CBD Extraction: How Is It Done And What Is Full Spectrum Oil?
By now, it seems like just about everyone has heard about CBD products. You might have a friend or family member who is always raving about the benefits of CBD.
You may have even heard people talking about these products in the news, on your favorite podcast or within the health and wellness community. Full spectrum hemp extract is getting a lot of attention, and it seems like people are only becoming more interested in it over time.
These products aren’t likely to be a fad or trend that people just forget about in a few years. Many people say CBD extract has inspired a general sense of wellness and optimized their enjoyment of life.
If you’re interested in these products, learn more about what they are, where they come from and how they’re made. Educating yourself will make it easier when you decide to shop for the best CBD products online.
Where Does Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Come From?
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.
What Separates Premium Hemp From the Rest?
Think about it this way: if you were going to buy lemon extract, would you want it made with dry, old lemons? Or would you rather it be made with fresh, aromatic fruit? Most people would almost definitely say they’d rather have something that’s made from superior plant material. After all, it hardly seems like there’s a point to extracting the essence of something underwhelming in its natural form.
The same goes for hemp extracts. The best full spectrum hemp oil is made by using the best natural hemp. Naturally, healthy plants often taste better, smell better and contain more cannabinoids like CBD. This is especially important if you’re taking a whole-plant approach by buying full spectrum hemp oil, as opposed to CBD isolate. Compare these two types of CBD extracts to see why the source material’s quality matters so much.
Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Vs. CBD Isolate
Most people eventually have the same question once they start shopping for hemp online: “is full spectrum CBD oil better than CBD isolate?” Most of the experts say they gravitate more toward full spectrum products, but it comes down to personal preference in some ways. Here’s what you need to know about the most popular types of CBD products.
Full Spectrum CBD
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.
Terpenes, fatty acids and other plant-based compounds may help the CBD interact with your body more thoroughly. Since you’re getting all of the different organic compounds from hemp in your full spectrum hemp oil, it’s essential to make sure that the extraction company starts with excellent hemp.
Broad Spectrum CBD
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.
CBD isolate is significantly different from full -spectrum hemp oil and even broad spectrum hemp oil. This process involves a thorough winterization process to remove terpenes, cannabinoids, waxes and other natural parts of the hemp plant.
This is ideal for people who only want pure CBD because, as the name implies, the cannabidiol has been isolated in this particular type of hemp extract. Many experts say that the whole-plant, full -spectrum approach is best, but some people still prefer to buy CBD isolate because they think it seems purer with the rest of the plant removed.
Hemp vs. Marijuana Vs. Cannabis
One of the biggest reasons some people don’t want full spectrum CBD is that they want to avoid trace amounts of THC. If that doesn’t quite make sense, just learn more about the differences between hemp, marijuana and cannabis.
The cannabis plant comes in many shapes and sizes. It’s related to the hops plant and some others you may have heard of. Here in the United States, we categorize different cannabis plants as either hemp or marijuana for legal reasons, which is especially important since there’s still a prohibition on marijuana on a federal level.
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.
Hemp is legal on a federal level here in the United States. To qualify as hemp, a cannabis plant must have THC levels no higher than 0.3%. Since hemp is legal, and CBD is legal, hemp-derived CBD products are also legal. In other words, for your full -spectrum hemp oil to be legal, it can’t come from a plant that contains more than 0.3% THC.
Is There THC in CBD Extract?
Hemp plants are technically allowed to contain up to 0.3% THC, though most hemp plants are grown to eliminate THC altogether when possible. Even so, there may be minimal amounts of THC in hemp oil. While this is more likely in full spectrum hemp oil containing all of the cannabinoids and terpenes from the natural plant material, some companies that claim to produce CBD isolate may not be testing their products well.
With all of that in mind, it’s essential to know the following before you buy CBD online:
- Is it ok with you if your product contains trace amounts of THC? It’s not at all likely that legal hemp oil would cause you to become intoxicated or fail a drug test, but it’s also not entirely impossible.
- How much CBD oil will you be enjoying? Even trace amounts of THC can add up.
- Do you trust the company that runs the online CBD store? If you don’t trust the company’s integrity, or if they don’t publish their lab results, there’s no way of knowing what’s really in their oils.
Learn more about how to extract CBD in part two to determine what makes a good CBD Extract.
We’ve already covered the different types of CBD oil, so now you’re ready to get into more details about how CBD extraction works. When you understand the process that turns the plant into hemp extract oil, you’ll see how these convenient products preserve the original material’s natural essence. Many smart people are working to figure out how to extract CBD more effectively, but you don’t have to be a scientist to understand some of the basics.
