How to make CBD oil
Copy article link to clipboard.
Link copied to clipboard.
- What is CBD oil?
- History of CBD oil laws
- Making CBD oil
- Choosing an oil
- Dosing CBD oil
- Bottom line
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to a carrier oil. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that produces only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis component that can produce a psychoactive “high.” In fact, hemp is defined as having less than 0.3 % THC. Instead of producing THC, hemp plants contain mainly cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp has a long history of use for making fiber for textiles and rope, and has been bred to be tall and skinny with very small flowers, or buds.
CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to a carrier oil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The explosive popularity of non-intoxicating cannabis products containing CBD has led to the development of a booming $1 billion industry. Those who seek CBD’s medical benefits can consume a diversity of CBD-infused foods, supplements, and drinks. CBD oil has been used to treat wide-ranging symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, depression, and acne.
CBD additives come in many forms, but all fall into three major categories: CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, and CBD isolate. While “CBD oil” and “CBD-rich cannabis oil” may seem like two words for the same product, they differ significantly, mainly due to the fact that two distinct kinds of cannabis are used to make each.
History of CBD oil laws
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 made all cannabis varieties, including hemp, completely illegal, but the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp for fiber, while also legalizing the extraction of CBD from hemp if the hemp was grown in accordance with the law. This bill led to the rapid expansion of CBD products including oils, balms, creams, and gummies.. Interstate commerce of these products lies in a legal gray area because CBD and cannabis extracts are still considered a Schedule 1 narcotic, but the United States Drug Enforcement Agency has not enforced this regulation on businesses that sell CBD oil.
Making CBD oil
On a large scale, CBD oil is made by extracting entire hemp plants creating a crude paste, which is then refined in several ways and added to a carrier oil. Other minor cannabis components with some medical benefits, (such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabidivarin (CBDV), are extracted alongside with CBD. Terpenes, the components responsible for the smell of cannabis and other flowers and plants, are sometimes reintroduced to harness additional medical benefits. Because CBD oil contains other components, it may be referred to as broad spectrum CBD oil, which reportedly has greater benefits than if CBD is taken on its own.
CBD oil is made by extracting entire hemp plants creating a crude paste, which is then refined in several ways and added to a carrier oil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Making CBD-rich cannabis oil
This type of CBD product generally refers to a cannabis extract high in CBD that has not necessarily been added to a carrier oil. Instead of using hemp plants, this product is produced using drug-type cannabis plants bred to make mostly CBD, and little THC. Drug-type cannabis differs from hemp in that it has been bred for generations to make large buds coated in THC-rich cannabis resin that are prime for smoking and making into edibles and topical salves. While drug-type cannabis typically produces high levels of THC, interest in the medical benefits of CBD has motivated people to breed high-CBD plants. High-CBD drug-type cannabis produces much more CBD per plant than hemp does, but because of their lineage, they are not legal to grow under the 2018 Farm Bill. These CBD plants are, however, legal to grow in certain states with medical and recreational cannabis laws, and cannabis extracts made using these plants may be purchased in those states.
Making CBD isolate
CBD isolate is, in short, pure CBD. Isolate is made by refining CBD oil or CBD-rich cannabis oil. Due to the low cost of growing hemp versus high-CBD drug-type plants, CBD oil is often a cheaper source than CBD-rich cannabis oil for the production of CBD isolate. CBD isolate is a white, slightly sticky powder.
CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder that contains pure CBD. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How to make CBD oil at home
To fully harness the medical benefits of CBD, customizing the consistency, potency, and carrier liquid of your of CBD oil for your needs is essential. The most straightforward and efficient way to make your own CBD oil is to start with CBD isolate, which is readily available in dispensaries and online from reputable sources. Another easy way to administer CBD oil is by dissolving it in alcohol, to make what is known as a tincture.
