CBD molecules, naturally present in hemp, can be extracted from the plant through various methods. Each of these methods has a direct influence on the quality and purity of the CBD molecule.
Broadly, solvent extraction consists of immersing a body in a liquid to extract one or more of its components. This technique is cheap and easy and does not require any specialist equipment. Various solvents can be used, depending on the molecule to be extracted. Water, oil or chemical solvents may be used.
For CBD, chemical solvents are usually used for extraction. These solvents are effective at extracting cannabinoids, but may leave traces on the resulting CBD. In this case, it is impossible to remove this residue, which may be found in minuscule proportions in the finished product. Solvent extraction therefore offers a cannabidiol of variable quality. This technique also damages the other substances naturally present in the plant (terpenes, other cannabinoids) that contribute towards improving the quality of the resulting CBD. This extraction method does therefore not maintain the entourage effect or the natural interactions between the different cannabinoids.
Supercritical CO2 extraction
Supercritical CO2 extraction is a more technical method than solvent extraction and requires state-of-the-art technology. This is also a cleaner extraction method, as it does not require potentially harmful chemical agents. The resulting CBD is therefore of a very high quality. This is the extraction method used to make Marie Jeanne CBD e-liquids.
This extraction is carried out using carbon dioxide in supercritical state, put under high pressure and kept at the limit between its liquid and gas state. The extraction temperature may vary depending on the technique, which will have a direct influence on the quality of the CBD. An extraction carried out at too high a temperature can cause the same damage as a solvent extraction, destroying other components naturally present in hemp. When carried out at low temperatures, supercritical CO2 extraction preserves all the cannabinoids present in the plant, thus maintaining that sought-after entourage effect. The result is a full spectrum CBD, or, more accurately, a broad spectrum CBD, as the THC is not preserved. Of course, this procedure can also extract pure CBD: in this case, only the CBD molecules are targeted during extraction.