When shopping for CBD oils, most people pay close attention to the various flavor and strength options available. Beyond this, the average CBD consumer does not look much deeper into how oil can vary.
While the flavor and the strength of a CBD oil are essential, they are not the only factors determining the quality and effectiveness of a product. There are hundreds of hemp plant strains, and each one will have a slightly different effect on the body.
Equally, how CBD is extracted from hemp plants can significantly impact the quality and usability of the final product. Several different methods can be used, and each CBD brand tends to have a particular preference.
So, what are the different types of extraction methods that brands use, and which one is the most likely to deliver the best CBD oil and most effective results?
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD is only one of the many different cannabinoids that can be found in hemp plants. The ratio of CBD that can be found within a plant depends on the plant’s strain.
Typically Cannabis Sativa plants are used to make CBD-focused products as they have the highest ratio of CBD to other cannabinoids. Other cannabinoids that are commonly found in these plants include THC, CBG, and CBN.
THC is the primary cannabinoid that people associate with the intoxicating effects of cannabis plants. Most countries have strict limits as to how much THC a CBD product can legally contain. For instance, in the US, products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC.
When growing plants with the intention of making CBD supplements, it is therefore essential to choose plants that have a higher ratio of CBD than THC.
The strain of plant used is not the only factor that determines the cannabinoid content of a product. The extraction method used to remove the cannabinoids from the plant is key to determining the final cannabinoid ratio and potency of the product.
There are several extraction methods that are used within the CBD industry. Here are some of the most common.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction (CO2)
Carbon dioxide extraction is used within many industries and is a standard method for decaffeinating coffee and is used to produce many essential oils.
Carbon dioxide extraction involves dissolving the phytocannabinoids into a liquid, causing an oil-like gas substance. CO2 is then used as a solvent that separates the plant matter making the essential compounds accessible. At the end of the process, the CO2 is dissolved, leaving behind full-spectrum CBD oil.
Carbon dioxide extraction is a popular method as it is non-volatile and is considered one of the safest ways of extracting CBD. The technique is also environmentally friendly as the CO2 used is turned back into a liquid once the process is complete. It can then be used again during future extractions.
Solvent CBD Extraction
Solvent extraction is a much older method and, as a result, is considered to be one of the cheapest and easiest to carry out. The downside is that the synthetic solvents used can cause problems with the overall quality of the final product.
Various solvents can be used the carry out this method. The most common options include olive oil, coconut oil, butane, hexane, and ethanol. These solvents are used to pull both the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant.
One problem with using the solvent method of extraction is that it also pulls chlorophyll from the plant. This can cause unwanted side effects and tends to lower the effectiveness of the product.
The main reason that some brands choose to use solvents is that they produce a much higher yield than most of the other methods and are very cost-effective.
Cold Pressure Extraction
Cold pressure extraction is often chosen as it is the most environmentally friendly option. The methods also tend to result in an oil that contains a more diverse range of cannabinoids for a better entourage effect for the consumer.
The cold pressure method involves hemp plants being cooled and then crushed under extreme pressure. This process releases the cannabinoids and terpenes from within the plant. The downside to this method is that it tends to have a relatively small yield resulting in slightly more expensive CBD oils.
Which Method Is the Best?
Other methods that are sometimes used include steam distillation and natural solvent extraction.
Some methods produce a much better quality oil, but as a result, they come at a higher price point. Alternatively, some CBD oils are much cheaper but may not always contain the most potent CBD or have been made in the most environmentally friendly way.
Each method has its pros and cons, and so when choosing CBD oils, it is worth considering the qualities that are most important to you.