If you are curious about the process to make CBD oil, we have the guide you need to understand. Charlotte's Web Original Formula is our flagship product that played a pivotal role in launching the CBD industry in the United States. Learn about its benefits and history here!
How to Make CBD Oil
Take a moment and think about your approach to health: would you consider yourself proactive? Curious? Dedicated? Especially in an age where information is readily available, and more people are conscious of their daily choices—from diet to exercise and the environment—you likely care more deeply than you realize. More than ever, mindful shoppers like yourself are looking into the nitty-gritty of everything: grocery store buys, beauty products, household cleaners, and the list goes on.
If you want to go a step further in your burgeoning investigative skills, take a moment to consider not only what is in your everyday goods but rather how they were created. At Charlotte’s Web, we aim to be transparent about our products—and the methods we use to create them. If you have ever wondered how to make CBD oil, you’re in luck. We have spoken with our trusted team of experts to better understand the process. Here, we provide an insider’s look at how we go from seed to plant to oil and give a crash course on other things you need to know about this trendy gift from Mother Nature herself.
Consider yourself schooled.
First up, what is CBD?
What is CBD? Truth be told, it is nearly impossible to miss CBD these days. Scrolling through Instagram, browsing through various online shops, or even overhearing a conversation in a coffee shop… your ears will perk up at the recognition of the term. However, you may not know exactly what it is, or why so many people are raving about its effectiveness and benefits. That’s okay—we have the history and background for you.
CBD stands for cannabidiol which is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. This compound is usually derived from hemp and is a naturally occurring substance. Here is where small details are essential: CBD is not psychoactive. This is important to note because this means it will not impair your mental state or your ability to function and perform everyday tasks. This is what sets CBD apart from another plant compound in the cannabis family, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. When you think of getting high, you are contemplating the effects of THC, not CBD.
The reason many people are wondering how to make CBD oil is based on its versatility and the ways it can be used throughout daily routines. Surprisingly, CBD has been part of cultures for hundreds of years, even if it is only now becoming viral among bigger populations. Indigenous communities handled hemp throughout their lives for various solutions: to control weeds, to sanitize water, to make clothing, and other uses. Today, more people turn to CBD oil for some of its help in making modern living easier like supporting recovery from exercise-induced inflammation or maintaining focus for an important project, to name a few.
How to make CBD oil
The actual process of making CBD oil is one that’s been crafted and cultivated for centuries. At Charlotte’s Web, it is a journey we have perfected since 2011 when a family of seven brothers—Joel, Jesse, Jon, Jordan, Jared, Josh, and Austin Stanley—developed a high-quality blend of CBD that features other beneficial phytocompounds. At that time, something that set us apart was our ability to make a high-quality extract from plants we grew and harvested ourselves. Each step within our process—from seed to bottle—is still overseen by quality standards put in place by the Stanley’s and is quality-tested and assured each step of the way.
But how does it all, well, work?
Pam Baxter is the Director of Quality Engineering at Charlotte’s Web where she leads product testing, the validation, and verification of equipment, all technical writing, and document control. It’s a big job but one that Pam loves since it gives her an important hands-on role in the way our products are made. In an interview about how to make CBD oil, she explains how the team uses two different extraction methods: CO2 and alcohol extraction.
As Pam explains, carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction is excellent at isolating cannabinoids from the plant materials, which allows scientists the ability to derive a high concentration of mostly CBD, but also other compounds like cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinoid (CBN). Like CBD, these cannabinoids are not psychoactive and won’t alter your mental state.
Another extraction technique used at Charlotte’s Web is with isopropyl alcohol to extract a wide variety of compounds, like terpenes, flavonoids, and more, each with their own beneficial properties for health and wellness. Today, the CO2 extraction method is used for most products, while the Original Formula is still created via alcohol extraction, just as it has been since the Stanley Brothers first shared it with Charlotte.
If that is all a little over your head, don’t sweat it. You probably won’t be making CBD oil at home by yourself but if you are curious, Pam says everything starts with the earth. Or more to the point: the soil!
Every fall, Charlotte’s Web harvests and dries its hemp plants. The dried material is then milled and stored in bins as they wait to start the testing process. To ensure we only create the highest quality products—safe for people to use on themselves and their furry best friends—every plant goes through an intense testing regimen. Pam explains that what we are mostly looking for is any sort of moisture that could create mold. As you can imagine, this would be dangerous and must be controlled. Once plants have passed these various quality assurance steps, we move on to the extraction process.
