How Is CBD Oil Processed?

In recent years, CBD products have skyrocketed in popularity, but many people still aren’t sure how these products work. You probably know that CBD oil comes from cannabis plants. You may have also heard that CBD can relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and even help you sleep better.[1]

However, there are several important differences between various cannabis compounds. The two most popular compounds, THC and CBD, both relieve pain.[2] Both compounds can also improve your wellbeing.

CBD products, unlike THC, don’t trigger a feeling of euphoria or a “high.” It’s generally safe to use CBD products before driving, working, or caring for a loved one. These products don’t impair your cognitive abilities or coordination. That means you can also use them throughout the workday. They can even help control seizures and other serious children’s health conditions.[2]

CBD offers many health benefits for people of all ages. But how are cannabis plants turned into CBD oil? How do CBD products arrive on the shelves?  Let’s take a closer look at the two main processes used to create CBD products.

Cannabis Extraction 

The extraction process removes crude oil from the cannabis plant. There are many different methods of extraction, and each CBD manufacturer uses their own set of equipment and techniques.

Many use CO2 as a solvent to extract crude cannabis oil. CO2 leaves behind no harmful residue, so the resulting product is clean and pure. Compressed gasses and ethanol solvents can also speed up the extraction processes. These techniques allow manufacturers to process large amounts of plant material quickly.[3][4]


After extraction, crude cannabis oil undergoes post-processing. This part of the production process is also known as distillation. Distillation refines the crude oil and adjusts the product’s concentration. The concentration of cannabis compounds in crude oil can vary, but post-processing standardizes the amount of components in each product. This process ensures that each product provides consistent, predictable results.[5]

Adjusting the concentration allows you to choose products that will meet your needs. There’s no need for guesswork when selecting a new product. Instead, you can easily determine which products can provide the results you’re seeking.

What Happens During the Distillation Process?

During distillation, a technician often combines cannabis oil with other substances. Next, they heat the solution to a specific temperature. When exposed to heat, the compounds in the solution vaporize. Vaporized compounds separate from the rest of the solution. Then the vapor is condensed back into a liquid.[6]

This process can seem confusing, but distillation itself is a simple process. Consider the process for creating bottled distilled water. Manufacturers first heat water and turn it into steam. As the water vapor rises, impurities sink to the bottom of the solution. Finally, the vapor cools and condenses back into a liquid. The resulting water is clean, pure, and safe for drinking.[6]

Cannabis distillation works in much the same way. First, the solution is heated, vaporized, and passed through a condensing head. From there, it can be filtered again and refined to increase its purity. Once the process is complete, you’re left with potent, isolated cannabis components.

After post-processing, these components are ready for sale. They’re often added to creams, tinctures, edible products, or vape cartridges. Some products might receive plant-based additives to improve the odor or taste. These additives can make the product more appealing and pleasant to use.[5]

Is Distillation Safe?

In theory, distillation is simple. Basic scientific training and simple kitchen equipment are all that’s needed to distill a solution. Yet in practice, distillation can be trickier than it seems.

Cannabis post-processing requires a strong grasp of chemistry and reliable safety equipment. Mistakes with solvents or heat sources can cause serious injury. Cleaning, maintaining, and repairing distillation equipment can also be expensive and time-consuming.

That’s why it’s best to leave this process to the professionals. Reputable cannabis companies know how to streamline the distillation process to create a safe, effective product. They have the expertise needed to develop products that deliver consistent results.

Choosing the Right Cannabis Product

If you’re thinking about trying a new type of cannabis, choosing a professionally manufactured CBD product may be your best bet. Post-processing helps ensure that you get the results you’re seeking.

With commercial distillates, you can also rest assured that you’re receiving safe compounds. By purchasing CBD oil from a reputable manufacturer, you can determine how the product will affect you.

Curious about CBD? Explore the K8Pharma website to learn more about how cannabis can help improve your health. 


Bruni N, Della Pepa C, Oliaro-Bosso S, Pessione E, Gastaldi D, Dosio F. Cannabinoid delivery systems for pain and inflammation treatment [published online September 27, 2018]. Molecules. doi:10.3390/molecules23102478

Urits I, Borchart M, Hasegawa M, Kochanski J, Orhurhu V, Viswanath O. An update of current cannabis-based pharmaceuticals in pain medicine [published online February 5, 2019]. Pain Ther. doi:10.1007/s40122-019-0114-4 1. Harvard Health Publishing. Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.

2. Healthline. CBD vs. THC: What’s the difference?   

3. Project CBD. Cannabis oil extraction.

4. Project CBD. CBD oil: A primer.

5. TODAY. How CBD is extracted from cannabis.

6. Univerity of Missouri-St. Louis. Distillation.