How is CBD oil made?

CBD oil is extracted and made from a plant called Cannabis Sativa related to a genus of flowering plants called Cannabaceae usually referred to as Hemp, and CBD is shorthand for cannabidiol.

CBD oil is a cannabinoid present within hemp in addition to many other naturally occurring 113 cannabinoids, and CBD represents 40% of these cannabinoids.

According to a study done by the NCBI (national center for biotechnology information) CBD oil binds to special receptors found in the human body, and once CBD binds to these receptors it regulates many processes such as reduction of pain and anxiety.


CBD oil is made for several purposes. It is made through the extraction of cannabidiol from hemp which is a species of cannabis and it is used legally as it contains less than 0.3% THC.

Whereas CBD oil made and extracted from other sources or plants can contain more than 0.3% THC which is illegal.

THC is tetrahydrocannabinol and it’s a psychoactive chemical compound that is responsible for getting the so-called feeling high.

And it’s important to know that any CBD oil product being used must not include more than 0.3% THC.

Thus, it was found that the best cannabinoid to be mixed with the THC is the CBD oil.

how is cbd oil made
How is CBD oil made?

CBD and Hemp seed oil

There’s a confusion between the CBD oil and Hemp seed oil. To clarify the difference, we are going to discuss the sources from which parts of the plant both are made from.

CBD oil is made or extracted from different parts of hemp/cannabis as the stems, leaves, buds, and flowers.

The oil extracted from hemp/cannabis seeds contains 0% THC content.

Whenever the CBD oil content -the main ingredient in the cannabinoids – in a product is high and the THC is less than 0.3%, the product then is better.

CBD Legality

The united states FDA and WHO allowed the production of CBD and cannabidiol products from hemp/cannabis with less than O.3% THC, whereas at this percentage the product is intoxicant.

CBD history

The history of the CBD oil goes back to 1940, where the scientist Roger Adams who was graduated from Harvard university extracted the CBD oil successfully.

Then years followed & many studies were made upon the CBD oil, and how CBD oil can be extracted or made, until 1980 when Dr/Meshulam showed through his studies and researches that cannabidiol could be used in treating seizures.

Then scientists made several studies about cannabinoids and CBD oil. And the results were that Cannabis contains various medical or industrial compounds that are known as cannabinoids and CBD oil is one of them.

how is cbd oil made
How is CBD oil made?

CBD Usage

According to a study done by the NCBI (national center for biotechnology information) these cannabinoids and especially CBD oil is used to treat several psychiatric disorders like anxiety, reducing depression, and pain relief.

The hemp CBD oil has a variety of uses today, regarding its health benefits and the extraction of hemp CBD oil is made using several methods, some methods produce highly pure and safe CBD oil suitable for the product edibles produced whereas other methods from which the CBD oil products are made by leave trace amounts of other cannabinoids or residues that affect the quality and can be extremely harmful.

How is CBD made?

It is important to know how hemp/cannabis CBD oil is made. As the methods, CBD products are made by, affect the THC levels inside, its purity, and its safety.

So, the main methods from which CBD oil is made and extracted:

  • Rick Simpson method
  • Carrier oil extraction
  • Alcohol extraction
  • CO2 extraction

1- Rick Simpson method:

This is named after the first person that used it. And it is the cheapest and most straight forward process from which hemp/cannabis CBD oil is made. Yet, it is the worst one used for extracting CBD oil from hemp/cannabis. It’s done by submerging the plant parts into a hydrocarbon solvent such as propane, butane, pentane, hexane, or acetone. Then the plant parts steep leaving the chemical compounds within the liquid.

The mixture made from the dissolving process (hydrocarbon solvent & chemical compounds including the desired CBD) is then heated to evaporate the solvent used as it has a low melting point thus CBD remains in the liquid form.

This process is extremely dangerous due to the flammability of the used solvents. Besides, it might leave behind very harmful residues, also it destroys certain plant waxes.

So, it’s not a recommended method as the CBD oil made using it contains very harmful contaminants than the other methods.

how is cbd oil made
How is CBD oil made?

2- Carrier oil extraction:

Regarding its name, some oils are used as carriers for the CBD, commonly olive oil, hemp seed oil, coconut oil, or other oils are used in this process.

First, decarboxylation –activating the chemicals within the hemp/cannabis plant materials by cooking them at a certain temperature for a certain time- is done.

Next, after the decarboxylation, the hemp plant material is added to the carrier oil & the mixture is heated once more for several hours.

