While most of us can recite the multitude of benefits associated with CBD with ease, few of us are perfectly clear on how this extremely popular product is made.
As it turns out, the process of turning cannabis into a consumable CBD product is incredibly involved. From sourcing the most ideal cannabis plant to blending the extract with other ingredients to make an effective product, most of those who manufacture CBD products take great care in order to create something that’s pure, effective and high in quality.
Understanding how CBD is made can provide additional insight into how this cannabinoid works as well as how to select the right CBD product for your specific needs.
We’re going to provide you with a detailed understanding of how CBD is created, starting with the cultivation of the plant itself and ending with the manufacturing of CBD products that are ready for consumers.
From Plant to Product: How CBD is Made
Here is the basics for it:
Sourcing the Perfect Plant
The first and arguably most crucial step of creating CBD is finding the right cannabis farmer. CBD manufacturers are looking for a cannabis farmer who grows high-quality plants in abundance. The farm must grow cannabis that’s consistent in terms of chemical composition as well.
In order to produce CBD, the cannabis must be high in this compound and low in THC. After all, a high-CBD cannabis plant will yield more CBD extract during the extraction process.
Generally speaking, commercial CBD products come from the hemp plant. Hemp is a member of the cannabis family that’s extremely high in CBD and contains no more than 0.3 percent THC. Therefore, it’s ideal for the manufacturing of CBD products.
Organic vs. Non-Organic
Many argue that organic hemp is the way to go. It’s widely believed that organic hemp has higher levels of CBD as well as nutrients like amino acids and vitamins.
Additionally, organic hemp goes through an inspection process that’s much more thorough, meaning that you’re more likely to end up with a very high-quality product.
Hemp that’s not grown organically is slightly more likely to be contaminated by toxins found in surrounding soil. Additionally, non-organic hemp is exposed to fertilizers that may or not harm the integrity of the plant’s chemical composition.
Different Extraction Methods
As a rule of thumb, CBD should be extracted at as low a temperature as possible. High temperatures can cause the CBD to lose its potency, therefore decreasing its effectiveness.
The CO2 method is easily the most popular way of extracting CBD from hemp. This method is fairly expensive, meaning that companies who use this method are more likely to be producing high-quality CBD.
The process involves using liquid carbon dioxide to extract the compounds from the hemp plant that will be used to produce the CBD product. The carbon dioxide is gradually heated, allowing the compounds in the hemp plant to evaporate.
It’s then collected and separated so that the manufacturer has only the compounds that they need in order to end up with a CBD concentrate. It’s widely believed that the CO2 method best preserves the integrity of the CBD.
A cheaper method of extraction involves combining the hemp plant with a grain alcohol. Once the alcohol has taken on the chemical composition of the hemp plant, it’s heated so that the CBD and any other desired compounds can be removed from the steam.
While this method is fairly popular, it’s believed to produce CBD extract of a lesser quality. That’s because this method tends to weaken the effects of the CBD.
CBD Isolate vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Full Spectrum
Time to know the different types:
CBD Isolate is pure CBD extracted from the hemp plant, containing no other compounds that contribute to the plant’s chemical composition. This type of CBD is best for those who may be sensitive to other compounds found in hemp. In order to produce CBD isolate, the hemp goes through a few extraction processes. During each extraction process, different compounds are separated and removed from the resulting concentrate.
Broad Spectrum CBD consists of CBD in addition to every compound found in the hemp plant with the exception of THC. The hemp plant is naturally rich in a wide variety of terpenes and cannabinoids that each have unique healing properties.
When all of these compounds are taken at once, the user experiences what’s known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect refers to the way in which each compound multiplies the positive effects of the other compounds that exist within the plant’s chemical composition.
Those who prefer broad spectrum CBD wish to consume all of the plant’s compounds while avoiding THC. This may be because they’re sensitive to THC or they are afraid of it showing up on a drug test, even though that’s highly unlikely.
In order to produce broad spectrum CBD, the CBD must go through a number of extraction processes until all of the compounds, but THC remain. The THC must be completely isolated before it’s discarded. It’s believed that this is the most tedious extraction process, although it’s worth it as broad-spectrum CBD has become very commercially popular.
Full Spectrum CBD contains every compound that’s found in the hemp plant. Experts believe that full spectrum CBD is the most beneficial because of the entourage effect as well as the unique health benefits of THC.
To create full spectrum CBD, the concentrate must be extracted at a very low temperature. Temperatures that are too high can damage certain chemical compounds that are in the plant’s composition.
If the CBD was extracted using a low-temperature extraction process, the resulting concentrate must go through a decarboxylation process. This simply means that the CBD must be heated at a specific temperature in order to become activated. During the process, specific acids are removed, allowing the CBD to affect the human body in the most beneficial way.
If this process sounds confusing to you, it might help to think of the way in which marijuana is consumed. In order for marijuana to be psychoactive, it must be heated, typically by being lit and smoked. Otherwise, the user won’t experience its effects.
The Importance of Testing
Once a CBD concentrate has been made from the hemp plant, it must be tested for purity and quality. Any reputable company will send their CBD off to a third-party laboratory. This ensures a non-biased examination of the CBD that the company will be using to produce their products.
Once the CBD has been thoroughly tested and approved, the manufacturer will have access to the results. It’s widely believed that CBD manufacturers have a responsibility to make these lab results accessible to their customers.
Creating the Perfect Consumer-Ready CBD Product
Now that the manufacturer has lab-approved CBD extract, it’s time to create their products. Obviously, every CBD company’s manufacturing process is going to be a bit different depending on the unique products that they wish to create. However, there are certain steps that virtually all CBD companies take in order to produce the best product possible.
- Flavor: While the taste of pure cannabis isn’t necessarily unpalatable, many don’t completely enjoy its pungent herbal flavor and aroma. Therefore, many companies add flavoring ingredients to their CBD products. This is especially true for companies who make edible CBD products such as candies.
- Concentration: CBD consumers like to choose from a wide variety of concentrations in order to best address particular issues. For instance, someone who deals with extreme pain will likely opt for a very high concentration while someone who has mild stress will probably want a lower concentration. In order to provide CBD products in a variety of concentrations, CBD companies dilute their extract. One of the most popular ingredients for dilution is MCT oil, a plant-based, neutral oil that comes from coconuts. Depending on the particular type of product, CBD brands may choose from a wide selection of dilution ingredients.
Different Types of CBD Products
The last step, of course, is creating individual CBD-infused products for customers’ needs. Popular CBD products include hemp-infused candies, highly potent oral tinctures, topical creams and capsules. Each type of CBD product serves a unique purpose and affects the body in a different way.
For example, vaping CBD provides very fast relief but leaves the system fairly quickly. An edible CBD product takes at least an hour to produce results although it can provide long-lasting effects.
How to Find the Best-Quality CBD Products for Your Needs
Now that you know how CBD is made, it’s important to use this information in order to find the very best hemp products out there. Always choose from a brand that lets you have access to third party lab results.
If you’re just starting out your search for CBD, try looking for a full spectrum, organic CBD product that’s been extracted using the CO2 process. This will give you a great starting point!
Information is Key
Understanding how CBD is made, helps us appreciate this unique compound while giving us the ability to differentiate between low-quality and high-quality hemp products. Now that you understand what goes into making CBD, you can purchase highly effective products from trustworthy manufacturers.