How is CBD actually made?
People around the world are using CBD and there is a range of products available, from creams and balms to edibles and oils. It seems like everybody is talking about it but many people have questions about it because it appeared so quickly. You might wonder, is CBD safe or how is CBD oil made, for example?
These are common questions that people want answered before they decide whether using CBD oil is right for them. Read on to find out where CBD comes from and how it is made into the oils that everybody is using.
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it comes from the cannabis plant. The fact that it comes from this plant, which is often used as an illegal recreational drug, is one of the main reasons why people ask, is CBD safe? However, it’s important to note that there is a big difference between the cannabis plant and the CBD that you might use.
There are two main active compounds in the cannabis plant; CBD and THC. When people use cannabis as a recreational drug, it is the THC that has a psychoactive effect and gives them a feeling of being ‘high’. The CBD, on the other hand, does not have this effect, which is why it is legal for consumption and THC is not.
Marijuana is the plant that people use for illegal recreational purposes because it contains high levels of THC. However, this is not where most CBD products are derived from. Instead, they are taken from the hemp plant, which is in the same family. It contains CBD but only trace amounts of THC, which is why CBD oil will not produce a psychoactive effect.
How Is CBD Extracted?
Now you know where CBD comes from in the first place, you are probably wondering how it is extracted and made into various products. There are a number of different methods used to extract CBD and it may undergo further processing, depending on the products that it is being used for.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction
Carbon dioxide extraction is the most widely used method for extracting CBD oil from cannabis plants. The process begins with liquid Co2, which is pumped into a chamber with the plant matter. The CBD is then absorbed into the Co2 before it is pumped into a second chamber. It is very important that the pressure is managed correctly so the Co2 stays in liquid form during this first stage.
The Co2 and cannabinoid mixture is then pumped into a third chamber, where the pressure is altered to allow the Co2 to turn back into a gas. The Co2 disappears and you are left with the pure CBD oil and other flavours from the plants.
Using liquid solvents like hexane, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol or butane works in much the same way as the carbon dioxide method. The solvent is pumped into a chamber with the cannabis plants so it can absorb the CBD. It will then be moved to a third chamber where it evaporates as gas and leaves the CBD behind.
This method is cheaper but it does have some downsides. Some solvents carry over impurities from the plants, which give a bitter taste to the final CBD oil products.
Once the CBD oil has been extracted, it may be put through a process called winterisation. This is a method for removing any unwanted substances and purifying the CBD oil. When you see products that are labelled full spectrum CBD, they have not been through this process and they contain all of the extras that come out naturally during the extraction process.
Winterisation is done by freezing the CBD in alcohol and freezing it overnight. It can then be put through a filter to remove all of the impurities. Once the desired level of purity is achieved, it is boiled to remove the alcohol. The boiling point of alcohol is lower than CBD, so the alcohol burns off and the oil is left.
Short Path Distillation
If further purification is desired, short path distillation can be used. Different compounds in CBD oil have different boiling points. By heating the oil to specific temperatures, it is possible to burn off any compounds with a lower boiling point than CBD, creating a purer end product.
People often ask how is CBD made and is CBD safe? Now you understand the process that is used to extract CBD and create products, you can make informed decisions about using it.