The market for CBD is quickly evolving and quickly expanding. In the past few years, we have seen a meteoric rise in the amount and availability of CBD products across the country and the world. The entire CBD industry is expected to swell to 20 billion dollars by 2021 and is being hailed as the next gold rush. This makes right now a very exciting and potentially profitable time to enter the CBD market.
Perhaps you have decided to jump on the bandwagon and get involved in the wonderful world of CBD. The hard part is done and you have grown your first batch. Now you may be wondering how to choose a CBD lab to extract CBD from your hemp crop? What is involved with the extraction process and which methods are best to maintain the quality of the raw crude CBD oil being produced? Also, what end products can you choose when you take your hemp crop to a CBD lab? Read on below to find out more about these and what you should expect or ask from a CBD lab when choosing who to use.
How to Extract CBD
There are three main methods of extracting CBD from the hemp plant. They are solvent extraction, steam distillation, and CO2 supercritical extraction. Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to obtaining the CBD.
This is the most basic form of extraction and benefits from being the most inexpensive. Solvent extraction is done by using a solvent that cannabinoids can be dissolved into. There are two main types with the extraction process the first is hydrocarbon extraction and the second is natural solvent extraction. Hydrocarbon extraction uses solvents such as butane, propane, or petroleum whereas natural solvent extractions use ethanol (alcohol) or natural oils (olive, coconut, MCT, etc.) Whichever solvent is used it is heated up and the hemp biomass is added to the solution. After the CBD has had time to extract the solvent is evaporated off and what is left behind is a rich CBD extract. Hydrocarbon solvent extraction in addition to being inexpensive is also very consistent, efficient, and leaves behind no chlorophyll. Although the extraction company must be careful not to leave behind any potentially dangerous toxic residue. Natural solvent extraction benefits from being non-toxic as well as being consistent and efficient but it leaves behind the chlorophyll which can negatively impact the taste.
Steam Distillation is very similar to solvent extraction except it uses water instead of solvents. Water is superheated and mixed with CBD biomass, which results in the steam removing the CBD vapors. These are then condensed into a water and oil mixture where the water is distilled, leaving behind a CBD rich oil. This process has been in use for many years as it is the main technique used to extract essential oils. It is extremely reliable and very well known at this point and benefits from leaving behind no toxic residue or chlorophyll. It is also one of the more inexpensive ways to extract CBD from the hemp plant. There are some notable disadvantages though, such as it takes more biomass than other methods making it inefficient. It also leads to an inconsistent amount of CBD in the extract and the high heat necessary has a tendency to damage the CBD during the process.
CO2 Supercritical Extraction
This is the gold standard when it comes to extracting CBD from hemp. It uses carbon dioxide also known as CO2 under high pressure and heat. The CO2 is mixed with the hemp and the cannabinoids and other compounds dissolve into it. The CO2 is then reclaimed by evaporating off and leaving behind a full spectrum crude CBD oil. CO2 supercritical extraction leaves behind no chlorophyll and no toxic residues. It also has the highest concentration of CBD, is easier to adjust than the other extraction methods, and is very efficient. The only drawback is that it requires very specialized and extremely expensive equipment.
How to Choose a Lab
When it comes to having the CBD extracted from your hemp it is best to choose a lab that fits your needs and your budget. When looking to get the best possible extract the best choice would be a CBD lab that uses the CO2 supercritical extraction method. This method is the highest tech and most effective producing the best hemp extract on the market today. Another factor to consider is if the facility itself is GMP (good manufacturing practices) compliant and certified. This certification assures you that the best practices are followed and adhered to in extracting your hemp. It is also helpful if the facility follows organic practices to be sure that no foreign contaminants make it into your finished product.
What End Products Can I Get?
A good CBD lab will be able to provide you with a variety of end products made from your CBD. These often include Crude CDB Oil, Full-Spectrum CBD Distillate, THC Free CBD Distillate, or CBD Isolate. Each one having its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is best to contemplate your needs and choose which you want accordingly.