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How is CBD Extracted?

There are many ways to extract CBD, both commercially and at home, with various drawbacks and benefits and various levels of safety. The more unsafe methods use harsh chemicals and solvents such as butane, hexane, petroleum, and naphtha to separate out the oil, and should generally be avoided. Extracting using these solvents, known as the Rick Simpson method, leaves a potentially toxic residue, and often lead to a resulting product with lower amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids and a higher yield of THC. They also may impede the effectiveness of the THC itself.

Here are the three best processes for extracting CBD from the raw cannabis plant. For any of the following methods, its bets to begin with cannabis already high in CBD.

Supercritical CO2 Extraction

Supercritical CO2 extraction is the gold standard method to procure high quality, useful CBD. It's also the most intensive option and mainly suitable for commercial or industrial production. It requires complicated machinery and a high level of expertise. The CBD oil is extracted using carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures. Supercritical CO2 extraction is highly efficient and safe, using nontoxic solvents, resulting in a pure and concentrated CBD in a rich amber color. Companies which specialize in the highest quality CBD products, including Diamond CBD, use this method.

Ethanol

High-grade grain alcohol can be used to produce a CBD that is suitable for vape cartridges and contains a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes. The ethanol method, however, also extracts the chlorophyll present in the cannabis, so the oil has a green hue to it and an unpleasant taste. The extract can be filtered to remove the chlorophyll, but doing so also removes a significant amount of beneficial cannabinoids.

What if the chlorophyll is left in? Although ethanol extraction results in a high quality, if possibly less appetizing, CBD, this extraction method also destroys the plant's waxes, which may have health benefits of their own.

Olive Oil

Olive oil extraction is simple and easy. The oil only needs to be heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and the extract filtered, resulting in a form that's convenient to cook with. However, it cannot be concentrated. Although the oil does contain CBD, in order to see significant health effects, larger amounts of the CBD-laced olive oil must be consumed. And just like regular olive oil, it is perishable, but if you never found the need to worry about that bottle of extra virgin in your kitchen going bad, you probably won't have to worry too much about this.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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