WHERE DOES CBD OIL COME FROM?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 unique “cannabinoid” compounds that are found in the oily resin of the cannabis plant. The sticky, gooey resin is concentrated on the dense clusters of cannabis flowers, commonly called “buds,” which are covered by tiny, mushroom-shaped “trichomes.” This is where the magic happens.
Trichomes are specialized glandular structures that contain a treasure trove of oily, medicinal compounds, including CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and various aromatic terpenes. Why does cannabis create these oily compounds? What does the resin do for the plant?
The oily trichomes protect the plant from heat and ultraviolet radiation. The oil also has antifungal, antibacterial and insecticidal properties that deter predators. The stickiness of the resin provides another defensive layer by trapping bugs.
As it happens, the same oily resin that protects the health of the plant includes components that are beneficial for human health. CBD, a non-intoxicating compound, has shown promise in treating and managing the symptoms of a broad range of diseases. Ditto for THC, CBD’s intoxicating cousin.
HOW IS CBD OIL MADE?
To make CBD oil, one must start with CBD-rich plant material. There are several ways to extract CBD oil from cannabis. Each method has its pros and cons. Some are safer and more effective than others.
After it is extracted from the plant and the solvent is removed, the CBD oil may be refined and formulated into a variety of consumable products – edibles, tinctures, gel caps, vape oil cartridges, topicals, beverages, and more.
The purpose of an extraction is to make CBD and other beneficial components of the plant (such as terpenes) available in a highly concentrated form. Because cannabinoids are oily by nature, separating CBD from the plant material will produce a thick, potent oil. The texture and purity of the oil depends largely on the method used to extract it.
CBD and the other plant cannabinoids are chemically classified as “terpenophenolic” compounds. To the non-scientists among us, this means that CBD is soluble in both oil and alcohol. Thus, the process of extracting CBD oil from cannabis often entails the use of a solvent that’s good at dissolving an oil or an alcohol-based compound. Solvents that are commonly used to extract CBD from cannabis include supercritical CO2, ethanol, hydrocarbons (such as butane) and olive oil.
ETHANOL EXTRACTION OF CBD OIL
The use of ethanol to extract medicinal compounds from cannabis and other plants has been a common practice in many cultures for centuries. In 1854, the U.S. Pharmacopeia recommended ethanol-based tinctures of “Indian hemp” to treat numerous ailments, including neuralgia, depression, hemorrhage, pain and muscle spasm.
These odiferous tinctures were a standard part of American health care prior to the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which prohibited all forms of cannabis consumption. But homemade cannabis tinctures persisted as an underground folk medicine, particularly in marginalized Latino communities, despite federal law.
In recent years, ethanol has re-emerged as a popular means of extracting cannabis oil, in general, and CBD oil, in particular. Whereas a tincture made from a cannabis extract could be equal in potency to the original flower, a concentrated version of the same tincture will be much more potent. Today, food-grade grain alcohol is a widely used solvent for creating very potent, high-quality CBD-rich oil, which is suitable for oral ingestion.
Ethanol extracts available in medical cannabis dispensaries are typically referred to as Rick Simpson Oil (aka RSO) or Full-Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO). In order to make RSO or FECO, cannabis flower is soaked in ethanol, agitated, and strained; then the residual oil is gently heated until all that remains is a viscous, highly concentrated goo infused with cannabinoids, which can be difficult to dose accurately, given how thick it is.
Often sold in plastic, needleless syringes to make dosing and administration a little easier, RSO should contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids extracted from the plant. This means that a small amount THC will also be present in a CBD-rich ethanol extraction. Consumers are cautioned not to ingest a dose larger than a small grain of rice. With this type of cannabis oil, in particular, it’s always best to start low and go slow.
Post time: Nov-29-2019