How is CBD Produced?
When we talk about medical cannabis, we often refer to cannabidiol (CBD), one of the several compounds found in the cannabis plant. We refer to CBD because it is the compound that carries a vast majority of the medical benefits users seek through cannabis.
CBD has been among the most popular components of the cannabis plant altogether. This is partially due to the fact that medical cannabis has been legalized in most (38) states across the US, while recreational cannabis is also sweeping through states at a decent pace.
The popularity of CBD has already been established – we know how beneficial it is for treating countless illnesses like chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and epilepsy, among others. However, have you ever thought about how this compound is produced and brought from a plant to a customer? This article will shed light on this entire process, so the next time you consume medical cannabis, you will know precisely what happened behind the scenes.
Phase #1: Harvesting the Plant
The journey of every plant begins through the harvesting phase. In the case of CBD, it may not be that simple. CBD is achieved from hemp, which is derived from cannabis. Hemp is mainly CBD with hints of THC (0.3%), which provides psychoactive effects in recreational cannabis.
The good part about hemp is that it does not take long to grow. Furthermore, it is also quite self-sufficient as you don’t require any pesticides to keep them safe. However, growing it organically is a challenge. In fact, despite following multiple methods to grow hemp organically, manufacturers have been unable to secure the official “Organic” certification from USDA.
Manufacturers test the hemp to make sure that the THC levels in the plant are less than 0.3% before it is harvested. In a case, the THC levels are higher, that particular hemp will not be able to produce CBD. The plant undergoes several more tests to ensure that it is free from potential microbial contaminants and pesticide residue.
CBD is mainly present in the flowers of the hemp plant, which contain the resin glands. These flowers are harvested by manufacturers and air-dried for about a month. Once the flowers have completely dried, it is when the next phase – extraction – begins.
Phase #2: Extraction of CBD from the Flower
In this phase, CBD is pulled from the dried cannabis flowers. In this stage, there are two ways of extraction – CO2 and ethanol – you can use. Manufacturers require high-end equipment to undergo the former type of process. The catch, however, is that the resulting product is extremely pure.
In the case of ethanol extraction, the dried hemp flowers are soaked in an alcohol solution. Although this is a good extraction process, the ethanol tends to dissolve other parts of the flower as well, like terpenes and other cannabinoids.
Once the extraction is complete, a distillation process occurs depending on the differences in boiling points of the dissolved terpenes and additional cannabinoids. The completion of this phase results in a solid material or a thick oil that is high in CBD content. Since these resulting oils are rich in CBD, they (CBD oils) are among the most popular medical CBD products in the US market. These oils can easily be diluted to make capsules, topicals, gels, and other various forms of CBD.
Manufacturers often add another distillation process to this phase to bring the THC levels down to zero, making the product full-spectrum CBD.
Phase #3: Producing CBD Oils
Different brands and manufacturers use different formulas for mixing CBD distillates. In general, creating CBD oils requires diluting the distillate made in the previous phase with additional ingredients such as valerian root or amino acids, depending on the medicinal purpose of the oil.
Some manufacturers also dilute CBD distillates which carrier oils or MCT to achieve the desired results – for example, allowing the oil to absorb easily, or to get rid of the typical taste of CBD. Some manufacturers also add balms or lotions to the CBD distillate. They also use dry distillates for producing dried products like capsules.
However, in order to use CBD for dried products like capsules, manufacturers have to produce a solid in the previous phase.
Phase #4: Testing and Packaging
Once the CBD product is prepared, the manufacturers go on to test the product to ensure it is good to be used by consumers. This process may vary from one manufacturer to the other. Some manufacturers prefer to continue running a brief testing process after each phase of production, while others may choose to run a lengthy final check once the product is ready.
Once the testing is complete, the manufacturer moves towards the packaging of the product.
The process of packing the product into sealed and labeled packaging is often automated. However, there are workers present at the site, ensuring each product is properly packed and sealed. The quality assurance team randomly checks different packaged products to identify potential errors in packaging.
Different types of products are packed in different kinds of containers. For example, some products may require glass bottles, while others will be packed in plastic containers. The labeling on the product’s external packaging contains information about the type of product, the strain, its potency, and the list of ingredients used in the manufacturing process.
Furthermore, each manufacturer allots a unique identification number to each of the products so they can easily be traced back to their batch, time, or processing if need be.
Manufacturers are also required to have their products tested by independent labs in order to ensure that the products are free from microbial contaminants, heavy metals, or impurities.
Where Do I Find Medical Marijuana Doctors Near Me?
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