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Best strains of hemp for cbd oil extraction

The Complete Guide to CBD Extractions (CO2, Olive Oil, Solvents)

CBD is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Science is just beginning to uncover the medicinal benefits of this cannabinoid, and findings thus far are promising. Over the last few years, cannabidiol has become so popular that it is now being extracted, produced, and manufactured into a wide range of products. These products include edibles, CBD oils, and even creams.

CBD oil is especially popular. It is used to treat a host of illnesses and works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) without providing users with a ‘high.’

In this article, we will look at the best ways to extract CBD from the cannabis plant. But first, let’s find out what the substance is and why it is so coveted.

Explaining What CBD Is

If you are reading this article, you likely know what THC is. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol is the most psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and until recently, was by far the best-known.

THC is renowned for the mind-altering high it induces when consumed. In contrast, CBD is not psychoactive, but it does promote positive changes in the body.

The way CBD affects our body is quite different from THC in the sense that it is not involved in direct stimulation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The major impact of CBD is on other receptors such as serotonin, adenosine, and vanilloid.

CBD and Receptors

The stimulation of the TRPV-1 (vanilloid) receptor by CBD influences various processes, including body temperature, inflammation, and pain perception.

Moreover, CBD is known to inhibit the functioning of the FAAH enzyme that directly acts on the CB1 receptor and enables THC to produce its psychoactive effect. CBD has established global interest among industry specialists, and its discovery has prompted medical experts to take a closer look at the benefits.

What Are CBD’s Benefits?

While studies are still trying to get to the heart of the matter, it appears as though some of the best CBD oils and other CBD products could have a plethora of medical benefits.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

As a society, we are developing an over-reliance on pain medication to deal with issues, such as inflammation. According to a study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, CBD reduced the levels of chronic inflammation in rats and mice. CBD has also been known to help with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

Mental Health Disorders

A study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design suggested that CBD had a similar effect to certain antipsychotic drugs. Further studies showed that CBD could have a positive impact when used on people with neurological disorders. It also has potential anti-seizure properties and is used by individuals with epilepsy.

The above is just a taste of what CBD can do to help with certain medical ailments. Let’s take a look now at how it is extracted from the cannabis plant.

CBD Extraction Methods

The purpose of CBD extraction is quite simple; to end up with the cannabinoid (and others) in a highly concentrated form to make it suitable for human consumption.

To achieve this, you must use a plant material rich in CBD, such as special cannabis strains or hemp. Certain cannabis strains such as AC/DC and Charlotte’s Web have a high CBD concentration (up to 18% in some cases) and a low THC concentration (as little as 5%). You need a favorable CBD/THC ratio because even in cases where plants have a THC concentration of up to 6%, the extra high CBD content should hopefully render the psychoactive effects of THC inert.

Industrial Strains and Extraction

Various strains of industrial hemp can also be used to extract CBD. They are grown around the world legally, including in India, China, and several countries in Western Europe. One of the most popular industrial hemp strains is Fedora 17. It has a low THC content which means any CBD extracted from it should have no psychoactive effects.

CBD oil made from hemp is legal in many countries around the world, including in all 50 states in the U.S., because of the negligible THC content.

Without further ado, let’s look at the 4 most common CBD oil extraction methods.

Is it a safe extraction method…

1 – The CO2 Cannabis Extraction Method

This form of CBD extraction is actually divided into supercritical, subcritical, and ‘mid-critical’ categories. But supercritical is by far the most commonly used. In fact, it is the most regularly used extraction method of all because it is safe and provides a pure end product.

In simple terms, CO2 cannabis extraction uses pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) to pull CBD (and other phytochemicals) from the plant. CO2 acts like a solvent at certain temperatures but possesses none of the dangers. While it is safe and effective, it also involves expensive equipment which freezes the CO2 gas and compresses it into a supercritical cold liquid state.

CO2 & Extraction

CO2 typically behaves like a gas at standard pressure and temperature. And it is easily changed to a solid while in this state. The solid version of the gas is known as dry ice. Using the aforementioned equipment in a lab, you can turn CO2 gas into a liquid by ensuring the temperature drops below -69 degrees Fahrenheit while increasing the pressure to over 75 pounds per square inch (psi). At this stage, you have your starting point for CO2 cannabis extraction. Next, you will follow one of the three steps described below.

