How is CBD Extracted from Cannabis?

How is CBD Extracted from Cannabis?

What is Cannabidiol?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a prevalent compound found in cannabis. Unlike THC, which is responsible for the ‘high’ associated with marijuana usage, CBD does not have psychoactive properties. 

CBD Benefits and Uses 

CBD has a variety of benefits and uses. One of its applications is helping relieve anxiety and aid in both falling asleep and staying asleep. It can also help reduce inflammation, especially with arthritis if applied topically. Because of its anti-inflammatory abilities, it is possible that it could play a role in helping reduce acne.  

CBD oil can also help with pain, though more human trials are needed to understand more. Recently, there have been encouraging results from studies that show CBD may play a role in helping reduce some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Overall, from the available studies, it appears that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have the potential to help those suffering from inflammation-related ailments.  

How Is CBD Extracted from Cannabis? 

CBD is extracted from cannabis in a variety of ways but there are 4 methods that are the most popular: Steam distillation, CO2 Extraction, Hydrocarbon Solvent Extraction, and Natural Solvent Extraction.  

Steam Distillation 

  • Steam is used to separate CBD oil from the plant material. Steam distillation is also used to extract essential oils. It, however, requires more raw plant material than other methods and has more difficulty extracting CBD oil. If the steam becomes too hot it can also damage the extract.  
  • Using steam to extract CBD is inexpensive and leaves behind no toxic residue. It also results in an extract that is free from chlorophyll. However, it is not as efficient as other methods and the extract risks being heat damaged.  

CO2 Extraction 

  • Also known as Supercritical Fluid Extraction, this method of CBD extraction uses supercritical carbon dioxide to extract CBD. It uses pressurized chambers to expose CO2 too low temperatures and high pressures. When the CO2 meets the plant material it breaks it down, releasing oil. It’s a method that produces highly concentrated CBD oil.  
  • In a similar way to steam distillation, CO2 Extraction leaves behind no toxic residue and also no chlorophyll. However, it also has the benefits of being highly efficient and producing the highest concentrations of CBD. With this method, you can also adjust the desired concentration. However, this method requires special machinery to work and as a result, is expensive.  

Hydrocarbon Solvent Extraction 

  • This method of CBD extraction is more efficient than steam distillation and also more cost-effective. Hydrocarbons like petroleum, butane, and propane are used to extract CBD from the plant material.  
  • Hydrocarbon Solvent Extraction is inexpensive and also creates a consistent concentration of CBD oil, much like CO2 Extraction. It also results in CBD oil that has no chlorophyll. The downside to this method is the risk of toxic residue associated with the hydrocarbons used.  

Natural Solvent Extraction 

  • Following a similar process to Hydrocarbon Solvent Extraction, Natural Solvent Extraction extracts CBD oil from cannabis through the use of solvents. However, as the name suggests, the solvents used are natural solvents. This can sometimes result in lower CBD concentration.  
  • Natural Solvent Extraction is both efficient and inexpensive. It also leaves behind no toxic residue, unlike its hydrocarbon counterpart. However, due to the natural solvents used chlorophyll may be extracted alongside the CBD oil. Chlorophyll can give CBD oil an undesired taste. Luckily, if the CBD oil is being used in topical application or in capsules this taste is not an issue.   

Searching for More Information on CBD Extraction? 

Extraction Grade Solvents can help! Extraction Grade Solvents has a variety of resources available about extraction solvents and their applications in harvesting CBD from Cannabis and Hemp. Click here to find out more about our available solvents or click here to contact us for more information!