then filtered out and boiled. The solvents used have a lower boiling point than the oils so after they are evaporated off, what is left is CBD oil.
This is more efficient than steam and less expensive, mainly because less plant matter is needed, and it does not involve any specific machinery.
Most solvents that are used in this process are not safe for consumption (butane, propane, isopropyl) if these are not properly boiled off the resulting product can contain some harmful chemicals that you want to stay away from.
Note* There are methods of using natural solvents such as ethanol or cooking oils to do the same thing. This generally works just as well but these don’t evaporate as well which would affect the resulting purity, also because you are mixing natural liquids with plant matter, you may extract some unwanted elements of the plants which can affect the flavor and aroma of the CBD oil.
Ahh the wonders of modern science. Using CO2 to extract CBD involves some fairly complex machinery and processes. Given that CBD products are a about a $25 billion business, there is no shortage of professionals that have perfected this method. The main reason that this process works is because CO2 can be held at what is called a supercritical state where it acts as both a liquid, a gas and a solid. Don’t worry, that won’t be on the final exam.
Liquid CO2 is mixed with the plant material and absorbs the oils then is transferred to another chamber where it is evaporated, and the CBD oils are left behind. Fun fact, this process was not invented for the sole benefit of online CBD shoppers, it’s actually used in a range of applications such as decaffeinating coffee. Because different chemical compounds will evaporate at different pressures, it is extremely precise in formulating CBD products.
This method is extremely precise, as mentioned above. The other, huge benefit of this process is it results in extremely pure CBD concentrations of over 90%.pecific machinery.
The only con we can think of here is that this is nothing a layperson can even attempt, it would probably be easier to build a rocket ship in your garage than to successfully perform a CO2 extraction.
All of these processes will produce full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil. This means that along with CBD oil other things will be present as well, such as amino acids and terpenes. Many of our online CBD customers find great benefit in these alongside their CBD and studies have pointed to the entourage effect which shows that all of these compounds working together create a kind of synergy. Read the full blog post about this here!
When shopping for CBD online it’s important to know the ins and outs of your products. Here at Santtam we pride ourselves not only in partnering with the best CBD brands but giving you every opportunity to know, right down to the hard science what your products are made of, that is why we list a COA on every product on our website!