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Pure CBD Oil: Learn the Basics of CBD Purity

Pure CBD Oil: Learn the Basics of CBD Purity

Posted by Jim Higdon on Aug 12th 2020

Updated: August 26, 2021

What does it take for a CBD oil to be considered “pure CBD oil”? CBD oil purity can mean different things to different people. But one thing is for sure: not all CBD products have the same level of purity.1

Since CBD terminology can be confusing, we created this post to help you understand the concept of CBD purity. What kind of purity are you looking for when you buy CBD oil? And why does CBD oil purity matter? We will answer these questions below.

Two Types of Pure CBD Oil

How can there be different types of pure CBD oil products? It depends on how you define “pure.” Because with CBD products, some purity is better than others.

The good kind of purity is CBD oil without any contaminants. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to come by. The only way to prove that a CBD product is free of contaminants is by looking for the USDA certified organic seal.2

The bad kind of purity is 99 percent pure CBD isolate crystals. Isolates lack an entourage effect with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found naturally in hemp.3 Studies prove that full spectrum CBD oil surpasses CBD isolate in effectiveness.4

So when you see “99 percent pure CBD” used to describe hemp oil CBD isolate, this is not as good as you might think. Without other cannabinoids, pure CBD isolate is not as effective as other CBD products.5

How to Find Pure CBD Oil

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp with trace amounts of THC on a federal level.6 This legislation improved US agriculture and permitted Americans to buy and sell CBD oil with no more than 0.3 percent THC legally.

Unfortunately, the CBD industry has a long way to go, and this isn’t immediately clear to most consumers. People still buy CBD oil at gas stations. And even worse, some are taking products that claim to be hemp oil CBD but are actually dangerous synthetic cannabinoids.

The most important fact you should know is that not all hemp CBD products are the same.7 Any two CBD products could have vastly different compounds, extraction methods, and ingredients that make a real difference when they go into your body. Let’s start with the basics.

Full Spectrum vs Pure CBD Isolate

The cannabis plant, of which hemp plants are a variety, contains about 150 cannabinoids.8 These cannabinoids act on your Endocannabinoid System (or ECS), which is a biological system that appears to help with self regulation and brings all bodily systems into balance.9

By introducing external cannabinoids (also known as phytocannabinoids), your endocannabinoid system will return other systems into a state of homeostasis.10 Two of the most common phytocannabinoids are THC, which can make you feel “stoned,” and CBD, which is known for its potential therapeutic effects.

There’s a wide variety of stuff in those same dropper bottles — different colors, different flavors, different potency, different extraction methods, different everything. Hemp extract and CBD oil just became legal a few years ago, so all this new terminology can be confusing. We are here to help you!

So what makes something a pure CBD oil, and what creates the difference in taste and look for each one? A lot of CBD tinctures have added artificial flavors and sweeteners. That’s because the underlying formulation doesn’t taste very good. Some taste grassy, others taste like a damp hayloft. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Two Purity Levels at Cornbread Hemp

We believe it's important that a full spectrum CBD hemp oil tincture tastes good, too. And it should taste good without any added flavoring. To get there, we started with the best strains of organic Kentucky grown hemp we could find, then we combined Kentucky bourbon-distilling methodology with the latest hemp extraction techniques to create a tincture that tastes smooth with no bitter aftertaste or harshness.

We offer our USDA certified organic CBD oils at two purity levels: Whole Flower and Distilled. Our Whole Flower formula is, in some ways, the opposite of “pure CBD” because it has the most robust full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial plant compounds. Our Distilled formula is much more refined, 75 percent pure CBD. The remainder of the content is the full spectrum of all cannabinoids.

How We Make Our Pure CBD Oil

Here’s a step-by-step guide to our CBD oil-making process. These are the decisions we made to create the best CBD tincture. Our secret is simple: we use only certified organic ingredients and processes to make the purest full spectrum CBD oil possible. And, we only use the highest quality organic Kentucky grown hemp plants cultivated from non GMO organic seeds.

