How is CBD Oil Made?
The CBD oil available to you, in any form, goes through a long process before it can be used in a product. Understanding how it gets to this point is important, so that you feel comfortable and confident in the product that you are using and the CBD oil it contains. In today’s blog, we will be discussing how CBD oil is manufactured. This encompasses the details of where and how hemp is grown, how it is harvested, and the various methods by which CBD is extracted.
What is CBD?
Derived from the Cannabis sativa plant such as marijuana or hemp, Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound. It is used to make a variety of products, including those for animals, such as pills, oils, and edibles. CBD derived from hemp is not psychoactive, as it lacks the active ingredient THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) found in marijuana. This is because hemp-derived CBD typically contains THC levels less than 0.3%. These low THC levels are why hemp is a poor choice for those seeking to use CBD for recreation, to achieve a ‘high’ or euphoric effect. Meanwhile, there are few to no effects associated with THC-free CBD. It is preferred for those seeking the benefits of CBD, who want to feel relaxed rather than intoxicated.
How to Grow Hemp for CBD
The process of growing hemp is relatively simple. Like most plants, it takes specific conditions and a lot of TLC. First things first you need the right environment and conditions. States ideal for growing include Kentucky, Tennessee, Oregon, and Colorado, although the hemp plant will take off almost anywhere. Of course, hemp can also be grown in man-made facilities that are fine-tuned to recreate these environments and conditions. For the cannabis Sativa plant, this entails:
- Well-aerated and fertile soil with a pH of 6-7.5.
- Full sunlight, for a minimum of 6 hours a day but ideally over 12 hours a day.
- Ample amounts of moisture, with an estimated 20-30 inches of rainfall during its growth cycle
- The soil moisture should not go below 80% of the total moisture capacity.
Like any other plant, hemp is susceptible to pests and disease. While there are no pesticides that are registered to use on hemp in the US, you should keep an eye out. Also, watch for the occurrence of white and grey mold, which is known to impact the plant.
How CBD is Harvested
Hemp generally requires 110 days for its growth. Once the flowers are ripe and full they are ready to harvest. Aside from visual indicators, weekly testing can also determine when the plant is ready. The point at which hemp is harvested is essential, as too soon or too late can impact the amount of CBD content. Harvesting hemp often takes place at around 16 weeks or 4 months, and in early or mid-fall.
To fully understand how hemp is harvested, you need to know about the different parts of the plant. There are four main parts, the flower, seeds, leaves, and stalk. The parts of the plant used for CBD are the flowers, leaves, and stalk. Hemp seeds do not contain CBD and are therefore excluded, although they can be used to make hemp seed oil which is the carrier oil for many CBD products. The process of harvesting the plant is laborious and consists of cutting the plant at the stalk, usually with a machete or similar tool. Once cut, the flowers, leaves and stalk are placed in a facility to dry and cure. This can be achieved via several methods, from fans to hanging the plant upside down, similar to how which tobacco is dried. The preferred method is thought to be breaking off and hanging branches individually, to avoid the formation of mold in the center of the plant – which takes a longer period to dry.
How CBD is Extracted
There are several methods by which to extract CBD from the hemp plant. A few of the most popular are as follows:
- CBD Alcohol Extraction – Using ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, the harvested plant is saturated in the solution. The solution containing the extract components is filtered off the mix and the alcohol is removed by distillation. Further extractions will remove additional components, depending on the manufacturer’s goals. This is the most popular method.
- CBD C02 Extraction – A similar process to alcohol extraction, except that C02 is used versus ethanol or isopropyl alcohol. C02, a gas, is turned into a solvent pressure and temperature adjustment. C02 extraction is considered the cleanest method. This is how Frenchie Fries Co. products are manufactured.
- CBD Oil Extraction – Oil extraction entails infusing oil with hemp raw material. Through this process, the oil-soluble components are slowly released. The oil is then removed, however with this process being more difficult, it is not possible to selectively remove unwanted components from the product – such as THC.
- CBD Butane Extraction – As with alcohol and C02 extraction, butane is an effective solvent. The extract resulting from this method will still include high levels of terpenes and natural levels of THC and is usually not refined any further. This method is comparatively more dangerous.
- CBD Rosin Extraction – Producing results similar to the butane method, except that it does not use a solvent. Rosin extraction uses high pressure and heat to extract resin from the plant. This method is popular amongst smaller-scale producers, as well as those wishing to produce full-spectrum extracts.
The type of extraction method used will determine the type of CBD extract produced. You can learn more about the different types of CBD extract in our previous blog, where we discuss the differences between whole-plant hemp, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate.
You can learn more about the processes of creating hemp-derived CBD, in addition to its uses, when you check out our blog. In addition, be sure to visit our shop, where you can find a variety of 100% organic, all-natural, whole-plant hemp grown chews and oils for your pet.