Exploring the Different Extraction Methods for CBD Oils 

There are several ways to get CBD oil from the hemp plant, and the various methods of extraction all have pros and cons. With the recent changes in cannabis legalization, many people now have legal access to one of this plant’s beneficial compounds – cannabidiol aka CBD. This essential component is present in a high concentration in hemp – a THC-low variety of marijuana that enjoys unrestrained commercial growing and manufacturing in the USA and other countries. Numerous brands have embarked on CBD extraction from hemp and the production of safe herbal remedies for people’s anxiety, stress, insomnia, and pain. This article explains the extraction options.

However, with the growing popularity of CBD in the American market and the increasing diversity of CBD-infused products available without any prescriptions, the aspect of CBD extraction remains hidden for many. Still, it is a vital parameter that determines the quality and safety of CBD extracts included in CBD merchandise. This article examines the process of CBD extraction available to commercial manufacturers today. It informs all interested consumers about what their CBD isolate oils may contain besides CBD and explains the risks and benefits of each extraction option.

Butane Extraction

One method of CBD extraction from the hemp plant is the use of a gas called butane. This substance can squeeze all essential terpenes and flavonoids from the plant to ensure they go to the CBD oil extract. However, this method is not recommended for small or DIY CBD manufacturers due to the high toxicity and explosion risks of working with butane. It can be applied only in controlled industrial settings by people with a high level of skill and chemical expertise. Besides, the method is not that favorable for the end-user because a certain small amount of solvent residue may remain in the CBD oil. Butane is considered  loa-en

Ethanol Extraction

Ethanol is a type of alcohol that’s widely used for extracting CBD. Since ethanol is a liquid, it poses few  of the manufacturing hazards of butane, and as with many any alcohol extractoon option leaves no worrisome resid

CO2 Extraction

Another popular method of getting CBD and terpenes from the hemp plant is CO2 extraction. This method requires condensed carbon dioxide that allows the manufacturer to obtain all cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant waxes from the fiber. This option is more expensive compared to butane extraction and also can’t be executed in home conditions. However, it is much safer for the end-user and more beneficial in terms of the final extract’s purity, as no toxic or explosive solvents can get to the CBD oil’s content.

Why Use CO2 Extraction?

Though butane extraction is simpler, cheaper, and much more straightforward, most modern manufacturers stick to the CO2 extraction method for the benefit of the end-user and the reputation of their products in the highly competitive CBD market. Here are a couple of advantages products with CO2-extracted CBD oil have over butan-extracted ones.

Availability of CO2

The most evident advantage of using CO2 extraction is that carbon dioxide is not rare or special. It’s also extremely safe because CO2 is completely harmless and non-toxic. There’s plenty of CO2 in the environment and it can be readily extracted from the atmosphere. Thus, the manufacturers don’t run the risks of extra expenditures because no special lab conditions or expensive technologies are needed for CO2 use.

Supercritical CO2 Technology

CO2 is used in the supercritical state during CBD extraction. This state is characterized by the liquid and gaseous properties of the substance, which is achieved by subjecting CO2 to low temperatures and high pressure. These conditions are easily achievable with CO2, as it readily yields to pressure and works as it should on safe and efficient CBD extraction, resulting in cost-effective CBD production.


The greatest benefit of CO2 usage in CBD manufacturing compared to the alcohol extraction technology is its relative safety. CO2 is a safe gas that doesn’t change the CBD oil’s purity or potency, unlike butane, which can add toxic, inflammable elements to the resulting CBD extract. This way, CBD extracted using CO2 technology is much safer for your liver and won’t leave any toxic solvents in the organism.

CO2 Extraction Process in Detail

Now, let’s take a closer look at how the process of supercritical CO2 extraction happens. Pressurized carbon dioxide acts on the hemp plant to extract CBD. In these conditions, supercritical CO2 acts as a solvent but poses no chemical risks or contamination danger. Here’s how it goes:

  1. CO2 is frozen and compressed to a liquid state. It should have a temperature of -69 degrees and a pressure of 75 psi.
  2. The supercritical CO2 extraction technology involves the use of three chambers – the first one pressurizes and cools CO2 to the supercritical state. The second chamber contains hemp plants collected from the farm.
  3. Once the CBD extract is derived from hemp, it leaks to the third chamber for storage and final recycling of CO2 remnants.
  4. During the process of supercritical CO2 extraction, CO2 stays in an intermediate state of gas and liquid, which is optimal for extracting chemicals.
    CO2 runs through the hemp plants and goes to the third chamber, enriched with CBD and other hemp components. Once the pressure and temperature are restored to normal, CO2 turns into a gas again and is recycled, leaving the pure and safe CBD liqui
  5. Preparation of Hemp for Extraction
    As we’ve already discussed, the extraction methods for CBD production, it’s also vital to understand the whole manufacturing process. It’s hard to imagine that hemp plants are collected from the fields and placed into the chamber for CO2 extraction at once. Indeed, weed has to pass through rigorous preparation before it is ready for the supercritical CO2 extraction procedure. It has to be:

The work starts by properly trimming the plants to remove plant parts non-suitable for extraction.
After drying, the plant material is finely ground to increase the CO2 penetration and maximize the extraction output.

Final Word

Overall, there are other CBD extraction methods, with some of them practiced many centuries ago, when modern technologies were still nonexistent. These include olive oil extraction, steam distillation, and hydrocarbon use for CBD extraction. However, these processes are less controlled and cannot guarantee high-quality, concentrated CBD oil. Thus, we recommend buying CBD oils and concentrates manufactured using the supercritical CO2 extraction technology, which is currently regarded as an industry standard. You’re sure to enjoy maximum health value and a guaranteed high degree of safety and content purity, which is essential for CBD consumers.

The article was prepared by Denys Svirepchuk, an expert in cannabis production technologies and a regular blogger at AskGrowers. Denys shares his knowledge and expertise in the field of CBD manufacturing and usage to help interested consumers enjoy safe, predictable, and beneficial experiences.