How to Extract CBD
To make a CBD extract, you need to start with either hemp or marijuana. Once you have your source material, you can make full spectrum hemp oil in a few different ways. While we make our end products in-house, we do not buy hemp flower in mass or handle extraction. Instead, we partner with the best extractors in the industry to obtain our raw materials. In order to meet our high standards, we vet our extraction partners carefully and require full traceability to confirm the quality and purity of their source material and extractions.
Ethanol Hemp Extraction
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.
Propane or Butane Extraction
The other way to extract CBD from hemp is to use a solvent like propane or butane. This solvent is usually washed over the hemp material in a large piece of lab equipment called a closed-loop extraction system. Like other types of solvents, the gas will strip the cannabinoids out of the plant material to be collected with the solution. Making hemp concentrates in this way requires a careful purging process to remove all of the solvents at the end. Propane and butane are not safe for human consumption, so there can’t be any left in the final product.
CO2 Hemp Extract
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.
A CO2 extraction process normally requires three different chambers. In the first chamber, there’s liquid CO2 that’s pressurized enough to turn the carbon dioxide into a liquid. The second chamber is full of your plant material, which is legal hemp in this case. The extraction machine pumps highly-pressurized liquid CO2 into the second chamber, where the temperature is slightly higher. Since the temperature is higher, the carbon dioxide becomes a supercritical gas, which quickly removes cannabinoids and other desirable compounds from hemp.
The CO2 washes over the plant material until it’s essentially absorbed the cannabinoids from the hemp. Once the cannabinoids are out of the hemp and into the solution, the solution moves into the hemp extraction system’s third chamber. The pressure is dramatically reduced in the third chamber until the CO2 turns back into a normal gas like it normally would be at room temperature. The carbon dioxide gas releases the cannabinoids and rises, so the extracted hemp oil collects at the bottom of the chamber.
This is the final type of extraction process we’ll cover. This CBD extract is made simply by heating the hemp in oil. Doing this allows the cannabinoids to be activated and released from the hemp, transferring into the oil. Some manufacturers use olive oil, MCT oil or something similar.
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 addition to CBD and other cannabinoids, you can find all of the following things in full spectrum hemp oil:
- Terpenes – these are like the essential oils that give cannabis its unique flavor, and some believe they have therapeutic effects
- Amino acids
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamins A
- Vitamin B (various types)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc
How Is Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Tested?
It’s critically important to test any kind of hemp oil. Even if something is labeled as CBD isolate, you should still see the third-party lab tests that back that up. Testing is important for three primary reasons:
- It confirms the level of CBD products. One of the biggest problems we see in this industry is that some companies sell products that are marketed to contain specific amounts of CBD, but the products themselves don’t live up to the labels. To put it quite simply, this is a dishonest way of doing business, and it’s not right to charge people without delivering the quality product they’re paying for.
- Even beyond the quality and consistency of hemp oil, purity is one of the main reasons we have all of our hemp extracts tested thoroughly. We want to know if there are any leftover solvents or other impurities that might not benefit our customers. If a product isn’t tested and it isn’t from a company that you have good reason to trust, there’s just no way of knowing how it could be contaminated.
- We’re independently lab-testing for THC content in our final products. This is a big one, especially when you’re buying full spectrum hemp oil. In addition to CBD, full spectrum hemp extract also contains other phytocannabinoids like CBN, CBG, CBC, CBDA and more. Since we want it to be legal throughout the United States, we have to test every batch to make sure it contains no more than 0.3% THC. Please see our Lab Results page for more information.
Buy Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Online
At Harbor Hemp Company, we partner with the top extractors in the industry who use state-of-the-art technology and equipment to turn premium hemp flower into a superior CBD extraction that we used to make our premium, finished CBD products. Our full spectrum hemp oil, along with all of our products, are always third-party tested to ensure quality, purity and cannabinoid levels.
Our family-run business is on a mission to make reliable hemp products available to everyone. Our family has been sourcing oils and plant extracts since 1936, and we use the generations of experience to make the best hemp-derived CBD oil we possibly can.
Order some today to see what makes our full spectrum hemp oil so special.
