Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of more than 100 compounds found in the oil resin of the cannabis plant.The cannabis flower (commonly referred to as "buds") houses the resin which covers "trichomes". These trichomes are the gold of the cannabis plant, housing the best medicinal compounds, CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other aromatic terpenes. This resin also protects the plant from heat, UV rays, and provides antifungal, antibacterial, and insecticidal properties for the plant. And as it just so happens, provides some of the most beneficial health components found in botanical medicine.
There are many different cannabis "strains," each with their own properties and amounts of CBD. Low resin hemp, which is legally defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, has less oil and fewer trichomes than high-resin cannabis. Since most high-resin strains are high on THC and low on CBD its important to know which CBD-rich compounds you should buy.
Trichomes are small delicate structures that easily fall off the cannabis flower. This can be gathered and turned to hash (in powder form), or, if heat is applied, can be formed into a slab by melting the resin together to form rosin which can either be eaten or smoked. There are also microscopic trichomes which dot the stalk. These hair like structures contain little to no CBD as do the roots and seeds of cannabis and hemp. Therefore it is important to recognize, it is absolutely false when a company claims to to produce CBD from hemp stalk or seed.
There are several ways to extract oil from cannabis and hemp, each with its own pros and cons, with some being on the safer side, and some being on the more effective side. However, no matter the method, the same basic process occurs: CBD is removed from the plant, refined, and then made into products including gel caps, tinctures, edibles, topical balms, lotions, vape cartridges, and more.
By extracting CBD a highly concentrated form can be achieved for consumption. This concentrate varies in appearance based on the method of extraction and must be further broken down by the introduction of "terpenophenolic" compounds. Basically, the extract is made more soluble by dissolving it in ethanol, hydrocarbons (such as butane or olive oil), or CO2.
CO2 extraction involves the high pressurization of the CBD to create a solvent which flushes out active ingredients from cannabis or hemp. It is easy to control, and poses no danger of fire or explosion but does require more expensive equipment and a background in scientific engineering. The end result is a waxy CBD-rich, golden substance, free of chlorophyll that undergoes final purification to increase quantity and value.
Ethanol is another common method of extraction in which food-grain alcohol is used as a solvent. By soaking the cannabis or hemp, the full product is the most CBD rich oil of the highest quality. This is best for oral ingestion as well. Ethanol is typically used in medical cannabis dispensaries and can be referred to as Rock Simpson oil (PSO) or Full-Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO). Full-extract soaks the entire cannabis flower and is then, stirred, and strained leaving behind a thick oil. This can be heated to product a highly-concentrated oil infused with cannabinoids which can be rather difficult to dose correctly, so it's best to start low and go slow. since the entire plant can be a part of this process THC will usually be at a higher presence in the end-product.
Hydrocarbon is the best method to preserve the original scent and therapeutic attributes of cannabis and hemp and the most effective at removing unwanted parts of the flower such as chlorophyll. Potent versions of this process resemble tree sap, wax, or brittle candy that can break or shatter. Hydrocarbons on the other hand contribute to the most volatile method of extraction and often cause explosions. They can also be harmful to one's health if not completely removed from the CBD oil extract, especially in consumers with an already weakened immune system.
As Pharmacists, we cannot emphasize enough how dangerous CBD extraction can be if done improperly, especially with the use of hydrocarbons. However there are a few safe methods we can recommend such as making cannabis-infused olive oil. While some do-it-yourself recipes can be fun, we always recommend purchasing safe, over-the-counter CBD products that are tested to ensure they are clean, appropriate concentration, and can be managed effectively.
Again, CBD oil all manufactured the same so it is important to understand some CBD products are not all made with the same integrity. Some companies try to push "hemp oil" or "hemp seed oil" as on-par with CBD oil but this is incorrect. Such products often do not provide the same benefits, and can be considered as false advertising. Unfortunately CBD is still a bit of an unregulated market and experiences little oversight. Therefore we always recommend you read the label on a product very carefully, and of course, consult Pharm + CBD for a free consultation on CBD oil products. You can also rest easy when purchasing from our online store as well, as we only sell the safest, highest quality, chemical free, and medically tested CBD oils on the market.