Hemp is a truly remarkable plant.
You can use it to make rope. You can use it to make paper. Heck, you could even build a hemp house!
In the past year, one of hemp’s amazing qualities has taken the health and wellness world by storm: it’s called full spectrum CBD oil. So, just what is full spectrum CBD oil, and how do you make it from a hemp plant?
What is Full Spectrum CBD Oil?
Full spectrum CBD oil contains all of the naturally-occurring compounds that are found in hemp. There are well over 100 cannabinoids in hemp, but the essential ones that will produce the effects you’re after are CBD, CBG, CBC and THC.
This is opposed to a broad spectrum CBD product, which includes all of the cannabinoids sans THC. You might also come across CBD isolate, which is nothing but pure CBD.
The Full-Spectrum Extraction Process
Full-spectrum CBD products undergo less processing than broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolates. This is one of the major benefits to choosing a CBD oil.
To understand CBD production, let’s compare the extraction process to making orange juice.
When you get that first good squeeze out of an orange, the orange juice that comes out is likely to contain all of the naturally-occurring vitamins in their highest concentrations.
Some orange juice companies might decide to filter out the pulp. We can compare this to a broad spectrum CBD product. While some people might not want the pulp, filtering it out removes the fiber and decreases the overall wholeness of the juice.
When we’re talking about CBD isolate, we could compare this to a company filtering their orange juice again and again, until all that’s left is the vitamin C. While vitamin C is good for you on its own, you’ll get the most health benefits from drinking it in combination with the water, potassium, and other vitamins that are naturally present in orange juice.
When making a full spectrum CBD oil, the idea is to squeeze all the natural compounds out of the hemp while still maintaining the purity of the product. The result is a CBD oil that contains all of the cannabinoid goodness from which you body will benefit.
The Entourage Effect and What It Means For Your Body
While CBD isolate could have specific benefits, research shows that full-spectrum hemp products are more effective. To understand this better, we first have to know how CBD and other cannabinoids interact with the human body.
The cannabinoids found in hemp interact with a specific biological system known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system helps your body regulate a lot of its processes, ranging from your mood to your appetite; and it even helps your body regulate its pain response.
When there’s an imbalance in your endocannabinoid system, a lot of things could go off-kilter, and you’re likely to experience some negative side effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) can help your body re-balance the ECS and return it to homeostasis on its own. However, a 2015 study concluded that CBD is only effective at a certain dose. If you take too little or too much CBD isolate, the product becomes significantly less effective. This conundrum is often referred to as the “bell-shaped response curve.”
When comparing CBD isolate to full-spectrum CBD, these same researchers found that the range of effective doses increased when other naturally-occurring compounds were present in tandem with CBD. This finding suggests that, compared to CBD isolate, full-spectrum hemp products are more effective.
This phenomenon is called the entourage effect; and it explains why hemp products make you more comfortable when they’re in their whole and natural state.
To drive this point home, we’ll use another analogy.
Let’s say it’s Friday night, and you’re getting ready to go to a party. While you might have fun at the party all on your own, you’ll have the most fun if you invite your friends with you. Your friends lift your spirits and increase your humor; and you have the same effect on them. Together, your “entourage” makes it easier for all of you to have a great night at the party.
While CBD might be a great gal on her own, she becomes the life of the party when her cannabinoid and terpene friends are with her. That’s why full-spectrum CBD is better.
How to Extract Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
Now that we’ve learned why full-spectrum CBD oil is important, let’s take a look at how it’s made.
Phase 1: Sourcing Ingredients
Before making full-spectrum CBD oil, it’s important to source the right materials for the job. The hemp you choose for your extraction will ultimately determine the quality of the end-product.
It’s best to start with hemp flower, as that’s where you’ll find most of the CBD. While you might find some CBD in other parts of the hemp (like the stalk), the concentration levels will be extremely low.
