Information On How Is CBD Made

how is cbd made

Posted on May 18th, 2022

More and more people are learning about CBD and the potential benefits that it can deliver in relieving negative health symptoms. Because CBD can come from different varieties of the Cannabis plant, people often wonder how is CBD made and whether it can cause them to feel “high.” To answer these questions, it is important to explain what CBD is and how it is related to the other plant chemicals in the Cannabis plant.

What Is CBD? how is cbd made

CBD is an abbreviated name for cannabidiol. It is a plant compound produced by the Cannabis plant. These plant compounds are called cannabinoids, and the Cannabis plant has over a hundred different cannabinoids.

The compound, also called cannabidiol, is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the plant. It’s second only to its cousin, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabinoid. How much CBD and THC are in the plant depends on the plant’s genetic development. Cannabidiol comes from hemp while THC comes from marijuana. Hemp and marijuana belong to the same Cannabis plant genus, but they are different varieties.

Why make such a big deal to differentiate the two? The main difference between CBD and THC is that THC is psychoactive. That is why marijuana makes you feel “high” and is a controlled substance in the U.S.

In contrast, CBD is not psychoactive. Therefore, products containing cannabidiol don’t make you high and are legal.

Actually, the U.S. 2018 Farm Bill made that distinction clearly. Up until the passing of the Farm Bill, hemp was in the same classification with marijuana as a controlled substance. However, scientists concluded that if the level of THC in a Cannabis plant is less than 0.3 percent, it will not have psychoactive effects. Hemp has less than 0.3 percent of THC. Therefore, hemp farmers lobbied for hemp to be removed from the classification as a controlled substance. After much lobbying, the government reclassified hemp as an agricultural commodity via the 2018 Farm Bill.

Hemp growers still must register and agree to cultivate hemp in a manner that will ensure the THC level of their crop stays below 0.3 percent.

Hemp’s legalization opened the floodgate to manufacturers. Plus, scientists studied the compound closely and found it may support pain relief, calming anxiety symptoms, reducing inflammation, and much more.

How is CBD Made? Different Types of Cannabidiol

CBD acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is a neural network of signals, receptors and enzymes. Also known as the ECS, the system affects almost every function in the human body. It regulates sleep patterns, emotions, cognitive abilities, eating and appetite, immune processes, and much more. Cannabinoids, like CBD, can influence these processes through the ECS.

Choosing the Best Extraction MethodEthanol Extraction CBD - plants soaking in vials full of ethanol

Here are a few common methods that manufacturers use in extracting CBD:


Producers add a solvent, such as a food grade ethanol, to the hemp plant parts to dissolve the cannabinoids. When the solvent evaporates, it leaves behind the oil, terpenes, and other compounds. Further distillation refines the end product into a pure CBD oil.

This method is efficient and inexpensive. However, there is a risk during production because solvents are flammable. Also, there is chance that some traces of the solvent can remain in the final product.

Olive Oil:

The raw hemp plant goes through a heating process until it reaches a specific temperature. Then it is combined with the olive oil, and the mixture goes through another heating process to extract cannabinoids. Because the olive oil will not evaporate, the end product is not an extract, but an oil infused with cannabidiol.

This method is also inexpensive and simple to execute. There is no concern about harmful solvents remaining behind. The natural oil is more perishable, however. And because this extraction method is not precise and yields less active ingredients by volume, you’d need a higher dose to notice any results.

Distillation by steam:

With this method, you apply steam to the plant matter, freeing the cannabinoids. The steam vapor that is infused with the compound goes through a cooling and condensation stage. The finishing stage separates the water from the cannabidiol oil.

This method is inexpensive and pure, free of any solvents. However, it is not efficient. You need to use more plant material to produce the oil. Also, the heat can damage the properties of cannabinoids that are sensitive to heat. Plus, it’s difficult to predict how much product you’ll produce.

Carbon Dioxide:

This is a highly precise and sophisticated process that requires a special 3-chamber apparatus. In the first chamber, CO2 gas converts into liquid under high pressure and cold temperature. Then, the pressure and temperature are adjusted in reverse slowly until the liquid CO2 becomes a hybrid of a gas and a liquid. Once at this stage, the chamber pumps the CO2 into a second chamber that contains the hemp plant parts. As the C02 goes through the hemp, it separated the cannabinoid-rich oil from the plant material. This oil and CO2 enter a third chamber where the CO2 evaporates, leaving a pure CBD oil.

This method is precise and safe, but extremely expensive.

How is CBD Made: Three Forms of Cannabidiol

– Full-Spectrum: A full-spectrum product contains other helpful cannabinoids, including THC (but not more than 0.3%). The extraction process tries to retain as much of the original ratio of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes from the original plant as possible. The challenge is that the extraction process often sacrifices a good amount of flavonoids and terpenes because they are unstable. An extraction process using ethanol and low heat, or one that extracts slowly, is often the extraction method of choice in producing full-spectrum CBD.

– Broad-Spectrum: A broad-spectrum product contains other cannabinoids, but not THC. After extraction full-spectrum cannabidiol can go through further distillation to remove the THC, leaving behind a broad-spectrum product.

– Isolate: An isolate is CBD in its purest form. The cannabidiol goes through more solvent processes until only the 99.9% pure crystalline powder remains. The processing cost is expensive given the extra steps required.

Incorporating CBD Into Different Types of Products

– Pure extracts: There are two delivery methods for the extract. The first is through a vaporizer. The CBD extract is placed in a vaporizer through which the user can inhale the CBD vapors. The vapors travel from the lungs into the bloodstream. This is a quick delivery method, but here is some risk to people who have lung issues.

– Tinctures and oils: These have a base that is an oil, a glycerin, or alcohol. One delivery method is to dispense a dose of the tincture with a dropper under the tongue so the soft tissue can absorb the extract and quickly distribute it into the bloodstream. A dropper can also add the CBD oil or tincture to a beverage or food.

– Edibles: CBD product producers can add CBD extract to edible products like gummy candies, chocolates, brownies, granola bars, beverages, and more. Producers add the extract after the food product is cooked in order to preserve the potency. Since the cannabidiol goes through the digestive process, it might take a little longer for the user to feel the benefits. Edibles are a convenient way to take CBD, but the dosage would not be as precise as taking an extract.

– Topicals: these are lotions and creams infused with CBD that you can apply to areas of the body that can benefit from CBD to reduce inflammation or pain.

– Water-soluble products: producers introduced these newer products on the basis that water-soluble CBD has a better or faster absorption rate than a CBD oil. The improved bioavailability is supposed to enable the active ingredients to enter the bloodstream faster, thus delivering the benefits quicker.

In Summary

Researchers continue to study how to create cannabidiol that’s more bioavailable. The potential benefits are promising. Under the supervision of a doctor, it can potentially be a good supplement to improving one’s health.



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