This article explains how the compound CBD is extracted from cannabis plants to create CBD oil. It looks at the different techniques for extraction and purification, such as carbon dioxide extraction, oil infusion, and ethanol extraction. Microfluidizer Technology enables you to develop effective and consistent formulations of CBD oil for shelf-stable preparations for a high-quality product. Processors of cannabinoid hemp products are required to obtain a license from the OCM to do business in NY.
The CBD Manufacturing Process – How CBD Oil is Made
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of the many chemical compounds found in hemp and marijuana plants. CBD oil is a supplement that can be added to a variety of different products, such as lip balm, lotion, drinks, and gummies. CBD oil is created by extracting cannabidiol from the flowers and buds of hemp or marijuana plants. The plant cannabis sativa can be classified as either hemp or marijuana, depending on the amount of THC, the chemical that creates a high when consumed, in it.
If the particular sativa plant contains less than 0.3 percent THC, it is technically hemp. If the plant has more than 0.3 percent THC, it’s classified as marijuana. Hemp is generally used more for CBD extraction, as it contains more CBD and is legal in all 50 states. But how is the CBD extracted from the plant? The process varies by CBD manufacturer.
There are many ways to extract CBD from a plant, and they vary in safety and efficiency. It’s important to know the difference since how CBD is extracted affects the final product’s purity and efficacy. This article will explain the different methods of how CBD oil is made. If you’d like to learn more about the business side of CBD, you can check out our article on how to start a cannabusiness.
One of the more popular extraction methods for CBD oil uses carbon dioxide, or CO2. This system takes advantage of how CO2 can function as a gas, solid, and liquid. Closed-loop extractors are most commonly used for CO2 extraction.
The process starts with a solid piece of CO2 in a chamber that is then pumped into a second chamber containing the cannabis material. The second chamber is kept at such a pressure that the CO2 stays in a liquid-like state and absorbs the plant’s oils and flavors. Then, the CO2-cannabinoid mixture is pumped into a third chamber where the CO2 returns to a gas state, leaving behind the plant’s oil and flavors. CO2 extraction is exact and can produce some of the purest cannabinoid extracts when done correctly. However, this is not always the case because of the high cost of equipment and the steep learning curve.
When this is done well, CO2 extracted CBD oil is some of the world’s purest, but there is ample room for error when done in less-than-optimal conditions. That potential for error is why subcritical CO2 extraction is used mainly by more “boutique” CBD brands.
Ethanol extraction is another popular extraction process, as it is safe, simple, and effective. In this method, high-grade grain alcohol (ethanol) is used as a solvent to separate CBD and other cannabinoids from the plant itself. Ethanol extraction can be done under warm or cold conditions and is considered extremely time-efficient compared to other CBD extraction processes like CO2 extraction. The CBD oil created with this method is often used for vape pen cartridges and other products. However, this extraction method destroys the cannabis plant waxes, which may have health benefits that some product-makers favor.
The idea of using a liquid to absorb CBD oil from the cannabis plant doesn’t stop with CO2 or ethanol. Naturally liquid substances are also used, including butane, hexane, or isopropyl alcohol. The process works much like the CO2 or ethanol extraction process, as a liquid solvent is run through decarboxylated hemp to remove cannabinoids and terpenes.
Liquid solvent extraction is a less expensive and easier way to extract CBD oil and is easy to scale for commercial production, but it has its downsides. Not all solvents can remove all impurities, and the chlorophyll from the plant may remain in the oil, giving it a greenish tinge and a bitter taste. A CBD manufacturer must adjust the process as needed to avoid impurities. As many of the liquid solvents used are highly flammable, this method can be considered more dangerous than others.
Oil infusion is one of the oldest techniques for extracting CBD oil, and many home growers and producers still use this method today. It’s one of the most straightforward ways, but it does come with some drawbacks.
Before starting oil infusion, the plant material must first be decarboxylated or heated to a specific temperature to activate the compounds. The plant material is added to olive oil or a similar carrier oil and heated at 100 degrees Celsius for a couple of hours. The olive oil can’t evaporate out of the CBD oil, so one of the primary downsides is that a lot more oil is used compared to the amount of liquid solvents used in their processes.