How to Extract CBD from Hemp: All You Need to Know for the Best Results
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the second most abundant active ingredient in cannabis.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD does not cause intoxication — yet it is a highly sought-after constituent of the cannabis plant and is the focus of research into its potential value in treatments for medical conditions including anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Hemp extract is increasingly popular among consumers, but quality and purity concerns abound, and differentiating your product based on reliable, consistent quality and purity is critical.
Several processes are available to extract this vital phytocannabinoid from hemp, and the extraction method you choose contributes to the final potency and quality of your CBD extract or oil product. Commonly used hemp extraction processes include:
Each hemp extraction method presents pros and cons that range from whether they produce a CBD rich extract, quantity of raw plant material needed, time and cost requirements, and product purity.
Decarboxylation: An Essential Step Toward Quality CBD Oil and Extract
Decarboxylation is a fundamental step in the chemistry of hemp processing. The raw hemp plant contains mostly cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, which needs to be converted to achieve ideal bioavailability.
Applying heat to the milled hemp plant material causes a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group from CBDA and releases carbon dioxide, converting it into high-value, therapeutic, active CBD. Curing and drying the hemp flowers effectively converts some of this important substance, but the best results are achieved through application of specific temperatures in a controlled environment.
CO2 Hemp Extraction: The Standard Extraction Method for Purity
Carbon dioxide at very low temperature and high pressure reaches its supercritical state, at which it has properties of both gas and liquid. In this state, it is ideally suited as a solvent for the gentle extraction of pure, high-quality CBD products from hemp with no solvent residue and high extract yields of products including:
- Full spectrum oil
- Full spectrum distillate oil
- Broad spectrum distillate oil (THC non-detect)
Supercritical CO2 allows extraction experts to control temperature and pressure to finely tune target compound ratios without exposing the product to extreme temperatures that can affect product quality.
So in expert hands, supercritical carbon dioxide can pinpoint desired molecules to extract only essential compounds such as CO2 CBD oil, and leaves behind other compounds that would otherwise degrade the product or require further processing to remove. Any CO2 that remains after extraction simply evaporates at room temperature.
Carbon dioxide is more environmentally friendly than most typical solvents, and it can be recovered and recycled in processing. In addition, CO2 destroys many bacteria and molds.
This extraction method involves expensive equipment and specialized expertise, but it’s generally agreed to produce the best hemp products with high CBD concentration and excellent, efficient yields.
Chemical solvent extraction is generally a lower-cost option, but the utmost care is needed to ensure that hemp oils and extracts derived using solvents are safe. Solvents commonly used in hemp extraction include alcohols and hydrocarbons including ethanol, butane, hexane, and propane, and others Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) under FDA guidelines.
Of course, a safe, pure, solvent-free CBD oil or extract is the product goal, so product sampling and analysis for residual solvents is critical. Gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy is an efficient technique for identifying residues. Product testing and analysis can ensure quality, efficacy, and safety with values for:
- Residual solvents
- Potency profiles
- Heavy metals
- And more
Steam Distillation of Hemp Oil
Steam distillation is one of the oldest botanical processing methods available. Water is heated to produce steam, which passes through the plant material, freeing the oil from the plant structures. The steam and oil vapors are collected and condensed, and the oil and water are then separated.
Steam distillation is a simple and straightforward process that requires less expertise and specialized equipment than other methods, but in most cases, it’s an inefficient process. It leaves behind a significant amount of essential oil, meaning lower yields. In addition, the high temperatures required to produce and maintain steam can degrade product quality.
Because of both its inefficiency for producing good yields and its risk of damaging the hemp’s active compounds, steam distillation is not recommended for quality CBD extract production.
Extraction Methods for Tinctures & Topicals
The use of oil, alcohol, or water to extract CBD from hemp by soaking is typically used by small-batch, at-home processors to make tinctures or products for direct, topical use on the skin. In this method, plant material is milled and added to oil, alcohol, or water, where over time, the cannabinoids dissolve into the carrier fluid.
These traditional methods are far less efficient, and process variables can be difficult to control.
Choose a Toll Processor With Expertise in CBD Extraction
Processing CBD oils and extracts from hemp for use in products including food ingredients, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and supplements means it’s essential to know your toll processing partner is properly accredited and certified. Certification means you can trust your toll processor to comply with necessary regulations for safety and quality.
That’s why it’s essential to ask your toll manufacturer about their quality assurance program. ISO 9001, FSMA, and cGMP certification are simply a must. As consumers seek out organic products, a toll processor certified through a trusted organic accreditation authority can help add value to your organically grown hemp products.
Learn more with our Essential Guide to Herbal Processing . Click the button below to download your copy.