CBD Extraction Methods

While CBD remains the talk of the town, it is imperative that we develop an understanding of how CBD is extracted and the best practices revolving around CBD extraction methods. Technological advancements have given birth to various CBD extraction methods that can produce highly different end-products. Therefore, it is important that you know how CBD is extracted and what are the implications of different extraction methods. 

The world is opening up to this wondrous plant. The orchestrated stigma around the herbaceous plant is slowly fading away as the awareness of CBD and CBD products grows among the masses. Before we dive into the various extraction methods prevalent in the CBD industry, let’s take a look at what CBD and CBD extract is.  

Cannabidiol Extract

cbd extract

CBD is without any doubt the fastest growing therapeutic supplement in many countries. As bans are lifted and cultivation is legalized, more and more people have started to invest in CBD businesses. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that CBD has become one of the most in-demand organic supplements which is also gaining popularity by drawing in a lot of debate attention revolving around the benefits this compound carries.

CBD is a cannabinoid that is found in the plant of cannabis. It is present in minute quantities in the marijuana and weed variety, but has a higher concentration in a special variety known as the industrial hemp. Not only does Industrial hemp contain less than 0.3% THC but also serves as the harbinger of many other industrial applications. CBD is also one of the 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While some other cannabinoids are psychoactive, CBD is not.

Besides understanding what CBD actually is, you must also understand the various types of CBD products on the market. Basically, CBD is classified into three broad and main categories.

1. Full Spectrum CBD:

Full Spectrum CBD, as the name implies itself, contains all of the beneficial compounds found in the hemp/cannabis plant. Full Spectrum CBD products may contain other cannabinoids such as THC, CBG, CBN, CBC or other plant material such as trichomes and terpenes, etc.

2. Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad Spectrum is very similar to Full Spectrum CBD with just one exception. Broad Spectrum CBD does not contain THC. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the high users experience while smoking marijuana or pot. Broad Spectrum CBD is best for individuals looking to stay away from THC all the while being exposed to other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.

3. CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate is the most purest form of CBD you can possibly get. As the name suggests, CBD Isolate contains isolated Cannabidiol (upto 99.7%). No plant material such as trichomes or terpenes accompany CBD Isolate. CBD Isolate is also free from THC and other ingredients present in Full Spectrum CBD and Broad Spectrum CBD.

Read more about the different Types of CBD Concentrates.

Why Does CBD Need To Be Extracted?

The reason behind this is plain and simple. To consume CBD you wouldn’t just start chewing on hemp leaves and stems, right? CBD extraction is done in order to separate the compound from other plant matter and make CBD consumable for humans. There is a lot of science that goes behind preparing a CBD product for you. Let’s take a look at what Decarboxylation is first. 



If you paid attention in your chemistry class, you might already be aware of what decarboxylation is. It is a chemical reaction in which the carboxyl group is removed and Carbon Dioxide is released as a result. The process of Decarboxylation refers to the reaction of carboxylic acids which is actually the removal of a carbon atom from a carbon chain.

What does decarboxylation mean in the world of cannabis then? Well, cannabis needs to be decarboxylated first to activate the cannabinoids present within. Cannabinoids are present in an acidic form in the plant and to convert them to consumable form we need to decarboxylate them. Before decarboxylation, the cannabinoids that make up cannabis remain inactive. The inactive cannabinoids are distinguishable chemically, due to an extra carboxyl ring attached to them. Upon decarboxylation, these carboxyl rings are removed and the cannabinoids become activated. 

Common CBD Extraction Methods

There are various CBD extraction methods going strong in the industry. We will not be going through all of them but only the best methods that are widely supported and used in the CBD Industry. Each extraction method is unique and produces varying end results. 

It is imperative that you have an understanding of the most common CBD Extraction methods used by big guns in the CBD industry so that the next time you surf the internet to get your hands on a CBD product, you can identify the right CBD product for you, understand CBD’s chemical structure, how it works and other best practices that will only help you make an informed decision or educate others in your family and friends circle about the in’s and outs of CBD products. 

CBD Extraction Methods: CO2 Extraction Method

The global CBD market is estimated to be around $25 Billion (USD). As the global CBD industry thrives and flourishes, the CO2 extraction method keeps on being the number 1 method used by all top-rated CBD companies of the world. By far, this method is the most commonly used CBD extraction method throughout the world due to its efficient results. The CO2 extraction method is further classified into;

  • Supercritical Extraction
  • Subcritical Extraction 
  • Mid Critical Extraction

The most commonly used method is the Supercritical CO2 Extraction of CBD as it is safe, efficient and provides a safe, dependable end product with minimal by-products. You must be wondering by now what CO2 extraction seems like in terms of Chemistry. 

Well, in layman’s terms,the CO2 extraction method basically uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract/pull CBD and other phytochemicals from the plant. Not only does CO2 act like a solvent at very low temperatures but also provides the necessary pressure required to pull CBD out of the plant matter. 