As some of the above processes result in impure CBD oil, many manufacturers choose to use one or both of the following secondary processes in order to further purify their product.
Winterization is the secondary process of removing undesirable substances from the oil to result in pure CBD. After the oil is extracted, it is combined with 200 proof alcohol and stirred vigorously until thoroughly mixed. The alcohol thins the crude oil out, as the desirable parts of crude will go into solution with the alcohol while the unwanted parts will coagulate and freeze, allowing them to be filtered out.
The mixture is then placed in a deep freezer at below-zero temperatures. Once it has time to freeze overnight, it looks cloudy and is ready for filtration. The filter removes the fats and other such materials. The oil and alcohol mixture is placed in vessels that use paper filters. The actual CBD oil remains with the alcohol solution and passes through the filter while the unwanted frozen parts are caught by it. When the oil is of the desired quality, the mixture can be heated to alcohol’s boiling point, which is lower than that of CBD oil, to boil off the alcohol. The alcohol evaporates, and CBD oil is left behind.
For further CBD oil refinement, it is run through a process called short path distillation. This secondary takes advantage of the fact that different CBD oil compounds each have their own boiling point. Short path distillation starts by slowly heating the CBD oil until the unnecessary substances such as terpenoids, flavonoids, and contaminants, begin to boil off. Sometimes a vacuum is also used to separate the vapors with a lower boiling point.
The vapors formed travel through a distillation tube until they reach cooling coils, where they condense and drip down into a separate collection container. The process continues until only pure CBD oil is left in the original container.
Outlined above are the basics of what CBD is and how CBD is made. Following the manufacture of the oil itself also requires manufacturing of delivery mechanisms, which include containers such as vials and bottles, to vape cartridges and other mechanisms. Of course there is a lot more to the manufacturing process such as CBD product packaging. To find more information on domestic commercial and industrial suppliers of custom manufacturing services and equipment on all levels of the supply chain, visit the Thomas Supplier Discovery Platform, where you will find information on over 500,000 commercial and industrial suppliers.
CBD Oil Processors
A major challenge for manufacturers is to formulate Hemp oil and CBD oil in such a way as to make it usable in consumable products. This is because of the following:
- The oil is poorly water-soluble, it takes a lot of high intensity mixing to achieve shelf-stable preparations.
- In its natural, extracted form, CBD oil has a low bioavailability – typically 6-20% (1) by direct oral administration of raw or unencapsulated cannabis oil.
- Cannabis products that are not carefully manufactured show a lot of variability in effectiveness. The onset of the effect can be delayed as much as 60 minutes and it takes hours after digestion to reach peak effect. These deficiencies can make the product appear weak and lead to over-consumption or cause increased adverse effects (2) .
Microfluidics International Corporation is part of the IDEX Material Processing Technologies (IDEX MPT) group of companies delivering a range of processing technologies for market leading products. This includes: Fitzpatrick Hammer Milling for Hemp Processing, Quadro Engineering Milling Equipment and High Shear Mixing Equipment
Please note – Microfluidics information and literature is intended only for the use of its equipment in jurisdictions where such activities are legal.
REFERENCES AS MENTIONED IN TEXT ABOVE:
(1) Goodwin R., Gustafson R.A., Barnes A., Nebro W., Moolchan E.T. $ Huestis M.A.(2006) – ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol, 11-hydroxy-∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-nor-9-carboxy-∆ 9-tetrahydrocannavinol in human plasma after controlled oral administration of cannabinoids. [Ther Drug Monit. 24(4): pp 545-51]
(2) Lemberger L.,Weiss J.L., Watanabe A.M., Galanter I.M., Wyatt R.J., & Cardon P.V.(1972) – Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol: temporal correlation of the psychologic effects and blood levels after various routes of administration [N Engl J of Med. 286(13): pp 685-88]
Businesses processing cannabinoid hemp or hemp extract used for human consumption, whether in intermediate or final form, are required to obtain a cannabinoid hemp processor license from the office. This includes both processors who extract hemp extract from the raw hemp plant and those who purchase hemp extract in intermediary form to manufacture and/or formulate finished products.