How to make CBD oil: CO2 Extraction
To implement CO2 extraction—remember, that’s carbon dioxide—Pam says we start by performing a decarboxylation step. In this step, the plant material is heated, which converts all the acid forms of the cannabinoids into active forms. In other words, this makes it useful to be put into oils, otherwise, it wouldn’t offer the same benefits. From this state, it goes into the extractor, where the compounds are brought out in oil form. The extract is fully tested and approved for use. From our hemp, we extract CBD and the other compounds.
How to make CBD oil: Alcohol Extraction
The alcohol extraction technique goes a little differently. After hemp is dried and tested, it goes straight into a container where it is soaked in isopropyl alcohol. This is when the extraction happens, Pam explains. Then, we remove all the hemp plant remnants from the alcohol and heat the solution which evaporates the alcohol off, leaving an extract of CBD and 80+ other cannabinoids. “The extract is then put under heat to decarboxylate it and then that’s what we use to make our products,” she explains.
No matter which process the plants go through, Pam says the oil doesn’t quite look like the final product you purchase. Instead, it has the consistency of molasses—very thick and dark.
Why Quality Matters
As a proactive shopper, you think carefully about what is lurking in your food. Or in your go-to beauty products. Or, well, in anything. The same should be true for any hemp extracts you use. Though many, many companies are advertising and offering CBD products, there has been little regulation to control exactly what’s inside them. This can make it difficult to really understand what you are using and how it may impact your body from the inside out. Especially with any new type of trend, it is in your best interest—and that of your family—to only select formulas you trust.
Pam explains it best: “You want to know that it’s made from trusted plants. You can buy various CBD oils, but what you want is something where extraction was done on the entire plant and there wasn’t any separation, purification, or other additions to the materials, so you get a full spectrum extract rather than having certain cannabinoids added in.”
Even though it seems like a complicated, time-consuming process to create CBD oil, not everyone is as diligent about their plants as we are. It is essential to the core values of Charlotte’s Web that we only provide the most trusted level of quality and effectiveness. To do this, we are diligent about the hemp plants we cultivate.
When you have trustworthy ingredients, you can aspire to see some of the many benefits of incorporating CBD oil into your regimen. “We all know that it’s important that you start with the genetics that you understand so that you can make a consistent product. Most companies out there buy hemp on the open market, so they don’t know much about how the hemp was grown,” Pam shares. “We know everything about how our hemp was grown, so we always start off with the best material.”
Giving it time
Charlotte’s Web also goes a step above by providing accurate, proven information to back all our products. We want to educate our customers so they can experience the benefits of CBD Oil. We always recommend giving the product time to work its magic, right around four weeks. While some people will notice a difference right away, everyone’s unique chemical system responds at various durations. To reap the benefits of CBD, your body’s endocannabinoid system takes in the CBD based on saturation. This means you need to reach a certain level of saturation before experiencing more noticeable individual effects.
The bottom line is CBD provides plenty of great benefits, but you have to select a brand dedicated to quality. Regardless if this your first time on the CBD train or you are an expert, research will allow you to truly know what you are using and how it may work for you and those you love.
To learn more about all things CBD, sign up for our email list, read our CBD 101 resource page, check out our CBD oil and gummies, or drop us a line.
The Science of Charlotte’s Web™ Original Formula
If you’ve shopped our CBD oils, you know that Charlotte’s Web offer tinctures with both 50mg and 60mg of CBD. Why would we have two products that are so similar? Because they are very, very different.
Both are full spectrum hemp extracts featuring a range of cannabinoids, plus terpenes, flavonoids, phytosterols, essential fatty acids and many other beneficial plant compounds. But it’s how the hemp is extracted that creates two dynamically different products. Something that sets Charlotte’s Web apart within the CBD industry is that we offer full spectrum hemp extracts created by two different extraction methods: supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) and isopropyl alcohol (IPA). We’ll explain both so you can understand the science of Original Formula more, and better decide which products are best for you.
Snapshot of 60 mg CBD Oil: As our highest concentration of CBD per mL, this extract is ideal when the goal is to go the next step with a CBD routine for those who are already familiar with Charlotte’s Web products. The 60mg oil is a full-spectrum hemp extract, robust in phytocannabinoids, but it is not as high in terpenes as Original Formula because it is extracted via a CO2 extraction process.
Snapshot of Original Formula: Original Formula is created in a small batch, labor-intensive, alcohol extraction process. The result is a darker extract with a very earthy flavor. Original Formula is a full spectrum hemp extract that provides 50mg of CBD per 1mL serving. The IPA extraction method results in a rich combination of synergistic compounds that are significantly higher in terpenes when compared to the 60mg CBD oil.
Hemp Extraction Methods: What’s the Difference?
