CBD Extraction Methods – Let’s Discuss 4 Common Types!

You may have noticed that CBD is all the craze right now. I can confidently tell you that CBD products are not going anywhere, and that the product variety and availability of these products is only going to continue to increase. As a consumer, you have the ability to purchase many different types of CBD: You’re able to choose from a wide variety of product types, serving strengths, flavors, and you can even choose your CBD based off of the way your products are processed.

I won’t go into too much detail about CBD in general in this article, you can find that info in other areas of our website, and through the search results of your good friend Google (we know how important it is to hear information from various sources, and are confident that you will confirm the information we provide you through your own independent research as well!). I am writing this article to hopefully encourage you to research and understand the importance of knowing where your CBD is coming from, and what types of questions you can arm yourself with as you begin your search.

So, let’s get started.

The average person goes to buy an Advil or a Tums from Walmart without any hesitation, assuming that those products have been regulated, tested, and controlled from start to finish.

Hemp-derived CBD products are such new products that not every product is the same, or even close to it. I’m here to advise you to be careful: Both your health and your wallet will appreciate it!

I will discuss four popular extraction methods for you, as these are the most common amongst CBD companies at this time. Keep in mind, “extraction” typically equates to some sort of gas or liquid being forced through the hemp plants in order to retrieve the desired cannabinoid(s). A variety of cannabinoids are found throughout the many parts of the hemp plant such as the seeds, stalk, leaves, and roots. In addition to creating various types of oil, the many sections of the hemp plant can be used in all types of ways from creating building materials and industrial textiles, to making body care products, and even can be included in our daily meals.

Process 1: Olive Oil Extraction Process

  • This is a great process when it comes to safety and costs. Olive oil extraction is typically an in-home method used by someone looking to make their own CBD oil from hemp. This process, however, is just that – an in-home method that is not a feasible option for use in a larger scale CBD operation because it is quite labor intensive. In addition, you will yield a low volume with a low potency. Another downfall with this particular method is that the resulting product is perishable unless preservatives are added and the product is kept at a low temperature. This means that it isn’t as easy to carry this type of oil around with you outside of the home, and while traveling.
  • Recap: If making CBD oil is a hobby for you, this could be a great method. For many others, this method tends to be a little unrealistic for large production requests.

Process 2: Solvent Extraction – Low-grade Alcohol, Butane, and Ethanol

  • Second up, and very common in commercial production of CBD today, is the Solvent Extraction process using either Ethanol, Butane, or a Low-grade Alcohol (the most common substances used for this method).
  • With Solvent Extraction, the plant and liquid are mixed together in order to pull away the preferred cannabinoid(s). Once the desired level has been reached, the liquid is heated (this evaporates the material, leaving behind the oil).
  • A major pro of Ethanol Extraction is that this is a more cost-effective method of producing results on a commercial scale; however, it unfortunately destroys the plant waxes, the stalks, and the seed potentials. This could cause a loss of potency as well as a lack of a full coverage of the desired cannabinoids.
  • There are also a few noteworthy cons of a Solvent Extraction. The solvents will commonly pull chlorophyll out of the plant upon processing. Due to this, a second round of filtration is required to remove as much of the chlorophyll as possible, which significantly reduces potency. It is understood that by using this method, harmful contaminants (residual chemicals) and some chlorophyll can remain behind.

Processes 3 & 4: CO2 Extraction (Sub and Supercritical)

  • And now we will talk about both CO2 methods, which are very similar to one another.
  • There is a Subcritical CO2 extraction and a Supercritical CO2 extraction process. Both of these processes use high pressured, nontoxic CO2 fluids at 1,000 PSI+.
  • Pressure is important because if the CO2 drops below 600 PSI, the CO2 will become fully gaseous and loses the ability to extract certain oils and compounds from the hemp. On the contrary, 5,000 PSI+ will cause deterioration of the plant.
  • Temperature is also a significant component because once the CO2 reaches 120° the plant will begin to deteriorate.
  • The largest downfall of either of the CO2 Extraction Methods is the extreme learning curve that comes with these processes. Not only are you going to need to dedicate a massive amount of time to master the learning curve, but the equipment is also extremely expensive. Due to this, ethanol is recognized as being used more commonly than CO2; however, CO2 is certainly considered to be a top extraction method due to the results achieved through this extraction process (when done correctly!). It is difficult – It is time consuming – And it is expensive… But it is absolutely worth it if you want the highest quality, purest CBD you can get your hands on!

Subcritical CO2 Extraction:

  • This extraction method requires a temperature below 88 degrees and 1000+ PSI. Due to the colder temps, the extraction will lead to a lower solvency power which only pulls lighter oils. Only pulling lighter oils will leave behind waxes, paraffins, and other resins that could contain beneficial cannabinoids. Also important to keep in mind with this method is that these extractions demand a longer extraction period due to the leftover compounds.
  • Even when executed perfectly, Subcritical extraction typically will lead to a lower yield than a Supercritical extraction.

Supercritical CO2 Extraction: Save the best for last, right?

