One of the things I learned from the CBD farmers is that CBD can be an unstable and fleeting trait in cannabis plants. CBD production doesn’t just depend on the genetics of a plant, but the methods of growing, and what is also recognized in grape and wine production as the terroir. New strains of CBD-rich cannabis are being developed for the legal market all the time. I haven’t been able to try them all, but I’ve had the privilege of trying some of the most well-known strains, such as Harlequin, Harle-Tsu, ACDC, Cannatonic, Charlotte’s Web, Sour Tsunami, and a rare crop of Golden Goat, which expressed more than 8% CBD. This list is by no means complete in terms of CBD-rich cannabis strains available.
Hemp, the low-to-no THC variety of Cannabis sativa grown for the oilseed and fiber it produces, can also produce CBD in varying amounts. Both wild hemp and cultivated hemp can produce CBD in their resins. No matter what variety of Cannabis sativa produces CBD, the molecule is always the same.
Non-psychoactive and increasingly popular as a relaxation drug, CBD can also be a DIY extract
In the process of developing recipes, I spent much of my time talking to CBD farmers and exploring their lush farms. I am forever grateful to my friends at Feather Canyon Farms in Del Norte County, California, for introducing me to some of the most impressive plants I’ve ever seen in my life. Beforehand, my experience with these plants had been limited to small indoor grows and the product offerings of our legal cannabis dispensaries.
— Is the name of the farm or farmer disclosed on the product label or available from the company or merchant selling the product?
I believe that quality, whole-plant infusions and extractions matter. Epidiolex, the FDA-approved drug, is a whole-plant extract of CBD, purified, standardized, and manufactured for consistency. It’s rare as far as pharmaceuticals go; GW Pharma grows and processes their own cannabis to make therapeutic pharmaceuticals. Whether you are in need of a pharmaceutical treatment or are using CBD as a home remedy or for pleasure, you should be using whole-plant infusions and extractions. The cannabis farmers I spoke with have expressed a similar belief.
To produce CBD oils, cosmetics or supplements, you must first extract the cannabinoid from raw plant material. Fortunately, the most abundant source of CBD is hemp, a selectively bred crop used extensively in dozens of commercial industries.
Although there are many ways to extract CBD from hemp, some methods are much more efficient and safer than others. It’s essential to know the difference, since how you extract CBD affects the purity and efficacy of the final product.
What are the options for extracting CBD?
• Little control over the final extract
• Weak and unreliable CBD content compared to more professional methods
• Not suitable for commercial sale
How does one make CBD extracts without using a solvent? Simply enough, you just have to apply heat, pressure, or a bit of friction to hemp flowers and leaves. How do you do that, you wonder? Well, if you freeze hemp flowers, you can shake the small trichomes loose and gather them together. These trichomes, as you might know, contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant.
Leising agrees that the CO2 method is superior. As he shared, “CO2 is generally preferred for the extraction of cannabinoids that are meant for ingestion or further refinement. Due to the nature of the extraction process, you can be assured that your extracted oil will be free of any residual solvents, microbes, and fungi.”
Solvent extraction method: The solvent extraction process is similar to using CO2, but it’s notably cheaper and faster. Butane has long been used in cannabis extraction but ethanol and propane are also popular. This method also uses a closed-loop system wherein the liquid butane, propane, or ethanol washes over the cannabis, releasing the CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes. The solvent then has to be carefully heated or cooled to separate the solvent from the extracted compounds without damaging them. The main drawback of solvent extraction is that some solvents may extract impurities from the cannabis plant material, which could give the end-product an unpleasant taste.
You can safely make CBD oil at home via a simple infusion and consume a high concentration of cannabinoids without risking life or limb. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Which CBD extraction method is best?
All the cannabidiol (CBD) you find in your favorite gummies, drinks, and oils has to go through an extraction process first. CBD, for those who don’t know, is a cannabinoid found in cannabis. Extracting CBD involves isolating the chemical compound from the surrounding plant material and distilling it in high concentrations. Research has shown that cannabinoids may have beneficial effects on physical and mental health, and extraction makes it possible to consume more of those cannabinoids with less effort.
It depends on what extraction method you’re considering. Let’s say you have a thriving indoor cannabis garden and want to consume the cannabis you’ve harvested without having to smoke it all. You can safely make CBD oil at home via a simple infusion and consume a high concentration of cannabinoids without risking life or limb.
Andrew Leising, VP of Strategic Sourcing for Balanced Health Botanicals, elaborated on the process: “CO2 is a scalable and highly versatile form of extraction. There are CO2 extraction units built to process anywhere from 1 to 1,200 pounds of biomass in a single run. With CO2 extraction, you can not only extract cannabinoids on a large scale efficiently, you can extract specific compounds like terpenes.”
In this article, you’ll learn about how CBD is extracted from hemp and cannabis, as well as which extraction process yields the best results.