The Different Types of CBD Extracts
Posted on May 21, 2021 by Paige Pesko
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has exploded in the marketplace over the past few years. As is often the case when a product spreads quickly, misinformation about CBD has been almost as prolific. This can make it challenging to get your bearings as someone who hopes to enter the industry.
But if you want to sell CBD, you’ll need to understand the nuances behind different terminology and the different types of CBD extracts.
An Overview of CBD Extracts
What Are Extracts?
Knowing the different types of CBD extracts requires a basic understanding of what makes an extract. Cannabidiol is a substance found in cannabis plants, specifically industrial hemp. Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, so users won’t experience the “high” marijuana users do. CBD contains many other ingredients like cannabinoids and terpenes, which many people believe have numerous health benefits.
How Are They Made?
To extract CBD from hemp, manufacturers have to put the plant through a rigorous extraction process, usually using a solvent such as supercritical CO2, butane, or propane; however, many businesses prefer ethanol. The process is as follows:
- Decarboxylation: Industrial hemp is heated to 220–240 degrees Fahrenheit for 30–40 minutes to convert cannabidiol acid into cannabidiol.
- Extraction: Industrial hemp is soaked in cooled ethanol to begin separating the oils from the plant matrix.
- Winterization: Manufacturers subject the plant to extremely hot and cold temperatures to fully remove lipids and plant waxes.
- Filtration: Manufacturers remove remaining plant material such as chlorophyll to help preserve the final product’s taste.
- Short Path Distillation: Also known as oil separation, the manufacturers remove the oil from the ethanol, which they recycle for future use.
- Additional Processing: Depending on the type of extract, it may need to undergo additional processing, such as chromatography or crystallization, to give manufacturers greater control over the number of cannabinoids and THC in the final product.
Why Are They Used?
Using specialized processes, such as ethanol extraction, manufacturers can remove the CBD from the plant to use for a variety of health and beauty purposes, depending on the type of extract. A few health conditions that CBD may treat include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Sleep disorders
- Problems focusing
- Dry skin
A Note on Tinctures vs. Oils
Many people use the terms “tincture” and “oil” interchangeably, but they refer to different products. While both contain CBD extracts, they use different carriers or bases. Tinctures have an alcohol base, while CBD oils have an oil base, such as medium-chain triglycerides or MCT oil. One is not inherently better, but some people prefer one’s taste over the other. Oils are also better suited for use in vapes.
Some would call full-spectrum CBD extracts the prototypical CBD product. These clear, golden, or brown liquids contain CBD, a collection of terpenes and cannabinoids, and trace amounts of THC not exceeding .3 percent. Manufacturers can sell the tincture or oils of these as-is, or they can add additional flavorings to mask the taste of the carrier oils.
Users typically take full-spectrum extracts orally, either directly by mouth or mixed in with food and drink, for a variety of emotional and physical problems, such as muscle pain and anxiety. Because they have the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and THC, full-spectrum CBD products have the entourage effect. This theory states that the multiple components of CBD work more effectively when one uses them together.
Broad-spectrum extracts have a very similar physical makeup to their full-spectrum counterparts. However, while both contain CBD and cannabinoids, broad-spectrum extracts undergo additional processing via chromatography. This processing rids broad-spectrum CBD oil of even its trace amounts of THC. Broad-spectrum are available plain or flavored, depending on the product.
Broad-spectrum extracts work for the same purposes that full-spectrum CBD extracts do. However, the lack of THC makes it ideal for users who want to avoid THC, either because they do not tolerate it well or because they worry it will show up in testing. The one caveat of having absolutely no THC is that broad-spectrum extracts miss out on some of the entourage effect.
In many ways, distillates are the inverse of broad-spectrum CBD extracts. Instead of removing THC and leaving the other cannabinoids, manufacturers of distillates remove all other cannabinoids, leaving only CBD and the trace amounts of THC. This process leaves you with a highly concentrated product with a particularly mild flavor. It is also possible to make broad-spectrum distillate without THC.
You can use distillates for the same conditions as broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD extracts. But the fact that the distillate has had all its terpenes and flavonoids stripped from them makes them flavorless and odorless. As a result, that the “grassy” flavor that some users do not enjoy isn’t present, making it easier to take distillate without hiding it in other foods.
CBD isolates are even purer than distillates, and manufacturers often sell an isolate as a white, powdery substance rather than an oil. It does not contain any other compound you might find in CBD, like cannabinoids or THC. To obtain this, manufacturers put the isolate through greater chromatography processing, followed by crystallization.
There is no chance of the entourage effect with a CBD isolate; however, it also guarantees the highest concentration of CBD of any extract. Its powdery nature also makes it easy to mix it with liquids, so it’s ideal for mixing into vape cartridges. It’s also the preferred form of extract for making CBD cosmetics, such as:
- Skin oil
- Hair products
- Bath bombs
Like distillates, an isolate has all plant substances stripped from it, rendering it flavorless. As such, you can take it alone or combine it with food and drink.
Whatever types of CBD extracts you want to provide for your customers, Cedarstone Industry wants to ensure you have everything you need to create the highest-quality products available. That is why we have stainless steel cannabis extraction equipment ready to fulfill your facility’s needs.