How is CBD Oil Made and Extracted?


Most people when they hear the words hemp and marijuana, the first thing that comes to their minds is getting high. Even with all the studies of the benefits of this plant, it is still stigmatized by society. For those of us who know a little bit more about the plant, we know that along with THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as it is also known, the plant also has other different beneficial active compounds.

There are more than 400 chemical entities within the Cannabis plant. Among these, at least 60 are cannabinoid compounds.

Domestic Vs. Imported

Hemp has been illegal in the United States for nearly 80 years. This is due to paranoia about the dangers of marijuana during the Nixon Era. But this changed in 2014 after the Farm Bill was signed into law, therefore, allowing American farmers to grow this lucrative and important crop legally. However, they are allowed to do this under strict provisions.

Since the signing of this bill into law, the legal status of hemp and its products have remained confusing, with legal dramas unfolding in different states due to the contradictory and confusing laws of cannabis and hemp cultivation, sale and distribution.

With this confusion, many farmers in the United States have been left out of the boom in CBD oil. However, growers in Florida, Georgia, and Nevada (among other states) have been actively taking part in their hemp pilot programs and the infrastructure needed to ensure smooth distribution of the product to the market.

With that said and done, China is, without a doubt, the biggest hemp producer in the world. This plant has been grown for centuries without any ban or restrictions from the different dynasties and regimes that have ruled the country. It is most likely that if you buy CBD oil and it is not indicated on the packaging where the hemp was sourced from, then the chances are that it came from China.

People have raised their concern over the quality of the product coming from China. This is due to the lack of transparency about the use of chemicals such as pesticides in the country's agricultural sector. One vendor we reviewed had these harmful things found in the product. For this reason and also for political ones, many people are interested in supporting the US grown and sourced hemp. Their political reason is making sure the money goes back to American farmers rather than to foreign ones.

Full Plant vs. Flower Only

You might come across some CBD oils being marketed as based on the "flowers only." This is the best quality product because the buds and flowers of cannabis contain the highest concentration of the full terpene and cannabinoid profile in the plant.

This means that products made from only the flowers have a higher concentration of CBD than those made from the full plant and a small concentration, you can lead a highly concentrated product. This is good because the process of concentrating the extracted oils can also increase the strength of other components such as pesticide residues, which is something you want to avoid.

The only drawback to flowers only CBD oil is that it is more expensive to produce as compared to the full plant variant. Therefore, when you see "flowers only" listed by the manufacturer, know that it is a product from a high-quality vendor like Lazarus Naturals for example who invest a lot into their manufacturing process.

CBD Oil Extraction Methods

There a various types of extraction methods with some safer for the body than others. They might sound quite complicated but we will explain them all in great detail.

Full Spectrum vs CBD Isolate

There are two main kinds of cannabinoid products in the CBD industry. These products are full spectrum and CBD Isolate. It is important to note and understand the difference between the two.

Full spectrum CBD oil is produced in a process that takes full advantage of all the entities that cannabis contains. This product has different variants based on the extraction method and the strain of marijuana used to make it.

Full spectrum CBD oil cost a little more than CBD isolate products. This is because only the most beautiful quality hemp is used and the whole extraction process is more labor intensive than that of CBD isolate oil products. For instance, hemp grown with pesticides mainly used in agriculture cannot be used in making full spectrum CBD oil. If used, they can cause a buildup of toxins in the final product, which can be harmful to the user's health.

Full spectrum CBD oil has the "Entourage Effect", and that is why most people prefer it. The Entourage Effect, in a nutshell, is the belief that when cannabinoids are found together as they appear in the plant, there is a synergistic effect. As a result, the product's overall healing power is better than that of a product made using isolated compounds. Some research supports this belief though it is not accepted everywhere.

CBD isolate oils, on the other hand, are made through a process where chemicals are used to isolate cannabidiol. This process is beneficial and can remove nearly all other chemicals from the hemp plant, leaving you with a product that is 99% pure CBD isolate.

A good number of people prefer CBD isolates to full spectrum because they have more precise dosing and are usually cheaper than later. CBD isolate also allows producers to completely remove THC from the product during the manufacturing process, therefore, helping them legal disputes especially in states that prohibit CBD products containing trace amounts of the compound.

Petroleum Based Solvents

This is the dirtiest and lowest quality method of extraction. CBD oils made from this extraction method are considered to be of poor quality.

