UPDATE: See CBD Oil: A Primer for a more thorough exploration of cannabis oil extraction.
Safe and effective ways to extract and produce CBD-rich cannabis oil.
To extract CBD-rich cannabis oil, one must start with CBD-rich plant material. There are many ways to extract oil from the cannabis plant, each has its pros and cons. Some methods are safer and more effective than others. Cannabis oil made with neurotoxic solvents like butane and hexane may leave unsafe residues that compromise immune function and impede healing.
- CO2 extraction. The supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. This process requires expensive equipment and a steep operational learning curve. But, when done well the end product is safe, potent, and free of chlorophyll.
- Ethanol. High-grade grain alcohol can be used to create high-quality cannabis oil appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other products. But this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favored by some product-makers.
- Olive oil. Extra virgin or otherwise, olive oil can also be used to extract cannabis oil. Dr. Arno Hazekamp, director of phytochemical research at Bedrocan BV, which supplies medical cannabis for the Dutch Health Ministry, reports this method is both safe and inexpensive, “You won’t blow yourself up making cannabis-infused olive oil.” However, cannabis-infused olive oil—whether CBD-rich or THC-dominant—is perishable and should be stored in a cool, dark place.
Medical patients swear by it. Researchers are intrigued by it. Government regulators are flustered by it. And investors are head over heels for it. But what exactly is CBD oil?
Vaporizer pens are a trendy and discrete manner to vaporize cannabis medicine. However, commonly used thinning agent in many products on the market are harmful when heated and inhaled.
Look for products with clear labels showing the quantity and ratio of CBD and THC per dose, a manufacturing date, and a batch number (for quality control). Select products with quality ingredients that are lab tested and safely extracted.