What Are The Different CBD Extraction Methods?

cbd extraction methods

The potential benefits of CBD have made you curious to try it out, but have you ever wondered how CBD products are made? There can be a noticeable difference in quality depending on the CBD extraction method used in the process. 

We’re taking a look at the different CBD extraction methods to see how they differ and find out which CBD extraction process is the best!

The CBD Extraction Process

When you’re talking about the CBD extraction process what you’re really saying is how to separate the CBD compound from the cannabis hemp plant. The goal during the CBD extraction process is to remove impurities and be able to refine the compound into products like CBD gummies and CBD oil tinctures

To get high quality CBD it has to be extracted very carefully. The wrong CBD extraction method can risk making low quality CBD products or wasting materials. 

Different CBD Extraction Methods

There are three different CBD extraction methods, each with their own pros and cons. They are:

  • CO2 Extraction

  • CBD Extraction by Solvent

  • Steam Distillation

Learning about the different CBD extraction methods is more than just tech talk, we promise! The CBD extraction process has a direct effect on the quality and purity of your CBD products. Knowing which CBD extraction method is best will help you tell the difference between high quality CBD products and the ones you want to avoid. 

CBD Extraction Method 1: CO2 Extraction

First up is CO2 extraction! CO2 extraction can be supercritical, subcritical, or mid-critical. These categories are talking about the conditions the CO2 is under during the CBD extraction process. The best of these is supercritical CO2 extraction.

Supercritical CO2 extraction method is the most popular CBD extraction process because it produces the highest concentration of CBD and a pure product (win-win! 🙌). During this CBD extraction method, the pressure and temperature are both increased until the point where the CO2 becomes supercritical. This means it takes on the properties of both a liquid and gas. 

During the CBD extraction process, the supercritical CO2 is passed through the hemp plant in an extractor. The CO2 pulls trichome and terpene oils from the plant. The solution is then sent through a separator that breaks it down into individual parts. While the trichome and terpene oils are collected elsewhere, the supercritical CO2 is turned back into a liquid using a condenser. The result: pure CBD.

While this is the most expensive of the CBD extraction methods, it also results in the highest quality CBD. All hello amber products are derived from the supercritical CO2 extraction method!

CBD Extraction Method 2: Solvent Extraction

Moving on to the next in our overview of different CBD extraction methods is solvent extraction. Solvent extraction uses a liquid to pull the cannabinoids from the hemp plant. After enough cannabinoids are in liquid form, the solution is heated to evaporate the solvent material and leave behind an oil. 

There are two different CBD extraction methods using solvents: natural and hydrocarbons. Natural solvents like olive oil or ethanol are less dangerous for this CBD extraction process as hydrocarbons like butane are super flammable and can leave behind toxic residue.

Even natural solvents have their downsides, though. Ethanol might be more budget friendly but is a low-grade alcohol. While it is consumed in measured amounts through alcohol consumption and using beauty products, only premium quality extraction equipment and precise measurements will ensure all the ethanol has evaporated making a safe, quality product. Using ethanol for the CBD extraction process can also make CBD edibles like gummies and tinctures have an off taste and that’s definitely not ideal if you’re looking to make CBD infused drinks. 

CBD Extraction Method 3: Steam Distillation

Steam distillation has literally been around for centuries as a method of extracting essential oils. Of the methods of CBD extraction we’ve talked about, though, it’s the most unreliable and wasteful.

The steam CBD extraction process requires a large setup with a water tank, hemp plant tank, condenser tube, and collection flask. The hemp plant tank has an intake for getting steam from the water tank and an outlet that connects it to the condenser tube. As the water is set to a boil, the steam goes upward into the hemp plant tank and separates oil vapors containing CBD. The CBD oil vapors are collected and condensed into oil and water. This is then distilled further to separate the CBD oil from the water for a final product. 

Using steam for the CBD extraction process requires you to use a significantly larger amount of hemp plant for the same CBD yield. It’s also much more difficult to extract CBD in exact concentration amounts this way. To top it off, you also run the risk of the steam getting too hot and damaging the CBD extract, giving you an inferior CBD product.

What Is the Best CBD Extraction Method?

After checking out the three different CBD extraction methods we declare the clear winner to be supercritical CO2 extraction! No, not just because our CBD products are derived from it (we just want to offer you the best CBD products possible!). While it’s the most expensive of the methods of CBD extraction, it gives the most pure and concentrated CBD product.

Hopefully now you’ve got a comfortable understanding of the CBD extraction methods out there! Finding out which products work best for you can take a little adjusting. Don’t be afraid to try different CBD products and use them at different times to see what fits your wants.

Now that you know what makes for the best CBD products you should have no trouble finding them! If you need some direction, though, we’ve got a lead right here.

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