How to Make CBD Tincture: Which Extraction Method is Best?

Blog, Distillation, Extraction

There are a variety of CBD products that are rapidly gaining popularity, and tinctures are among them. While many customers may know what they want in a CBD tincture, they may not know to make CBD tincture – let alone how they are extracted. In this article, we will discuss two extraction methods used to make CBD distillate and isolate tinctures to determine which is best for making these popular products.

How To Make CBD Tincture With Ethanol or CO2

In the CBD market, tinctures have become the tried and true staple product for producers and consumers. The sublingual use of tinctures has the second fastest bioavailability (absorption of CBD) in the body compared to inhalation of smoke or vapor. However, many turn to tinctures to mitigate the potential risks of inhaled CBD products, making it a safe, effective option for everyone interested in CBD use.

That being said, producers have needed to adapt to the market of CBD products – including tinctures – in order to maintain profitability and quality reputation. One major factor when considering how to make CBD tincture is the extraction method by which they create their products – among the major methods being ethanol and CO2 extraction. The fact of the matter is that these extraction methods vary in their efficiency to create quality tinctures.

CBD Distillate and Isolate Product Formulation:

When considering the best extraction method for how to make CBD tinctures, it is important to define the specific product formulation you intend to create first. Here are some questions that will help you to define your product:

scientist using chromatography equipment

  1. Is your product going to be THC non-detect? If so, you will need to use CBD isolate for this product.
  2. Is your product going to be full-spectrum, meaning it will include THC? You will be using CBD distillate for this product.
  3. Is your product going to be broad spectrum meaning it will exclude THC? You will be using CBD broad spectrum for this.
  4. Do you have a desired flavor profile? Hopefully you will be using natural terpenes rather than synthetic terpenes.
  5. What are your taste and texture goals for the CBD tincture? Hopefully you will have a great tasting tincture that has desirable texture free from solids from you hemp or cannabis biomass.

How to Make CBD Tincture With Ethanol Extraction:

When considering how to make CBD tincture with ethanol, removal of the ethanol is a process that requires a significant amount of heat over a long period of time. This heat exposure will degrade the terpenes significantly. Many of the terpenes during this process are co-distilled or are destroyed in the process. The oil from this process is typically dark black and does not taste very good. The aroma profile is also not very desirable due to the breakdown of the terpene profile. The use of a crude extract for the tincture it’s not desirable because it doesn’t taste very good, doesn’t smell very good, and it also may contain too much THC.

Once the ethanol has been removed from the ethanol extract, the oil typically is introduced to a distillation process which removes the remaining terpenes. If your intent is to use distillate for your tincture, then you will have to find a way to add some terpenes to that tincture. The only resort is to purchase synthetic terpenes. you will also need to figure out how to reduce the amount of THC.

One other thing that needs to be considered is that if you do not distill the ethanol extract, it is very likely that you will have a significant amount of chemical contaminants in your extract. This is especially true if you are using denatured ethanol for your extraction process.

Process of distillation does not necessarily remove all of the denaturants from the extract. It may remove the vast majority of the solvent contaminant but there are always trace residuals remaining in the distillate.

It is always desirable to start with organic hemp biomass so there is little risk of those contaminants making their way into the tincture

How to Make CBD Tincture With CO2 Extraction:

If you use a supercritical CO2 process, you will have the option to start by harvesting the terpenes before CO2 extraction. This preserves many of the low boiling-point terpenes that are unique and significant to the strain hemp or cannabis that you are extracting.

You may also use a subcritical CO2 extraction in order to produce soupy mixtures of terpenes, cannabinoids and waxes. These “terpy” mixtures are typically very desirable for vapor pens but are not very desirable for the purpose of formulation. Because they have cannabinoids and waxes in them, using them as a way to introduce terpenes to a formulation is much more difficult to do and reproduce in practice.

The CO2 extraction also avoids the issues related to chemical contaminants that come from the use of denatured ethanol.

CO2 extraction is much less expensive to produce a kilogram of oil compared to ethanol extraction. For example, CO2 is 4 cents a pound compared to ethanol which is greater than $4 per pound. Solvent losses with ethanol extraction are a key cost contributor and drive a major increase in operating cost compared to CO2 extraction.

In summary, both CO2 extraction and ethanol extraction can produce desirable tinctures. However, CO2 extraction has an edge over ethanol extraction due to preservation of the terpene profiles and the avoidance of risk related to chemical contaminants. Finally, CO2 extraction is much less expensive than ethanol extraction. For those reasons CO2 is a better extraction method.

Find the Best CBD Distillate and Isolate Tinctures on the Market

When it comes to finding quality CBD products today, it can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. It can be hard to find third party test results, certificates of analysis, or any evidence of what extraction method was used to create a CBD distillate derived tincture. Luckily, there are clean, tranparent CBD companies like Holus dedicated to providing the highest quality tinctures, topicals and edibles in the CBD industry.

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Dr. Jon Thompson

Dr. Thompson is a separations scientist, entrepreneur, and inventor. As a scientist, he has a strong technical background and industry experience in analytical instrumentation, in-vitro diagnostics, biotech, mining, and homeland security markets.

During his cannabis industry career, Dr. Thompson has earned a strong track record of winning and implementing medical cannabis licenses in well-regulated, medically-modeled states.

Dr. Thompson has assisted numerous companies to attain their goals in cannabis and hemp manufacturing, as well as market development, strategic marketing, and worldwide business-to-business alliance formation (including international markets).

Dr. Thompson has a track record of writing winning cannabis licenses and has implemented hundreds of start-up operations in Canada, Europe and throughout the US for various clients. Dr. Thompson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry, Chemistry and a Doctor of Chemistry degree from the University of Minnesota.

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