CBD extraction method is key

Right now, CBD is hot, hot, hot. But what do you know about your CBD, especially the extraction method. It’s kind of a big deal, so here is what you might want to think about.

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Any CBD product, be it oil, topicals, edibles, whatever, starts as an oil extract. How the CBD is extracted makes all the difference in how beneficial it is. The oil can be extracted from either the marijuana or hemp plant. Many CBD oils are extracted from the hemp plant, because there is little THC, so users don’t get high. It has become a preferred product for many people not looking for therapeutic benefits without the recreational high.

CBD from hemp

First and foremost is the quality of the hemp used. Certified organic is really the only way to go when it comes to hemp for CBD. Now that the Farm Bill has passed, once again, hemp is returning to United States agricultural offerings, rather than being imported from countries where growing industrial hemp is legal. So, no matter where it comes from, look for high-grade CBD that is grown without pesticides, is not genetically modified and has been tested for contamination. Second, you’ll want to check that it’s CBD from the whole hemp plant, not just from stalks and seeds.

CBD extraction methods

There are ways to extract cannabis that are less expensive and not the safest or most effective methods of extraction. Therefore, I’m going to tell you about only the safest, most effective methods of extraction.

C02 extraction: This method has three categories—supercritical, midcritical and subcritical. You’ll want to look for supercritical to ensure the highest quality, safest and purest product. This process is best left to the professionals because it requires skill and knowledge to execute properly. The process involves liquid C02, pressurization and a separator that removes the trichomes and terpene oils from the plant. Essentially, high pressure and low temperatures isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil, so you get a safe, potent product that is free of chlorophyll.

Ethanol extraction: Rick Simpson, a Canadian, used this method to heal his skin cancer. Commonly used as a food preservative, ethanol is generally regarded as safe by the Federal Drug Administration. This method produces a product lower in quality than the C02 method, better suited to use in vapes. One downside is that it destroys the plant waxes, which are also deemed beneficial. CBD from this method may also contain chlorophyll and other harmful contaminants.

Olive oil extraction: This method you can do at home without fear of blowing yourself or your family to smithereens. In this method you heat the hemp to a certain temperature for a specific length of time, which activates the plant’s chemicals. Then you add it to extra virgin olive oil, heat it again for an hour or so to get the CBD content you’re looking for. The downside to this method is that the product needs to be kept in a cool dark place and use it quickly before it breaks down.

Isolates: Isolates are just that, a single molecule isolated from the rest of the hemp plant. It is often a white powder comprised of 99 percent cannabidiol. All the cannabinoids, plant material, oils and terpenes are left behind. In other words, they are not full-spectrum oils. They may be versatile, but tend to be less effective than a full-spectrum CBD product. These isolates are often added to other products, and touted as full spectrum, but really aren’t, producing less effective products.

Know your CBD

When you purchase a CBD product, don’t just take the word of the retailer. Base your purchase on the quality of the hemp, the extraction method and third-party lab tests. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reputable companies welcome your questions, they offer websites with frequently asked questions and are willing to let you review the results of third-party lab testing. As always, transparency is good.