How CBD is madeWalk into any cannabis dispensary or search online and you’ll see endless CBD oil products making miracle health claims. But have you ever wondered exactly how these CBD oils are made? Turns out, there are many crucial steps involved in converting hemp plants into a final bottled extract brimming with CBD.

Let’s explore the key phases of manufacturing CBD oil to appreciate the time and care needed to produce a premium cannabidiol product. Call it a crash course CBD Oil Production 101!

Table of Contents

Step 1 – Selecting the Hemp Plants

As with any manufacturing process, quality raw materials are essential for crafting an exceptional final product. This holds true for CBD oil. The process starts with consciously selecting the hemp plants that will act as the raw material for extraction.

Several aspects come into play when sourcing hemp:

Cultivar Selection – There are thousands of unique hemp varieties with diverse cannabinoid and terpene contents that impart various effects.

Growing Conditions – How and where the plants are grown affects phytochemical profiles.

Farming Practices – Responsible, sustainable techniques ensure safety and potency.

Harvest Timing – Knowing the prime time to harvest impacts chemical compositions.

Reputable CBD companies pay meticulous attention to these plant variables, seeking out sustainably farmed, high-CBD cultivars harvested at peak maturity to supply their raw materials.

Step 2 – Preparing the Harvested Plants

Once their precisely selected hemp plants reach perfect ripeness, it’s time to reap the bounty. The harvested plants then undergo preparation processes to get them ready for extraction.

Trimming – Fan leaves and other superfluous plant matter get trimmed off by hand.

Drying – Plants are carefully dried using the right temperature, humidity, and time settings to preserve delicate trichomes on the flowers.

Storing – Dried hemp must be kept in ideal temperature and humidity controlled environments until ready for further steps. Improper storage degrades quality.

Decarboxylation – Crucial process activating compounds like CBD through gentle heating or drying.

Milling – Dried flowers are milled into small pieces to maximize surface area for extraction.

These post-harvest steps help retain the precious CBD, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds the plants contain.

Step 3 – Extracting the Goodness: Methods for Isolating CBD

Now that the raw plant materials are ready, it’s time for the fun part: extraction! Manufacturers use various methods to isolate key phytochemicals like CBD from hemp:

CO2 Extraction

Using pressurized carbon dioxide, this method separates cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter for a concentrated oil. It preserves a broad chemical profile without solvents. However, it requires expensive specialized gear.

Ethanol Extraction

By steeping plants in ethanol solvent then evaporating it, this process leeches out CBD oil effectively. But some solvent residue may remain if not handled correctly.

Oil Infusion

This simple infusion method mixes hemp plant matter into carrier oils, gently heating to extract compounds. While safe, it extracts fewer plant chemicals than other methods.

Hydrocarbon Extraction

Butane or propane solvents easily isolate CBD and terpenes but must be fully purged to avoid contamination. Safety precautions are critical.

For the best results, quality focused companies opt for supercritical CO2 extraction to extract a complete, clean profile of hemp compounds.

Step 4 – Distilling and Purifying the CBD Extract

Freshly extracted CBD oil contains plant waxes, fats, and other compounds alongside the desired CBD. Additional steps remove impurities and isolate the CBD:


Freezing the extract makes waxes and fats solidify so they precipitate out of the solution when filtered.

Short Path Distillation

Using low heat under a vacuum, this process gently isolates individual compounds like CBD into distinct sections or fractions.


CBD is separated from other compounds on the molecular level via plate chromatography or flash chromatography columns.

Refining processes like fractional distillation deliver a highly pure, concentrated CBD isolate ideal for consumer products.

Step 5 – Formulating the Final Product

The purified CBD extract on its own has a thick, viscous consistency and earthy taste. While some enjoy it in raw form, most prefer it altered for easier use.

Carrier Oils

Mixing CBD oil with carrier oils like coconut MCT oil or hemp seed oil thins it out for absorption. Oils also improve flavor.


Masking CBD’s natural bitterness with added flavors like citrus, berry, vanilla or mint improves palatability. Both natural and artificial flavorings get used.


To counter CBD’s innate tartness, sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit or agave nectar make formulas more palatable.

Other Ingredients

Additional constituents like essential oils, herbal blends, vitamins, and minerals can be added to give products extra functional benefits.

Blending premium quality CBD oil into tinctures, gummies, topicals, and various products is the final step before sending to stores.

The Importance of Testing CBD Oil After Production

After formulating the finished CBD oil products, there’s one last critical step – testing by an independent laboratory. Unbiased third-party analysis verifies:

  • CBD and THC concentrations match the label claim
  • Residual solvents, pesticides, and contaminants are under limits
  • No heavy metals, mold, or microbes are present
  • Terpene profiles align with expectations

Reputable brands post Certificates of Analysis from lab testing showing the product is safe and contains what is advertised. Reliable testing prevents adulterated or impure products from reaching your hands.

So in summary, a tremendous amount of care in selecting raw materials, extracting CBD, refining it, formulating products, and verifying purity through testing is involved in preparing premium CBD oils. While the health benefits you glean may seem almost magical, the manufacturing process is firmly grounded in science.

Next time you enjoy soothing relief from a dose of CBD, envision the myriad steps and meticulous processes needed to produce it. Gaining an appreciation for how quality CBD oil reaches your bottle will help you make educated choices about the products you use and trust.

Here’s to your health!