There are so many factors to take into account when shopping for high quality CBD – and these really are things that need to be adhered to, because it’s a serious matter. Anything you choose to put onto or into your body should always be selected with care, but when it comes to hemp it’s all the more important to find the purest option available.
There are a variety of extremely good reasons for this, including:
- The hemp/cannabis plant has the ability to suck up everything from the ground it’s planted in. All the nutrients and minerals in the earth, all the goodness from the plants around it, and all the toxic chemicals that might be used during the growing process. Because of this, industrial hemp crops are often grown to clean up contaminated land with the, now harmful, plant matter then being sold off for cheap CBD products. Even pesticide use is enough to render this amazing plant too poisonous for you to ideally want to mess with. So first and foremost, your CBD product must be organic.
- The extraction method used to obtain the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids for CBD oil makes a huge difference to the end product. Largely because this is the point where it’s decided which molecules actually get through the procedure – and therefore, into the bottle. Not only this, but the extraction method used can again make the difference between a contaminated product and a clean one, which I’ll go into in more detail below.
- The mg amount of CBD printed on the label (and the other cannabinoids for that matter) is not always the truth. Spot testing across the UK in recent years has revealed a large number of CBD products on the market are not all they claim to be. You can read a bit more about this here. To avoid being conned, make sure your CBD products are always 3rd party lab-tested and have the results to prove it.
Let’s delve a little into extraction methods, how these differ and which is best. There are two main options most CBD brands will use:
C02 Extraction Method
The most expensive way and the best way. There is no other method which extracts all desirable parts of the plant in a completely clean manner, and leaves all the bits you don’t want behind. It’s safe, it’s chemical free, it’s eco friendly and it produces the best quality oil in the greatest yield.
There are three different ways of doing this – supercritical, mid-critical and subcritical. They all begin the same, using a specialist machine to compress Co2 gas into cold liquid form which can then be used like a solvent but without any toxic chemicals. From here, there are a few different ways to go for different effects.
Now this is pretty cool. A supercritical fluid is when that liquid mentioned above is put under high temperature and pressure until it reaches a point in density where liquid and gas phased do not exist. The makes for a gas which behaves like liquid.
When this supercritical fluid is passed through cannabis sativa flowers, it simply and efficiently pulls out trichomes (which contain the densest amount of cannabinoids, including CBD and THC) and terpenes. The liquid and matter is then separated and then the Co2 can be reused. This is a great method for pure extraction, but the harsh nature of it means some precious terpenes and cannabinoids are lost. It will also have to go through another process to remove larger molecules, like chlorophyll, which when left in CBD oil can make you feel a little sick.
Opposite to supercritical, subcritical uses low pressure and low temperature to remove the cannabinoids and terpenes. As a result, the process takes longer and is less efficient, but certain fragile terpenes and cannabinoids are saved by taking the extra time. Better still, large molecules such as the unwanted chlorophyll can’t make it through. This is the premium choice for full spectrum products.
There’s also the option of mid-critical which merges both supercritical and subcritical processes and meets somewhere in the middle.
It’s quick, easy, flammable, potentially dangerous and damaging to delicate plant matter: solvent extraction is the preferred method for brands wanting to make money at your expense.
Using either ethanol, butane, propane, isopropyl, or alcohol, it’s possible to rapidly dissolve plant waxes and pull out some cannabinoids and terpenes. The larger molecules like chloropyhll also get through. The liquid is then put through an evaporation process to separate everything out, but solvent residue can be left on the matter which then makes its way into the final CBD products.
Overall, Co2 extraction is the only real option here. CBD products made this way may be a little more expensive, but it’s well, well worth it.