​CBD Extraction: Different types, Methods, and Uses

​CBD Extraction: Different types, Methods, and Uses

28th Jun 2022

Where does extract come from?

It is no secret that the cannabis plant produces therapeutic compounds that can have a healing effect on our minds and bodies. These compounds, known as cannabinoids and terpenes, are produced by trichomes, the tiny and translucent bulbous resin glands that grow on the surface of cannabis flowers and leaves. Trichomes produce over a hundred cannabinoids which include CBD, THC, and CBG as the most prominent. Terpenes—aromatic compounds responsible for taste, smell, and enhancing the effects of cannabinoids—include myrcene, caryophyllene and pinene amongst many more.

As part of the reproductive organs of the female plant, these compounds are secreted in the form of plant lipids and oils in order to attract pollen from male plants. The extraction of these oils generally involves stripping cannabinoids and terpenes away from the female cannabis flower through the use of solvents, but they can also be extracted without solvents.

The most common types of cannabis extracts include crude, distillate and isolate. There are many differences between crude, distillate and isolate extracts including potency, color, consistency and taste. Understanding the differences between these types of extracts can help you make the right decision when choosing which product is best suited for your needs and preferences. First, we’ll take a look at how it’s made and then we’ll break down the end products commonly available for consumption.

How is extract made?

Industrial producers often utilize solvents, or liquid mediums as a means to separate plant oils containing valuable cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter itself. These solvents may include high temperature and pressurized carbon dioxide, hydrocarbon medium (typically butane and propane), or alcohol (typically ethanol or isopropyl).

The use of solvents yields extracts that must be further processed. This includes post-processes like winterization, which involves freezing the initial extract causing plant fat molecules to float to the top where they can be removed through filtration.

Distillation is a form of post-processing that can be used to create a more potent form of extract. The process of distillation uses cannabinoid boiling points, the temperature at which a liquid changes into a gas, to separate the compounds, leaving a more pure form of full spectrum extract.

Chromatography is a process that is used to create CBD isolate, the purest form of extract.

In addition to the use of solvents, sometimes solventless extraction is also a viable means to separate the plant matter from its valuable compounds. These methods include mechanical processes that use extreme temperatures or high pressure.

Differences in quality and efficacy between extract types.

Crude Extract

The most fundamental form of extract is referred to as crude extract. It is the most unprocessed, raw form of cannabis extract that can be made with or without solvents to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant. Crude oil normally contains around 50% CBD and it is the most inexpensive form of extract.

Crude extract is widely used by home growers because it is considered a “full plant” extract and yields the most volume. It’s the easiest type of extract to make at home with the use of a rosin press, ethanol recovery system, or even a small scale CO2 extractor.

Very dark in color compared to other extracts, it contains compounds like plant lipids and chlorophyll. When ingestible products are made with this kind of extract, one can taste the plant matter. These plant particles can make crude oil taste extremely bitter when used in tinctures or edibles.

Crude oil is full spectrum, meaning it contains not only CBD, but also small concentrations of THC, CBG, CBN and/or other minor cannabinoids.

The therapeutic effects of crude oil are created by the synergistic nature of cannabinoids and terpenes working together, similar to an ensemble of different instruments that make up a symphony.


Distillate, usually golden or amber in color, is one of the more common forms of extract to be used by CBD companies because it allows a clean taste while still benefiting from the ensemble of other present cannabinoids. Typically, crude oil is taken and distilled down to a more pure concentration—free from fats and lipids. This makes the extract more potent and less bitter; therefore more pleasant to consume.

CBD distillate normally contains around 80% CBD. Because it is full spectrum, containing smaller amounts of cannabinoids other than CBD; it is particularly effective when used for therapeutic needs.

Additionally, CBD distillate can be distilled even further to produce an isolated form known as THC-free broad spectrum distillate.


The purest and most processed form of extract is called isolate—where CBD is stripped away from all the other cannabinoids present in the original material. CBD isolate is typically between 98–99% CBD in composition.

CBD Isolate, which is usually white and powdery in its appearance, is considered broad spectrum because it does not contain THC or any other cannabinoids. Pharmaceutical companies are most interested in these isolated forms because it is easier to study CBD as an isolated molecule with no outside interference from other cannabinoids.

Safety for consumers.

When purchasing products for your wellbeing, it is important to understand the differences between the different types of extracts. As the hemp industry continues to grow and expand, there is a growing disconnect between consumers and the way CBD products are marketed.

Different wording and terms used on packaging can be misleading and communicated without accurate representation. For example, 1000mg CBD tincture made with crude extract would only contain between 400-500mg of CBD in the entire bottle based on the fact that we know crude extract only contains 50% CBD. Whereas 1000mg CBD tincture made with full spectrum distillate would inherently contain more CBD, closer to about 800mg because we know that full spectrum distillate is made up of 80% CBD.

When it comes to selecting a product, it is imperative to understand how the product has been processed up until the point of sale. The use of certain solvents can leave behind unwanted, harmful residual chemicals that can counteract the benefits of cannabinoids.

This is why it is important for you to ensure that the products you're purchasing have been fully tested for residual solvents, heavy metals, and pesticides before selecting a product that is right for you.

Knowing how these products are made and understanding the varying potencies of these extracts can help you make better informed decisions when it comes to using CBD to enhance your everyday life.

DISCLAIMER: 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. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice. Use products responsibly and at your own risk. Full Spectrum CBD Hemp products contain cannabinoids and some products contain trace amounts of THC that are below the federally legal limit. Hemp Generation is not responsible for any failed drug test. We encourage you to know the laws in your region or state. Upon purchase you assume all responsibility of the product and hold Hemp Generation LLC exempt from legal responsibility for one’s actions.