Ever wondered how CBD oil is made? We’ll be honest: it’s not a quick or easy process. It takes time, patience and the most innovative tech to ensure you’re getting a high quality oil.
However, we know that the best things come to those who don’t just wait, but work hard to get it, which is why we take pride in our CBD oil production process. So much pride, in fact, that we’re ready to share it with you.
Here, we speak to Cannaray's Chief Science Officer, Gregor Zorn, about how we make our CBD oil, the CBD Oral Drops. We’re taking you through every step – from plant to pipette – so you can see what goes into each bottle.
Lab coats on, and let’s go...
1. Picking the plant
CBD is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant – more commonly known as hemp – as this contains the tiniest percentage of THC (if any at all). For the uninitiated, THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol; the compound widely associated with the ‘high’ you get from marijuana.
Every country has its own laws surrounding THC levels. “In most European countries, the limit for THC is 0.2%,” says Gregor. “But in the United States it’s 0.3%, and in Australia it’s 1%.”
By picking flowers from the hemp plant, we give you a THC-free, non-psychotropic CBD oil that’s abundant in cannabinoids, as well as therapeutic terpenes. The latter are aromatic compounds that give cannabis its distinctive smell, but come with the added bonus of providing you with a natural wellness boost. It’s thought that terpenes such as limonene or linalool can enhance CBD’s impact, while offering their own host of benefits, such as relaxation or a reduction in inflammation.
Once the CBD flowers have been picked, they’re dried so that they’re ready for extraction. And that takes us on to step number two...
2. Extracting the CBD
There are two key ways that CBD is extracted from the flowers. You can use ethanol, which is a potent chemical, or a liquid form of CO2 called supercritical carbon dioxide. “With ethanol, there may be the risk of the chemical remaining in the product,” says Gregor. “But with CO2 extraction that’s not a problem, as the carbon dioxide simply evaporates.”
For this reason, we use CO2 extraction. “It’s about washing the cannabinoids and terpenes off the plant,” explains Gregor. “The plant produces these constituents on the surface. It’s not like other plants that have essential oils on the inside.
3. Processing the crude extract
“When you’ve processed the hemp flowers, what you get is something called a crude extract. This will contain a percentage of CBD, which would be anywhere from 50% to even 90%,” Gregor says.
The extract is sticky, unsavoury and not yet ready to be ingested or sublingually applied, which is why we process it into a fresh-tasting CBD oil. This involves removing any unwanted waxes or fats.
Then, the oil creation process begins. What some don’t know is that CBD isn’t extracted as an oil; it turns into one when you mix it with a carrier oil. This is necessary for your body to be able to absorb the CBD, and the choice of oils can range from olive oil to hemp seed oil to coconut oil.
At Cannaray, we use the latter. Coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride, which helps to increase the absorbency of the CBD, as well as the other cannabinoids. “It’s also very stable, so it doesn’t oxidise,” Gregor points out. “The problem with a lot of other carrier oils is that they tend to oxidise quickly, which reduces the shelf life and gives the CBD a bad taste.”
Once you’ve added the oil, you have the final product. “This is diluted to the percentage of CBD you want to have,” says Gregor. “For example, you might have 5% in a 10ml bottle, giving you 500mg of CBD in total.”
This percentage of CBD is adjusted depending on the formula. Case in point: our CBD Oral Drops come in a variety of strengths, including 300mg, 750mg and even 3000mg.
4. Bottling the benefits
Finally, the CBD oil is ready to be bottled. The packaging we use is key here, as it needs to protect the quality of the oil and safeguard it from oxidation. This is why we use dark glass; it helps to protect the oil from UV light, which can cause the CBD and terpenes to evaporate.
Top tip from Gregor: “Once you’ve got your CBD Oral Drops, place them in a cool, dark place and keep the lid closed. If you’re not using it regularly, you could even keep it in the fridge.”
That way, your oil will always be fresh.