Step 1: Extraction

There’s two methods of extracting the oils from hemp plants that have risen to the top of the industry: ethanol and supercritical CO2 extraction.

Organic Ethanol is a safe solvent used to separate the good stuff from the bad stuff.11 It’s a better solvent than hydrocarbons like butane because it comes from organic sugarcane. We use organic sugarcane ethanol at Cornbread Hemp to process our USDA organic CBD oils before blending them with organic MCT coconut oil.

Supercritical CO2 extraction process creates a solvent out of carbon-dioxide gas by pressurizing it into a supercritical liquid. Once the liquified CO2 extracts the essential oils from the biomass, it converts back into carbon-dioxide gas and floats away, leaving zero residue.12 This is a fine method that other CBD brands use. But we find that hemp extract produced by the CO2 extraction method to have a harsh, bitter taste because of the process.

Step 2: Refinement

The step #1 extraction results in a crude oil, sometimes referred to as “mud.” As its name suggests, it’s a thick, gooey oil containing plant waxes, chlorophyll, and other plant matter that affects color and flavor. Some brands are selling crude oil mixed with a carrier as their tincture formula, but at Cornbread, we give you the option for either Whole Flower CBD oil or Distilled CBD oil, one of the only CBD companies in the country to offer two purity levels.

These are the next steps in the tincture-making process that refine the crude oil into something closer to a finished product that could go into something like CBD gel caps, CBD gummies, or a CBD tincture:

Decarboxylated — In order for cannabinoids to become bioavailable, they must first be decarboxylated.13 The most common method of decarboxylating cannabinoids is with fire to create smoke, which is then inhaled.14 If you want to get nerdy about it, the word literally means to get rid of a carboxyl chain, COOH, by turning it into water and carbon dioxide.15 For CBD tincture, decarboxylation is important to transform the CBD-A into CBD,16 to make it bioavailable.

Winterized — Some processors take the crude, suspend it in alcohol, and flash freeze it — hence the term “winterized.” This process does a decent job of separating cannabinoids from unnecessary plant compounds to give a CBD potency up to 65 percent. But that’s not good enough for Cornbread Hemp.

Distilled — Chemistry nerds call this process “short path distillation,” but in Kentucky we call it a pot still — a simple but proven method of refining a crude product into something more pure. The shorter the path between evaporation and condensation, the better the distillate. This is the method Cornbread uses to refine our CBD hemp oil.

Cornbread Hemp’s Pure Organic CBD Oil

We use a decarboxylated hemp extract for our USDA certified organic Whole Flower CBD oil. And we use full spectrum distillate for our USDA certified organic Distilled CBD oil. To highlight its purity and flavor, we blend both extracts in certified organic MCT coconut oil.

For our CBD creams, we also use our full spectrum CBD distillate. We offer some of the few full spectrum CBD lotions available in the country. Cornbread Hemp also has a USDA organic CBD balm that is made with our Whole Flower extract, arnica oil, peppermint oil, and jojoba oil. We only sell the highest quality CBD creams and balms so our customers can have safe and effective products.

All of our products have been subjected to third party lab testing for safety and potency. Lab test results prove the high potency of our products' CBD content.

Different Types of Pure CBD Oil

The purity level of your CBD oil simply means how much of the CBD content is in the hemp extract versus how much of the extract is organic hemp plant content like wax, chlorophyll, and sterols. At Cornbread Hemp, we offer organic CBD oil at two different purity levels: Whole Flower at 50 percent pure CBD and Distilled at 75 percent pure CBD. What’s the difference? Allow us to explain.

There are normally three different types of CBD oil on the market. The first and most common is full spectrum CBD oil. This consists of a hemp plant extract that has trace amounts of THC below 0.3 percent, and contains a full spectrum of minor cannabinoids including CBD.17 The second most popular type people go for when they buy CBD oil is broad spectrum CBD oil. This CBD oil is just like full spectrum CBD oil but with the THC removed.

