Pros and Cons of Hemp Oil Extraction Techniques

Elixinol CBD oil being bottled in a factory

Pros and Cons of Hemp Oil Extraction Techniques

One of the most frequent questions I get asked about our CBD oil is why it is so expensive, and this question usually comes from people who see hemp oil in supermarkets and dispensaries, at very low prices.
The very short answer is because CBD oil is not the same with hempseed oil, and because the extraction techniques used for producing the cannabinoid-rich products are differnt from those used for obtaining oil from hemp seeds.

Hemp seed oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds and then extracting the oil, and this procedure is easy to implement at home and requires no special equipment or solvent. However, note that this product is different from the health-enhancing supplement we produce, so it’s worth taking a look at the different hemp oil extraction methods used for obtaining this product.

1. Cold pressing as hemp oil extraction method

Hemp seed oil is rich in nutrients and is a good addition to any diet, but only contains very small amounts of cannabinoids, as it is made from the seeds of the plant. This oil is obtained by simply pressing or grinding the seeds at a temperature that’s lower than 120°F, and it retains its nutritional value and flavor.

Although not a nutritional supplement, hemp seed oil can be added to CBD supplements as base for these products. CBD oil extracts tend to be thicker therefore more difficult to handle, and mixing them into a hemp seed oil base can solve this problem. Cold pressing is a good technique for obtaining hemp seed oil, but it’s not useful for CBD oil production, as CBD oil is obtained from the plant’s stalks and stems.

2. The Rick Simpson method for CBD oil

Another popular extraction method for CBD oil is the Rick Simpson technique, which uses petroleum or naphtha as solvents. This method, although efficient in extracting the active compounds from the cannabis plant, usually leads to products that have a lower concentration or terpenes and CBD and a higher concentration of THC.

It’s therefore not the best choice if you’re looking to obtain a CBD-rich oil, not to mention it’s also considered unsafe due to the residues that may remain from the solvents, and may interfere with one’s immune function.

3. Extraction with ethanol or olive oil

Ethanol and olive oil can be used for extracting the full range of cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant, and they have the advantage of being safe for consumption as well.

On the other hand, ethanol also extracts chlorophyll, so the final product has an unpleasant taste and a not-so-tempting green color. Surely the chlorophyll can be removed by filtering the extract, but this additional step alsoremoves a significant proportion of the CBD, therefore leads to a less potent oil.

Olive oil can be an alternative, but again it has its drawbacks. The good part about extracting the cannabinoids with olive oil is that the technique is very simple and only requires to heat up the oil up to 200°F and filtering the extract. The bad part is that this extract cannot be concentrated, so although it does contain CBD, in order to see significant health effects one needs to consume large amounts of this oil.

4. Super critical CO2 extraction

Finally, a more expensive but non-toxic and extremely efficient method to obtain CBD oil is CO2 extraction. This requires complex equipment and expertise, but uses safe solvents and ensures a highly potent and pure extract.

The CBD oil obtained through super critical extraction is a full spectrum cannabinoid-rich product, with numerous health benefits. The oil is transparent and has an amber color, being more qualitative than the fluid obtained through the previously mentioned techniques. You can read more about this method in our Education section.