From Seed to Serum: How CBD Products Are Made

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Our recommendations are based on our own opinions and research, and we only recommend products or services that I believe will benefit my readers. The commission we earn helps support the content on this blog.

Author: Jason Beverly

Cannabidiol is rapidly becoming a wonder drug that can help people manage conditions as disparate as menstrual discomfort and AIDS — and there is some good initial research that indicates CBD isn’t just a placebo. CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system, helping stimulate the body to heal itself in a way many other drugs fail to do safely.

cbd oil in dropper being dropped out

Yet, many people still fail to believe in the potential power of CBD. How can a compound from marijuana be so effective? Why doesn’t it make users high? Can it really be a true cure-all as it is marketed? Thought we don’t have all the answers yet, we can learn quite a bit about CBD by looking into how it is made.

Cannabidiol Inside Cannabis

CBD is the second most-prevalent cannabinoid within the cannabis plant, after psychoactive THC. Unlike THC, CBD is found in all types of cannabis — both marijuana and hemp — but only within the aerial components of the plant, or the stems, leaves and flowers above the soil line. Though the plant fibers themselves do contain some CBD, the vast majority of the cannabinoid is found in trichomes, or tiny glass-like tubes that appear like glittering frosting and make the plant both fragrant and sticky.

Trichomes contain most of the over-100 cannabinoids in cannabis, many of which give the plant resistance to threats like mold and mildew, various pests, ultraviolet radiation and more. This kind of protection is essential for female plants preparing for fertilization and the development of seeds, and that is precisely when trichomes grow in abundance on all plant surfaces touching the air. Thus, farmers need to raise only female crops to sexual maturity before they can begin the extraction process.

CBD Extraction Processes

Once a cannabis crop is ripe with CBD and ready to be transformed into a usable product, it must undergo an extraction process to remove the unwanted components, like the fibrous plant matter and other cannabinoids, from the desired CBD. There are several different extraction processes, and the best involve complex equipment and volatile solvents to strip the CBD from the rest of the plant. Here are some common extraction processes used to make CBD products:

Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

Cannabis is loaded into a tube and rinsed with liquid butane, which dissolves all hydrocarbons (cannabinoids and aroma-producing terpenes) within the plant matter. Then, excess butane is separated from the concentrate through heat and pressure, and the concentrate can be further purified of terpenes with a process called winterization, or rinsing the concentrate with alcohol and freezing it.

Propane Hash Oil (PHO)

Propane functions similarly to butane, stripping cannabis’s hydrocarbons in a wash. However, propane has a much lower boiling temperature and tends to result in colder extractions that produce a less-pure final product, like crumble.

cbd distillate in jar being swirled by scientist
Ethanol Extraction

There are both warm and cold ethanol extraction processes. The former boils ethanol and drips the steam through packed cannabis material, thereby stripping the cannabinoids. This process does require additional dewaxing and clarification steps. Room-temperature or super-cooled ethanol produces much purer concentrates, like shatter.

Supercritical Flued Extraction (SFE)

Entirely lacking a solvent, SFE relies on a specialized machine to freeze and compress carbon dioxide into a supercritical liquid state. Then, the CO2 is passed through the cannabis material, extracting cannabinoids and terpenes.

Extraction is expensive, complicated and dangerous, so it is best left to experienced professionals. Home extractors can make any number of critical mistakes, risking their health, property and more. Because CBD concentrates are so easy to access, most everyone can find and obtain safe, affordable CBD products without worrying about DIY.

Using CBD Products for Health

It isn’t uncommon in discussions regarding THC vs. CBD that CBD be billed as the healthy cannabinoid while THC is wild and disruptive — but that isn’t necessarily true. Both cannabinoids have health benefits, but the manner in which THC overwhelms endocannabinoid receptors within the brain ensures that THC will generate a psychoactive response. In contrast, CBD does not bind to endocannabinoid receptors at all, providing health benefits by encouraging the endocannabinoid system to produce natural healing compounds.