So does that mean that full spectrum CBD products containing trace amounts of THC could get you high? No, that’s not the case! Full spectrum CBD products have to be below 0.3 percent THC according to the Farm Bill of 2018.18 That’s not enough THC to get a person high.

The third and final type of CBD hemp oil that is produced in the United States is pure CBD isolate. This form of CBD oil contains only CBD and no minor cannabinoids.19 Studies show that full spectrum CBD extracts produce a more profound entourage effect.20 That is why Cornbread Hemp chooses to produce our high quality Kentucky-grown hemp derived CBD products with only organic full spectrum hemp extract.

How is Pure CBD Oil Made?

At Cornbread Hemp, we start our process by stripping the hemp flowers from the stalks for extraction. This flower-only hemp extract process uses the highest quality CBD rich hemp buds to make our amazing CBD oils. This is a huge reason why our hemp oil stands out from our competitors.

Because we don’t use the stalk or leaves of the plant in our organic sugarcane ethanol extraction process, we end up with a higher quality CBD product that does not contain added cellulose and wax from the stalk. This means more cannabinoids and less junk, and it also means that you, or your pet that takes CBD, will notice the effects of hemp CBD oil that much quicker.

Bottom Line: CBD Oil Purity

Science backs using full spectrum hemp CBD oil. So look for full spectrum hemp products with legal THC amounts to get the full cannabis experience.

Be sure to choose a high quality hemp CBD extract product from a trustworthy company like family-owned Cornbread Hemp. All third party lab tests are available on our website, and via scannable QR code on every product. This ensures you get a safe, high quality product made from fully legal hemp extracts.

Sourcing is important when it comes to choosing hemp products. Hemp grown in the United States is the best choice for quality and safety. Our organic hemp farms are located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, where the cannabis plant loves to grow.  

Hemp derived products are rapidly becoming a staple in the supplement market. Make sure you are choosing full spectrum hemp products over broad spectrum and isolates to get the most out of your CBD oil products.

Portrait of Jim Higdon, co-founder of Cornbread Hemp

About the Author

Jim Higdon, Co-founder

a native of Lebanon, Kentucky. He holds degrees from Centre College, Brown University, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Jim published Cornbread Mafia in 2012, full author bio here.

What is the supercritical CO2 extraction process?

Supercritical CO2 extraction process creates a solvent out of carbon-dioxide gas by pressurizing it into a supercritical liquid. Once the liquified CO2 extracts the essential oils from the biomass, it converts back into carbon-dioxide gas and floats away, leaving zero residue

What is a phytocannabinoid?

Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by glandular trichomes covering the surface of the cannabis plant. Two of the most common are THC, which can make you feel “stoned,” and CBD, known for its potential therapeutic effects.

How can you tell if your CBD is free from contaminants?

The only way to prove that a CBD product is free of contaminants is by looking for the USDA certified organic seal.

References

1. PuffPuffMass.Net. 2020. All CBD Products Are Not All Created Equal. How To Make Sure You're Buying The Best Quality. - Puffpuffmass.Net. [online] Available at: https://puffpuffmass.net/cbd-buying-guide/ Accessed July 6, 2020. Refer to “title”

2. KRUGER, K. and SCIARUTO, A., 2020. [online] Centerforfoodsafety.org. Available at: https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/final-cbd-report-for-web_09011.pdf Accessed July 7, 2020. page 2, 2nd paragraph, 3rd sentence

3. Jones, I., 2020. Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts VS CBD Isolate | Fundación CANNA: Scientific Studies And Cannabis Testing. [online] Fundacion-canna.es. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate Accessed July 7, 2020. 3rd paragraph, 4th sentence

4. Gallily, R. , Yekhtin, Z. and Hanuš, L. (2015) Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 6, 75-85. doi: 10.4236/pp.2015.62010. Under results section, page 78, 1st paragraph 7th sentence

