In order to achieve optimal CBD content, decarboxylation is a critical step prior to distillation. The process of decarboxylation is to remove carboxylic acid and CO2 from cannabinoids present in the cannabis extract. Converting the acidic cannabinoid (CBDa) to its neutral form (CBD) ensures the end product contains all of the several benefits the cannabinoid has to offer. Furthermore, failure to remove CO2 from the extract will also affect the ability to properly form a vacuum in your distillation apparatus. The decarboxylation process is achieved through the application of heat in a reactionary vessel.
Once winterization has been completed it is necessary to now quickly filter those fats and waxes we coagulated from the miscella. A filter press is used with the assistance of a vacuum pump to pull the miscella mixture through a series of filter plates. Fats, waxes, etc are collected in one vessel and the desired miscella in another.
Making CBD isolate requires more steps than creating a CBD oil, as you have to remove every other element, such as phospholipids and flavors, from the product. While the process is more complex and requires additional equipment, it creates a totally pure end product that is free of anything besides CBD.
Step 3: Filtration
To make any concentrate you first have to extract. Manufacturers can use either a hydrocarbon solvent, like butane or propane, or ethanol solvent. Typically, we see ethanol used for the production of CBD isolate often with the use of a larger commercial extraction system – like a centrifuge. Smaller extraction systems can be used, it just depends on your throughput goals.
CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD, often in the form of a white powder that can be mixed into drinks or taken sublingually. This option is often popular among people who are just beginning to explore the use of cannabis or hemp derived products or looking to avoid the euphoric high associated with THC. It is also a great option for people who want hyper-accurate doses of CBD and the flexibility to create their own customized mixtures in their preferred carrier oil or liquid.
This crystallization process is started by putting the CBD oil into a large vat, or reactionary vessel, with a stirring attachment. The mixture is heated while constantly being stirred. Then, the temperature is lowered and the rate of stirring is slowed down. Once the mixture has cooled and nucleation starts to occur (the initial stages of crystallization), the stirring rate is drastically increased, which causes the crystals to separate from the solution. After this, the crystals are rinsed with pentane, or another chemical solvent, to remove any remaining unwanted impurities.
An additional option that some manufacturers complete to change the structure of the CBD isolate is to subject it to a crystallization process. This process results in a final product that is still 99.9% CBD but has a crystalline structure.
For topicals, mix the CBD isolate with moisturizing oils or lotions and apply it to the area of your skin you’d like to treat. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Once all of the impurities and solvents are stripped away, you’re left with 99% pure CBD crystalline.
CBD crystalline can be measured and put into capsules or pills, allowing you to ingest an accurate dose. You can also mix CBD isolate with a variety of ingredients to create CBD-infused food and drinks. However, because CBD is not absorbed very well by the gastrointestinal tract, it has a low oral bioavailability. In order to increase bioavailability, CBD isolate can be added to carrier oils, such as MCT oil, to increase its chances of permeating the gastrointestinal system and reaching the bloodstream.
When shopping for CBD isolate, it’s important to look for products from reputable companies that are lab-tested by a third party. This should ensure that your isolate doesn’t contain any THC, additional plant materials, or other impurities.
Following the mainstream emergence of cannabidiol (CBD) products, there’s a compelling option out there for those who want to experience the potential therapeutic effects of CBD without even the smallest trace of THC. It may not receive the same amount of hype as CBD lattes, infused cookies, or other CBD products, but CBD isolate is actually one of the most distinct and versatile forms of CBD on the market.
CBD isolate can be mixed with terpenes to create homemade CBD concentrates that can be vaped or dabbed. The isolate can also be made into crystal slabs that can be dabbed using a traditional oil rig.
While you might not know what to do with a pile of odorless CBD isolate powder at first, there are a number of different ways to consume CBD isolate. Here are some of the most common delivery routes: