Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve likely heard of CBD oil by now. What is it? CBD stands for cannabidiol. Its a naturally occurring chemical that the hemp (cannabis sativa) plant produces. CBD is uniquely similar to other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG and THC. These all affect the endocannabinoid system or ECS which produces endocannabinoids. This system can be found in you, your dog and cat plus many other mammals. When triggered it releases potent endocannabinoids that assist with inflammation, reduce anxiety and offer an array of health promoting factors that assist with longevity. But how is it made? Let’s demystify the process of extracting CBD oil from hemp and how this is done, plus what it means for the final product.
How is CBD oil made?
All CBD oils and CBD products fundamentally come from CBD – that is obvious. They’re all a by-product of extraction and production processes, whether manual or industrial that leave you with end products like CBD fibre, CBD protein, CBD oil, CBD tinctures, CBD creams and topicals. Each of these can be used for the body in a different way and each has different advantages and disadvantages. While less common today, even more innovative and new methods of taking full spectrum CBD oil are cropping up around the world as technology improves, from sublingual strips, gummies, sprays and more. It’s becoming increasingly simple and effective to get the benefits of CBD CBD Oil without difficulty. These products can also be easy to transport, store and keep for a long period, having a strong perishable life.
What types of CBD products are there?
Firstly, let’s take a look at processing of the cannabis plant. Before being extracted and transformed into the products you know and use, cannabis is grown in industrial CBD plantations, which specialise in breeding cannabis strains that contain no THC to avoid the psychoactive and health risks associated with marijuana. Industrial CBD only contains cannabidiol and is used in a broad range of applications from rope to clothes to shoes. The plants are grown over time to their full mature adult forms which can take around 6 months, before they’re harvested and processed by drying and storing in cooling spaces. Depending on soil, moisture and environmental conditions this process can take longer or shorter periods of time, particularly if the plants are fertilised and fed well which can enhance their vitality and growth significantly.
Typically plants that are grown and cultivated indoors or within greenhouses and controlled environments are able to be much more methodically grown with greater efficiency, yielding more rich phyto cannabinoids and enhancing their fibres for industrial use. This type of agriculture is also usually better for the land as it will reduce the impact of phosphates and insecticides on soil and waterways. There are two categories of cannabis – sativa and indica, each having differing effects, physiology and botanical profiles. Sativa takes around 3-4 months to become fully mature and ready for harvest, compared to indica taking around 2-3 months. The plants are typically farmed in industrial CBD plantations in Australia which are heavily regulated and controlled to ensure no THC content enters the plants due to the law. Each farm and business owner can have differing agricultural and harvest practices, which vary from highly mechanised and automated operations to mum and dad organic farms. They also differ heavily in usage of GMO and pesticide techniques, which can greatly affect how the final product turns out – we prefer non GMO and pesticide sources to prevent any potential carcinogens or nasties from contaminating the product.
After the plants have matured they’re harvested and pesticide or herbicide spray might be washed from the plants in some cases, depending on the farmer. Increasingly herbicides like RoundUp are being found to be carcinogenic, with many other widespread industrial herbicides likely having negative effects which aren’t yet widely known or acknowledged by the agricultural industry. What’s common across all the harvest processes is they all must remove the long branches and stems of the plants which have little value commercially and contain very hard and strong fibers that are hard to use. These can be separated by hand or using machinery and automated processes.
How is this done? There are three key steps in removing the valuable buds, flowers and leaves that are used to reap the rich full spectrum CBD oils and extracts that can be used in products as well as CBD proteins. First, larger leaves from the outside of the plant (which have sharp triangular edges you may know) are taken off, these can be used for end products like CBD protein as they have minimal fiber content but contain much of the plant’s flesh and weight. Next, the plants are trimmed of their smaller inner leaves and stems which contain much of the buds as well as flowers used in cannabis oil and similar products. Extract oils can also be transformed into items like topical CBD cream for arthritis or moisturizing oils for the face. The final stage involves the flower buds and inner stems which contain lower concentration of oil and cannabidiol but can be used as concentrates in certain products.
How you use full spectrum CBD oil and the method selected depends entirely on your goals and preferences. We’ve taken a look today at how cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, CBD and THC are extracted from the cannabis or hemp plant in various extraction methods end to end. From growth and harvesting, trimming and sorting, processing and curing the plant. We then looked at how resin and extracts are removed from the plant matter through industrial methods either with solvents or through solvent-less methods (such as Co2 gas) that help to reduce potential industrial by-product contamination with solvents. Finally we did a deep dive into the types of hemp oil end products including tinctures, creams and edibles, the benefits, drawbacks and some important notes on each. Our last comment would be we recommend tinctures or CBD oil as the optimal method due to ability for dosage control and its flexibility yet effectiveness.