CBD Extraction Methods: How Is CBD Extracted?

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Learning the various CBD extraction methods can help you to find the right type of CBD as well as the right potency. As byproducts of marijuana become increasingly popular, more studies are emerging about the benefits of CBD in aiding ailments from joint pain to anxiety. Knowing the ins and outs of the extraction process can help you to find a potential solution for the issue you are facing.

CBD Extraction Methods

1. CO2 Extraction

As the most popular method for extracting CBD, plenty of companies use tCO2 extraction to pull the phytochemicals from a cannabis plant. It’s the most ideal method of extracting formulas from plants, as CO2 easily moves through the materials.

How It Works

There are three main steps to CO2 extraction, which include:

  • Step #1: The very first step is to prepare the carbon dioxide by using a compression chamber. During this step, the carbon dioxide will be turned into a liquid by decreasing the temperature below -69°F while also increasing the pressure in the chamber above 75psi. This process continues until the pressure and temperature have reached supercritical levels.
  • Step #2: During the second step, the carbon dioxide will pass through the trimmings of cannabis in a chamber known as the extraction chamber. At this point, the trimmings dissolve and leave behind the necessary extracts.
  • Step #3: For the final step, your extract solution will then go into a separator chamber that is kept at low pressure. This assists with separating the CO2 and the extracts and once this is complete, the CO2 then returns to its original chamber while the CBD oil is drained using the separator.

Pros and Cons

The main benefit of this extraction method is that it creates food-safe products which you can consume and use in a variety of ways. As carbon dioxide is found in numerous food products, it’s safe to consume. You’ll also find that CO2 extraction creates some of the highest quality CBD oil on the market, as there is limited room for user-error.

Carbon dioxide extraction is quite expensive, with costs starting at approximately $40,000, so your products are likely to be more expensive. It also creates an influx in price as it’s a very specialized process that requires seasoned professionals.

2. Ethanol (Solvent) Extraction

Ethanol extraction, also known as solvent extraction, is one of the easiest ways to yield CBD oil from cannabis trimmings. During this process, you’ll be using ethanol as a way to separate the oil from the trimmings.

How It Works

As mentioned, this is the simplest way to extract CBD from plants and the three basic steps include:

  • Step #1: After acquiring the trimmings, ethanol is added inside of a special chamber and the two ingredients are mixed for several minutes. During this time, the ethanol will dissolve all the extracts from the trimmings.
  • Step #2: Using a high-quality straining device, the ethanol is then strained from the plant materials and separated.
  • Step #3: During the third step, the acquired mixture is heated very slowly until the ethanol evaporates entirely. After this step is complete, the CBD oil will be the only product remaining.

Pros and Cons

Due to its simplicity, extracting CBD using ethanol requires very little equipment. In fact, compared to CO2 extraction, this method is far more cost effective and can be done without the use of expensive machinery. As it’s simple and straightforward, you could even consider using this method of extraction at home.

The main disadvantage of using ethanol as an extraction chemical is the fact that it is highly dangerous to work with due to its flammability. There is also some speculation that could point towards a lower potency yield. If overheated or mixed incorrectly, the ethanol has a very high likelihood of damaging the CBD and all of its positive effects.

3. Olive Oil Extraction

This method is highly recommended for someone who is interested in having a CBD oil which they can use for a wide variety of purposes. You could use it for cooking, for topical application, and more. With that said, it might not be the ideal choice for someone looking for highly potent CBD.

How It Works

You’ll find that olive oil extraction is far simpler to do than any other form of extraction, especially as it requires little to no equipment and materials you already have around your home. With that said, it’s not as effective as other extraction processes.

  • Step #1: You’ll first want to gather your plant trimmings from your cannabis plant as well as olive oil and a pot.
  • Step #2: Combine your plant trimmings with your olive oil and warm it on a pot for up to two hours. During this step, the trimmings will combine with the oil and the extracts will dissolve into the liquid.
  • Step #3: Using a household strainer, remove the trimmings from the oil.

Pros and Cons

The largest advantage of this process is that it’s simple enough for anyone to do at home. You won’t have to worry about using highly flammable materials or expensive machinery. Many also refer to this process as the most organic way to extract CBD at home.

Unfortunately, any oil that you yield from this process will have the lowest amount of CBD out of the other processes discussed in this guide. It’s difficult to manage the temperature of the oil, which means you are likely to gather the least amount of CBD.

4. Dry Ice Extraction

The last extraction method we’ll discuss is the dry ice method. Also known as bubble hash, you’ll find there are multiple ways to use dry ice to get CBD out of cannabis plants. At the end of the project, you’ll have a collection of powdered resin to use.

How It Works

Using these steps, you’ll be able to extract CBD from dry ice entirely at home.

  • Step #1: You’ll first need to chop all your plant trimmings so that they are finely milled. You can consider using your grinder for this step. Once this is finished, combine the trimmings with dry ice.
  • Step #2: Next, you’ll need to add water to the mixture and continually strain the ingredients through a mesh bag. It’s recommended you strain them multiple times, as this helps to gather the purest extracts possible.
  • Step #3: Allow the strained mixture to sit for one to two hours and then drain any excess water. Allow the extracts to dry until they have a powdered texture.

Pros and Cons

You’ll be glad to know that when done correctly, dry ice extraction is ideal for getting a high yield of CBD-potent extracts. In addition, you won’t have to worry about using heavy duty machinery or anything that is excessively expensive. With that said, it’s a very laborious and time-consuming process in order to get the correct potency of CBD.

Final Thoughts

If you want to experiment at home with your own CBD extraction methods, there are plenty of processes to choose from. However, if you need a quick and simple solution, it’s recommended you opt for professionally derived products created by CO2 extraction. Not only is it the most popular extraction method, but it’s also the most effective.

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