You could also extract CBD from marijuana, but this is usually a bad idea if you only want to get the effects of CBD. Marijuana contains high concentrations of THC, which is the component that produces an intoxicating effect. Marijuana also typically contains low levels of CBD.
In contrast, hemp contains high concentrations of CBD and a negligible amount of THC (below 0.3%). Also, unlike marijuana, hemp is legal in all 50 states. So if you’re aiming for a full-spectrum CBD product, you’ll want to start with CBD-rich hemp flower.
You should also pay close attention to where your hemp flower comes from. Because the CBD market is largely unregulated, it’s entirely possible to find hemp that’s been contaminated with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy metals.
While sourcing the best CBD products, look for USDA-certified organic hemp. Organic farmers must adhere to a strict set of guidelines to ensure the quality and safety of their products. You should also request a third-party lab test to know exactly what you’re getting and to calculate the potency of the hemp.
Phase 2: Bud Preparation
Once you have your CBD-rich, USDA-certified, lab-tested hemp flower, it’s time to prepare the buds for extraction.
Just like marijuana, hemp needs to be cured and dried. Often, companies will do this by hanging and drying the hemp in barns. Unfortunately, this can trap moisture in the center of the plant, which increases the chance of mold or mildew forming. This is another reason to request a recent lab test from your supplier.
Once the hemp is cured and dried, the buds will contain a compound called CBDA, which is the precursor to CBD. To convert the CBDA into active CBD, the hemp flower needs to be heated in a process called decarboxylation. If you’re starting with hemp flower, you can do this with an oven and a thermometer.
Phase 3: Extraction
If you’ve made it this far, it’s finally time to extract the cannabinoids from the hemp flower.
There’s a huge variety of ways to extract CBD oil from the plant; but it’s important to remember our purpose in doing so. At this stage, we’re trying to extract the full spectrum of cannabinoids that are pure and suitable for human consumption.
To get full-spectrum CBD oil, most companies use a process known as supercritical CO2 extraction. This process involves introducing CO2 as a solvent to separate the cannabinoids from the flower. This is a perfectly fine way to extract, but it often leaves you with an oil that tastes grassy and bitter.
At Cornbread Hemp, we use ethanol made from organic sugar cane as a solvent. Unlike other extraction methods, ethanol extraction is capable of producing full-spectrum hemp oil with up to 99 percent purity.
If you’re trying to make full-spectrum CBD oil, look for an oil and ethanol recovery system. It’s much cheaper and far more efficient than the equipment that CO2 extraction requires.
Phase 4: Distillation
At this point, you have a full-spectrum CBD oil with completely active cannabinoids. In the CBD space, we call this Whole Plant Extract.
In order to keep everything as natural as possible, some users prefer to stop there. Though if you’re interested in boiling those cannabinoids down for an even purer product, you can keep going. This is the optional stage: distillation.
At Cornbread Hemp, we take half of our batch and put it through a process called Short Path Distillation. Because each compound in hemp extract has a different boiling point, we can distill the cannabinoids to 75%. By removing more plant matter from the oil, the cannabinoids can enter your system more easily. This process effectively increases the purity and potency of the full-spectrum CBD oil.
You read that right: we’re offering the purest and most-effective CBD oil that’s scientifically attainable. We do this not only to pay homage to our bourbon-distilling, Kentucky forefathers, but also to bring the best product possible to our customers: our Distilled USDA Organic CBD Oil.
Are there other ways to make full spectrum CBD oil? Sure there are!
But now you know the gold standard of CBD extraction. It starts with organic hemp, and it ends with an ethanol-extracted, full spectrum distilled CBD oil.
Cornbread Hemp’s CBD oil is backed by Kentucky farmers, American tradition, and a dedication to provide consumers with the best CBD products available on the market today.
Of course, you can always find something else out there with bigger claims and a cheaper price tag; but we challenge you to find a product that works better than this. We’re not coming from a place of arrogance—we’re just that confident in our products and what they can do for you.
So why not pick up a bottle today, and see the Cornbread Difference for yourself?