CBD (Cannabidiol) oil is the ubiquitous product associated with CBD and hemp. Not all CBD oil is made equal and the varying grades of product on the market have created confusion coupled with a lack of customer trust. Adding to the noise, CBD oil can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana, both of which fall under the genus cannabis. Confused yet?
Hemp originates from the cannabis sativa variety of the cannabis genus and it will not get you high. Why? Because cannabis is classified as hemp if it contains <0.2% THC (EU)/ <0.3% THC (USA)/ <1% THC (Switzerland). Where THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), is the psychoactive component in cannabis which makes users feel ‘high’. Marijuana on the other hand, usually features double digit THC percentages and close to zero CBD.
CBD is primarily extracted from hemp, due to the illegality of marijuana and the economic implications of meeting THC threshold requirements. Using hemp allows manufacturers to reach a wider market and permits for economic efficiencies as CBD is the core product harvested from the plants, usually using the whole plant and requires no removal of THC (as the plants are already producing on average below the THC threshold limits).
Using a clone (cutting) of a previously grown hemp plant farmers can ensure the crop meets their exact requirements in terms of CBD/THC percentage. Using seeds is another possibility, but this route adds ambiguity around the cannabinoid make up of the plant when harvested.
A clone is planted like a seed in the soil or using a mineral rich hydroponic system in the absence of soil. Where, hydroponic setups are used primarily indoor and permit for pre-set watering conditions to mimic the best case scenario. These are largely associated with growing hemp flowers, where the size and look of the flowers is near as important as content.
After 10-16 weeks the plants mature and they are harvested to move onto the next stage, drying and curing.
Once harvested, the plants are hung upside down to dry and cure. This is usually somewhere with optimum humidity (58%-62%) in order to avoid mould and mildew.
Usually, the curing process lasts around 30 days. After which the flower is processed by separating it from the seeds and stalks of the plant. This is then ground down by a machine into a coffee ground like substance.
The CBD in these grounds is then extracted from the material. The most common (and most efficient) extraction method is called CO2 (carbon dioxide) supercritical extraction. This uses liquid CO2 at a very high pressure to push the cannabinoid trichomes and terpenes out of the plant matter and into a liquid. This liquid forms the basis of hemp extract which is then lightly heated (unless it is a raw CBD oil) and later combined with a diluent (usually hemp seed oil or MCT oil) to form CBD oil.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nature & Bloom and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention for any disease. Nature & Bloom products have not been evaluated by the MHRA.