How Can You Extract Oil from a Flower?
How Can You Extract Oil from a Flower? Extraction is perhaps the most important process in the creation of a CBD product. Without the proper extraction methods, consuming CBD could be fruitless or even a dangerous venture. Proper extraction ensures that the plant oil keeps its medicinal properties and that there is no toxic contamination.
What is Extraction?
Extracting CBD oil is the process by which hemp flowers are converted into a potent liquid solution that contains high concentrations of different chemical substances from the plant. Different methods of extraction determine the consistency and content of the final product. Dr. John Mackay claims that the best extraction method should be based on the following:
★ the botanical integrity of the plant
○ (let’s not destroy the plant’s medicinal properties)
★ the efficacy of the process
○ (let’s not be wasteful) ★ the safety of the people and the product
○ (let’s make sure it is safe to produce and consume)
★ and the testing confirmation
○ (let’s always make sure to test the product to be sure it’s safe and check out the potency)
Before Extraction: Organic Soil
Hemp is a bioaccumulator, which means that the plant picks up all of the toxins from the soil around it. This process cleans the soil (yahoo!), but its ability to do this means that the toxins are taken out of the soil and carried into the flower. This flower should not be consumed, especially if the flower is extracted into an oil, as the toxins can become highly concentrated and dangerous. To avoid toxins in your CBD products, it is so important to make sure that all of your hemp is certified organic and to check the third-party testing certifications for any toxins, pesticides, fungi, etc.
To further complicate the situation, even with third party testing certificates one must still be careful. There are bad actors in the “CBD Craze”—some companies/manufacturers are faking lab reports—but, this is the essence of why Botanicam exists. We do all of that work for you by having strict criteria for manufacturers to be on our platform (we love our manufacturers!) and even going the extra mile to do our own third-party lab testing; we are the only curators we know of in the whole country doing this. We are the most rigorous curators in the CBD market. You can check out our 12-Point Checklist here and our third party tests here.
What are the 2 broad categories of extraction methods?
Mechanical and Chemical (or solvent-based).
A mechanical extraction is a process in which the trichomes are physically removed and aggregated together to produce a very concentrated substance such as hash, kief, or rosin. Unlike a chemical extraction, mechanical extractions do not use solvents. Instead of solvents, mechanical extractions use sieves (sifts), water, heat, and pressure to separate the trichomes. This creates the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes of any sort of extraction process.
Photo by Next Green Wave on Unsplash
Chemical (or solvent-based) extractions use many different solvents to extract cannabinoids and other important chemical compounds from the plant. It is important to consider what sort of solvent processes are used because all sorts of important phytochemicals can be destroyed by harsh practices. There is no answer for the type of chemical extract that works best, as different methods will work best for extracting either cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, chlorophyll, or any other plant compounds. The best method is dependent on the desired end result.
Types of Chemical, Solvent-Based Extractions?
Simple alcohol and glycerin extracts:
❏ Before the prohibition of hemp, for hundreds of years, alcohol-based tinctures were used across North America.
❏ Cannabinoids are alcohol soluble, so it works!
❏ Fast, safe, and something that you could actually do with your plants at home.
❏ The concentrate can either be used orally or as a tincture.
❏ Glycerin is chemically similar to alcohol, therefore, it can serve as a less harsh alternative to alcohol extracts (if someone has a sensitive tongue/mouth, alcohol could be a potential irritant).
❏ Plant derived and sweet.
❏ Safe and efficient.
❏ One of the best methods, yet if done with above boiling temperatures, it can be too harsh and destroy cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc. from the plant.
❏ Specialized equipment is used to remove ethanol after extraction.
Supercritical CO2 Extracts
❏ Safe and efficient.
❏ Most popular method in the industry.
❏ Clean method:
❏ A naturally occurring chemical substance.
❏ Leaves no residue/toxicity.
❏ Kills molds and bacteria.
❏ Creates a consistent product.
❏ Very expensive.
❏ Flexible: the solubility changes with adjustments in temperature and pressure.
❏ By just adjusting the settings, one can pick and choose which cannabinoids/terpenes/etc. are desired in the final product.
Butane Extractions (BHO) Propane Extractions (PHO)
❏ “Nonpolar”—it won’t remove/disturb water-soluble compounds such as chlorophyll and plant metabolites.
❏ If done right, can preserve phytochemicals such as terpenes.
❏ Low-quality extractions can be responsible for many toxins.
❏ Butane is highly toxic to humans, but when done correctly, generally safe.
The quality of the CBD extraction method will be clear upon reading the lab tests. Botanicam is one of few companies that offers you the ability to see your specific product’s lab test, before you buy. Why are we one of the only companies that allow this? We don’t know—and we are not even sure if we want to know. I, personally, have called CBD companies for friends and had them hang up on me when I asked for lab tests. This is beyond troubling and why I wanted to be a part of this team at Botanicam. Lab tests are important; not only can you ensure you are getting the specific cannabinoids you need for your healing, but you can also be sure that your products are safe for you and for those you love. Botanicam was created for people to heal. In a fractured market without proper regulation, we want you to know that when you shop with us you are getting the CBD you need (and paid for). Botanicam is the place for the highest-quality products, with the education and community to boot.
An Article By Evie Louise
Evie Louise is a recent psychology graduate from New York University. She is a certified in International Cannabinoid Clinical Therapy. Evie sees all forms of the cannabis sativa plant as the future of psychiatry, and hopes to use it in her therapy practice as a full spectrum approach to mental health and wellness.