CBD oil is growing in popularity, with almost a third of Americans have used it. Some studies show CBD oil may reduce anxiety and offer relief from pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s an area that needs more research, but anecdotally some people are reporting benefits. CBD oil is now available in many outlets nationwide, but you might wonder how manufacturers make CBD oil and what exactly is in it?
CBD oil comes from the leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as the hemp plant.
In fact, hemp contains a variety of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which may explain some of their benefits. The endocannabinoid system affects factors like mood, appetite, and inflammation. However, CBD doesn’t create the psychogenic effects, also known as a “high,” that THC does.
According to the FDA, CBD is not a drug, but it has a long medical history dating back thousands of years. You can find CBD products described as full spectrum. This means they contain all the naturally occurring compounds in hemp, including trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%–not enough to have any effect). At the same time, broad-spectrum CBD is THC-free but has a variety of other cannabis compounds.
Growing the Hemp Plant
CBD oil comes from the hemp plant. The first step is growing the plants from seeds. Industrial hemp is planted during several different months, depending on the climate.
Experts harvest the hemp’s highest leaves during the first few weeks after planting, depending on the type of hemp used. While some types of hemp are harvested yearly, others are harvested every three to four years. Farmers grow some hemp for fiber, others for seeds, and some for CBD oil.
Drying the Leaves of the Hemp Plant and Extracting the Oil
Once the hemp plant reaches a particular stage, the leaves are dried, ground, and the CBD is extracted. There are two main ways manufacturers extract CBD. One type of extraction method uses carbon dioxide and requires high pressure but low temperatures. This is the cleanest way to extract the oil since it leaves behind no solvent residues.
Another method manufacturers use to extract cannabinoids from the plant is treating the leaves with high-grade grain alcohol, which serves as a solvent. This method may involve heating and is a less costly and time-consuming way to extract the active ingredients from the plant. However, it can leave behind residues that affect the aroma or taste of the oil. Some residues may be risky from a health standpoint, too.
When manufacturers use high temperature or pressure during extract, they may use a ‘winterization process’ to remove unwanted compounds from the mixture, such as fats and waxes. This method uses 200-proof alcohol, freezing and then filtering the mixture to remove then unwanted compounds. Then they remove the alcohol by heating the mixture. The goal is to keep as much of the cannabinoids and terpenes in the product as possible while removing unwanted compounds.
Diluting the Oil
After isolating and filtering CBD oil, manufacturers usually dilute the oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil. Using a carrier oil allows the manufacturer to adjust the concentration of the CBD and also boosts absorption.
Manufacturers may send a sample to a lab to ensure the concentration of the oil is appropriate and the sample is pure. The oil is available in forms you can take by mouth, chew on, or sprayed on your tongue. The most important part of the oil are the cannabinoids, phytochemicals that interact with the endocannabinoid system and may have other health benefits.
The Amount You Need May Vary
Before using CBD oil, talk to your doctor about how much CBD oil you should take and begin with a low amount. This is a patient-specific treatment, and your response will depend on other drugs you’re taking, your medical condition, and the level of treatment you have chosen.
Keep in mind that CBD, like other supplements, isn’t a drug, so it isn’t regulated in the same way medications are. In addition, the quality of CBD products may vary. So, do your research before taking one and buy from a reputable manufacturer.
- “The Complete Guide to How CBD Oil is Made | cbdMD.” 24 Mar. 2021,.cbdmd.com/blog/post/how-cbd-oil-is-made.
- “How Is CBD Oil Made? | Herb.” 19 Aug. 2019, https://herb.co/learn/cbd-oil-made/.
- “CANNABIDIOL (CBD): Overview, Uses, Side Effects ….” webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1439/cannabidiol-cbd/.