The word ‘cannabis’ raises quite a few eyebrows but shunning social stigmas aside, it’s a natural remedy used for many common ailing diseases. CBD (Cannabidiol) is an amazing derivative of the marijuana plant that has found its way into the market as a wonder-medicine.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is among the naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. Both marijuana and hemp contain CBD. However, unlike hemp, marijuana has high levels of THC, which is a high-inducing element. Therefore, most CBD products are commonly made from the hemp plant.
What Is CBD Oil, and What Does It Do?
CBD (Cannabidiol) or ‘cannabis Sativa’ is one of over 100 chemical compounds or cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active cannabinoid that is present in cannabis and causes the feeling of getting ‘high’. But unlike THC, CBD is not usually a psychoactive substance.
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and then diluted with a carrier like a hemp seed oil or coconut oil.
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabis oil is essentially the extract from the Cannabis plant. If unprocessed, then it contains over 100 different cannabinoids from the plant. In fact, ongoing research has identified anywhere from 104 to 111 different ones. Furthermore, the two most relevant and valuable cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
It’s also important to remember that cannabinoids are highly lipophilic. This means that they are not water-soluble and are chemically “attracted” to lipids (the technical term for fats and waxes).
In addition to these various cannabinoids, high-quality cannabis oil will also have high levels of terpenes. These are a diverse group of hydrocarbons (chemical compounds that are long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms) that are produced by a variety of plants. Colloquially, they are also known as essential oils.
The most notable terpenes are:
Cannabinoids and terpenes are the most desirable parts of cannabis oil. This is because the cannabinoids are the active compounds that have medicinal and recreational properties while the terpenes effectively potentiate the physiological activity of the cannabinoids. This is commonly known as the entourage effect.
What Does CBD Oil Do?
A recent finding and anecdotal evidence have shown that CBD oil is used for therapies, and provides a wide array of health benefits to humans. The current testing has revealed promising results and does not have any mind-altering side-effects.
CBD works by targeting the two endocannabinoid receptors in the humans – CB1 and CB2. The majority of CB1 receptors lie in the brain. CB2 receptors can be found in the immune system. It could also work by:
- Affecting the endocannabinoid receptors in the nervous system.
- Engaging the serotonin receptors.
- Reducing sebum as it is naturally anti-inflammatory.
- Cranial and neural pathways to the brain due to it being an antioxidant.
CBD oil can be used for treating numerous symptoms of the following conditions:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Neurological Disorders
- Drug Withdrawals
- Chronic Pain
What Are the Different Types of Cannabis Oil Extracted?
Today, there is a growing demand for CBD extracts because of their proven medicinal and cosmetic benefits to both humans and animals. While many people are aware that CBD oil comes from the cannabis Sativa plant, very few know exactly how it’s extracted.
There are multiple methods of CBD extraction. Knowing the best method to extract CBD oil is vital since each one has its pros and cons, which directly impact quality, and some methods are more effective and safer than others.
Here are the most popular CBD oil extraction methods:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
- Liquid Solvents
- Oil Infusion
Each of these methods has its respective pros and cons. Furthermore, each method has the corresponding machinery in order to properly execute the cannabis extraction. It is crucial to remember that the needs of the manufacturer will govern the type of extraction machine used. For example, the essential parameters to consider when choosing a type of extraction machine include:
- Safety profile.
- Yield output.
- Type of solvent used.
- Extraction time
- Rate of efficiency and return on investment (ROI)
- Amount of post-processing required
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
The use of pressurized carbon dioxide is currently one of the most advanced and commonly used methods of CBD oil extraction. Since CO2 has unique properties that allow it to function in liquid, gas, and solid states of matter, it becomes ideal for this process.
A closed-loop system of extraction is used to produce cannabis concentrates. The process begins with a solid piece of CO2, which is then pumped into the second chamber that has the cannabis material. The chamber is kept at a specific temperature and pressure conditions to allow CO2 to stay in a liquid state and absorb the flavors and the oils. Then, this mixture is pumped into the third chamber, where CO2 is allowed to return to a gas state and thus separate from the oil and flavors.
The two main types of CO2 extraction include supercritical and subcritical. The subcritical method involves exposing the CO2 too low temperatures and low pressure. The supercritical method, on the other hand, is when the product is extracted at a high temperature and high-pressure conditions.
The subcritical method takes a more extended period and results in much smaller yields than the supercritical one. While the subcritical method retains the terpenes, essential oils, and other temperature-sensitive chemicals, the supercritical methods damage the terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals. The latter causes thermal degradation to the oils resulting in chlorophyll extraction. In contrast, the former has lower solvency power, which helps extract only lighter oils, thus leaving behind resins, lipids (omega 3 and omega 6), paraffin, and waxes.
One of the main advantages of CO2 extraction method is that it’s the cleanest method and it produces incredibly pure products compared to other methods.
Another way of extracting CBD oil is the use of solvents like ethanol, propane, butane, methane, and alcohol. This method involves dissolving the plant to extract the cannabinoids.
The liquid solvent process begins with placing the plant trimmings and flowers into a container. Then, the solvent is soaked or allowed to run through the plant materials to strip it off of the cannabinoids. Finally, the solvent is evaporated to leave behind the cannabinoids in an oil form.
The method is the least expensive and is quite easy to do, but it has several downsides. One of its disadvantages is that it is hazardous as the contents of the liquids are highly flammable. The solvent residue is toxic if it is not eliminated during the evaporation method.
It may also have several impurities and chlorophyll, which makes the end products have a bitter taste and gives it a greenish tinge too. Research also shows that the CBD product may as well contain traces of naphtha hydrocarbons or petroleum residue.
Oil infusion is an ancient technique for extracting CBD oil. It is an effortless method that many home producers and growers still use up-to-date.
The first step is to decarboxylate the plant material, which involves heating it to a specific temperature to activate its compounds. The next step is adding it to olive oil or similar carrier oil and boiling it at 100 degrees Celsius for one to two hours.
This method has several downsides, including that you cannot evaporate the olive oil, and thus you must use a lot more CBD oil to achieve the same effects.
To obtain the CBD oil in its purest forms, you can further use two conventional methods. They include:
Winterization is a vital part of harvesting high-quality CBD oil. It involves the removal of undesirable elements from the oil so that you can make it pure.
Once you have the CBD isolate, you mix it with 200-proof alcohol(100)ethanol and then deep-freeze it for 12 hours. Then, after the time elapses, run it through a filter to remove the fats and other such substances.
After getting the desired oil quality, heat the mixture to the alcohols’ boiling point (which is lower than the boiling point of the CBD. The alcohol will evaporate, leaving the pure CBD oil behind.
Short Path Distillation Process
To further refine the oil, you can run it through the short path distillation process. Since different compounds have different boiling points, this process thrives on the fact that you can gradually heat the CBD oil mixture until the undesired substances that have a lower boiling point than the oil itself boil off.
To do this, you need to have the short path distillation system in place. When heating the mixture, the vapors produced travel through a distillation tube until they reach the cooling coils where they then condense. After condensation, they drip down into a separate collection vessel. This process continues until you obtain pure CBD oil.
Different extraction methods produce different end-products in terms of contents, purity, and quality. Research and technology continue to improve on these methods and with time, we will get even better and efficient ones.
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