Here's How CBD Is Extracted From Industrial Hemp

Here’s How CBD Is Extracted From Industrial Hemp


Many people are aware of the fact that CBD comes from industrial hemp or cannabis extract. And factories extract CBD from those hemp or cannabis plants.

But how do they do it? Exactly how are the CBD products made that you’re consuming to be safe and healthy? How would you know which product to buy and which one is less likely to have any toxic chemicals?

Well, we’ll answer all your questions.

In this article, we’ll explain how CBD is extracted from the industrial hemp and what happens to it after the extraction process is done.


Different Methods To Extract CBD From Industrial Hemp

When we talk about how CBD is made, we’re primarily talking about how it is extracted from the industrial hemp. And there are three mainstream methods of doing this.

They are:

  • Carbon dioxide extraction
  • Steam distillation
  • Solvent Extraction

In this section, we’ll talk about the three different methods of extracting CBD from the industrial hemp.

Here we go…

Extraction Of CBD Using Carbon Dioxide Method

Here's How CBD Is Extracted From Industrial Hemp
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In this method, people use supercritical carbon dioxide to extract the CBD from the industrial hemp extract. The carbon dioxide used for this method is in a supercritical state. A state in which the gas exhibits the properties of both a gas and a liquid. And because of this, the CBD extraction using this method is called SFE or supercritical fluid extraction.

While processing the hemp through this method, factories pass the CO2 and the hemp through various pipes and tunnels. As the CO2 and hemp pass through them, it becomes exposed to more pressure and its temperature constantly gets lower. As a result, the final liquid has a very high percentage of CBD. Thus, the extraction process becomes complete.

Here’s how the extraction process works:

  • Before the extraction process starts, there will be two separate high-pressure chambers. One of those chambers will hold the carbon dioxide and the other will hold the hemp or hemp extract.
  • In the next stage, the highly pressurized CO2 will be moved from its chamber to the chamber where the pressurized hemp is kept. After that, the supercritical carbon dioxide will react with the hemp and bring the CBD out from the hemp extract.
  • At last, the mixture of liquid CBD and supercritical CO2 will be transported to a third and final chamber. As the CO2 will be in a supercritical state, once we take the pressure off the third chamber, it’ll evaporate instantly. At last, there will just be the liquid CBD in the third and final chamber.

This method is by far one of the best methods to produce CBD products. It’s safe, efficient, and creates CBD with up to 92% concentration. In fact, factories can create CBD of different varying concentrations using this method.

Extraction Of CBD From Industrial Hemp Using Steam Distillation

Here's How CBD Is Extracted From Industrial Hemp
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In this method. factories use the steam to extract the CBD from the industrial hemp. First, the workers contain the hemp in a large glass flask that has an inlet and an outlet. There is another glass flask that contains water that is set to boil. And the inlet of the hemp flask is connected to the water flask. Meanwhile, the workers connect the outlet to a very specific tube which is a condenser.

Here’s how the process works:

  • As we boil the water, the steam travels to the glass flask containing the industrial hemp and extract CBD from hemp. The CBD stays in the vapor form and mixes with the steam.
  • In the next stage, the vapors travel to the condenser. This turns the vapors into CBD oil and water.
  • Once the factory collects the mixture, they run it through a water distillation process to get the pure CBD oil.

People have been using this process of extracting CBD from the industrial hemp for ages now. However, it’s not as effective as the CO2 method. Also, using this method will require a large number of plants. Plus, you won’t get your desired CBD concentration that easily.

Moreover, if you make the steam too hot, it might even dismantle the chemical composition of CBD which would be a huge disaster. So, you have the keep the steam temperature in check.

Extract CBD Using Solvent Extraction

Here's How CBD Is Extracted From Industrial Hemp
Image Credit – Leafly

This method also works in a similar way as the steam distillation works. However, instead of using water steam, this process uses a special kind of solvent to extract the CBD. And once they extract the CBD from the industrial hemp, it ends up with a mixture of the solvent and the CBD oil. But since the solvent they use, which are usually natural hydrocarbons, have a very low boiling point, the solvent evaporates quickly. And leaves the pure CBD behind.