Tools for making CBD oil
Many of the tools needed for the home production of CBD oils or tinctures are likely to be things you already have in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. A jeweler’s scale that can measure grams two places past the decimal point is a must to accurately measure your CBD isolate and can be purchased fairly cheaply online. A spoon or small scoop will be needed to transfer the measured CBD isolate to a storage container. Additionally, you will need either oil or alcohol. The exact type will be your preference, but some properties of each need to be considered before making a purchase. The simplest way to dose the CBD oil or tincture precisely is by using a dropper bottle that indicates how much it delivers; these typically measure out 1 milliliter for the whole dropper. Measuring the oil or alcohol is most easily done with an oral syringe.
Choosing an oil
As CBD isolate is neutral in taste, the oil in which it is dissolved will dictate the flavor of the final product. An unflavored oil, such as medium chain triglyceride oil, commonly known as MCT oil, will make for a neutral tasting product. Strong-tasting oils, such as coconut and olive, may be used as well if desired. Coconut oil is often solid at room temperature as it has a high content of saturated fat, so it will need to be heated carefully for making CBD oil. If you’re making a tincture instead of an oil, a high grain alcohol is key. Liquor is diluted with water to an alcohol content of 40 -50 %, which is not suitable for dissolving CBD because of the high water content (CBD is not soluble in water). High-grain alcohol (90 % or greater) is needed for full incorporation.
As CBD isolate is neutral in taste, the oil in which it is dissolved will dictate the flavor of the final product. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Dosing CBD oil
The first crucial step in the process of making CBD oil or tinctures is deciding the desired potency. Assuming you want to administer your oil or tincture with a dropper bottle, it is necessary to know milligrams of CBD delivered per milliliter of oil/tincture. Most dropper bottles hold 1 fluid ounce (1 fluid ounce
30 milliliters). Dissolving 600 milligrams of CBD in 30 milliliters of liquid will make an oil/tincture that delivers 20 milligrams of CBD per milliliter (600 mg ÷ 30 mL = 20 mg/mL). To make a higher potency oil/tincture, dissolve more CBD in the same volume; the total milligrams of CBD you add, divided by the total volume of the oil/alcohol you add, will give you the potency in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL).
The first crucial step in the process of making CBD oil or tinctures is deciding the desired potency. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
If you’re using any oil except for coconut, weigh the desired amount of CBD isolate on a notecard on your scale. Fold one edge of the notecard, place the folded angle into the edge of the dropper bottle, and carefully tap the notecard until the CBD falls into the bottle (do this over a clean tray to gather anything that may have fallen during the process). Pour your measured amount of oil or alcohol into the dropper bottle (30 milliliters or 1 fluid ounce if you follow the guide above). Shake and swirl; the heat from your hand will help dissolve the CBD, but it may take a few minutes. The final product is shelf-stable and ready to administer orally, into topicals, or into foods and drinks.
Due to its higher saturated fat content, coconut oil is mostly solid at room temperature (unless you’re in a very hot climate) and therefore cannot be administered with a dropper bottle. The coconut oil must be heated until liquid before dissolving the CBD. You can simply heat a measured amount of oil for your desired dose in a small pot or saucepan at a very low temperature. It is important to monitor the oil for signs of overheating and adjust the temperature accordingly. Alternatively, a double boiler can be used in place of a saucepan.
If you prefer to make a tincture but are concerned with the high alcohol content needed, glycerine can be used to dilute alcohol-based tinctures. CBD is not particularly soluble in glycerine on its own; however, CBD already dissolved in alcohol can be fully incorporated with glycerine to dilute or sweeten the tincture. Dosing will need to be adjusted with the addition of a larger volume of fluid. This can easily be done by making the initial tincture more potent and diluting it down with glycerine to your desired concentration.
You can channel the potential health benefits of CBD oil at home, but you should consult your physician before beginning a regimen and verify any applicable state or local laws.
How to make CBD oil Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD oil? History of CBD oil laws Making CBD oil Choosing an oil
How To Make CBD Isolate
CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD, often in the form of a white powder that can be mixed into drinks or taken sublingually. This option is often popular among people who are just beginning to explore the use of cannabis or hemp derived products or looking to avoid the euphoric high associated with THC. It is also a great option for people who want hyper-accurate doses of CBD and the flexibility to create their own customized mixtures in their preferred carrier oil or liquid.