The only drawback of this extraction method is that you require highly specialized machinery that can freeze CO2 in a chamber to achieve the desired state that can extract CBD from the plant matter. The desired state is achieved when temperature in the chamber drops below -69 degrees and the pressure increases to over 75 pounds. 
Unless you have $90000 lying in your bank to invest in the specialized industrial machinery required for this extraction method, you can not move forward with this technique at your home.  Coming up next is an extraction method that you can pull off from the comfort of your home. 

CBD Extraction Methods: The Olive Oil Extraction Method

olive oil extraction

The best thing about this extraction method of CBD is probably the fact that it can be carried out easily at home. Not only is everything extremely easy to set up without breaking your bank but is also an effective and safe method to extract CBD.

Moreover, the choice of Olive Oil happens to be a good one primarily because of its inherent flavour. Have you heard about the CBD Olive Oil for Skin? Not only can you use it for your skin but can also add it to your food as an ingredient.  

Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process of Olive Oil Extraction Method; 

Preparing Your Bud:

Depending on how much CBD Oil you want as a result of this extraction, take a few buds of CBD rich strains. But before you can begin with the extraction of CBD, you need to decarboxylate it. There are two ways in which this can be done. If you want to skip the decarboxylation step, proceed with grinding your bud into a powdered form. This lets the cannabinoids leach out easily in the olive oil, thus letting you skip the decarboxylation step.

To Decarb your bud, grab a baking sheet and cover the bud with it. Next, place it into an oven for a few minutes at a temperature of 250 F. After 3-4 minutes, take your bud out and proceed with the next step. 

Steeping Decarboxylated Bud or Mixture Into Oil:

This is a fairly simple step. The extra Virgin Olive Oil is a good choice for this process since it offers a nice flavour however, upon receiving constant heat, it does become a little bitter to taste. To address this concern, make a mixture of Olive Oil and Water in 50:50 proportion in a saucepan. 

Once you’ve prepared the mixture, put it under fire and start heating it slowly. Start with low temperature and once the mixture starts boiling at 200 F, allow the mixture to simmer for a while before taking it off of the heat.

Cooling Your Mix:

The next step is to let the heated mixture come back to room temperature. Until the mixture comes back to room temperature, cover it with a lid and do not interfere in any way whatsoever.

Once the mixture has achieved room temperature, collect it in a jar. Seal the jar tightly and leave it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Separating CBD Olive Oil and Water

The last step in this process is to separate the CBD Olive Oil and Water. Once completely cooled, the Olive Oil infused with CBD will separate from water completely and collect at top of the jar. You’ll find water submerged below. At cool temperatures, it will be easier for you to separate the mixture.

There you have it people, Homemade CBD Olive Oil! This Oil contains double the power of Olive Oil and CBD to give a potent punch of wellness, right at your doorsteps.

As we’re sure you already know the benefits of CBD, you can put two and two together to understand that the oil that you’ll be extracting at home can be used for reducing pain and inflammation in joints, bones and muscles. It can also be used to rejuvenate skin and fight off oxidation and aging signs on the skin. Furthermore, its third purpose of usage could be for your hair. CBD will not only improve your hair’s texture but also improve the blood circulation to your scalp, helping your hair grow long and healthy. 

Want to make CBD Infused Olive Oil at home? We got you covered. Read this easy step by step Guide To Make CBD Infused Olive Oil at Home.

CBD Extraction Methods: The Solvent Extraction Method

cbd extraction methods

The solvent extraction method is another one popularly used in the world of CBD, however, it is undesirable due to many reasons which we will discuss later.

Ethanol and butane are the most commonly used solvents for this method however some low-quality alcohols are also, sometimes, brought into use. 

The process occurs by adding the liquid substance to the plant material. The liquid is strong enough for the plant to make it separate its Cannabinoids but is also significantly powerful to also attract in some chlorophyll (the compound that gives plants their characteristic green colour). The final extract is CBD base oil that you can get by heating the alcohol mixture. 

In order to get rid of the chlorophyll, you can filter the final extract but not without effect to the oil’s potency. The chlorophyll of course is important to remove as it is not exactly very safe for human consumption. 

CBD oil extracted through the use of butane contains irritants and may cause unwanted side effects. 

This method therefore, is usually ineffective, and products extracted using this method are substandard and also potentially dangerous. 

P.S: Do not try this method at home. Butane and Ethanol are highly inflammable and the process could end in disaster. 

Conclusion: CBD Extraction Methods

So here you have two industrial methods for CBD extraction, the Co2 Extraction Method and The Solvent Extraction method, the knowledge of which you can use to compare different CBD products in the market and choose the safest, most high-quality one for you because hey, you never should compromise on health. 

Then we also talked about the one method that you could potentially use at home to get some of that goodness for yourself. The CBD Olive Oil can be used for skin, hair growth, pain, inflammation or a relaxing massage!

I am a 34-year-old father of three that lives in Sweden. I´ve changed my life with the help of CBD and I have a profound interest in the research surrounding CBD. You can read more about me here.

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