Supercritical Extraction

Once you have the liquid CO2, the next step is to increase the temperature and pressure past the point where the liquid becomes ‘supercritical.’ This term means the CO2 can now adopt properties halfway between a gas and liquid simultaneously. Effectively, the supercritical CO2 can fill a container (like gas) while also maintaining density (like a liquid). When CO2 is in its supercritical state, it is ideal for chemical extraction. This is because it won’t cause denaturation or any damage that would make the CBD unfit for human consumption.

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Liquid CO2

To extract the CBD oil using this technique, you simply begin with liquid CO2 and raise its pressure via a compressor. The temperature must also be raised, which can be done using a heater. The next step involves passing the supercritical carbon dioxide through some high-quality cannabis. This is how the CO2 will pull the essential trichomes (the sugary-looking coating of the cannabis plant) and terpene oils (essential oils) out of the plant.

The solution gets passed via a separator and is broken down into its requisite parts. The good stuff (including trichomes and terpenes) is sent to the collection container. Meanwhile, the supercritical CO2 goes through a condenser and is turned back into a liquid. Finally, the liquid goes to a special storage tank and can be used to begin the process all over again.

Subcritical extraction

This form of extraction involves low temperatures and low pressure. Subcritical extractions take longer than their supercritical counterparts and also produce a smaller yield. While it retains the terpenes, essential oils, and other sensitive materials, it doesn’t extract larger molecules such as chlorophyll and omega 3 and 6. The benefit of subcritical extraction, however, is that it is less likely to damage terpenes.

Mid-critical is simply a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Some companies combine supercritical and subcritical to create a full-spectrum CO2 cannabis extract. They use the subcritical extraction method to separate the drawn-out oil and the very same plant material using supercritical pressure. The oils are then homogenized into one, which creates an amalgamated oil. This is known as the CO2 Total Extraction Process.

Pros and Cons of CO2 Cannabis Extraction

CO2 Comparison 1 2 3
Pros Safety: CO2 is a common food additive and is used to produce things like carbonated soft drinks. Effectiveness: CO2 has been used as an extraction solvent for years by food companies. It is used to remove caffeine from coffee and as an extraction solvent when producing essential oils. Purity: The cannabinoids produced are potent and free of chlorophyll with minimal risk of contaminants.
Cons Expensive: You can only complete the process with the aid of extremely expensive equipment. Technical Ability: CO2 Cannabis extraction is not something that should be attempted by an amateur chemist.

2 – The Olive Oil Extraction Method

The first step in olive oil extraction, which can be performed at home, involves ensuring the raw plant material is decarboxylated. In layman’s terms, it means you have to heat the plant to a certain temperature for a specific length of time to activate the plant’s chemicals.

Most experts recommend heating at 248 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes or 284 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Once this step is completed, plant material is added to the olive oil and heated to 212 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 2 hours (and at least 1 hour). This process should result in the extraction of cannabinoids.

Pros and Cons of the Olive Oil Extraction Method

Olive Oil Comparison 1 2
Pros Very Safe: This method has been deemed safe and effective Inexpensive: You can set everything up at home without breaking the bank.
Cons Perishable: Regardless of whether your cannabis-infused oil is high in CBD or THC, it is highly perishable so you must store it in a cool, dark place and use as soon as possible. Low Yields: This form of extraction only produces fairly low yields.

3 – The Dry Ice Extraction Method

The dry ice extraction method is another way to extract CBD, and it can be performed at home. Although, it takes a bit more time and effort than its olive oil equivalent. As well as the cannabis plant itself, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Around 3 pounds of dry ice
  • A large piece of Plexiglas or a mirror
  • A paint scraper or putty knife
  • Thick gloves that are heat resistant and eye protection
  • A clean 5-gallon plastic bucket
  • 3 bubble hash mesh bags; sizes are 73, 160, and 220 microns
  • 3 large, clean glass jars for storage

Steps:

Put on your gloves and eye protection, chop up the cannabis buds into small pieces and place it in the bucket. Cover the plant with the dry ice and leave it for 3 minutes. It is best only to fill the bucket halfway. This process causes the freezing of the trichome resins. Fit the 73-micron bag over the bucket and shake the ice & plant combo for about 4 minutes; this knocks the frozen trichomes off.

Turn the bucket upside down on the Plexiglas and shake as much resin through the mesh bag as possible. Scrap the hash off the Plexiglas with your scraper and place it into one of the jars. Repeat with the 160 and 220-micron mesh bags, and you’ll be rewarded with three different strains of extract.

