As most people are aware, most CBD oil is made from hemp. While there are some CBD products that are made wholly or in part from marijuana, that substance is illegal in most states whereas CBD is not in and of itself illegal.
How CBD oil is SOLD, on the other hand, can make it illegal, such as selling it as medicine, food or as a food additive, at least across state lines.
So, how do you get the cannabidiol out of the plant, before turning it into CBD oil or capsules?
There are a number of different processes, so let's go over them.
Of course, all hemp CBD oil starts with getting the right hemp. CBD oil producers have to source hemp plants with a high concentration of CBD. Some grow their own, some get theirs from a supplier.
It's much like any other product that's made using a natural substance, which in this case would be close to like a fruit or vegetable. Hemp that's used to make CBD has to have a lot more CBD in it to begin with.
Winemakers have to start with the right kind of grapes to make wine (table grapes such as Concord tend to make terrible wines) and CBD oil manufacturers have to start with the right hemp. Where they go from there...well, that's up to them.
Let's go over CBD extraction methods
The most common method of isolating CBD is by subjecting hemp plants to food-safe carbon dioxide (CO2) which acts as a solvent, extracting a blend of essential oils, lipids (fats) and so on, which contain CBD. Those compounds are then filtered to remove the solvent compound so it's safe for consumption.
However, this method is complex, requiring well-trained technicians as well as a substantial investment in equipment. While some people make CBD oil at home using other methods - which we'll cover - this method is, quite obviously, not feasible for both them as well as many businesses.
An easier method is to use a two-step process with alcohol to isolate and therefore make pure CBD oil.
Hemp plants get soaked in pure ethanol, or in other words 100% alcohol. The alcohol acts as a solvent (alcohol, no matter what anyone says, is never the solution!) and extracts the CBD from the hemp plants.
The alcohol-hemp infusion is then filtered to remove any bits of plant matter, and then must be distilled in order to get pure CBD oil.
Some producers will winterize (also known as freeze distillation) the mixture by freezing the mixture, which creates a freeze-distilled liquid of alcohol and CBD, while undesirable compounds are left behind as solids. It's a cheap, easy method of extraction, though not as reliable nor as precise as actual distillation.
This process is sometimes used in lieu of or in conjunction with actual distillation, the process of heating the liquid to the boiling point of alcohol. It's just like making distilled spirits; you heat the liquid to the boiling point of alcohol, which is converted to vapor and goes down a tube that goes through a cooling liquid. The alcohol condenses and runs off, leaving alcohol in one container and CBD oil in another.
Just as with making spirits, typically a few rounds of distillation are best so the CBD oil is of the highest purity.
Another method, which is more popular among hobbyists, is literally to infuse oil with CBD-rich hemp. The oil extracts the CBD oil from the hemp, which is therefore infused in the oil.
You then filter the oil to remove any particulates from the plants and presto, you have CBD-rich oil.
Typically, the oil used is a food-grade oil for consumption and at that most often olive oil. This is a popular method for people making CBD oil at home, and a number of commercial producers will use this method as well.
However, it isn't perfect. It's hard to control CBD content as you aren't using a precise process. Unless the CBD-infused oil is consistently tested, the CBD content is pretty much impossible to know to a certainty.
The oil has to be kept in a cool, dark place, but other than that is a reliable method for making CBD oil.
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