The active organic compounds of the cannabis plant come in their acidic forms. In order to go from THCA and CBDA to THC and CBD, manufacturers need to apply heat and decarboxylate the compounds—that’s the lab equivalent to lighting up a joint. Heat removes a carbon molecule from the organic compounds and turns them into their active counterparts.
CBDfx offers some of the finest organic full spectrum CBD oil. They’re blended with MCT oil derived from coconuts and are now available in a few exciting flavor varieties. They start at 500 mg and go up to 1,500 mg CBD. CBDfx employs a special supercritical CO2 extraction process using only the finest organic hemp.
Winterization is not always performed, but it is a very important process when the final product is intended to be vaped. Some terpenes and other compounds are also filtered out during this process, but many manufacturers choose to add terpenes to their CBD oil after winterization.
While this CBD extraction process is much simpler, there are some downfalls. It is more prone to error, much less efficient, and may potentially damage part of the essential oil profile of the plant. Due to these reasons, steam distillation is very rarely used to extract CBD nowadays, but many labs still use some type of distillation in the process of isolating CBD from full-spectrum oil.
While this is the easiest and least risky way to extract CBD oil, it is certainly not the most efficient. As with most DIY projects, there’s always room for user error. But even if you do everything right, you are going to sacrifice a large part of the organic compounds of the plant and you will produce less potent oil than a lab would. For these reasons, extracting CBD at home is an interesting experiment, but if you want to reap all the benefits of CBD it is advisable to get it from a reputable source instead.
Steam distillation is a centuries-old process that’s commonly used to distill alcohol as well as extract essential oils from organics. The process is much less complicated than CO2 CBD extraction. First, plant matter is introduced in a distillation tank. With the use of water and heat, the produced steam carries oils to the top of the tank, and it is then passed through a condenser, resulting in a mix of water and oil. The mix then goes through further distillation to separate water and oil, and the result is full-spectrum CBD oil.
While not as essential as carboxylation, winterization is a very common process that ensures that the final product of the extraction is as pure as possible. Simply put, the process of winterization employs solvents (usually ethanol) and low temperatures to ensure that lipids and other impurities are removed from an oil extract. This takes place as one of the final steps before full spectrum oil is obtained.
Subcritical CO2 extraction produces a substance with a consistency more like molasses. The subcritical product also preserves cannabinoids other than CBD; which may or may not be desirable.
When heated to above 31.10C (critical temperature) and at 1,071 psi (critical pressure) or higher, it has the properties of both a gas and liquid. It becomes what’s known as a supercritical liquid.
One of the advantages of using a supercritical system is that it can be used for subcritical uses as well; whereas vice-versa isn’t possible. Using a fractional extraction approach, lower temperature and lower pressure can be used to extract an oil suitable for applications such as vaping. Then by raising the temperature and pressure, the heavier compounds can then be extracted. This approach extracts the most from the same amount of trim material, with less additional processing.
Supercritical/subcritical – What’s the difference?
The following is a very basic outline of how the ScCO2 process works:
Supercritical systems, when used without fractionation built into the process, produce a substance with the consistency of peanut butter. This substance made up of fats, oils and waxes. A process called winterization may then be used to remove the fats and waxes, leaving just the CBD oil.
Supercritical liquids can pass through porous solids and also dissolve materials, making them ideal as a solvent. The “tunability” of supercritical CO2 extraction enables targeting maximum outputs of cannabidiol depending on the type and quality of cannabis material being used; while keeping undesirable compounds such as chlorophyll out of the product.
Very generally speaking, the ScCO2 method of extraction will produce around 10% “true” cannabis oil based on trim weight; however if you add in the resins and waxes that may be desired in some applications, yields may be anywhere from 17-25% of product.