The first stage in the CBD raw oil making process is refinement of raw hemp. For this step a solvent is used to separate and extract the cannabinoids and other beneficial components of the industrial hemp plant. One of three solvents may be used in this first stage of manufacturing CBD raw oils and each offers its own advantages.
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Ethanol Extraction is a process in which pure ethanol is used at a very low temperature to extract cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes from the plant. The biggest detriment to ethanol extraction during production of CBD raw oils — until recently, was keeping the temperature low enough to ensure consistent removal of waxes, lipids, and fats. Through newer technology a system of closed loops has emerged that allows for temperature and pressure consistency, providing an excellent CBD raw oil.
CO2 Extraction can be done in two ways: subcritical and supercritical.
- Subcritical extraction uses pressurized carbon dioxide to draw out the desired compounds from the plant. This process is slower than supercritical extraction but it provides a high yield, ensuring that all available cannabinoids and terpenes are retained in the oil.
- Supercritical CO2 extraction uses CO2 in a fluid state. It is much faster but there is significant loss in the process. Also, an additional 48-72 hours is required to purge all of the C02 out of the oil.
Butane and Propane Extraction is a solvent-based extraction process that makes great, high-quality oil commonly referred to as butane hash oil (BHO) and propane hash oil (PHO). These solvents bring the temperature of the raw material down to -800 F, ensuring that most waxes, lipids, and fats are removed while preserving all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Because their “off-gassing” temperature is so low butane and propane are released relatively quickly so not even a trace of these dangerous solvents is left in the oil by the end of the purging/decarbing process. Which brings us to:
What is “Decarbing” With Regard to CBD Raw Oil?
All cannabinoids occur naturally in an acid form with carboxylic acid forming the acidic component. For example, cannabidiol, or CBD, starts out as cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, starts out as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). Removing the acid portion of the molecule “activates” the CBD raw oil. This process, known as decarboxylation, is accomplished by simply heating the oil, which turns the acid into CO2, leaving active cannabinoids. The resulting crude or raw CBD oil is a brownish gold tar-like substance that is very spicy and sticky and also very powerful.