CBD oils are the basis of nearly all the CBD products you’ll find in shops or online: it concentrates the key compound from the cannabis plant into an easy to use substance that can be taken directly in higher and lower concentrations or doses, processed into e-liquid for a vape, or added as an ingredient of food or drink.
How Is CBD Oil Made
If you’re interested in CBD and what it can do for you, you might well be curious about how this CBD oil is made. Today, we’re lifting the veil and helping you understand where your CBD products come from.
Growing the Plant
The CBD journey begins with planting. Most CBD sold in Europe is grown in farms in France, Romania, The Netherlands, and Lithuania, and they use specialist strains of cannabis and hemp. To be legally sold in the EU and UK, CBD products must contain no more than traces of THC (the intoxicant compound in cannabis, that gets you high) – if any of them test positive for more than .2% THC, they must be removed from sale, and there may be serious consequences for the manufacturer.
This low level of THC is achieved by growing specially bred strains of cannabis and hemp: rather than removing the THC after it’s grown, it is simply never present in the plants.
Harvesting and Drying
When the plants are ripe, towards the end of their flowering cycle, they are harvested. This increased the ratio of fibre to seeds harvested, which is important because CBD is extracted from the fibres of the plant.
The plants need to be dried before processing. When they’re dry, the plant fibres are separated from the stem for further processing.
There are three main methods for extracting CBD from the cannabis plant. Most start with heat: this is a process called decarboxylation, and it ‘activated’ the CBD in the plant fibres.
Oil extraction is straightforward: the plant matter is soaked in olive oil, which is then heated, evaporating the olive oil and leaving a concentrated CBD oil behind. This doesn’t require special equipment, but it isn’t efficient and doesn’t produce high quality results. Most industrial-sized CBD farms won’t use this method.
Liquid Solvent extraction uses a solvent like butane or propane to absorb the CBD from the plant. The mixture is then boiled down and treated with extreme heat or vacuum to produce a pure, highly concentrated CBD oil.
More technical, but lower in energy costs is ‘Supercritical CO2 Extraction’. This involves using Carbon Dioxide under high pressure so it becomes liquid. It’s very efficient and produces a high-quality product, but it needs to be undertaken by trained chemists, so it is more costly.
Fresh CBD oil can be used straight away but many companies perform some more purification and filtering processes. These eliminate unwanted ‘turpenes’ – compounds that create an odour, which means your CBD won’t smell of cannabis, and you can enjoy a more discrete scent.