Extracting CBD using a solvent is relatively less expensive than the age-old steam distillation method. Plus, it’s a lot more efficient than the extraction process which involves steam. However, this process also has its own concerns. For example, some hydrocarbons or solvents can be toxic for our body and cause several complex diseases including cancer.

So, if the manufacturer fails to take all the solvent out of the CBD oil, you might suffer from those complex diseases after the extended use of that CBD product. Yet, sometimes, those solvent stays in the CBD and comes alongside the actual product. In many studies, experts found the traces of these solvents in the CBD products.

However, it’s not all bad news. Manufacturers have found an alternative method to effectively carry out the process without the risk of toxicity. And they are doing this by using a natural solvent such as ethanol. The process can be carried out easily by using olive oil too.

But this process also has a few downsides. The natural solvent may extract the chlorophyll from the industrial hemp. As a result, the CBD oil might get a quite foul taste. While this CBD in capsule form or cream or lotion won’t be a trouble, eating them in some way might make you feel uncomfortable.

Also, natural solvents don’t evaporate that well. As a result, the CBD concentration might also be on the lower side.

Which One Is The Best Method To Get CBD From Industrial Hemp

Image Credit – NPR

Every single of the previous methods has its own pros and cons. However, here in Oilbuffs, we prefer the C02 extraction method over the other two methods. Sure, the CO2 extraction process might cost more than any other method, but it also gives us the purest CBD possible. It’ll have absolutely no toxicity and you can adjust the concentration of CBD quite easily. So, if you’re looking for the purest CBD with zero toxins, CBD extraction is the way to go.

When you’ll be on the market to buy a CBD product, make sure you inquire about which extraction method the product used. Those CBD products that used the C02 extraction method to extract CBD from industrial hemp are the best quality products. Although they’re more expensive, you will also be getting the highest quality product.

But that doesn’t mean we’re saying that the CBD products made using other methods are not safe and of good quality. But there are more risks with other extraction methods. Insolvent extraction method, the hydrocarbon may still be with CBD and create toxic aftereffects. While on the other hand, the CBD products made from steam distillation may have inconsistent concentration. So, you might not get full value for your money.

Also, make sure the CBD products you’re planning to buy has gone under third party lab tests. Once you make sure of that, you can proceed with your CBD purchase and live a healthier life.

What’s Next?

Image Credit – WebMD

The CBD we get after the extraction process is a full-spectrum CBD. That means it not pure CBD and has other cannabinoids such as CBN, CBDV, THC, and many more. And as long as you extract the CBD from the industrial hemp, the THC concentration will be below 0.3% which is perfectly legal in the US.

The full-spectrum CBD also has other secondary chemicals in it such as amino acids and terpenes. Many people do prefer the full-spectrum variant of CBD as they think that it’ll engage with their endocannabinoid system or ECS better. And as a result, it will give the results faster and more efficiently. But we don’t have any clinical proof for that yet.

But most people prefer pure CBD without the involvement of other cannabinoids. However, no matter whether you prefer pure CBD or the full-spectrum one, it will be further mixed with different substances to create the following products:

  • CBD oil tinctures
  • CBD Gummies
  • Capsules
  • Vape Oil
  • CBD-infused cream or lotions.
  • Coffee, chocolates, or other edible items infused with CBD.
  • And more.

In The End…

While there are many other ways to extract CBD from the industrial hemp, the three methods we mentioned above are the mainstream methods in which the companies extract CBD and produce different CBD products.

We’ve explored all of these three methods and saw why the CO2 extraction method is the best method to produce CBD products. But still, to make sure the products you’re about to buy is totally safe, don’t forget to check their third-party test results and see if it have any foul elements or not.

So, next time you go to the market to buy CBD, don’t forget to ask about the product’s extraction method and third-party lab test status.

Disclaimer: The information above should not be considered a medical recommendation. The content is written to enrich the reader’s knowledge. Any use of materials and content mentioned in this article should be first consulted about by a physician.