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How is CBD Oil Made? The Process Explained

As Good Hemp’s pure CBD oil is slowly taking over the UK, more and more people have been asking us, “How is your CBD oil made?”

Here at Good Hemp, we’re all about transparency in everything we do – that way we keep ourselves honest and you can hold us accountable! We want the production process of our pure CBD oil to be as sustainable as possible so that the planet doesn’t have to suffer – but we know we aren’t perfect (yet) either. 

For example, due to outdated and restrictive legislation, growing hemp in the UK is legal if you have a licence to grow it as a controlled substance, but the most valuable parts of hemp – the high-CBD leaves and flowers – have to be destroyed onsite. 

That’s right. British farmers are allowed to grow hemp for the purposes of making hemp oil, hemp seed hearts, construction materials… but not CBD oil.

That’s why at the moment the hemp we use for our pure CBD oils is derived in the USA, where the extraction of CBD oil from hemp leaves and flowers is permitted. We’d like to improve our supply chain, however, to rely less on hemp being shipped across long distances – so we’re hoping that the UK government changes their restrictions ASAP. The pictures below are of our farm in Devon where we grow hemp for seeds and fibre, however not CBD. But hopefully they give you an idea of what the growing and processing of hemp looks like!

How Our CBD Oil is Made Today

Today, we do what we can to keep our CBD oil production process as sustainable as possible while we focus on producing a 100% natural and pure CBD oil product. Not a single fertiliser, insecticide or toxic chemical is involved in the growth of our non-GMO hemp, and the thorough CBD extraction and testing process ensures that we get the strength, contents and dosages of our CBD oil products just right every time.

Join us as we walk you through the journey our hemp goes through from seed to CBD.

1. Soil prep

At the very start of the hemp growing process the soil is prepared through the process of tilling; drainage lines are installed to help increase yield by ensuring that the soil doesn’t become saturated. The dirt is then broken up with approximately 12-18” deep grooves that the seeds will be sown into. 

Between annual hemp cycles, a different crop is grown in the same area so that the soil doesn’t become exhausted of one particular set of nutrients. This reduces the need for synthetic fertilisers when growing other crops, and as hemp cleanses the soil, it’s a crop-rotation favourite. 

2. Sowing

Around March, when the frosty weather has passed, seeds are sown into the grooves that have been made in the soil. The sowing is done by machines, and the results are quick: seeds will typically show signs of growth in as little as 24 to 48 hours, with plantlets growing to be two feet tall after four weeks’ time! 

Again, no fertilisers, insecticides or any other form of chemical fortifying is required for our natural hemp to cultivate. The natural rain water and the condition of the soil are sufficient for steady growth and great plant health.

3. Cultivation

The growth cycle for hemp flowers is around 6 months (it’s less for seeds), which means that they can be harvested around August/September time. The cultivation process of our hemp is fairly easy, as the sturdy naturally adjusts to changes in the weather and environment (god it’s good…)

4. Harvesting

Much like Goldilocks’ finickity standards, for hemp to be harvested correctly, the conditions have to be juuuuust right. It can only be completed once the plants are fully grown, the yummy hemp seeds have been harvested, the conditions are dry without any excessive humidity or rain, and sacrifice has been made to the hemp gods. Ok we’re joking about the last one, but you get the jist – it’s not easy. 

Head hemp farmers will monitor these requirements closely and choose the right time to harvest them. This is done by a funky type of combine harvester which has a huge crop wheel at the top, collecting the leaves and flowers, and a lower component which slices the 3m tall hemp stems at the base. The stems are collected separately and used for their fibre, while we steal the flowers and leaves for CBD. 

5. Drying 

Once it’s been harvested, the hemp is dried and in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment. Depending on its quality, the hemp is either selected for cannabinoid extraction – the final product being our pure CBD oil – or sold to be used as a herbal tea.

6. Testing for CBD quality and contamination

Next the graded hemp material is tested for quality, purity and overall safety. This includes testing the dried material for cannabinoid content, mould and toxins or any other unwanted compounds. If the test results come back as we want them, the material is put forward for CBD extraction.

7. Supercritical CO2 extraction

The CBD extraction starts with the ‘supercritical CO2 extraction’, in which pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) is used to pull the entire profile of cannabinoids, waxes, fats and terpenes from the hemp plant. This CO2 extraction process doesn’t require any solvents, which means it’s a very clean process. The supercritical CO2 extraction results in a full-spectrum extract, from which the cannabinoids will be refined further to create CBD isolates.

8. CBD extraction 

By using distillation methods, all controlled substances – including THC and other unwanted compounds – are removed from the crude oil to leave a broad-spectrum hemp extract that’s free of THC. Next, the extract is further refined to a pure CBD isolate through an isolation process called reverse chromatography (RC). RC totally isolates the CBD with hardly any contaminations, ensuring that the CBD oil you buy contains 99.9% pure CBD.

9. HPLC testing 

This is where it gets very science-y. You’ve been warned. 

To ensure that the CBD remains pure and the isolation has been successful, it’s tested thoroughly through a fancy-sounding process called ‘high-performance liquid chromatography’ or HPLC. This involves a pressurised liquid solvent containing the CBD sample being pumped through a column filled with a solid adsorbent material. As each component of the sample interacts slightly differently with the absorbent material and exits at different flow rates, the HPLC process will separate and identify each of the compounds of the original CBD sample. The result? A clear and precise overview of the exact value of CBD and any other molecules present. 

10. Final formulations

Once our pure CBD has been tested for purity and quality, it’s time to make the final formulations. Each of our CBD products is mixed with organic, cold-pressed hemp seed oil to, creating a range of strengths (based on the ratio of CBD to hemp seed oil). On top of that, our peppermint- and citrus-flavoured oils are infused with clean, steam-distilled, plant-derived terpenes that give them their delicious flavour and aroma. 

11. Testing by third-party laboratories

The last stage of testing that our CBD oil undergoes is typically on the final formulations. Each batch we produce is meticulously tested by third-party laboratories for its cannabinoid content to ensure that the purity and quality remain accurate to each strength and ratio. 

Once all lab reports are returned satisfactorily, the CBD oil is ready to be packaged and labelled, ready to be shipped off to you guys!

You can find our full range of CBD drops, starting at £15, here. To read more about CBD, what it does and why it’s great, head to The Spill.

At Good Hemp, we want to make the benefits of CBD oil available to all. Whether you use CBD to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression or pain, we’ve got your back. We take pride in producing pure CBD oil that comes with all the benefits to your health and wellbeing without any of the unwanted side-effects, artificial compounds or harm to the environment. 

Try out our pure CBD oil today!