Pros and Cons of the Dry Ice Extraction Method

Dry Ice Comparison 1 2 3
Pros Ease of Use: The steps above are very easy to follow. Clean: Unlike other methods, there is very little mess with dry ice extraction. Decent Yield: You’ll end up with a lot more than if you use oil extraction.
Cons Low-Quality: This is entirely dependent on the user, but you will ruin the quality of the product if you shake it for too long. Not Always Easy Getting Dry Ice: Depending on where you live, it isn’t always so easy to get your hands on 3 pounds of dry ice unless you order it online.
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4 – The Solvent Extraction Method

Ethanol, low-grade alcohol, and butane are among the most common substances used in solvent extraction. Although ethanol extracts the full range of cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant, it also extracts chlorophyll, leading to some unpleasant side effects.

You can remove the chlorophyll by filtering the extract, but you significantly reduce the oil’s potency. Butane offers a stronger oil than ethanol, but it is more likely to contain solvents that could irritate the lungs.

For extraction, the liquid is added to the plant material. The extraction liquid will strip away the cannabinoids and flavor from the plant material but will probably take some green colorings too. Once enough cannabinoids have been extracted, heat the liquid to evaporate it down to the CBD base oil.

Pros and Cons of the Solvent Extraction Method

Solvent Comparison 1 2
Pros Appropriate For Some Products: If you use high-grade alcohol, you may produce good quality oil. Straightforward Process: Once you have the equipment, it isn’t difficult to complete.
Cons Extremely Dangerous: Butane and Ethanol are flammable, so it isn’t worth starting a fire in your home to extract CBD in this manner. Potentially Harmful: As well as destroying plant waxes, this form of extraction may produce oil that contains chlorophyll or other harmful contaminants.

Final Words About CBD Extraction

It is essential to understand the various CBD extraction methods as they significantly impact the quality of the end product, not to mention your health. We don’t recommend utilizing the solvent method because it is dangerous to make and is also more likely to cause health problems. The cost of CO2 supercritical extraction means it is not possible for 99.9% of readers, but it is an excellent, safe, and efficient method.

Those who create their own CBD oils will tend to use dry ice or olive oil, which provide great purity and are easy to do. There are also other extraction methods that we have not mentioned in this guide. If you have experience extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and would like to share your method, please contact us in the comments or through our Facebook page.

For those that are looking for high-quality CBD products from brands you can trust, feel free to view the list of top-rated brands below.

Best Hemp CBD Flower Strains: Top Brand of 2022

CBD oil is an increasingly popular hemp extract that many people use for its potential wellness benefits. But some people prefer CBD flower for its desirable effects like relaxation and pain relief. Here you can learn all about hemp flower and where to buy the best CBD strains.

What is CBD Flower?

CBD flower is taken directly from industrial hemp plants without the need for extensive extraction processes. These flower buds contain the same beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found within CBD oil, but tend to elicit a stronger entourage effect.

Hemp flower is different than many other CBD products since it is trimmed from the stalks of hemp without any additional manufacturing or purification needed, which keeps all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids in tact.

What is the Best Hemp Bud to Buy Online?

Compared to CBD oil, there are many more challenges facing the selling and distribution of hemp flower across the United States. For this reason, there’s a more narrow market for people that prefer to smoke hemp flower. This also means there are less suppliers to meet demand.

With that being said, we’ve found the best company that sells hemp flower.

Botany Farms CBD Flower

Botany Farms is our choice for the best hemp flower company because they pride themselves on offering organic, hand-crafted CBD and CBG flower products. They work with select farmers in the U.S. who raise certified-organic hemp that is free from heavy metals, pesticides, and fungicides. Each of their cannabis flower strains is made in small batches that are hang dried and hand trimmed. Botany Farms also uses independent third-party lab testing to ensure each batch’s quality and contents.

Our Favorite Botany Farms CBD Flower Products

The products featured here have been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the link included, we may earn commission.

