As with any solid understanding, it’s best to learn by doing. Here, we begin our 5 part series focused on the basics of extracting the beneficial cannabinoids from hemp and marijuana plants. Yes, we can get store bought products, but some people are adventurous and like to be a little more in control. Learning the basics of how to extract CBD (cannabinoids) is easier than one would think.
With part 1, our basics of extracting cannabinoids, we will learn about the methods, the ingredients and the tools. The next steps, once we understand the process, will go through recipes and individual steps to extracting your preferred cannabinoid (TCH, CBD). At the end, we hope to set a foundation or our “pantry of base ingredients” oils, sweeteners and toppers (sauces, frostings) to infuse in edibles of all kinds.
From these simple recipes, we will be able to make anything by infusing juices to baked goods with our base carriers. It’s important to get the carriers ready and simplify our life when we move on to cooking and baking. Let’s learn the basics of how to extract CBD cannabinoids from cannabis.
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Three CBD (cannabinoid) Extraction Methods
Cannabis researchers and extraction specialists are careful to note that, on average, what an extractor’s looking for will determine which process is a stronger fit for the operation—what makes one method “better” comes down to what the desired end product.
We will go through each extraction method but it’s important to note that for at home extraction, their is only one preferred choice in terms of safety and price.
CO2 CBD Extraction
This method is the preferred method for extracting CBD from the cannabis plant. In fact, it’s one of our red flag evaluation method when reviewing companies and products claiming to be safe. In order to remove CBD in it’s purist form, companies pass pressurized, low temperature, CO2 through the plant to pull out the cannabinoid. Only problem for us “DIY’rs” is the need for a chemistry degree (only slightly joking) and expensive equipment.
So not the best approach for us when trying to extract cannabinoids at home.
Ethanol CBD Extraction
Ethanol is another option that large scale extractors use to remove cannabinoids from cannabis. Although this method is much cheaper that CO2, and does extract the CBD, it also degrades the quality of the CBD and can lower the effectiveness of the output. There is no way to pull out specific cannabinoids, which leaves you the only option of full-spectrum oils. Doing ethanol extraction does work for companies, but it is still a bit too pricey for you average at home CBD extraction.
Oil Based CBD Extraction
This is the method we will focus on for all at home CBD extraction methods since it is simple and inexpensive. It simply requires a source of heat and a fatty carrier (i.e. olive oil or butter). This is a simple method for those just starting out and looking to learn about the process. Only problem is the output is less potent and creating a concentrate is near impossible.
No worries, as we are A-OK with oils and not concentrates. The following recipes will pull out our basic carriers that will prepare us to create anything from smoothies to buttered toast. Let’s get our nom on!
Cannibinoid Extraction Tools and Ingredients
Since we will be extracting CBD through oils for – primarily to infuse into edible products – the list of tools and ingredients should be short and sweet.
First and foremost, the flower. Hopefully you live in a marijuana legal state so you can go chat with your local bud tender about flowers and their percentage of cannabinoids. Fun fact, with fat based extraction, you are not in control of the cannabinoids you extract! So, it’s important you know the make-up of the plant you are using. If it’s high in THC and low in CBD, you will extract an oil that is high in THC and low in CBD – crazy, we know. Learn more.
The most popular strains that are CBD high include:
- ACDC: You’ll be sure to feel thunderstruck. It provides a high euphoric feeling and popular for the treatment of anxiety, migraines, and inflammation.
- Charlotte’s Web: The go to strain that everyones talking about. It is about 60% Indica. The CBD content can be as high as 20%. It is known to not produce a high as normally associated with marijuana.
- Harle Tsu: It is a mellow strain that will work effectively as a painkiller. It can have up to 22% CBD and the THC can be lower than 1%.
- Harlequin: A strain that is Sativa dominant, it has a high level of CBD, although the THC level is also high. It has a soothing effect, which makes it effective for people who need to be calmed down.
Fatty Carrier (oils and butters)
Secondly, you’ll need your extraction method carrier fat. We plan to look at cannabis infusion with butter, coconut oil, cooking oil and avocado oils.
Tools for CBD Extraction
Luckily, using oils to extract makes our lives a little easier. You should have all of these tools at home – unless you’ve never cooked a day in your life – or can pick them up for a reasonable amount of dolla dolla bills.
- Strainer or cheesecloth
- Bowl or large measuring cup
- Jar or bowl to store the coconut oil
- Grinder (a simple hand grinder works best)
- Double-boiler, slow cooker, saucepan, etc.
- Aluminum foil
- Sheet pan
- Oven safe glove
Now that we understand the basics of how to extract CBD, or cannabinoids, from cannabis. We can move on to the upcoming, and more fun, part – actually extracting.
Disclaimer: this information is not medical advice and is purely for entertainment and education purposes. In no way do we condone the use of cannabis or it’s bi-products without the consent of your medical professional as well as abiding by your state and country laws.