Where Does CBD Come From? A Deeper Look at CBD Extraction

Do you ever wonder how chemists get the CBD out of the plant so that it can be used in oils, tinctures, creams and other products? There are many different ways to "unlock," or extract CBD from the hemp plant. This overview and explanation will help you understand where CBD comes from, and how Level Select uses extraction to deliver a high-potency natural product with no detectable THC so that you can enjoy the benefits of CBD without unwanted effects.

CBD Extraction: An Overview

The hemp plant is a powerhouse of a group of compounds known as cannabinoids. These cannabinoids interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps your body maintain the right balance of chemicals. The ECS helps regulate your body temperature, appetite, mood, heart rate, blood pressure and many other physical processes. The cannabinoids found in plants like hemp can bind with the receptors in your ECS, mimicking some of the effects of the chemicals your body naturally produces.

Scientists have identified more than 120 cannabinoids in the hemp plant. The two most plentiful are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for the buzz you get from cannabis; and CBD (cannabidiol), which is not intoxicating or addicting. By extracting the cannabinoids from the hemp plant, chemists can separate out the various cannabinoids, essentially removing the THC from the extract so that you can use it without getting high. Extraction results in a concentrated oil that's rich in cannabinoids. That oil can be used on its own, or added to other ingredients to make creams, gummies, beverages, and other products, making it easier and more convenient to reap the benefits of CBD.

What Is Extraction?

Extraction is the term for any method that breaks down the cell walls of a plant and dissolves the chemical compounds inside it. It sounds complicated, but in reality, you practice extraction every time you make a cup of tea or a pot of coffee. You're soaking plant material — tea leaves or ground coffee beans — in a solvent (e.g., hot water), resulting in a solution that has the plant compounds suspended in it.

With CBD extraction, the process is a little more complicated, especially if you're trying to exclude certain compounds. Scientists use many different methods of extraction with the hemp plant, each of them best suited for certain types of cannabinoids or products. The most common types of CBD extraction are:

  • Extraction by solvent involves soaking or washing dried plant material in a solvent, such as butane or ethanol.
  • CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide to remove the cannabinoids and terpenes at extremely low temperatures.

While each of the three methods uses different substances and processes, the goal and result are essentially the same: to break down the flowers, stems and leaves and extract the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes so that they can be used to make tinctures, capsules, creams and other infused products. The end result is often called crude oil, which contains all — or most — of the compounds present in the original plant, including some you may not want in the final product, such as THC or chlorophyll.

At this point, chemists further refine the oil to remove those unwanted substances that may affect the flavor and purity of the final product. In some cases, they may add back specific terpenes and cannabinoids to create an oil that has the same flavor profile and effects as the original plant, or to enhance a particular effect. Once the refinement process is complete, the oil is ready to be used as is, or as an ingredient in teas, topicals and other CBD products.

Level Select uses an extraction method that ensures the CBD used in all of Level Select products is pure, potent, and affordable. We test our products at every step in the process, from seed through extraction and final packaging, to ensure that each product meets the highest standards. Whether you choose CBD oil, CBD roll-on or CBD tea, you can be sure that you're getting high-quality, highly available CBD to help you stay on your wellness track.

Follow us at @LevelSelectCBD on social media for more information on CBD and our Level Select products.