CBD Extraction Methods Explained

The ultimate goal of extraction is to get pure CBD out of the cannabis plant. The process might sound scientific, but it’s not complicated. The extracts make CBD oils, gummies, vapes, topicals, and capsules.

With an expanding industry, CBD manufacturers claim to have the best extraction methods. But the truth is, each cannabidiol extraction process has pros and cons. These methods can be used to make potent broad-spectrum, isolate, and full-spectrum CBD products.

As you shop for your cannabidiol from dispensaries or online stores, choose from brands that list the extraction process. A brand that doesn’t disclose such information will likely offer potentially low-quality and dangerous products.

In this article, you’ll understand various extraction methods, how they work, and their benefits and drawbacks.

CO2 CBD Extraction

As cannabidiol is gaining more popularity, consumers are also shifting their focus to extraction methods. While there are several extraction techniques, the CO2 method seems more popular.

CO2 extraction is not a new process, as it has been widely used to extract spices, remove nicotine from tobacco and decaffeinate coffee beans. Although it’s a highly tunable method, it requires expertise and is expensive.

The method is categorized into subcritical and supercritical versions. Both techniques use pressurized CO2 as a solvent to extract CBD and other cannabinoids from the hemp plant.

Subcritical CO2 extraction uses low temperature and pressure, which means carbon dioxide remains in the liquid state. As a result, the process tends to be less effective and slower. Conversely, Supercritical utilizes high temperatures and pressures to make CO2 act as liquid and gas. It’s highly efficient in extracting potent CBD products, which you can buy here.

The supercritical CO2 extraction technique yields cannabis waxes, rosins, and oils with the highest purity. Trusted food companies have also utilized the process for its effectiveness. Cannabinoids extracted using this method retain their potency without compromising the product’s integrity.

Using CO2 in CBD extraction is safe and eco-friendly. The gas is recovered and recycled, leaving no chemical solvent residues.

Pros of the CO2 Extraction Process

  • Pure CBD extract

Reliable companies predominantly use the CO2 extraction method as it produces high-quality products. When it comes to the health sector, consumers highly value product purity, and CO2 extraction delivers the same. The process eliminates unwanted compounds and harmful solvent residues, leaving you with the purest final products.

  • High-quality products

Cannabis growers invest in good-quality seeds to produce CBD-rich materials. But it’s through the CO2 extraction process that these materials capture the full potency of the plant.

  • Fast processing method

Getting cannabidiols to the shelf on time ensures consumers get the products on time and fresh. Carbon dioxide methods extract compounds fast and eliminate the need for post-processing phases.


  • Expensive

The CO2 extraction process uses costly and advanced equipment, making the entire process expensive. It’s also a complex scientific process that requires expertise.

Olive Oil/Lipid Infusion Extraction

Unlike the CO2 extraction method, the olive oil process is simple and inexpensive. In this technique, the cannabis materials are soaked in coconut or olive oil infused with cannabinoids, and pressure is applied. The method is the least intrusive and mildest and preserves all the ingredients from the hemp plant.

It’s an ideal technique for users who want natural products. It’s used mainly by CBD enthusiasts rather than commercial companies.

The raw hemp is decarboxylated and added to the CBD-infused oil. It’s heated repeatedly to extract cannabinoids. Unlike hydrocarbon or ethanol solvents, olive oil does not evaporate for highly concentrated end products.


  • Inexpensive

The lipid infusion method is easy and inexpensive to practice in your home. The equipment used is simple to use and affordable.

  • Safe

When it comes to health concerns, CBD consumers prioritize product safety. With olive oil extraction, you don’t worry about residue solvents.


  • Less concentrated CBD

Olive oil extraction is less precise than CO2, leading to a less-concentrated CBD-infused extract. Consumers must take larger doses to feel the effects and get desired results.

  • Less tasty products

The final CBD extract will not taste as pleasant as the ones extracted through the carbon dioxide process. The end product is also perishable, which is why most companies don’t use this method.

Ethanol Extraction

If you’re looking for CBD products that maintain the product’s aroma and flavor, buy ethanol-extracted compounds. Ethanol has been used for thousands of years, especially when extracting herbal tinctures.

There are warm and cold ethanol extraction processes. The warm method is safe and effective in producing high yields. But this procedure pulls out undesirable elements like waxes and fats from the hemp plant. It would require an additional processing method to remove, making it time-consuming and expensive.

On the other hand, cold ethanol extraction does not pull out waxes and fats. It’s, therefore, a straightforward process that separates terpene and cannabinoids.


  • Simple and Inexpensive

Ethanol extraction is not a complicated scientific method like CO2 extraction. It’s suitable for small and large-scale cannabis manufacturers.

  • Easy evaporation

Ethanol dissolves both oil-soluble chemicals and water. It also evaporates quickly to produce a pure, clean extract without traces of solvent.


  • The recovery process is more complicated and slower due to ethanol’s higher boiling point.

Which is the Best CBD Extraction Process?

Everyone has their preferences when shopping for cannabidiol products and the methods used to produce them. But you can agree that minimally processed products from quality ingredients offer optimal health benefits.

CO2 extraction reduces the risk of having carbon dioxide in the final product. Cannabidiol producers use this method for producing pure CBD products. It’s also ideal for processors who want full-spectrum extracts with high concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Ethanol is a viable option for operators who want high-potency distillate. The method also produces active compounds fast for high-quality extracts.

Olive oil extraction is a cheap option but with less concentrated extracts.

Wrapping Up

These extraction methods have their benefits and drawbacks. They have their uses depending on the elements you want to prioritize in your CBD product. Above all, you should grasp why accurate and clean extraction is important