Making CBD isolate requires more steps than creating a CBD oil, as you have to remove every other element, such as phospholipids and flavors, from the product. While the process is more complex and requires additional equipment, it creates a totally pure end product that is free of anything besides CBD.
Steps on How To Make CBD Isolate
Step 1: Extraction
To make any concentrate you first have to extract. Manufacturers can use either a hydrocarbon solvent, like butane or propane, or ethanol solvent. Typically, we see ethanol used for the production of CBD isolate often with the use of a larger commercial extraction system – like a centrifuge. Smaller extraction systems can be used, it just depends on your throughput goals.
Step 2: Winterization
Winterization is the process of removing the fats, waxes and chlorophyll from the extract. Not removing these will lower the percentage and purity of the targeted CBD compound we are trying to capture. To achieve winterization you are essentially cooling down the extract to sub-zero temperatures with a solvent. Then, maintaining that chilled environment for a period of time in order for the lipids (fats and waxes) to coagulate and separate from the crude oil – now termed ‘miscella’.
Step 3: Filtration
Once winterization has been completed it is necessary to now quickly filter those fats and waxes we coagulated from the miscella. A filter press is used with the assistance of a vacuum pump to pull the miscella mixture through a series of filter plates. Fats, waxes, etc are collected in one vessel and the desired miscella in another.
Step 4: Decarboxylation
In order to achieve optimal CBD content, decarboxylation is a critical step prior to distillation. The process of decarboxylation is to remove carboxylic acid and CO2 from cannabinoids present in the cannabis extract. Converting the acidic cannabinoid (CBDa) to its neutral form (CBD) ensures the end product contains all of the several benefits the cannabinoid has to offer. Furthermore, failure to remove CO2 from the extract will also affect the ability to properly form a vacuum in your distillation apparatus. The decarboxylation process is achieved through the application of heat in a reactionary vessel.
Step 5: Distillation
Now that our extract has been winterized, filtered and decarbed, we can perform distillation. There are short path and wiped film distillation apparatuses on the market, for the sake of this article we will use wiped film distillation.
While under vacuum, the extract is loaded into the feed tank where it passes over a heated rotating plate. From there, the heated oil then enters a secondary vessel where there are spinning wipers and a thin film is created around the heated, jacketed vessel. A long condensing coil in the middle of the vessel, cooled with recirculating fluid, recondenses the vapors back into liquid form. Receiving vessels then collect the CBD (known as ‘main body’) from the terpenes, volatiles and high boiling point cannabinoids (known as ‘heads’ and ‘tails’).
Step 6: Crystallization
An additional option that some manufacturers complete to change the structure of the CBD isolate is to subject it to a crystallization process. This process results in a final product that is still 99.9% CBD but has a crystalline structure.
This crystallization process is started by putting the CBD oil into a large vat, or reactionary vessel, with a stirring attachment. The mixture is heated while constantly being stirred. Then, the temperature is lowered and the rate of stirring is slowed down. Once the mixture has cooled and nucleation starts to occur (the initial stages of crystallization), the stirring rate is drastically increased, which causes the crystals to separate from the solution. After this, the crystals are rinsed with pentane, or another chemical solvent, to remove any remaining unwanted impurities.
Depending on what end product you’re trying to make you may prefer to use a CBD isolate powder when manufacturing lotions, edibles, beverages, etc. In order to make a powder you are simply taking the CBD isolate crystals and grinding them down into a powder-like substance.
Equipment for Making CBD Isolate by Precision®
As system integrators for cannabis and hemp processing labs, Precision brings solutions to all stages of how to make CBD isolate.
Easy to follow steps on how to make CBD isolate, From extraction to crystallization, our techs breakdown how to achieve 99% pure CBD crystals and powder.