In recent years, CBD has continued to grow in popularity because of its immense health benefits. Despite the numerous health benefits associated with cannabidiol, there’s a cloud of mystery and misconception that surrounds the compound.
Hemp cultivation and harvest
The selected seeds are sown and the hemp plant is mature in 120 days. Towards the end of the flowering period, the plants are harvested. The leaves are removed and the stalk is left to dry. The dry stems are then soaked to soften the fiber. This process is known as retting.
After the retting process is complete, the fiber is separated from the stem in a process called ‘decortication’ for further processing.
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Extraction of CBD
After the process of decortication, the hemp fiber is ready for CBD extraction. There are several methods of extracting CBD oil. The preferred method depends on the reasons, precision and quality of the final products.
- Oil extraction – It is the easier methods and common among home producers. The oil extraction method is inexpensive and relative safe with no special equipment required. However, this method yields very little CBD and the CBD oil extracted is highly perishable.
- Liquid solvent extraction – Propane, Ethanol or Butane are the commonly used solvents in this method. The plant matter is boiled with one of the solvents to extract CBD. The solution is strained and purged to leave behind a CBD-rich concentrate.
- Supercritical CO2 Extraction – CO2 extraction is the most efficient CBD oil extraction method and is often preferred within and outside the CBD industry. It yields high-quality oil and the method is safe for both humans and the environment. The only downside to using CO2 extraction is the cost of the equipment required as well as the specialized knowledge.
Decarboxylation is the process of converting cannabinoid acids into active cannabinoids by heating them. This process is completed by experts in a lab using specialized equipment. The aim of the process is to maximize the potency of CBD.
Purification removes unwanted fats, chemicals and chlorophyll from the CBD Oil. Purified CBD oil has a light colour, doesn’t have an odour and has consistent potency compared to the darker, inconsistent and strong scented unpurified version.
Depending on the product being prepared, some companies have one last step known as terpene enriching. This process adds unique terpenes into the CBD to give the CBD oil an earthy aroma and enhance its benefits.