  • Here at Eunomia CBD we pride ourselves on using a Supercritical CO2 extraction. Supercritical requires the processing temperature to be more than 88 degrees and 1000+ PSI. Supercritical provides a much higher solvency power due to the heated compounds. This process will pull a majority of the oils, waxes, paraffins, fibers, and other resins from the plant. This equates to a more complete extraction. Heat allows for a tunable extraction, meaning you can customize and adjust your process in order to specify which compounds of the plant you want to extract (or don’t want to extract, aka THC)!
  • Two of the major benefits of Supercritical CO2 extractions are that the FDA recognizes Super as GRAS (generally regulated as safe) and also that it does not extract chlorophyll during the process.
  • Recap: You’re getting all the compounds you want, and you get to leave chlorophyll, and harsh solvents and chemicals out of the equation. This process is backed by its extensive use in the commercial food industries. It’s a tried and true process… You can probably tell that we love this method!
  • Each method does have its cons though, so I will most certainly address those now. While the Supercritical CO2 Extraction method does not extract chlorophyll, it does extract any metals or pesticides living within the plant material, sometimes allowing it into the final product.
    • Our counter: Eunomia CBD has always and will always require independent lab testing to be completed by a 3rd party to ensure that such issues do not exist in any of our products. Transparency between our team and you is tremendously important to us, and we proudly make all of our lab documents available to you – These show metal and pesticide testing at the grow facility, and we also provide lab reports for every product for you to ensure the 0% THC content, as well as other compounds or ingredients you could be concerned about.)
    • In addition, we (once again, have always and will always) only offer products that are produced from hemp grown within the United States of America to ensure your products are made from the cleanest and best hemp available in the world.
  • An additional downfall of Supercritical is that if the hemp is not dried properly the oil could become harmful to your health. From mold to bugs, the end-stage processing and the storage of oil is incredibly important. I guess you could say it’s a good thing our lab is A+! Seriously, this isn’t grandma’s kitchen (although we all love that). This is an ultra-clean facility with loyal employees who care about the products being shipped out the doors. The lab our team has partnered with is an ISO 7 cleanroom which means it is FDA approved for food, edibles, and anything else consumable by the public. Our lab is top notch when it comes to industry standards as well as future innovations. We can assure you that our lab does not cut corners and has the knowledge to avoid harmful effects within their CBD, and we show this through our 3rd party testing.
  • Finally, there is one additional disadvantage of Supercritical CO2 extractions. As mentioned earlier, it is costly, and it requires extensive manpower. Another situation where we are extremely grateful for our lab, as they have already paid the literal, and the figurative, price for the equipment and the learning curves that came along with it. While products produced through a Supercritical extraction do have those additional costs incorporated into the price, this is absolutely a quality over quantity argument. Personally, our team is thrilled and confident that our end-product is one which you can feel great about using.

As we are wrapping up our discussion about processing, I’ll leave you with one last lesson. This lesson is simply titled ‘Nano-Amplification’. In addition to only providing 100% THC free products, created through the use of a Supercritical Extraction of US grown and processed hemp, Nano-Amplification is what sets us apart from the pack.

Essentially, after choosing one of the four methods of extraction, now what? Is it time to bottle and ship?

Well, typically, the answer is yes. Many companies bottle up that oil, manufacture those gummies, and boom, get them shipped.

But not us! Our lab goes even ONE MORE step further by Nano-Emulsifying (also known as Nano-Amplifying) the CBD oil. This breaks the CBD molecules down into a size that is far more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

  • Typical CBD molecules are about 2,000 nanometers wide after extraction.
  • Your body most easily absorbs particles that max out around 40 – 80 nanometers wide.
  • Our CBD? SIXTEEN. 16 Nanometers is the average size of the resulting product! Our CBD particles are essentially “measles-sized” meaning they have an enormous chance at absorption into your bloodstream. A quick example for comparison is that if you take 10 drops of a non-nano oil, your body may retain anywhere from 3-5 of those drops and the other 5-7 are wasted through your digestive system. When taking 10 drops of a Nano-Amplified, Supercritical CO2 Extracted product, your body will retain between about 8 – 9.5 of those drops, therefore allowing only a tiny portion to be left unused. You’re getting a much greater bang for your buck, and will in turn start to take much less oil to achieve the same effects!
  • Now – Because we know we will get this question, we want to address it right here to help clarify this. When you place the drops under your tongue, this is the absolute best method of absorption for you, and companies can promote a high-90%’s absorption rate; however, the waste comes about from the product you are unable to absorb under your tongue and swallow. Here is where the nano shines and allows your product to continue to be absorbed at a far higher rate as it passes through the remainder of your digestive tract.
  • We always recommend starting low with CBD, especially when it comes to Nano – If you are new to CBD, and if you have become accustomed to taking multiple drops or even multiple droppers full of CBD, it may sound silly to start with only a drop or two, but Nano is no joke – it is best to start with a low serving size and work your way up only if needed.  

Do you research!

Talk to friends.

Talk to your doctor.

Talk to other doctors.

Talk to the vet (for the pet products).

Talk to your friend Google or Siri.

Talk to everyone.

Talk to us!

We’ll happily answer any questions you have here at Eunomia CBD regardless of if a purchase is made. We want to help to educate, advocate, and raise awareness for Cannabis and support you through your learning as well!


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