Delta Separations explains some main methods of cannabinoid extraction. One of the most efficient extraction methods of how to make CBD oil is CO2 extraction, which is also one of the most expensive extraction methods. The other extraction methods are ethanol, hydrocarbons such as propane, and supercritical carbon dioxide.
CO2 extraction is an advanced form of extraction technology used to isolate high concentrations of CBD from raw hemp. The CO2 extraction process uses high-pressure CO2 to push the raw hemp under freezing temperatures, where the CBD crystallizes out of the hemp.
The CO2 extraction process yields CBD oil that is 80% pure or higher, has a very high quality, and is completely safe to consume. CO2 extraction is often referred to as supercritical CO2 extraction because the CO2 is under extreme pressure and temperature conditions where it behaves like a supercritical fluid.
CO2 extraction equipment
To extract CBD oil with the CO2 method, manufacturers will typically start with a large CO2 extraction machine that can process up to 100 kilograms of hemp per day. These CO2 extraction machines are extremely expensive and are used to extract CBD oil from hemp grown in large fields. For manufacturers working on a smaller scale, there are tabletop CO2 extractors that can process about 3 kilograms of hemp per day and cost about $20,000.
Ethanol extraction is another method of extracting CBD oil from hemp and is a much cheaper option than CO2 extraction. Ethanol extraction is also considered to be a safer extraction method than the previously discussed CO2 extraction. However, the quality of the final product is significantly reduced with ethanol extraction. Ethanol extraction uses ethanol (or other alcohol like butane) as the solvent to dissolve the CBD out of the raw hemp.
It yields a product that contains lower doses of CBD and higher amounts of terpenes than the CO2 method. And while the quality of the final product is lower, the price is significantly lower, too. Ethanol extraction is a cost-effective way of extracting CBD oil from raw hemp and can be done at a larger scale than CO2 extraction.
Ethanol extraction equipment
Ethanol extraction is performed with something called an extractor. Extractors are large pieces of equipment that look like a large vat. They are usually made of stainless steel and can be customized to fit the needs of any manufacturer. Inside the extractor, raw hemp is mixed with ethanol or another alcohol and rotated for several hours.
The rotation helps the raw hemp break apart so the CBD can be separated from the other materials. Once the raw hemp has been pushed through the extractor, the resulting liquid will contain high concentrations of CBD and other organic compounds from the raw hemp.
Other technologies to extract CBD
Other extraction technologies are also used to extract CBD oil from hemp. Supercritical CO2 extraction, hydrocarbons such as propane, and supercritical CO2 extraction are all possible extraction methods. Supercritical CO2 extraction works very similarly to the CO2 extraction process previously discussed.
However, supercritical CO2 is more affordable and many companies are currently using this method to extract CBD. Hydrocarbons such as propane are also used to extract CBD oil from hemp. Ethanol extraction is another method that is less expensive than CO2 extraction.
As the CBD oil market continues to grow, manufacturers will continue to look for more efficient and cost-effective methods to extract CBD oil from hemp.