In this article we’ll take a more comprehensive look at how CBD oil is extracted and produced. It’s our hope that this “micro” guide complements what there is to glean from our CBD Quality Profile. After all, extraction methods are one of the biggest driving factors behind any given CBD oil’s cleanliness and purity.
It’s not just about the purity of your CBD product, though — we believe it’s equally important for CBD companies themselves to be honest and transparent. So in this article, we’re going to get into the details..even if they’re nitty, gritty, or downright depressing. What follows are the CBD industry’s most popular extraction methods, listed by the solvents they use:
1. Non-Polar Gas Extraction
Of the non-polar gases, which includes helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, methane and others, butane is the hemp industry’s most popular. Extractions involve running pressurized butane through a column full of plant material; a solution of liquid butane and hemp extract then collects and gathers in its container.
Image courtesy of Extraction Magazine
The chemical nature of these gaseous solvents means that they’re very good at pulling cannabinoids and other active ingredients out of hemp. The problem, though, is that they’re not very good at doing so cleanly.
In other words, let’s say a pound of hemp flower contains 50,000 milligrams of ‘raw’ CBD. Butane will pull ~90% of it out, yielding about 40,000 milligrams of CBDa. That’s enough to make hundreds of bottles of CBD oil — not bad! But with this yield comes residual butane, which has to be removed by a vacuum pump. And even then a small amount of butane stays trapped in the solution.
The efficiency of butane extractions makes their downsides easy to overlook. Butane is popular in the industrial hemp world, and it also has a long history in the underground cannabis markets of years past. Unfortunately, this history is marked by low-quality extracts, butane poisoning, and even lab explosions. We’d encourage anyone in the CBD industry to find a better solution!