This leads to drawing out the cannabinoids present in the plant parts right into the carrier oil.

It is a safe and affordable method, as it does not use any contaminated ingredients and the used ingredients are natural.

However, it is a non-preferred method due to its low efficiency, as the oils used with the hemp/cannabis CBD are decomposable unless preservatives are used. Also, it yields low amounts of active cannabinoids, in addition to the inability to concentrate the CBD oil made using it.

3- Alcohol extraction:

Ethanol which is considered a safe chemical compound by the FDA is used in this method.

This method of extraction and isolation works just like other solvent methods, however, the safety of ethanol and the less amount of contaminants or residues left behind after using ethanol made this method preferred as the obtained CBD oil is purer.

Generally, Ethanol is preferred as it is typically known to be a polar solvent –pulls out more water-soluble materials- however, it could also pull more chlorophyll from the used hemp parts.

This process is done in two ways.

  • The first one is the decarboxylation of the hemp plant parts, then packing them in a container tightly. Afterward, ethanol is dripped through the container, thus stripping away the cannabinoids and CBD from the plant parts, then the product of the hemp cannabinoids, CBD, and ethanol is collected into a reservoir. And both cold and hot conditions can be used in this method for extracting cannabidiol oils.
  • The second way is made through soaking the hemp plant parts into ethanol till the CBD and cannabinoids are drawn out of the hemp parts, then heating till boiling is done to get rid of ethanol mixed with the oils.

This process pulls out waxes and other compounds from the hemp plant parts next to the cannabidiol and other oils, besides, ethanol has a relatively high boiling point, which makes the process of purification lengthier.

4-CO2 extraction:

It’s the most commonly used and preferred method for extracting hemp/cannabis CBD in the industry.

CO2 could be used as a safe solvent, under certain proper conditions of temperature and pressure.

It’s considered to be the safest method of isolation and extraction of CBD from the hemp as it lacks the dangers associated with other solvents. It has three types supercritical, subcritical and mid-critical processes.

The supercritical process is the most commonly used one and it is simply done by passing CO2 gas through special equipment at certain temperatures and pressure, thus converting it to the liquid form at super critically cold temperatures.

Then CO2 steam is made to pass through the hemp plant parts pulling out all the desired compounds including cannabidiol and the other oils without causing any damage to the plant parts used or the compounds within, then the compounds that are pulled out are filtered to get the CBD obtained from the hemp parts used and the other oils.

The extracts resulted are then made to pass through a separator that separates the cannabinoids and CO2 apart from each other, allowing the companies to reuse the CO2 again and again.

The ability to reuse CO2 itself has economic benefits for the factories or companies using this method. Thus it made many producers use it for making and extracting the hemp CBD oil.

Supercritical extraction is preferred as the hemp CBD made using this method is of extremely pure levels.

So, it is best for the users to use hemp CBD oil made by the CO2 extraction method as it is extremely safe, and has no contaminated compounds used.

And the manufacturers across the globe prefer this method due to its low waste and the very pure form of the CBD made from it.

Also, scientists at the laboratories after discovering the chemical formula of the CBD were able to synthesize the CBD oil, yet the CBD oil made at the laboratories is not preferred as we are looking for the naturally made CBD products.

how is cbd oil made
How is CBD oil made?

CBD oil forms

There are several forms of the CBD oil edibles found in the market and the difference between these forms is the process in which the CBD oil formulation is made:

  • Liquid or powdered capsules and these are good as they contain measured amounts of CBD.
  • CBD tinctures and these are drops that are taken through the mouth, kept under the tongue for a while then swallowed, it is considered the fastest-acting method as the CBD oil is being absorbed through the mucus membranes.
  • CBD topical solutions, they are topical products applied on the skin. And the CBD oil in them will interact with the endocannabinoid receptors present at the skin.
  • Edible forms of CBD include chocolates, gummies, and some candies and they are made through mixing the CBD oil with other products from the mentioned above.

The products made from the cannabidiol (CBD) oil are then tested for the THC levels, purity of the CBD oil, and the safety of being consumed.

In the end…

Before you consume any CBD product, you should keep in mind the CBD source is natural cannabis/hemp, the method it is made by as it affects the purity of the product and thus your health.

The THC content as we mentioned above should not exceed 0.3%, as when the THC percentage is more it is considered an illegal/harmful product.

Products made from the hemp/cannabis cannabidiol (CBD) using CO2 extraction are the best for the health as they are natural and lack many contaminants.

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