We use a supercritical Carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction process for all Charlotte’s Web products, except Original Formula. Supercritical CO2 technology allows for a more targeted extraction of cannabinoids and is ecologically friendly, highly efficient, and suitable for large quantity extractions. This is how we create our Charlotte’s Web 60mg per mL CBD oil, as well as our 17mg tinctures, capsules, and gummies available at a variety of concentrations. All Charlotte’s Web tinctures created using CO2 extraction are currently certified organic.
Even though CO2 extraction is the most commonly used method in the industry, our Original Formula has always been made using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) extraction, and it continues to be extracted by that same method today. Charlotte’s Web scientists describe IPA extraction as a process similar to making herbal tea. It’s a very simple, artisanal approach that uses the entire plant’s material. The result is a dark, rich combination of synergistic compounds that are relatively high in terpenes. The alcohol is removed from the final Original Formula product by means of a gentle heating process, and then re-used many times to prevent waste. MCT oil or olive oil is then added as the carrier oil. The final product is tested at third-party independent laboratories for residual solvents.
The IPA extraction process is more labor-intensive than CO2 extraction, and so Original Formula is produced in small, select batches. This small-batch, slow production process is a nod to how the company began. Original Formula is the Charlotte’s Web flagship product that played a pivotal role in launching the CBD industry in the United States.
All Charlotte’s Web products are the result of 100% organic farming practices, using our proprietary genetics to create a consistent phytochemical profile. Our extremely high standards for quality and trust as well as our dedication to transparency have earned Charlotte’s Web the official stamp of approval from the U.S. Hemp Authority® Certification Program, which provides comprehensive standards for hemp growers and processors. Companies are only granted the U.S. Hemp Authority’s Certified Seal when they meet these stringent self-regulatory standards verified by independent audit.
The plants grown for Original Formula and 60mg CBD oil differ slightly in their proprietary hemp genetics, in part to adapt the plants to each specific geography and growing conditions. In fact, Original Formula uses the same proprietary phytochemical profiles produced by the now patented ‘CW1AS1’ hemp variety and is manufactured in the exact same process that were developed for Charlotte Figi, the company’s namesake.
So, what does this mean for me?
Both extraction methods result in a potent mix of synergistic compounds, but there are practical differences between them.
How the Oil Looks
Visually, 60mg CBD oil has a golden color because our CO2 extraction process does not draw chlorophyll out of the plant. By comparison, Original Formula is much darker because it draws out more of the natural plant material, including chlorophyll.
Original Formula is flavored with mint chocolate or remains natural with coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil as the carrier oils but has a much more earthy taste than our CO2-extracted products.
In addition to cannabidiol (CBD), scientists have so far identified about 113 distinct phytocannabinoids in hemp. The cannabinoids present in Charlotte’s Web hemp extracts are quantified in the COA for every batch. These other phytocannabinoids are still considered “minor” as compared to CBD and THC, but ongoing research continues to shed light on their potential effects in the body.
Additional Plant Compounds
The formulas differ by CBD concentration, appearance, and taste, but another way to choose between them is based on their respective terpene levels. In general, the IPA extraction method draws much of the natural plant compounds, ultimately resulting in a higher quantity of terpenes as compared to a CO2 extraction. The Original Formula offers a unique pairing of terpenes and cannabinoids to create specific benefits for the user.
Let’s Talk Terpenes: Why are they important?
Terpenes make up the largest (as much as 60%) and most diverse class of known natural plant substances. It is thought that plants developed terpenes to ward off predators and attract pollinators. In addition, terpenes form part of a plant’s immune and repair systems.. 1 Terpenes are responsible for the hemp plant’s characteristic aroma and flavor, not the cannabinoids, which are odorless. At least 400 terpenes have been identified so far in cannabis. 2 Terpenes are important because of their likely involvement in the entourage effect. The entourage effect describes the phenomenon whereby all compounds in the hemp plant, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, phytosterols, and essential fatty acids, work best when combined in products because together they optimize each other’s effects on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
A recent study concluded that terpenes may participate in the entourage effect by influencing endocannabinoid synthesis or metabolism. It is also possible that terpenes have biological effects in their own right through different receptor targets. 3
The body of evidence suggesting that terpenes may have beneficial properties of their own continues to grow. So far, very few terpenes have been studied at a functional level, however, and for those that have, the evidence comes from experimental or animal models.
These formulas differ by CBD concentration, appearance, and taste, but the practical reason you may choose between them and opt for Original Formula, is because of the higher terpene level and the benefits terpenes offer.
Charlotte’s Web continues to craft Original Formula and 60mg CBD oil in different ways to provide options you need to better support your personal biochemistry and wellness goals.
To learn more about all things CBD, sign up for our email list, read our CBD 101 resource page, check out our CBD oil and gummies, or drop us a line.