CBD products are showing up everywhere and in many different forms, like tinctures, capsules, gummies, vape pens, topicals, lotions, bath bombs, and even dog treats. But where do these products come from? How are they made? And how do you know you’re getting a product that’s safe and effective? Let’s take a look into how CBD products are made:
The creation of CBD products starts on a hemp farm; while CBD is a compound that comes from both marijuana and hemp, most products today contain hemp-derived CBD, since hemp is the only federally legal form of cannabis.
Ideally, farmers will test the soil before planting the hemp.
Then, they will plant their hemp seeds with low-THC genetics.
During cultivation, farmers should preferably use organic growing methods, such as introducing natural predators to pests and never using harmful chemicals.
Thankfully, hemp is a relatively low-maintenance crop.
The biggest issue farmers face is keeping the THC level underneath 0.3% in dry weight.
If the THC level is above a certain threshold—a percentage determined by the state the hemp is grown in—the crop must be destroyed and farmers could face significant penalties.
Once the hemp is harvested, the crop is sold and a manufacturer will take the hemp to their extraction facility.
The extraction process removes CBD and other compounds from the hemp in the form of oil.
Typically, two methods are used to extract the hemp oil: CO2 and ethanol.
CO2 extraction is considered the safest and most effective method, but it is also expensive and complicated.
One of the reasons CO2 is superior to ethanol extraction is that CO2 does not need to be filtered out of the oil.
However, ethanol extraction is the most common method.
It’s faster and less complicated than CO2 extraction, but ethanol is also flammable and more dangerous.
The oil also has to be filtered to remove the ethanol.
Refining the Oil
After the oil has been extracted from the hemp plant, it undergoes two processes called winterization and decarboxylation.
Winterization cools the oil with extremely cold temperatures to separate the waxes and natural fats from the hemp extract.
Decarboxylation then heats up the oil to convert the inactive CBDA compound into the active CBD compound.
If the goal is a full-spectrum hemp product, then the process could end right here.
But if the goal is to create a CBD isolate, the oil is distilled and the CBD is isolated from the other cannabinoids.
Once the oil is ready, companies will use it to formulate their products.
The good brands will send a sample from every batch of their products to a third-party laboratory.
All reputable third-party labs should have an ISO-17025 certification, preferably with additional licenses and certifications.
When it comes to testing the samples, brands should order tests for cannabinoid concentration, the presence of pesticides, residual solvents like ethanol, heavy metals, and microbes.
The best companies will post the results of the lab reports directly on their website.
After that, the products are ready for you to purchase.
Knowing how CBD products are made will help you figure out which companies you can trust.
Every CBD company should be forthcoming about how they make their products; if they don’t make that information readily available to you, it’s time to find a new company.
What’s most important to you when looking for CBD products to purchase? Let us know in the comments below!