How to Extract CBD from Cannabis

how to extract cbd

CBD or Cannabidiol is also a cannabinoid produced by a cannabis plant.  It does not stimulate our bodies Cannabinoid Receptors namely CB1 and CB2 thus it does not give us the feeling of getting “high” like what THC does. What it does though is work with the proteins found in our brain and nervous system responsible in regulating our body’s cell activities. Thus CBD is not considered problematic and is somehow acceptable socially. It has mental, physical and therapeutic benefits and is a great alternative for those people who are wary of using marijuana to take advantage of the benefits that both plants have to offer. How to extract CBD is far less complicated than the extraction of THC.

In this article, we will list down ways on how to extract CBD from CBD buds or Hemp plants. It is quite simple and no huge or complicated equipment needed. 

4 Ways on How to Extract CBD from Hemp

1. Using Liquid Solvents

Examples of these liquid solvents are ethanol, hexane, butane or isopropyl alcohol. These liquid solvents are used to soak the plant matter and once the solvent evaporates, we will be left with oil like solution. This is the most inexpensive, simplest and most common way to extract CBD.

Steps on extracting CBD with liquid solvents

Step 1: Place the CBD bud into a container

Step 2: Pour the liquid solvent into the container like ethanol for example

Step 3: Heat the mixture until the hemp extract is the only thing left

The steps above are very straight-forward and easily done but it does have its drawbacks. Be mindful of the following:

  • These solvents are highly flammable thus proper precaution has to be applied when using this method. 
  • Chlorophyll is also extracted because of this method so expect the product to taste bitter
  • If solvents are not completely removed during the evaporation process, it can have adverse effects on the body.

2. Using C02 Extraction

The Carbon Dioxide method is the most expensive method. It also involves a complicated process but if done properly could result in a very safe and very potent product. This method can be done using an equipment called a “closed-loop extractor”.

The closed-loop extractor has 3 tanks: the solvent tank, the material tank, and the collections tank. The solvent tank holds the dry ice or the pressurized CO2, the material tank contains the dried hemp material and the collections tank is where the finished product is separated. The closed-loop extractor system was discussed by the Matt of the StrainShow.

Steps on extracting CBD using the C02 Extraction Method

Step 1: The solvent tank pumps CO2 into the material tank.

Step 2: The pressure and temperature should be specified in the material tank converting CO2 into a liquid-like substance. To be more specific, it is more like a state between liquid and gas called supercritical CO2.

Step 3: This substance, supercritical CO2, runs through the hemp material and extracts the required chemicals and flavors. This process all happens in the material tank and very much like the process is done using liquid solvents.

Step 4: The mixture is then pumped into the collections tank where it gets subjected to lower pressure and higher temperature than that in the material tank.

Step 5: In the collections tank, the CO2 rises to the top of the chamber while the product gathers at the bottom ready for collection.

The steps above require skill to apply most especially in adjusting the pressure and temperature for each tank. The upside greatly outweighs the downside that is why most professional extractors prefer this method. Not only does it provide fewer contaminants in the finished product, but it also takes a shorter amount of time for the product to be extracted.

3. Using Oil Extraction Method

This is the oldest extraction method available dating back to biblical times or even earlier. The most common oil used is olive oil.

Steps on extracting CBD using the Oil Extraction Method

Step 1: The hemp material is decarboxylated. Decarboxylation is the process of removing a carbon atom from a carbon chain. This process involves heat and time. The plant material has to be exposed to a specific temperature and a certain amount of time for decarboxylation to happen.

Step 2: Add the olive oil to the hemp material and heat it again for the cannabinoids to be extracted.

The oil method produces a less concentrated product compared to the other methods because the CBD oil is mixed in with the olive oil. This process is normally done for products that are for personal use.

4. Dry Ice / Ice Water Method

This method, though quite simple is time-consuming. It is very inexpensive and no equipment needed.

Steps on extracting CBD using the Dry Ice / Ice Water Method

Step 1: Chop or trim the CBD buds or plant material needed into very small pieces

Step 2: In a container (Container 1), mix the hemp material with the dry ice or ice water.

Step 3: Observe the trichomes. Once it freezes, proceed to step 4

Step 4: Cover container 1 with a mesh bag and turn it upside down. Prepare another container (Container 2).

Step 5: Shake container 1 with the intent of removing the frozen trichomes off the plant and letting them fall to container 2

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 to 6 as much as possible until the purest product is achieved. This can be done by using mesh bags with smaller holes.

Step 7: Gather the product that settles at the bottom of the strained mixture

Step 8: Dry them out until it is powdery

This process involves manual labor and can be tiring but it does leave you with more end product compared to the oil extraction method.

Final Thoughts

How to extract CBD is one of the common questions raised by high CBD weed users. It involves a fairly simple process requiring minimal equipment. Among all of the methods, it is safe to say and recommend that the most effective way to extract CBD is through the CO2 method. Noting that the equipment is expensive but the end product is safer to consume and with the highest quality compared to the other methods mentioned above.

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About The Author:

James Carico

James Carico

James is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger whose expertise is in the medical marijuana realm. His goal is to break the stigma towards marijuana and share knowledge and information about its brilliant characteristics that offer recreational benefits and boast medical benefits. He is an advocate of marijuana legalization worldwide as he believes everyone should have access to nature’s wonder herb. James enjoys a pot of Super Silver Haze marijuana in his free time as it not only brings him in a good mood but also relieves his body from pain and tension. He writes mainly on medical marijuana’s history, uses and benefits, and cultivation.