Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a natural concentrate that’s extracted from the seeds and stalks of cannabis plants like hemp. It’s one of over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis and has been the subject of extensive research, found to provide a wide range of possible health benefits. As the compound is non-psychoactive, it does not give users a “high” making it an excellent and effective alternative for those who don’t want the mind-altering effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD interacts with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which is a complex network regulating many different biological processes such as mood, the inflammation response, metabolism, sleep, pain management and appetite. A 2019 Gallup poll found that one in seven Americans are personally using CBD-based products, with more and more discovering it after the passage of a federal law that legalized the hemp form of cannabis.The effects of CBD on the endocannabinoid system helps to keep things in balance, bringing the potential to manage pain, curb anxiety, reduce seizures and more.
Harvesting the Plants
The first step in making CBD is to cultivate and harvest plants with naturally high concentrations of CBD, and low concentrations of THC. Many CBD products are extracted from hemp as CBD dominates the makeup of the plant, although the total content can vary significantly. The plants used to make CBD are uniquely potent.
After the plants are harvested, it’s time to extract the CBD, which can be done using multiple different types of solvents which separate and collect the compounds and oils from the seeds and stalks of the plants. One of the most common extraction methods for CBD uses CO2, taking advantage of its unique properties that allow it to function in gas, liquid and solid states. Extraction begins by using solid CO2 which gets pumped into a second chamber that contains cannabis material. The chamber is kept at a pressure that allows CO2 to stay in a liquid state, absorbing the flavors and oils of the plant. The mixture of cannabinoid and CO2 is then pumped into a third chamber where CO2 then returns to a gas state, leaving behind the plants’ flavors and oils.
There are other substances that may be used such as butane, ethanol or hexane, with the process working in much the same way as the CO2 process.
While standards vary among manufacturers, generally testing involves the CBD being examined for safety and cannabinoid content before it’s released onto the market. Experienced technicians test for damage, contamination or degradation to ensure that purchases receive a reliable, safe product.
Third-party testing is an important indication of reliability and transparency as anyone can claim to use the highest quality pesticide-free hemp in all of their products, lab results are the only real way to know for sure. A reliable brand will be transparent and forthright when it comes to the results of third-party lab testing, with Certificates of Analysis provided on their website. You may also be able to see results for specific batches, a great way to ensure that the particular product you’ve purchased, from CBD dabs to CBD topicals, is clean, safe and effective.