Although there are many ways to extract CBD from hemp, some methods are much more efficient and safer than others. It’s essential to know the difference, since how you extract CBD affects the purity and efficacy of the final product.
• Working with solvents can cause injury if not used correctly, they are highly flammable
• The oil can remain contaminated with solvent, which is dangerous for the end-user
• Higher temperatures risk destroying some essential terpenes and other smaller compounds
Solventless CBD extraction (by hand)
• Can be performed easily at home
• Relatively safe, with no previous extraction experience needed
• Greater degree of purity compared to solventless extraction
First, to perform olive oil extraction at home, you need to make sure your plant material is decarboxylated. In short, that means it undergoes the process of acidic cannabinoids being activated via heat. That, of course, happens when you smoke or vape it, but it can also happen if you put it in the oven.
CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to a carrier oil. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that produces only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis component that can produce a psychoactive “high.” In fact, hemp is defined as having less than 0.3 % THC. Instead of producing THC, hemp plants contain mainly cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp has a long history of use for making fiber for textiles and rope, and has been bred to be tall and skinny with very small flowers, or buds.
The explosive popularity of non-intoxicating cannabis products containing CBD has led to the development of a booming $1 billion industry. Those who seek CBD’s medical benefits can consume a diversity of CBD-infused foods, supplements, and drinks. CBD oil has been used to treat wide-ranging symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, depression, and acne.
If you prefer to make a tincture but are concerned with the high alcohol content needed, glycerine can be used to dilute alcohol-based tinctures. CBD is not particularly soluble in glycerine on its own; however, CBD already dissolved in alcohol can be fully incorporated with glycerine to dilute or sweeten the tincture. Dosing will need to be adjusted with the addition of a larger volume of fluid. This can easily be done by making the initial tincture more potent and diluting it down with glycerine to your desired concentration.
As CBD isolate is neutral in taste, the oil in which it is dissolved will dictate the flavor of the final product. An unflavored oil, such as medium chain triglyceride oil, commonly known as MCT oil, will make for a neutral tasting product. Strong-tasting oils, such as coconut and olive, may be used as well if desired. Coconut oil is often solid at room temperature as it has a high content of saturated fat, so it will need to be heated carefully for making CBD oil. If you’re making a tincture instead of an oil, a high grain alcohol is key. Liquor is diluted with water to an alcohol content of 40 -50 %, which is not suitable for dissolving CBD because of the high water content (CBD is not soluble in water). High-grain alcohol (90 % or greater) is needed for full incorporation.
The first crucial step in the process of making CBD oil or tinctures is deciding the desired potency. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps