Extracting CBD-rich cannabis oil starts with CBD-rich plant material. There are numerous ways to extract cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds from the cannabis plant depending on what your objectives are for the end product.
- CO2 extraction. The supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. This process requires expensive equipment and a steep operational learning curve. But, when done well the end product is safe, potent, and free of chlorophyll.
- Ethanol. High-grade grain alcohol can be used to create high-quality cannabis oil appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other products. But this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favored by some product-makers.
- Olive oil. Extra virgin or otherwise, olive oil can also be used to extract cannabis oil. Dr. Arno Hazekamp, director of phytochemical research at Bedrocan BV, which supplies medical cannabis for the Dutch Health Ministry, reports this method is both safe and inexpensive, “You won’t blow yourself up making cannabis-infused olive oil.” However, cannabis-infused olive oil—whether CBD-rich or THC-dominant—is perishable and should be stored in a cool, dark place.