CBD is quickly becoming an acknowledged therapy for many different conditions. In its various forms, cannabidiol is today also on the front line in the food supplement shelf because of its benefits in maintaining our well-being. The new-born CBD industry is refining, improving and extending the extraction methods for cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytochemical compounds found in cannabis. At the same time, good CBD extractions can be made at home with no particular hassle.
The extraction of resin from the cannabis plant removes the fibres and other components from cannabis stems, leaves and flowers. This allows the active ingredients like CBD to be concentrated and purified. Each extraction method has its advantages and disadvantages, different costs, and different levels of purity, potency or quality. CBD-rich legal hemp plants are an effective source of cannabidiol for producing CBD-rich oil. The extraction method choice comes after a careful selection of the raw material. Both these tasks directly affect CBD oil’s characteristics and efficacy.
Cannabis plants with high CBD content give users a relaxed body feeling, which helps many different ailments. It is important to note, that consuming consistent and controlled doses of this active principle is crucial to gauge each individual’s body reactions, according to the particular condition. Just like any other herbal concentrate, CBD oil allows for regular, precise and timed doses, yet not all the extracts are made the same. Here is a summary of the most common extraction methods, with their pros and cons.
FOOD-SAFE OIL EXTRACTION
The production of CBD oil utilising natural vegetable oil is a safe method, assuming the oil used as a solvent is food-safe. Natural plants’ fats and oils are effective in extracting the resin, and the resulting oil is perfect both ingested, or applied as a topical remedy.
Hemp seed oil, olive oil, sesame oil, or other oils can be used as carriers, each one bringing its own subtle flavour and organoleptic traits. Usually no harmful chemical residue is contained in these kinds of CBD extractions, yet all vegetable oil-based CBD extractions have a limited shelf life and must be stored properly.
SUPERCRITICAL OR SUBCRITICAL CO2 EXTRACTION
CO2 extraction is considered the safest, cleanest, more scientifically controlled method of extraction. Expensive equipment is required, and the process takes time and skills to perfect consistent batches of products. Supercritical or subcritical extraction methods employ temperature and pressure to extract and isolate the cannabinoids.
The extracted oil is very pure, with a very clean taste and flavour. Products made with CO2 extraction are usually very potent, even if the heat used in some techniques can damage the content of terpenes and other compounds, reducing the potential therapeutic benefit of the whole cannabis phytocomplex.
EXTRACTION WITH OTHER INDUSTRIAL GAS OR LIQUID SOLVENTS
The extraction of cannabinoids using a chemical solvent is relatively cheap. It doesn’t require special equipments, and the whole process is pretty simple. Unfortunately, the solvents usually used for this purpose are highly flammable, and a few laboratories exploded over the years. Furthermore, it is quite difficult, or even impossible, to remove all the solvents’ residues from the resulting CBD oil.
The presence of potentially harmful chemical elements, even if just in traces, makes this method not suitable for medical purposes. Even if effective in extracting cannabinoids, another disadvantage of these methods is the deterioration of many other beneficial compounds naturally found in the raw cannabis material.