How is CBD Extracted? Everything You Need to Know

How is CBD Extracted? Everything You Need to Know

How is CBD Extracted? Everything You Need to Know

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Introduction to CBD Extraction

There are three primary extraction methods used to make CBD products:

  • C02 Extraction
  • Ethanol Extraction
  • Spagyric Extraction

Each of the CBD extraction methods come with their own pros and cons. When choosing a CBD oil that is best for you, it’s important to consider the extraction method. That way, you can ensure your safety and the product’s effectiveness.

Before talking about extraction methods, it’s important to know where your CBD oil is coming from.  

Why should you be concerned about the product’s origin? Because sometimes, crops are intentionally sprayed with harmful chemicals in order to boost their growth. These contaminants can range from pesticides, metals, and synthetic cannabinoid bacteria.

Pesticides are harmful to humans and can lead to long-term health complications like cancer. A variety of studies suggest there is a link between pesticides and cancer among adults and children. If the hemp plant used before extraction contained these contaminants, then they may end up in the concentrated form.

When choosing a CBD oil make sure the company is transparent about their extraction process. Below are some of the top concentration methods:

Carbon Dioxide (C02) Extraction

CO2 extraction method has a variety of benefits.

First off, it’s pure, which means you don’t have to worry about finding residue in the extracted material. It also eliminates stress or damage to the bioactive constituents of the plant. It’s also non-flammable, natural, and environmentally friendly.

Is CO2 Extraction Safe?

According to The Federal Drug Administration (FDA), CO2 is Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) in cooking and carbonated drinks. C02 is versatile; it is used to create a variety of products.

However, even the best of methods have their limitations. C02 extraction requires more expensive equipment compared to other extraction methods.

How Does the CO2 Extraction Process Work?

There are three main components in the process: the accumulator, the extraction vessel and the separator.

Supercritical CO2 extraction begins by filling the extraction vessel with “trim,” otherwise known as cannabis plant material. Next, the accumulator is charged with liquid C02 until a desired pressure is released in the extraction vessel. Once it reaches the correct temperature and pressure, then the system is able to extract the essential oils from the “trim”.

This allows for you to get C02 in its supercritical state. Which means, it is between a liquid and a gas.

The CO2 and cannabis mixture flows from the extraction vessel to the separator. Here, the pressure is lower and creates a phase change where the essential oils can separate from the less dense CO2 and the C02 continues to recirculate. Finally the cannabis oil is removed from the separator and prepped for further processing.

This method is known for its effectiveness in maintaining terpenes and preventing cannabinoids from deactivating during the extraction process. While extracting these beneficial elements from the plant, it also removes THC and and chlorophyll.  

Check out this video for further explanation.

Ethanol Extraction

If extracted correctly, this method is considered a cheap, safe, and efficient alternative. However, it does have its limitations. For example, have you ever heard that CBD oil tastes bad?

That’s because it typically does. Users often say CBD supplements taste “earthy” or “grassy." The reason for this is ethanol.  When ethanol is used, it extracts large amounts of chlorophyll which creates an overall unpleasant taste.

Lazarus is a brand that swears by this method. They argue their product offers potency at low prices.

What is Ethanol?

According to Merriam-Webster, Ethanol, or alcohol, is a colorless liquid known for its intoxicating effects. It is also used as a solvent and in fuel.

Ethanol can dissolve both polar and nonpolar substances which means it can readily mix with water and dissolve water soluble molecules. As an extraction method, it helps remove Chlorophyll.

How does the process work?

First, the plant material is placed in a bowl, then cold ethanol is poured over.

The process needs to be fast so that ethanol doesn’t touch the plant for too long. If this happens it could leave unwanted materials.

Ethanol is flammable. For your safety, it’s important to use a plastic spoon instead of something mechanical otherwise it could create a spark, should you attempt ethanol extraction yourself. Nobody wants burnt CBD right? Probably not. 

The next step in the process is the first filtration, which separates the ethanol from the plant material. This is done by pouring the mixture into a sieve over a new bowl. There is still ethanol left over which means it's time for the second filtration.

You can filter the rest by using a coffee machine. Take the material and place it into the filter paper.

Now it's time to separate the ethanol from the cannabinoids. There is a variety of ways to do this. However, some require a clear room or you have to move outdoors. That’s why a water-distiller is a better option because you can simply use it anywhere.

The final product is then heated on a coffee maker. Typically, the process takes around 24 hours.

Here’s a video for more information:

Spagyric Extraction  

How old is the Spagyric extraction? If you assumed that it’s pretty old, you’re definitely right.

In fact, it dates back to the 16th century where it was first coined by Swiss physician, Paracelsus.

The english word for spagyric means “alchemy”. Alchemy is the process of transformation, creation or combination.

The spagyric extraction process involves three steps. The first step is separation. The pure, raw materials are separated which consist of the components: water, pulp and oil.

Next is the purification/extraction step. This is where the components are extracted. All the principles of the plant are released which includes: oil-soluble, water-soluble, non-mineral and mineral components. This step maximizes the body’s ability take full advantage of the medicinal benefits of the plant.

The last step in the spagyric extraction process is reunification. This is where all the purified and concentrated components of the plant are reunited back into one substance.

There are many benefits to using the spagyric extraction method. One being that it ensure that the raw materials are being extracted to their full potential. Also, this method of extraction allows for the vital healing components of the plant to be included. The result is a more concentrated product with all the natural benefits of the original plant.


We hope you found this information helpful when considering which extraction method is best for you. Please reach out if you have any further questions.

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