Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a natural, non-psychoactive concentrate extracted from the stalks and seeds of cannabis plants like hemp. Decades of research indicate that CBD, one of over 100 cannabinoids presently identified in cannabis plants, interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a complex signaling network that regulates a variety of biological processes like inflammation responses, pain management, relaxation, mood, sleep, metabolism, and appetite.
CBD helps the endocannabinoid system keep our systems in balance, and these effects have shown to be potentially beneficial in many ways, including possibly reducing seizures, managing pain, and curbing anxiety. Because of these exciting scientific discoveries, CBD oil is now high in demand.
Here we go over where CBD oil comes from and the manufacturing process it undergoes before it’s delivered to consumers like you and your family.
High-CBD, Low-THC Plants
The first step in making CBD oil is to cultivate and harvest plants that contain particularly high concentrations of CBD. CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis varieties that are naturally abundant in CBD and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that elicits a high.
Many CBD oil products are extracted from hemp, rather than other members of the cannabis family, as CBD dominates the plant’s makeup. Cannabinoid content can vary greatly, even among hemp varieties, so the ones used to produce CBD oil are uniquely potent. A combine harvester is typically used to efficiently harvest the plants.
Once the plants are harvested, they’re ready for the extraction process. There are many extraction solvents that can be used to separate and collect the essential oils and compounds from the stalks and seeds of hemp. Ideally, producers utilize a supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) process, which utilizes non-toxic fluid CO2 as a solvent. Supercritical CO2 is listed as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA and is used extensively for commercial extraction in the food industry.
To extract all the desired materials, the solvent is forced through the ground plant material. This pulls out the CBD, essential oils, lipids, and beneficial compounds. The solvent is then removed from the final product, yielding oil that is naturally high in CBD.
While testing standards vary between manufacturers, ideally CBD oil is examined for cannabinoid content reliability and safety prior to being released on the market. Experienced technicians should test for degradation, damage, or contamination in the oil to ensure that consumers receive only safe, reliable CBD oil.
Most CBD oil products also undergo decarboxylation, a heating process that transforms the cannabinoids into a form that is easily usable by the body. Cannabinoids that are decarboxylated are able to immediately interact with the endocannabinoid system’s cannabinoid receptors.
Pure CBD oil can be consumed directly. However, over the years, the market has begun to offer a wider array of additional CBD oil products such as capsules, tinctures, liquids, and body care products that are applied topically.
When CBD oil is derived from hemp, it’s legal under federal law and available in most major markets, although some states have passed their own laws regulating CBD and/or hemp.
You may also be interested in these related articles:
- What are the Side Effects of CBD/Cannabinoid Products?
- 4 Questions You Need to Ask About Your Cannabinoid Product
- How to Take CBD Oil: Sublingual, Topical and Inhalation Options