5. Jones, I., 2020. Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts VS CBD Isolate | Fundación CANNA: Scientific Studies And Cannabis Testing. [online] Fundacion-canna.es. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate Accessed July 7, 2020. 3rd paragraph, 4th sentence

6. Hudak, J., 2018. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization And The Status Of CBD: An Explainer. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/ Accessed July 6, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 1st and 2nd sentence

7. ECHO Connection. 2020. Are All CBD Oils The Same? - ECHO Connection. [online] Available at: https://echoconnection.org/are-all-cbd-oils-the-same/ Accessed July 6, 2020. 1st paragraph, 3rd sentence

8. Uclahealth.org. 2020. Cannabis And Its Compounds - UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative - Los Angeles, CA. [online] Available at: https://www.uclahealth.org/cannabis/cannabis-and-its-compounds Accessed July 7, 2020. 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

9. Uclahealth.org. 2020. Human Endocannabinoid System - UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative - Los Angeles, CA. [online] Available at: https://www.uclahealth.org/cannabis/human-endocannabinoid-system Accessed July 7, 2020. 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

10. Uclahealth.org. 2020. Human Endocannabinoid System - UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative - Los Angeles, CA. [online] Available at: https://www.uclahealth.org/cannabis/human-endocannabinoid-system Accessed July 7, 2020. 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

11. Best CBD Oils. 2020. Guide To CBD Extraction Methods: The Best Way To Extract CBD - Best CBD Oils. [online] Available at: https://www.bestcbdoils.org/cbd-extraction-methods/ Accessed July 6, 2020. Under ‘alcohol extraction’ section. 1st paragraph, 2nd sentence

12. Best CBD Oils. 2020. Guide To CBD Extraction Methods: The Best Way To Extract CBD - Best CBD Oils. [online] Available at: https://www.bestcbdoils.org/cbd-extraction-methods/ Accessed July 7 2020. Under ‘CO2 extraction’ section. 2nd paragraph

13. CFH, Ltd. 2020. Understanding Extraction — CFH, Ltd.. [online] Available at: https://cfh.ltd/understandingextraction Accessed July 7, 2020. Under ‘extraction: step-3’ section. 1st paragraph, 3rd sentence

14. Projectcbd.org. 2020. Decarboxylating Cannabis | Project CBD. [online] Available at: https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/decarboxylating-cannabis Accessed July 7, 2020. Under ‘what is decarboxylation?’ 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

15. Projectcbd.org. 2020. Decarboxylating Cannabis | Project CBD. [online] Available at: https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/decarboxylating-cannabis Accessed July 7, 2020. Under ‘what is decarboxylation?’ 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

16. Projectcbd.org. 2020. Decarboxylating Cannabis | Project CBD. [online] Available at: https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/decarboxylating-cannabis Accessed July 7, 2020. Under ‘what is decarboxylation?’ 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

17. Jones, I., 2020. Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts VS CBD Isolate | Fundación CANNA: Scientific Studies And Cannabis Testing. [online] Fundacion-canna.es. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate Accessed July 7, 2020. 5th paragraph, 1st and 2nd sentence

18. Hudak, J., 2020. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization And The Status Of CBD: An Explainer. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/ Accessed July 6, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

19. Jones, I., 2020. Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts VS CBD Isolate | Fundación CANNA: Scientific Studies And Cannabis Testing. [online] Fundacion-canna.es. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate Accessed July 7, 2020. 7th paragraph, 1st and 2nd sentence

20. Jones, I., 2020. Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts VS CBD Isolate | Fundación CANNA: Scientific Studies And Cannabis Testing. [online] Fundacion-canna.es. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate Accessed July 7, 2020. 5th paragraph, 3rd and 4th sentence

The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your doctor about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

Cornbread Hemp works with suppliers who guarantee a less than or equal to 0.3% THC content. With these trace amounts of THC, it is possible that users may fail a drug test. Cornbread Hemp does not take any responsibility in the instance a customer fails a drug test while using these products.

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