Extracting the vital components of cannabis using this petroleum-based solvent was the first method used and was pioneered by Rick Simpson. Rick is credited for making ROS or Rick Simpson Oi from cannabis, which was the first CBD oils product. He claimed that the product helped cure his cancer, therefore starting the buzz surrounding the healing power of marijuana and hemp oil.

Naptha, which is a petroleum-based solvent was used in Simpson's original recipe. This solvent is very carcinogenic, irritates the skin and lungs, extremely flammable and is volatile. CBD oil made using this solvent is not safe to use since trace amounts of the solvent are left behind. Other than concerns about its safety, this is the cheapest method of making hemp oil.

It is advised that you look for a third-party lab test before purchasing CBD oil. Also, check for a solvent test together with lab results of a product before buying it to verify that it is clean of dangerous petroleum-based Solvents.

Alcohol Extraction

There are serval ways that producers use to extract whole plant CBD oil. One of the methods is alcohol extraction, and Rick Simpson is also credited for developing it.

During the extraction process, the hemp plant is soaked in grain alcohol or any others type of alcohol solvent. After soaking it, the liquid that is left behind is the one that contains CBD and other cannabinoids. At this point, the oil is ready for use and you can either add it to edible products or consume it. Commercial producers use this method of extraction and ethanol as the solvent.

When using ethanol, the hemp or marijuana plant is soaked ethanol. A process called "Roto-Vap" is used where the CBD concentrated ethanol solution moves through it. The process heats the compound to fasten the evaporation of ethanol. The Roto-Vap captures the ethanol solution for reuse and CBD left behind.

Super Critical CO2 Extraction

CO2 can also be used to extract CBD from hemp or cannabis. The method involves forcing CO2 through the plant to extract the oil. This is a very complicated process and requires a more skilled person and tools to extract the oil than the alcohol extraction method needs successfully.

What you need in this extraction method are a series of chambers for the extraction. This chambers will be used to control temperature and pressure during the process. The CO2 and cannabinoid solution will react with one another and then separate inside the chambers due to pressure and temperature. The cannabinoids are collected by the chambers separately as they separate. The cannabinoids to put in the product can then be chosen at this stage by the extractor.


This method is used as the second step in the making of CBD oil for sale. The good thing about this method is that it can be used together with any other extraction method in the final stages of the manufacturing process, making sure that the final product is free from chlorophyll and other unwanted plant materials. However, some manufacturers do not use this process because it is a bit expensive. 

This process is useful because terpene and cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants react to chromatographic materials, while less desirable components are not. 


Decarboxylation is another chemical process that is sometimes applied to marijuana and hemp products. This process entails converting the extracted cannabinoids from their acidic form to one that is neutral and that the body can readily absorb.

When exposed to heat, decarboxylation, or metabolic processes, CBDA (a compound found in the plant) becomes CBD.

CBD Oil Products

CBD oil is usually added to a variety of products even though it can be used directly once it is made. CBD oil on its own does not taste well in the mouth. That is why flavoring is added in the final step of the production process to make the final product more appealing to the taste buds.

Below is a list of some of the most popular CBD products that you will see online or stores:

CBD Capsules


These are CBD oil's pill form. These soft gel capsules are usually packed into vegan-friendly capsules or contain gelatin. These pills are the easiest way to take CBD supplements and also have exact dosing.

CBD Oil Tinctures


This product is a hemp product in its most basic form. The components used to make it include a carrying liquid that is used to dilute the CBD oil for dosing purposes and the CBD oil extract itself. This product is usually packaged in a small eyedropper bottle and can be applied directly to the skin for topical relief, added to drinks and foods, or taken directly under the tongue.

CBD Edibles


CBD oil is now being increasingly used in various edible products such as baked goods, gum, drinks, candies, and CBD infused gummies. In edibles, an isolated form of CBD is used other than the full spectrum oil. This is because heat is used in the making of these edibles and it can result in the degradation of the cannabinoids.

CBD Topical's


CBD Topicals are CBD oil-based skin care products. Among its ingredients are those that serve as lotions, cream, and salve.


So there we have, as you can see the process for making CBD Oil varies greatly on what time of product is being credited and whether cost or quality is the main priority. Hopefully now you know as well that choosing the cheapest CBD Oil products might not be the best choice especially when your health is on the line. Companies can also lie about their extraction methods so it's always recommended to find a company with Lab Reports published from a genuine testing facility. 

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