  • Best for Sleep – Bubba Kush
  • Best for Focus – Hawaiian Haze
  • Best for Calm – Sour Space Candy
  • Best for Energy – Sour Lifter
  • Best for Relaxation – Cherry Blossom

Bubba Kush

This indica strain contains dark chocolate and coffee notes with an earthy taste. It provides calm for both the body and mind and is best for relaxing at the end of the day or in the evening.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 15.1%

Hawaiian Haze

Hawaiian Haze is a sativa that provides stress relief while leaving you clear and focused. It offers a strong floral scent with notes of pineapple and berries, and is great for daytime use.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 13.3%

Sour Space Candy

A CBD-heavy hybrid strain, Sour Space Candy contains a fruity and sour flavor profile, with dense orange, purple, and green hues. It can produce a relaxing calm, great for stress-relief or unwinding after work.

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Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 16.4%

Sour Lifter

With notes of grapes and lemons, this sativa offers a large dose of CBD and provides energy and focus. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee in the morning to start the day.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 17.3%

Cherry Blossom

An indica with notes of dark cherries, florals, citrus, and pine, Cherry Blossom has a rich taste that can help you calm your mind and relax before bed in the evenings.

Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 11%

Hemp Flower for Sale Online: What to Look For

The CBD market can be a confusing and vastly unregulated place. When shopping online, look for lab tested CBD flower. Accredited lab tests help ensure a high quality cannabis flower by verifying the CBD vs THC content, terpene profile, and testing for the presence of any pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental contaminants.

Will it get you high?

Industrial hemp strains have naturally low THC levels. This means that their flowers also contain minimal amounts of THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis plants). These plants produce CBD rich buds that will not create any mind altering effects like those commonly associated with a THC high.

Is CBD flower legal?

Hemp derived CBD flower is legal in the U.S. as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC by dry weight. The 2018 Farm Bill recently legalized hemp federally as an agricultural crop, therefor making hemp flowers legal as well. Other cannabis plants may produce buds with high CBD and low THC concentrations, but these are not considered federally legal since they originate from marijuana cannabis strains.

How do you smoke CBD flower?

Smoking hemp is the preferred method of use for CBD flowers, especially for the converted user looking to gain relaxation without the high. Many people opt for pre-rolled joints or CBD cigarettes made from hemp flower, but others prefer to buy the buds and smoke them on their own terms.

While this isn’t necessarily the healthiest habit, it may be a better option for individuals who are looking for an alternative to nicotine cigarettes or psychoactive marijuana. Additionally, CBD flower has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. It’s not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

CBD Hemp Flower Benefits

Much like CBD oil, hemp flower is believed to have many beneficial effects that can be used to alleviate issues like chronic pain, anxiety, sleep troubles, and more. While most of this is based off of anecdotal evidence, some scientific studies have shown the benefits of CBD, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties that work to mitigate pain
  • Anxiolytic effects help reduce anxiety and stress
  • Potential neuroprotective properties

These wellness advantages appeal to many people, but it’s important to note that smoking CBD flower is not the healthiest way to benefit from CBD. Inhaling anything other than oxygen into your lungs can be harmful. So for people that choose to smoke hemp, there is typically a trade off between the relieving effects they may experience versus the internal effects they do not see.

Understanding Measurements

Although hemp and marijuana vary in their cannabinoid composition, their flowers are weighed in the same manner. Using the metric system, CBD hemp flowers are weighed from grams to ounces, and are often broken up even further into eighths, quarters, and half ounces.

There are 28 grams in one ounce, and 1 gram will likely be able to make two or three joints filled with hemp bud.

CBD flowers taken from industrial hemp plants are legal to sell in most states, and these products must comply with the laws set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on marketing and advertising. A supplier must deliver their products as described, including the weight of an item, when you are buying from them. If this isn’t done, the FTC will likely take action against the company supplying the product. So you should receive the amount of hemp flower you purchase, but it never hurts to check.

Smoking Hemp Flower vs. Taking CBD Oil

When you inhale smoke from hemp flowers, the CBD will take effect almost immediately as your lungs absorb the cannabinoids and transfer them into the bloodstream. This effect likely won’t last as long as ingesting CBD oil, which prolongs the on-set and steady absorption of CBD.

Smoking hemp flower looks and may even smell similar to marijuana, so be wary of this fact if you live in a state where recreational marijuana use is illegal. Hemp flower is legal, but it may cause confusion and unwanted attention, which should be taken into consideration.

Additionally, smoking is not good for your health — even if CBD flower may alleviate other issues like anxiety or pain. For this reason, we recommend exercising caution if you do decide to smoke hemp flower. Weigh the pros and cons, and consider other application methods when it comes to CBD.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Melena Gurganus is passionate about health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.