All the cannabidiol (CBD) you find in your favorite gummies, drinks, and oils has to go through an extraction process first. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
After CBD oil is extracted from hemp or cannabis, the process of winterization begins. This process removes the impurities and unwanted elements that made it through the extraction process, such as fats, lipids, and waxes. In essence, winterization transforms crude oil into purified oil. The process gets its name from a step which involves mixing the extracted oil with ethanol and freezing the solution. The impurities and undesirable compounds solidify and fall out of the solution, which is then passed through a filter, separating wax, lipids, and fats from the oil. The final step involves removing the ethanol from the solution.
It depends on what extraction method you’re considering. Let’s say you have a thriving indoor cannabis garden and want to consume the cannabis you’ve harvested without having to smoke it all. You can safely make CBD oil at home via a simple infusion and consume a high concentration of cannabinoids without risking life or limb.
Andrew Leising, VP of Strategic Sourcing for Balanced Health Botanicals, elaborated on the process: “CO2 is a scalable and highly versatile form of extraction. There are CO2 extraction units built to process anywhere from 1 to 1,200 pounds of biomass in a single run. With CO2 extraction, you can not only extract cannabinoids on a large scale efficiently, you can extract specific compounds like terpenes.”
Leising agrees that the CO2 method is superior. As he shared, “CO2 is generally preferred for the extraction of cannabinoids that are meant for ingestion or further refinement. Due to the nature of the extraction process, you can be assured that your extracted oil will be free of any residual solvents, microbes, and fungi.”
I am often asked about which brands of CBD are the best and which products to choose. But the truth is that when it comes to CBD, brands do not matter. Farms and plants matter. Selecting quality CBD-rich cannabis plant products begins with the farm they are grown on. Before you purchase any CBD product, know the farm and farmer. This is an easy task in most of our state-legal cannabis dispensaries, as this information will be readily available and even used as a marketing tool. This information is harder to find if you are purchasing CBD products from the over-the-counter herbal supplement market.
Farmers, Plants, and Test Results over Brands: How To Select CBD Products
Non-psychoactive and increasingly popular as a relaxation drug, CBD can also be a DIY extract
In the recipes that follow, the focus is on whole-plant CBD-rich cannabis extractions and infusions, as these high-quality, artisanal, and farmer-centric whole plants and whole-plant resins will unfold themselves with fragrant and delicious complexity in your kitchen. My wish is for you to enjoy and benefit from everything CBD-rich cannabis offers without missing anything.
One of the things I learned from the CBD farmers is that CBD can be an unstable and fleeting trait in cannabis plants. CBD production doesn’t just depend on the genetics of a plant, but the methods of growing, and what is also recognized in grape and wine production as the terroir. New strains of CBD-rich cannabis are being developed for the legal market all the time. I haven’t been able to try them all, but I’ve had the privilege of trying some of the most well-known strains, such as Harlequin, Harle-Tsu, ACDC, Cannatonic, Charlotte’s Web, Sour Tsunami, and a rare crop of Golden Goat, which expressed more than 8% CBD. This list is by no means complete in terms of CBD-rich cannabis strains available.
1 oz. (28g) or more whole CBD-rich, low-or-no- THC cannabis flowers, cured, dried, and chopped
No matter which of the extraction processes are used to create hemp oil, the extract will contain other cannabinoids besides CBD. CBD should be the most prevalent cannabinoid in the hemp oil (assuming actual hemp was used, not marijuana). Some extraction processes move on to a winterization stage to remove other natural compounds and isolate the CBD. Still, full spectrum hemp extract includes everything that was pulled out of the plant.
In the United States, marijuana is what they call any cannabis plant that contains levels of THC higher than 0.3%. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that has been legalized in many states (either medicinally or recreationally) but is still illegal on a federal level.
The name says it all. Full spectrum hemp extract is just a refined hemp product. A CBD extraction process uses pressure, temperature, solvents or a combination of the three to collect the most desirable natural components from the hemp plant.
This concentrated form of CBD and other organic compounds from the plant is hemp extract oil. Like almost anything else you can buy, the finished product’s quality will largely depend on the materials you start with.
CO2 Hemp Extract
The most common way to perform a CBD extraction is to use a liquid solvent like ethanol (alcohol). Ethanol is non-toxic and relatively easy to evaporate, making it a good choice for creating hemp extracts. Once the liquid has pulled the cannabinoids out of the plant by running over it, the alcohol can be evaporated. At this point, all that’s left are the cannabinoids, terpenes and other natural organic compounds from the plant.
The other common way to extract CBD is by using carbon dioxide (CO2) in a supercritical form, which is another way of saying it’s pressurized into an especially dense state that’s somewhat like a liquid and a gas at the same time. This process works somewhat similarly to the processes that run with other kinds of solvents. Working with CO2 is great because it’s relatively easy to change from a solid to a liquid to a gas by manipulating the pressure and temperature. This allows hemp oil producers to extract cannabinoids from hemp very efficiently with CO2.
Broad spectrum CBD is full spectrum CBD that’s just been refined ever so slightly in order to remove all traces of THC. While broad spectrum CBD will still have some of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in full -spectrum CBD, it will lose significant amounts of its minor cannabinoids and terpenes during the winterization process. With no THC, broad -spectrum CBD can give people that have concerns about even trace amounts of THC in their systems peace of mind.
Full spectrum CBD is what you get from products that take a holistic approach to CBD extraction. In addition to CBD, full spectrum extracts also contain all of the other cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp.