CBD isolate is present as a white crystalline powder which is comprised of CBD with a purity of over 99 %. The isolate powder gives the end user flexibility in every use case scenario, as the user can tailor their dosing experience to their needs. CBD isolate powder can be mixed with a variety of solvents called “carriers” as they “transport” the CBD in the created tincture, cream, or other formulation. Carriers (solvents) can be various oils like olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil etc. or even alcohols. Our favourite carrier is an award-winning organically grown hemp oil from Britanny in France with a fine natural taste.
The creation of CBD isolate requires separating the CBD from the hemp oil that is extracted from the hemp plant. The oil contains a variety of compounds such as vitamins, phospholipids, ketides, steroids and aromatics which all need to be removed so that the final product, the isolate, only contains CBD and no other compounds. The purity of the isolate makes all the additional effort and equipment needed for purification worth it.
Step 1: Extraction
To obtain the final isolate the CBD has to first be extracted from the whole plant and its biomass. This means that the first step, the extraction, aims at extracting as much oil and other extractable material out of the available biomass to ensure maximum yield. Our process uses supercritical CO2 in combination with ethanol to extract only the desirable compounds for the next step.
Step 2: Winterization
The process of winterization removes the unwanted chlorophyll, long chain fats and waxes. The process relies on lowering both the solubility of unwanted compounds by lowering the temperature and by separating the extract into a solid and liquid phase. The unwanted insoluble compounds will get stuck in the solid wax- phase and we can remove the liquid which is now clear of the compounds which would clog up our filters.
Step 3: Filtration
After separation the remaining oil is filtered by vacuum filtration, the vacuum pulls the oil through a set of filters that remove remaining impurities. This results in a purified oil and a waxy side-product.
Step 4: Decarboxylation
Since CBD is synthesized in the plant as CBDa the acid form, it needs to be converted to CBD through the process of decarboxylation. Here the carboxyl group is removed by heating the purified extract. This results in the desired decarboxylated CBD and CO2 which is removed during the process.
Step 5: Distillation
The distillation process now further refines the extract, selecting only the compounds above or below certain boiling points. The distillation process is repeated twice. Once to remove the compounds that have greater boiling points than CBD and the desired terpenes and once to remove some small molecules that have a much lower boiling point.
There are two methods; rotary evaporation and wiped film distillation. Both use the principle of maximising the surface area, so that the CBD and the accompanying terpenes can evaporate as fast as possible. The evaporated compounds then condense on a cooled coil where they are then collected.
Step 6: Crystallization
To obtain not only a CBD extract oil but the 99% pure isolate the CBD is recrystalized from solution twice. First the distillate from the previous step is mixed with a solvent till homogenous. Then the mixture is cooled down slowly, this allows for crystals of CBD to form as the amount of CBD that can be held in solution decreases as the temperature decreases thus depositing the CBD in crystals. After waiting for the crystals to have fully formed the liquid solution is removed leaving only CBD crystals. The process is then repeated with a pentane as solvent to remove impurities included in the formation of the first crystals. The final step is then to remove the remaining pentane by heating the CBD crystals to just slightly over pentanes boiling point.
The final product are pure crystals of CBD which can be sold as such, ground up to a powder for other applications or dissolved in a carrier of choice.