Cannabinoid Extraction: What is the best method for extracting or obtaining CBD?

Cannabinoid Extraction: the best method for extracting CBD

Modified on: 10/07/2024


Lately we have been hearing a lot about cannabinoids, substances extracted from light cannabis, and in particular about CBD or cannabidiol, a substance with a thousand positive properties and no narcotic effects.

However, before purchasing products high in CBD content, it would be important to understand how this substance is extracted and what is the best method that ensures you get a pure and contamination-free product.

Here are the explanations of the main types of cannabinoid extraction or extraction, advantages and disadvantages.

CBD extraction: what’s it all about?

Nowadays there are more and more products that contain cannabinoids such as CBD: CBD oil, hashish, CBD grass, dietary supplements, body lotions, etc…

This great success has led to improvements in the techniques for extracting this substance over time in order to be able to offer ever more concentrated and higher quality products.

Extraction techniques basically allow you to separate certain substances from the cannabis plant and, if you want, isolate them one by one.

Remember that legal cannabis plants have hundreds of other ingredients in addition to cannabidiol (CBD), including terpenes, flavonoids, etc.

Knowing the differences between different extraction methods can be very important in understanding the quality of the final product you are dealing with.

Below you will learn about the most commonly used ones.

Read also: Cannabinoid CBG: properties, effects and where to find it

CBD extraction: what’s it all about?

What is the best method for extracting CBD? Here are the most important ones and the overall winner

There are a variety of methods to isolate CBD molecules from the plant. Some are natural, others chemical, and some can only be done in the laboratory but allow for the purest products, free of other potentially harmful substances.

Here are the most important of them.

Co2 extraction

CBD extraction is an important step in the production of cannabis products. There are several methods to extract cannabidiol (CBD) from the hemp plant, including CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction, and carbon dioxide extraction. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. CO2 extraction is one of the most common extraction methods and offers a broad spectrum of effectiveness as it can extract various substances from the plant material.

The extraction process takes place in several steps in which pressure and temperature are carefully controlled. The result is a high-quality CBD extract that is used in various products and medicine. It is important to ensure the quality of the extract as it can contain all possible terpenes and active ingredients from the hemp plant. There is also the possibility of producing CBD isolates that contain only the CBD substance without any other compounds. This guide provides an overview of the different extraction processes and their application in various industries.

Ethanol extraction

Ethanol extraction is another method of extracting CBD from the hemp plant. Unlike CO2 extraction, which uses carbon dioxide as a solvent, ethanol extraction uses ethanol as a solvent. This process involves several steps in which the plant material is immersed in ethanol to enable CBD extraction. One of the main types of extraction methods is the use of solvents such as ethanol to extract the desired substances from the hemp plant. A major advantage of this method is that it leaves a broad spectrum of compounds, including terpenes and active ingredients, in the extract, which is called full-spectrum extract.

This extraction process offers a variety of uses for CBD and can be used in various products and items. However, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the extract as it affects the effects and potency of the CBD. A disadvantage of ethanol extraction can be the pressure and temperature, which must be carefully controlled to ensure high-quality CBD extracts. Compared to CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction offers a different method of producing CBD extracts that is widely used in the cannabis industry.

Extraction of CBD with cooking oil

This method consists of extracting the cannabinoids present in the CBD hemp plants using their lipophilic properties. Cannabinoids bind easily to fatty and oily substances.

Mostly olive oil, hemp seed oil and coconut oil are used for this practice.

In order to extract CBD from the hemp plant using cooking oil, the plant must first go through the process of decarboxylation.

Essentially, you need to convert the cannabinoid acids into non-acidic substances by exposing the plant to heat sources.

At this point it is possible to mix the plant parts with the oil, heating everything for a few hours. After that, the product must be cooled and filtered.

Although this extraction method is quite safe, in reality it is not one of the most powerful, since it is mainly used by home producers and not by companies.

The reason for this is that the end result is not very concentrated and other substances besides CBD are also extracted.

Laboratory extraction cannabinoids

Extraction of CBD with solvents

Although solvent extraction of CBD is a popular practice, it can actually be quite risky.

In fact, this practice involves pouring a liquid solvent (such as butane, ethanol, and hexane) over the previously decarboxylated hemp.

To obtain a CBD extract, the alcohol must then be evaporated (boiled) until a dark, tar-like substance rich in cannabinoids and terpenes is left.

The caveat to this practice is that the CBD could remain contaminated by the alcohol, making it dangerous for those who take it. Additionally, if not properly monitored, the high temperatures can damage terpenes and other molecules, resulting in a poor product.

Also keep in mind that when extracting cannabinoids from CBD grass using this process, great care must be taken to avoid alcohol fumes, which must not be inhaled under any circumstances and can cause explosions if used in unsafe conditions.

Carbon dioxide extraction (with supercritical carbon dioxide)

Here we finally come to the best method. Cannabidiol can also be extracted from the cannabis plant using carbon dioxide, supercritical CO₂, converted to a “liquid” state.

This is a very demanding technique and requires the use of special and very expensive machines, which is why it can only be practiced by professionals in the field.

The extraction of CBD occurs by passing CO₂ through the plant, taking advantage of its gaseous properties, which then manages to dissolve its components through the liquid state.

This process can be achieved by exposing the carbon dioxide to critical levels of temperature and pressure.

CBD extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide is excellent because it produces a pure, concentrated product that is free of harmful substances (like alcohol).

Additionally, once the process of extracting CBD from the plant is complete, the CO₂ can be safely released into the environment or reused.

This is the best method not only in terms of results, but also because it is an environmentally friendly and sustainable extraction method.

Read also: What are CBD crystals?


After this brief deepening of the topic, it will be clear to you that a good CBD product and its beneficial effects largely depend on the extraction method used to produce it.

In order to legally buy CBD oil or hashish with a high CBD content without any worries, you should always only go to a reputable shop that offers you products that are guaranteed and manufactured to the highest quality standards.

The products that you find in our Cannabis-Light-CBD shop, for example, come from organic farming and are processed exclusively using the safest and most efficient methods.

We are waiting for you on Justbob!