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3 common ways of extracting CBD from hemp

CBD can be extracted from hemp in a few ways and it is quite important to know how your CBD is extracted as it can affect the quality of a product and even how it may interact with your body.

In order for CBD to work properly and be edible for humans, the CBD has to be extracted to separate the cannabinoids. This is done by being decarboxylated, which means, applying heat. Cannabinoids that can be ingested, such as oils, pills and gummies, need decarboxylation so they can work properly in the human body. This causes partial decarboxylation and once inhaled, they become completely decarboxylated. Raw cannabis not only tastes foul. But can also pose harmful risks for people which is why extraction is so important.

The three most common ways to extract CBD are:

olive oil, solvent and CO2 extraction. The olive oil extraction process is the most traditional method. People have been using this method for a long time. It is very safe and cheap and easy to do. However, it often doesn’t produce the best quality CBD products. As the olive oil doesn’t evaporate so the concentration of the product isn’t high. It also needs to be stored in a dark, cool place as it can disintegrate.  The hemp is decarboxylated to make sure the chemicals in the plant are triggered. Then olive oil is added and the hemp and oil is heated again, which is when the cannabinoids are extracted. 

Solvent extraction is cheap, simple and quick but it is also the most dangerous method of extraction. It involves using ethanol, butane, propane, isopropyl or alcohol to extract the CBD. Solvent extraction softens the waxes from the plant which hold a lot of nutrients. It extracts the cannabinoids and also the chlorophyll, which is responsible for the bitter taste some CBD products have. Next, the flowers and trimmings from the hemp plant are put into a container. The solvent is then put through the material, taking out the cannabinoids. The final step is evaporation, which turns the cannabinoids into an oil form.

CO2 Extraction

CO2 extraction is the leading method of extraction, as it is safe and produces nice-tasting products, but it is the most expensive method, which also means the finished products cost more too. This method uses a ‘closed-loop extractor’ which is a machine that has three chambers.

The first chamber has pressurized dry ice (CO2), the second has dried hemp and the third is used to isolate the end result. CO2 is pumped into the second chamber, which turns into a form between gas and liquid. This then runs through the dried hemp plant and extracts the cannabinoids. It is pumped into the third chamber where the CO2 moves to the top and leaves the extract at the bottom of the chamber.


CBD Awareness Project, (2019), CBD Extraction Methods. Available at:

Tesser Naturals, (2019), CBD Extraction Methods Explained, Austin. Available at:

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