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Audit Requirement
To be issued a cannabinoid hemp processor license, all applicants must obtain a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) audit of their processing facilities. GMP is a quality control system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled in accordance with current federal regulations 21 CFR Parts 111 or 117 established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) .
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Audit Guidance
Apply to be a GMP Auditor
The Office of Cannabis Management welcomes applications from businesses or organizations who have the experience and expertise to conduct a GMP audit and are interested in providing audits for Cannabinoid Hemp Processors applicants and licensees. In order to be recognized by the Office, GMP auditors must complete and return the Cannabinoid Hemp Third Party GMP Auditor Application .
The Office of Cannabis Management is now accepting applications for Cannabinoid Hemp Processor Licenses. There are two types of Cannabinoid Hemp Processor licenses, one for “Extracting and Manufacturing” and one for “Manufacturing Only”. The “Extracting and Manufacturing” license type allows a processor to extract or isolate cannabinoids from hemp to create crude oil, distillate, isolate or other intermediary product to be further refined or manufactured into a final cannabinoid hemp product. This license also permits the manufacturing of final cannabinoid hemp products. The “Manufacturing Only” license type allows a processor to purchase crude oil, distillate, isolate or other intermediary product to manufacture final cannabinoid hemp products .
Click the button below to begin the application process.
*Note this is not a license to process marijuana. The Cannabinoid Hemp Program only regulates products derived from hemp. If you are interested in the future Adult-Use Cannabis Program, please visit the Adult-Use page here .
For a list of current Cannabinoid Hemp Processor License Holders click the icon below:
Cannabinoid Hemp Processor Application Requirements
Before applying, please review the Cannabinoid Hemp Processor application requirements below.
- Overview of Processor business plan
- Extraction method (if applicable)
- Planned Source of Cannabinoid Hemp and/or Cannabinoid Hemp Extract
- Workers Compensation verification (if applicable)
- Proof of product liability insurance
- Proof of certificate of occupancy
- Proof of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) audit
- Any other licenses issued at facility location (if applicable)
- Ownership and management information for business (owners and % ownership)
- Submission of a $1,000 application fee and $3,500 license fee for Cannabinoid Hemp Processors Extracting and Manufacturing. Submission of a $500 application fee and $1,000 license fee for Cannabinoid Hemp Processors Manufacturing Only. Both licenses are valid for two years from the date of issuance.
How much does a Cannabinoid Processor License cost?
The Cannabinoid Hemp Processors Extracting and Manufacturing License costs $1,000 for the application fee and $3,500 for the license fee. The Cannabinoid Hemp Processor Manufacturing Only License costs $500 for the application fee and $1,000 for the license fee.
How long is the Cannabinoid Hemp Processor License valid for?
Cannabinoid Hemp Processor licenses are valid for two years from the date of issuance of the license.
Trouble creating a New York Business Express (NYBE) Account?
Call the NYBE Contact Center at (518)-485-5000, Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm for assistance. When you call the help desk you will hear a list of options, you will want to “Press 4” for the Cannabinoid Hemp Program and then “Press 1” for assistance with NYBE profile login.
Cannabinoid hemp applications are available on the New York State Business Express (NYBE) website. Submitting an application through (NYBE) creates a profile for your business or organization. You will be able to reuse the information contained in your business profile to submit future applications when using NYBE . Once you have created a business profile for your business or organization, it will be associated to your NY.GOV login and only you will be able to submit applications for your business or organization. Others using NYBE who try to start an application with your business identifiers, such as the Legal Name or federal EIN , will be prevented from completing the application.
If you are trying to complete an application for your business or organization and are prevented from completing the application because a business profile already exists, consult with those within your business or organization to check if they have started a profile using NYBE . If you do not have access to the NY.GOV account with your business profile or do not know who within your organization created the business profile, you can request to have your business profile linked to a different NY.GOV account. The NYBE Contact Center at (518)-485-5000 can also assist with these login issues.
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