Can You Extract CBD Out of the Hemp Plant?
With all of the attention CBD has gotten recently as a viable treatment option for a myriad of illnesses, people are becoming more curious as to how CBD products are made. Does CBD come from a full-strength cannabis plant, or can it come from low THC hemp as well? What are the extraction methods, and are they safe? We will answer these questions and more below.
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD is one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis. It can be extracted from the stalk or leaves of the plant in large quantities. When extracted from a cannabis plant that contains THC, CBD needs to be separated from the mixture, so the CBD product doesn’t produce psychoactive results. Many producers have turned to hemp plants to make CBD extraction easier. By nature, hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC. This is considered a low enough level to produce little to no effect on the body. Therefore, it’s much easier to extract pure CBD from these types of industrial hemp plants.
Although hemp contains little to no THC, it’s only allowed to be grown and cultivated in certain states. However, imported hemp is also a legal commodity. The hemp plants are then shipped to an extraction facility to collect the CBD. The rest of the hemp plant can then be used as fiber for paper, clothing, rope, and other materials.
What are the Extraction Methods?
There are a few different extraction methods for collecting CBD from a hemp plant. The most common extraction methods are CO2 and ethanol extraction. Both are considered safe and won’t leave residue in the oil. Other extraction methods, such as butane or olive oil extraction, are riskier for consumption and may require different storage techniques of the final product. For now, we will focus on CO2 and ethanol extraction.
CO2 extraction can be costly, as it requires expensive equipment to pressurize and alter the temperature of the plant. The pressure and temperature changes force the CBD out of the plant. This method takes time, so it’s usually only used for small volumes of CBD extraction. However, it is generally regarded as safe as it leaves no residue or harmful chemicals in the product.
Ethanol is typically used for higher volumes of CBD extraction. With this method, CBD can be separated from other unwanted plant materials. The ethanol usually evaporates during processing, so it’s not found in the final product. Heat is then usually applied to change the acid form of the CBD into a more usable form for the body. Breakthroughs in nanotechnology have made CBD exceedingly more efficient as more of the compound makes it to the bloodstream instead of degrading in the stomach and intestines. This, then, increases the effects of CBD in the body and enhances the desired results that the user is looking for.
What is the Difference Between Hemp-Derived and Cannabis-Derived CBD?
Some people wonder if CBD from hemp plants is the same as CBD from regular cannabis plants. CBD oil derived from cannabis plants may contain THC, unless it’s filtered out. However, CBD oil from hemp plants naturally has very little, or no, THC present. The molecular structure of CBD is the same in both plants and will affect the body in the same way. The extraction method and different technologies used will affect the structure of CBD more than the original source of the CBD.
How Do I Know If I’m Getting Pure CBD?
Although there are safe methods of extraction, it doesn’t mean every business adheres to best practices. Since CBD is largely still unregulated, there are little checks and balances for CBD products. However, there are a few ways that consumers can protect themselves against impure products. First, consumers can inquire about the extraction process to see if it’s a safe method or a questionable method. Next, consumers should look for products made without pesticides or GMOs. Lastly, CBD products that are of high quality will have gone through third-party testing to ensure chemical integrity and safety for food and medicinal use. Often, consumers can ask to see the certificates of analysis when choosing between CBD products. Of course, consumers looking for pure CBD will also look for the THC concentration analysis, which will be included in most testing and certification records.
With so many benefits that CBD offers, it’s popularity amongst consumers is considerably rising. Consumers can rest assured, however, that CBD from hemp is just as good as the CBD from typical cannabis plants as long as the extraction methods are acceptable and pass industry standards.