CBD extraction methods

We know that there are a lot of health benefits associated with CBD. But if you’re consuming CBD for your wellbeing, you want to ensure you are ingesting quality CBD. One way you can differentiate good CBD and a quality CBD supplier from a one that is simply out to make money is by the extraction method used. The method in which CBD is extracted is a significant indicator of quality, purity and safety.

Here, we explore what CBD extraction is, what part of the plant CBD is extracted from and what the primary forms of CBD extraction are. We’ll then outline what process we use at Nutrivive.

What is CBD extraction?

CBD extraction is how we isolate CBD from the hemp plant and separate it from other cannabinoids. There are a number of extraction methods available, but not all are equal. How CBD is extracted can seriously impact the quality and safety of the CBD. It’s worth noting that some extraction methods can leave behind trace amounts of other cannabinoids or harmful residues, which will compromise the effectiveness of the CBD.

CBD extraction methods

The following are the most common CBD extraction methods:

Hydrocarbon extraction (The rick simpson method)

Hydrocarbon extraction is also known as the Rick Simpson Method, due to the man who initially used it. It is a common form of CBD extraction. It’s also the cheapest and most straightforward. Having said this, it’s also the worst extraction method when it comes to isolating CBD.

Hydrocarbon extraction involves a solvent such as butane, pentane, hexane or propane — extremely volatile substances. This process involves submerging the plant material in the solvent and steeping it. The compounds are then stripped from the plant and left in a liquid form. Hydrocarbons have a low boiling point, so when heat is applied, they evaporate, leaving behind CBD oil.

There are two main concerns regarding this extraction method. First, the solvents used are highly volatile and flammable, which means it’s a dangerous form of extraction that could result in explosions and fires. Secondly, there is a customer safety issue, as there is no way to completely eliminate the solvent from the finished product. Meaning that the end-user could be regularly consuming a small amount of hydrocarbon. It’s hard to know exactly what damage, if any, this could cause in the long-term (given that the quantity is so low) but we don’t believe it’s worth taking the risk when there are cleaner extraction methods.

Ethanol (alcohol) extraction

Another extraction method for CBD is ethanol (or ethyl) alcohol extraction, although this method has dwindled in popularity over recent years. To keep costs low, denatured alcohol is sometimes used for this method, which may have a range of chemical contaminants including ketones, methanol and isopropyl alcohol. These components then end up in the CBD distillate. It is unknown what prolonged ingestion of these components will do to a person’s health. This method can also pull more chlorophyll from the hemp plant than other extraction methods.

The ethanol extraction method involves decarboxylating plant matter and packing the plant tightly into a container. Ethanol drips into the container, which strips the cannabinoids with it as it drips away, through the collection reservoir. Alternatively, you can soak plant matter with ethanol, then boil the ethanol away, but given that alcohol has a high boiling point, this involves a lengthy purification process. It’s worth noting that not it is not possible to make all CBD products using this extraction method.

Carrier oil extraction

The carrier oil extraction method most commonly utilises olive, coconut or hemp seed oil. The plant material is first decarboxylated, then added to the carrier oil and heated for several hours. This process draws out the cannabinoids of the plant and into the carrier oil.

This process is affordable and avoids the risk of contaminant consumption, but the extraction method isn’t considered very effective. CBD oil extracted in this manner is highly perishable unless you add preservatives. CBD oil produced in this way also tends to be less potent, as you aren’t able to concentrate the CBD oil using this method.

CO2 extraction

Generally regarded as the best (and safest) way to extract CBD, this method uses Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as a solvent — meaning there are no dangers for chemical contamination. It’s also worth noting that, unlike butane and ethanol, CO2 is not highly volatile. This method is quickly becoming the industry standard due to its purity and efficacy.

With this process, specialised equipment converts CO2 into a liquid. This liquid is ideal for extracting cannabinoids because it can’t damage the plant matter or the plant’s compounds. The CO2 is passed through the plant, pulling the CBD out so it can be filtered. This solution is then passed through a separator to draw out all of the terpenes and cannabinoids. CBD produced this way is extremely pure and non-toxic. Lower-quality manufacturers of CBD may avoid this method as it is more expensive.

What is the best CBD extraction method?

Most would agree that the best extraction method for CBD is the CO2 method. There are no dangers for chemical contamination, and the result is safe, pure and potent CBD oil.

What extraction method does Nutrivive use?

Dedicated to the purity and quality of our CBD products, Nutrivive use the CO2 extraction method. Consumers can be safe in the knowledge that our products don’t contain any residual compounds that might cause them concern.