Health enthusiasts, beauticians and pain sufferers alike have been eager to test, try and research the many promising benefits of CBD oil since its release – but how is CBD oil made? Why are so many keen to experiment with the products hitting the shelves? How much should we be taking? How do we measure the standards? What are the differences between CBD and hemp oil?
In case you’re needing some background information on this topic: when it comes to the cannabis plant, most are familiar with the compound ‘THC’. The cannabis plant however contains over 120 different cannabinoids and THC is the only compound with the capacity to intoxicate. In fact, the human body actually has its own endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is built to digest the compounds found in CBD oil, helping us maintain a healthy equilibrium.
Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil
The list of researchable benefits and uses of CBD oil is bountiful and ever growing greener – excuse the pun. The main areas are: anxiety, anti-seizure, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory/pain relief. Due to CBD oil originating its life as a plant (i.e a totally natural remedy), unlike many products in the pharmaceutical industry, there are little to no side effects. As studies continue, we hope CBD oil will be used to treat more serious health conditions. For now it is helpful to think of CBD oil as a holistic, health benefiting aid, much like a supplement packed with antioxidants – most helpful when accompanied with an overall healthy diet and lifestyle. CBD oil works with the body’s internal endocannabinoid system, which can affect mood, pain, appetite and memory.
- Anxiety: Animal studies have suggested CBD can help with reducing stress, improving symptoms of PTSD, insomnia and reducing an increased heart rate (a physical sign of anxiety). It may also change the way the brain responds to serotonin, which is linked to mood alterations and mental health related issues.
- Anti-Seizure: Research has shown CBD oil can also be a useful tool in treating epilepsy. Seizures have shown to become less frequent with consistent CBD use. Studies are currently being conducted in this area to better understand how the oil can be used as safely as possible.
- Neuroprotective: CBD oil can also be used to treat neurodegenerative disorders, which cause the nerves and the brain to suffer. Diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimers are categorized in this field. This is because these disorders are linked to the ‘CB1’ receptor, which CBD oil works alongside with. CBD has been shown to have a positive effect on this receptor, causing the molecules to multiply, increasing its strength. CBD oil usage is also linked to decreasing inflammation, which typically makes these diseases worse.
- Pain-relief and anti-inflammatory: CBD has shown promising results in helping to aid conditions such as arthritis, muscle pain and spinal cord injuries.
How Is CBD Oil Made and Extracted?
There are a number of different techniques to extract CBD oil from the plant. Needless to say, all require specialised laboratory equipment. How CBD oil is made also depends on temperatures, elements and various diligent measurements.
Carbon dioxide extraction is the most popular choice for CBD oil, as the element’s unique properties allow it to act in solid, liquid and gas matter. How it works: the C02 gets allocated into a container with the cannabis plant, kept at a certain pressure so that the liquid state of C02 can absorb the essence of the plant. In the next container, the C02-cannabinoid substance returns to a gas state. The oil is the matter left behind.
This process is similar to how CBD oil is made using C02. Liquid extraction is more cost-effective and simpler, though it has its downsides. Liquids can contain more impurities than C02 (liquids often used are ethanol, butane and hexane). This can produce a more bitter, greener oil. By refining and adjusting the process, it is possible to have a more cultivated oil as the finishing result.
Oil infusion is one of the easier methods, as well as most traditional. It works by heating the plant material to a certain temperature to become activated, before adding a ‘carrier oil’ such as olive or avocado oil and heat for 1-2 hours at a fiery one hundred degrees celsius. The drawback is not being able to evaporate the carrier oil from the mixture.
This process removes fats, waxes and lipids from the plant material, pulling everything away. The oil needs to be extracted at a high temperature first, and combined with a special alcohol, before being placed in a freezer. Once out of the freezer, the extracted oil often needs further refining and filtration. A filter paper and extraction jar removes the heavier elements, whilst heating the substance to the right temperature will cause the alcohol to evaporate.
Each compound found within CBD oil has its own unique boiling point. By boiling off the other compounds which have a lower boiling point than the CBD oil itself, an especially refined oil can be created. This process is known as ‘short path distillation’.
Is There a Difference Between CBD Oil and Hemp Oil?
CBD oil and hemp oil are from the same cannabis plant species – so often these names are blended together into one unit, especially in beauty products. This can create confusion around their differences. Especially as both are becoming increasingly popular in the natural health world. However, these two products have vastly different uses and properties.
Where CBD oil is used for medicinal purposes, to treat some of the more serious health conditions listed above, the hemp plant can be used for clothing, cooking, fuel, plastic, paints and beauty production. Hemp always contains less than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant which gives a sense of euphoria or ‘high’).
Hemp oil is made by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant, rather than the various extraction processes used to make CBD oil (listed above). High in nutritional value for its fatty acids, hemp makes a nutty-flavoured, light green ingredient and lubricant which can be used to make soaps, shampoos, face creams, salad dressings and even industrial products.
The main difference of hemp oil is that it does not contain any CBD or THC. It therefore does not have the same effects when treating anxiety, depression, inflammation or insomnia – for example.
Always check the label and read thoroughly if you are unsure about whether a product is a CBD or hemp oil.
How Often Should I Take CBD Oil?
The ideal amount of CBD oil varies from person to person and largely depends on the reason for taking it. In other words, using CBD for anxiety vs. arthritis, depending on your age, size and activity levels may look quite different. Matters such as weight and metabolism can play an important part in determining your dosage. The average amount is between 10 – 20mg taken once or twice daily, usually once in the morning and once at night. This is roughly ½ a dropper from a CBD oil tincture, or one capsule. Always consult with your doctor first, and ideally start with a smaller dosage for a couple of weeks, before working your way up.
When purchasing a CBD product, always consider that how CBD oil made, is not always the same. There is a lot of misinformation and poor quality products out there, so question and research as much as possible when considering which brand to buy from. Due to legal battles surrounding cannabis products, there are few standards in place when it comes to the CBD industry.
The lack of standards have been recognised, and we will likely see a certain protocol for areas such as extraction, laboratory conditions and cultivation in the future.
Always speak with a doctor about your thoughts of trying out CBD products. They can help design a treatment plan which links with other medications and holistic routines.