Ignoring high-CBD marijuana strains — which do not undergo the extraction process and contain THC as well as other cannabinoids and terpenes — there is a plethora of CBD-only products worth sampling, from concentrates that require smoking and vaping to oils that are much easier to incorporate into a typical lifestyle. Users disinterested in THC should seek either broad-spectrum or isolate CBD products, both of which eliminate THC.

Cannabis is a complex plant that we are just beginning to better understand. Though we don’t yet know everything about CBD — let alone the dozens of other cannabinoids that might affect human wellbeing — knowing more about how CBD is made might help users feel safer shopping for and using CBD products to improve their health.

Valentine’s Day CBD Gift Guide

January 30, 2021

Author: Jason Beverly Best CBD Gifts for Him, Her, and Furry Friends Valentine’s Day may look a bit different this year with COVID, rather than love, in the air. But while most restaurants are closed and the chance to go on that special date is looking slim, CBD may be the perfect gift to help…

Best CBD According to Reddit

August 11, 2023

Author: Joy Hughes Are you looking for the best CBD products that truly do what they say they do? Well, my friend, you’re in the right place! As you know CBD holds a ton of medicinal value. Even scientists and medical professionals are amazed at how effective and thought-provoking this cannabinoid can be when it…

What is CBD?

October 12, 2018

It seems everyone is talking about Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound that has shown promise for its therapeutic effects on a number of ailments. Let’s explore what CBD is, its history, how it works in the body, potential health benefits, and the legal implications of using it. CBD Definition Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid…

How to Make Full Spectrum CBD Oil Homemade

July 4, 2020

Author: Jason Beverly It is hard for consumers to find quality CBD oil at an affordable price. The lack of federal regulation in the CBD industry has compelled some companies to create low quality CBD products with one goal, profit. But there’s another way people can get their daily dose of CBD, by making it…

Martha Stewart CBD Review

September 11, 2020

Martha Stewart teamed up with Canopy Growth, a Canadian cannabis company, to launch a new line of CBD products. Martha joins a long list of celebrities who’ve jumped on the CBD bandwagon. Martha’s initial CBD offering consists of CBD oil drops, gummies and softgels. After testing and analyzing Martha Stewart’s CBD product line, we believe…

Best THCp Brands

August 23, 2022

Author: Joy Hughes Surprise surprise, researchers have discovered yet another cannabinoid. But this time the newfound cannabinoid is officially out performing all other cannabinoids known to man. It’s called Tetrahydrocannabiporol, or “THCp” for short. And it’s changing the way consumers view THC altogether. Now before we dive into what THCp is, we understand that tons…

CBD Lotion: 7 Benefits of Using It

February 5, 2021

CBD (Cannabidiol) has become more popular each year due to its plethora of health benefits, which aids people in resolving some of their health problems. Also, CBD comes in many forms, making it versatile and convenient for many people. If you’re new to using CBD or is still planning to start, do note that it’s…

CBD & Cats – Everything you need to know

November 18, 2020

While your kitties probably make all of your pain go away just by existing in all of their furry glory, it may require a little bit more effort than that for them to feel comfortable – and what they can definitely benefit from is CBD as a safe, alternative method of alleviating some types of…

5 Things You Need to Know When Using CBD Oil for Dogs

March 10, 2020

Author: Jason Beverly Have you considered using CBD oil for dogs? If so, you’re likely already well aware of the myriad of benefits that CBD provides to dogs. Many people refer to cannabidiol oil as a miracle worker, and they’re spot on!   CBD is a powerful plant compound known for its healing properties. But…

5 Benefits of CBD for Cats & Dogs

August 13, 2019

Author: Jason Beverly After years of struggle to step out of the drug image, cannabis is finally receiving all the praises it deserves. The medical community is widely supporting the launch of medical cannabis, and cannabis-infused products that promise to heal and lead away to a healthy lifestyle. Across the world, scientists are researching more…

0 0 votes
Article Rating

About Jason Beverly

Jason Beverly is the Digital Marketing Director of The CBD Benefits, an informational website helping people learn about CBD. He's been researching, developing and writing about CBD & other cannabinoids for over 5 years. Jason uses CBD daily to treat for pain, anxiety and depression.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments