CBD is making headlines for its wide range of possibilities, and as it holds great promise, it is being backed by a series of increasingly abundant scientific studies. Although many articles talk about the uses and benefits of CBD oil, most people have doubts about one key question: How is CBD oil produced?
Let us explain the process: from the cultivation of the plants, to the harvest and extraction. We’ll even go beyond the basics, taking additional steps that help make the oil purer and more potent. These are steps that many companies do not include, but at Cibdol we believe they are crucial to obtaining the best quality product. Get ready, here are the basics of CBD oil production.
Cultivation and harvest of hemp
It all starts with proper hemp cultivation. Industrial hemp seeds are carefully selected for their natural abundance of CBD and low THC content. At Cibdol, we test the soil before growing it to make sure there are no signs of contamination. Afterwards, the seeds are sown and the hemp plants grow for 120 days.
Towards the end of the flowering period, the plants are harvested. They are cut close to the root, the seeds and leaves are removed, and the stem is left to dry. The stems are soaked, to soften the fiber, in a process known as “retraction.” Then comes the “decortication”, the fiber is separated from the stem manually for further processing. Now we can move on to extracting the CBD.
CBD extraction methods
There are three main methods of extracting CBD: with a food grade oil (such as olive oil), with liquid solvents, or with supercritical CO₂ extraction. Liquid solvent extraction is the most common industrial method. However, for quality and accuracy reasons, Cibdol uses supercritical CO₂. Let’s see the pros and cons of each method.
Using oils to extract CBD is one of the easiest methods. It is popular with home growers. The process begins with the use of heat to decarboxylate the raw plant material and thus activate cannabinoids, such as CBD. The next step is to add olive oil to the cannabis, heating the mixture at 100°C for 1-2 hours in total. This causes the olive oil to evaporate, leaving a highly concentrated CBD oil.
This method is very economical and safe to execute. In addition, it does not require too special equipment, so it is accessible to those who perform home extractions.
Relative to the effort it requires, this extraction method produces very little end product. The resulting oil is highly perishable: it must be stored in a cool, dry place and used relatively quickly to avoid spoilage.
Liquid Solvent Extraction
Liquid solvent extraction is usually performed with ethanol, propane, or butane. Plant matter is boiled with one of these solvents to extract the desired compounds (in this case, CBD). The solution is filtered and the remaining solvent is purged by heat/vacuum, leaving a CBD-rich concentrate.
The equipment needed for liquid solvent extraction is not overly complicated or specialized, yet it still produces a highly concentrated oil. It’s also a pretty simple process.
The downside is that this method requires more energy than CO₂ or oil extraction. It is also not as precise as CO₂ when it comes to selecting which compounds to extract (such as CBD), which often results in not-so-successful products. Working with powerful solvents at elevated temperatures can also be dangerous and present potential risks to the environment.
Supercritical CO₂ extraction
This is the extraction method we use at Cibdol, as we believe it produces the highest quality oil. Supercritical CO₂ extraction is also a popular method outside of the hemp/CBD industry; It is often used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors.
At its “critical” pressure and temperature, CO₂ assumes a state between a liquid and a gas, allowing it to exhibit the traits of both states. Supercritical CO₂ extraction uses CO₂ as a “green solvent” to extract CBD. The CO₂ must reach the optimum pressure and temperature for extraction to occur. This requires precision and specialist knowledge, as each compound is isolated at a different temperature.
In industrial-level extraction systems, there are three components: the extraction vessel, the accumulator, and the separator. The extraction vessel is filled with ground cannabis and the accumulator pumps liquid CO₂ into the vessel. This creates a mix of CO₂ and cannabinoids. The separator then takes the mix, removes the CO₂, and isolates the CBD extract.
CO₂ extraction is a safe method for both people and the environment. It does not require any toxic chemicals, and employs a closed-loop system with the ability to recycle CO₂. Since CO₂ extraction operates at lower temperatures than liquid solvents, it better preserves the terpene profile of the hemp plant, resulting in a richer, more beneficial oil.
This method is very expensive due to the necessary equipment. Since it requires specialized knowledge, it is essential to have a professional and experienced chemist. Both of these things make CO₂ extraction unsuitable for home use.
Let’s go over there
The above extraction methods can produce decent CBD oil on their own, and many companies leave it at that. However, there are additional steps that can be taken to achieve a truly great final product. Here are some important additional steps that Cibdol adds to the production process. It is our way of going further to produce the best quality product.
When it comes to cannabis, decarboxylation is the process of using heat to convert cannabinoid acids into active cannabinoids. When heat is applied at specific temperatures and for precise periods of time, a carboxyl group is removed from cannabinoid acids. Carbon dioxide is released, and what is left is an active cannabinoid. For example, when the cannabinoid acid CBDA is decarboxylated, it becomes CBD.
Decarboxylation of CBD oil on a commercial scale is a complex process that involves finesse and expertise. To do it safely, it must be done in a laboratory, under the guidance of experts, using specially designed equipment. That said, when done correctly, decarboxylation helps ensure that your CBD oil reaches maximum potency (so you can get the maximum benefit from it).
At Cibdol, we purify our CBD oil using a specialized filtration system. This process removes unwanted fats, chlorophyll, and chemicals. Unpurified or “raw” CBD oil is darker in color. May have inconsistent concentration and strong odor. The purified oil is lighter in color, has a discreet, natural aroma, high potency, and a pure, liquid consistency.
In addition to our filtration system, we test our oils extensively to ensure they are free of artificial contaminants, additives, or harmful microbial life. Plus, third-party testing ensures our products are as pure as we guarantee.
Enriched with terpenes
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis. Each of them has unique properties, some of which show therapeutic potential. For example, studies have found that the terpene myrcene, which has an earthy aroma, can relieve pain, inflammation, and depressed mood.
The process of extracting CBD from the hemp plant can cause some loss of terpenes. For this reason, Cibdol adds a terpene enrichment step to our CBD oil production model. We retain the maximum amount of terpenes by using a proprietary steam distillation process. This helps preserve more of the holistic benefits that the hemp plant has.
Golden quality CBD oil
Cibdol CBD Oil is made in Swiss laboratories, using state-of-the-art equipment, premium-quality raw ingredients, and the latest scientific methods. We like to be transparent in our process and enjoy educating consumers on all aspects of CBD oil. From cultivation to purification to reaching your door, we are committed to quality at every stage. This includes taking additional steps that take the standards to a higher level.