August 26, 2022 5 min read


What is the process of CBD oil extraction? What are some of the methods used in the extraction of CBD oil? Are the methods effective? This article explains how CBD oil is extracted and made.

The procedure for making CBD oil begins from the seed level of the hemp plant. CBD products are manufactured using organic hemp plant extracts. Various brands use different extraction methods, including CO2 and ethanol, to obtain useful elements of the hemp plant. During crafting, they minimize chemicals. CBD oil is tested for potency and purity levels. Cultivation of the cannabis plant was legalized in 2018 after a long debate on its potential health and wellness benefits and risks. Most people have been investing in CBD products. McGregor et al. (2020) state that over 200 CBD manufacturers in the USA offer different CBD products such as capsules, vapes, edibles, capsules, topicals, and pet products. The products are formulated in three types of CBD; isolate, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum. Some manufacturers offer them different flavors to help consumers evade the natural taste of the hemp plant. Various companies use different extraction and manufacturing methods to obtain their products.

Hemp Farming

After the legalization of hemp growth within the USA, most states allow its growth. According to Campbell and Singh (2017), any CBD veteran interested in getting quality organic hemp products pays attention to the farming practices engaged by the company. The best hemp comes from Colorado, Oregon, and Kentucky in the USA. Most brands have their farms and manufacturing facilities within these regions to monitor the quality of their products. Best performing CBD brands in the market have hired a team of agricultural experts to oversee the cultivation from the seed level to harvesting. Their role is to ensure organic farming practices are upheld. They ensure no artificial fertilizers and pesticides are used during cultivation since their particles might intrude on the end products even after extraction. CBD companies producing their hemp assess the soil fertility and its history to ensure it is void of chemical compounds.

Extraction Method

After harvesting the hemp plant, most companies take it to the manufacturing facility within 24 hours. Leonard (2010) explains that companies with centralized labs assess the purity of their hemp before extraction to ensure they are void of artificial fertilizers and pesticides compounds that might interfere with the purity of their products. Although various extraction methods, such as steam distillation and solvent, most brands prefer CO2. The use of CO2 has become a popular way of separating CBD from other plant materials due to its effectiveness and reliability. The method involves various pressuring chambers that pump and funnel CO2, exposing low temperatures and high pressure, which leads to oil extraction with high CBD. In the first chamber, CO2 is pumped into the second, which has the hemp plant exposed to supercritical CO2. The exposure to high pressure on hemp plants leads to the segregation of hemp oil. Then, oil and CO2 are funneled simultaneously into the third chamber. During cooling, the gas evaporates, leaving pure CBD oil extracts manufactured in various products.

Steam distillation

According to Ubeed et al. (2022), steam distillation is the most effective method of obtaining CBD extracts. It consists of a distillation tank with an inlet and outlet where organic hemp plants are forced. It also comprises a separate water tank connected through the inlet located on the lower side of the distillation tank. The outlet is meant to collect deposits connected to a different tank. After ensuring all the connection is done, water is heated in the first tank, making the vapor travel upwards to the distillation tank to separate CBD containing the oil vapors. The vapor is further collected in the third tank, where it's further distilled to separate water from CBD used to manufacture various CBD products. Thus, the method is regarded as ineffective since it requires more plants per extraction and might not be effective for specific potency levels.

Solvent Extraction

Although the method seems somehow reliable and related to steam distillation, the solvent is used in place of water. It also uses alcohol, butane, propane, or various compounds soaked with solvent to strip the cannabinoids. Then the evaporation process is applied to eliminate the solvents from the concentrated CBD oil. The method is considered dangerous due to flammable risks. Also, not all solvents exist in the products, posing intoxication risks. Out of the three methods, Al Bulushi et al. (2018) suggests that the supercritical CO2 extraction method is highly preferred because it minimizes contamination risks of the products and the environment. Individuals should consider a brand using CO2 for their safety while going for CBD products.

Manufacturing Process

CBD oil/tinctures are made with hemp plant extracts, unlike other products such as chocolates, where various elements have to be blended in. Most manufacturers minimize the total chemicals used in the products to lower contamination risks. Also, various elements such as MCT oil (coconut oil) are considered due to their effectiveness. According to Zheng (2020), MCT oil is widely used due to its bioavailability features that speed up its absorption in the bloodstream. After manufacturing, the products are tested for their purity and potency. Companies offering the best products in the market use a centralized certified lab within their manufacturing facility. As a result, they can test the purity of all their raw materials before manufacturing. Also, it allows them to test their end products at least three times to ensure they are safe for consumption. After the assessment, they offer the lab reports on each product on their website for customer verification. Brands aiming to meet the highest transparency levels offer QR codes on each batch to allow customers to assess lab reports on each product.


The manufacturing process and extraction method are one thing individuals cannot fail to pay attention to, especially if they are going for quality products. To ensure proper methods are used during production, users should conduct background research on the brand they are getting their products from. Pay attention right from the seed level of the hemp to ensure sustainable farming practices have been used. Consider a brand using the CO2 extraction method to avoid since it's effective and minimizes contamination of the products and the environment. One should go for a brand that posts its team of experts involved in their production and bios to affirm to the customers that quality is well taken care of. Ensure the brand assesses the purity and potency of its products before releasing them to the market.   


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