CBD Oil Ingredients: What You Need to Know
Have you ever stopped to wonder what’s actually in that CBD oil you’re taking every day? I mean, hopefully the ingredients should be listed on the label, but let’s face it, do you really know what they all mean? Do you know what MCT oil is, for example? Or terpenoids? What about flavonoids or phytonutrients?
In this article, we break it all down for you part-by-part: everything you need to know with regard to the ingredients label on the back of your favorite CBD oil bottle, in one easy guide. (And hint hint: if there are more than two or three things on that label, you may want to start looking for a “new” favorite CBD oil…)
CBD Oil Ingredients: It’s All About the Oil, Baby!
Here’s the thing about cannabidiol (that’s the “scientific” name for CBD): it doesn’t work all that well as a pure isolate.
In fact, when 100% pure CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and dried out, it actually looks a little bit like table salt – a bland, white/clearish crystalline solid that might easily be mistaken for another, far more sinister type of drug.
The reason why pure CBD doesn’t work so great as an isolate all by itself is because it needs to be infused into an oil so the human body can absorb and metabolize it efficiently. If you were to eat a spoonful of 100% pure CBD extract, you would absorb a little bit of it, sure, but the majority of the active compound would simply be passed through the renal system and excreted as waste.
When CBD is consumed as an infused oil, though, things are totally different; because the actual cannabidiol molecule is fat soluble rather than water soluble, it has a high affinity for the lipid content that’s found in essential oils like coconut oil and olive oil. Basically, this means that the crystalline solid will readily dissolve and attach itself to the molecular compounds in the oil, at which point they can be absorbed – and eventually utilized – by the body.
This is why (other than the actual CBD, of course), a high-quality essential carrier oil is the most crucial ingredient to any oral cannabidiol tincture. However, as you’ll soon learn, not all oils are created the same.
What Are the Best Oils to Use for CBD?
The majority of CBD products, in case you didn’t know, are sourced from raw hemp plant material. Hemp is classified under the same species of plant as marijuana (they both belong to the family Cannabis), but the major exception is that hemp is the non-flowering male version of the herb, while marijuana is the flowering, THC-producing female “version.”
In any regard, it’s worth pointing out that the hemp plant actually produces a super high-quality essential oil from its seeds, that, in addition to being filled with therapeutic CBD, is chock-full of other beneficial health supplements like phytonutrients, phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
So you might be wondering, then, why do some manufacturers use coconut oil or olive oil as the CBD “carrier,” if the hemp plant itself produces a good oil?
Well, that’s actually a very good question, and is one that we’ve asked ourselves (and several CBD manufacturers) many times in the past. If you are going to be using a full-spectrum hemp extract, then why not just use the actual hemp seed oil itself as a carrier for the CBD?
Well, as it turns out coconut oil has some specific properties that many doctors and scientists believe aids in overall absorption and metabolism. This fractionated oil is called MCT oil.
Is MCT Oil in Hemp Oil Good for You?
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about MCT oil, so we’ll try and be as clear as possible here when describing why it’s used in CBD oil.
“MCT” itself is actually a natural extract from raw coconut oil, and it stands for medium chain triglycerides. Coconut oil has both “medium chain” and “long chain” triglycerides as part of its natural molecular componentry, but as we just mentioned there have been numerous studies that show MCT to be superior in terms of the efficiency of digestion. As such, a lot of health supplements (medicinal CBD tinctures included) have started infusing their products in MCT oils to try and market them as having “improved absorption,” or something of a similar sort.
What’s the catch?
But here’s the catch; separating the “MCT’s” from the “LCT’S” is not an easy process. In fact, it’s a very, very difficult process that involves highly technical instruments and a massive degree of chemical expertise. It’s assumed, in fact, that a decent majority of products labeled “MCT oil” are simply fractionated coconut oils. This doesn’t necessarily imply a good or a “bad” thing, it just simply just means that you may not be getting exactly what you think you’re getting when you see a label marked “MCT.”
In any regard, the primary reason all of use CBD oil anyway is for the healing effects of the cannabidiol compound — NOT for the enhanced digestive properties of the coconut oil extract. The bottom line, then, is whether your favorite CBD oil is infused in MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, or some other type of oil carrier, it probably doesn’t make a great deal of difference. The main thing is that you’re using a quality-grade product that’s been extracted using supercritical CO2 methods, and contains no added chemicals, thinning agents, heavy metals, pesticides, or fertilizers.
Why Does My CBD Oil Say ‘Hemp Extract’ on the CBD Ingredients?
Another thing you’ve likely noticed on your CBD oil ingredients label is something that says “Hemp Extract,” or “Cannabis Extract.” Essentially what this means is that the oil is a full-spectrum blend, and contains active hemp compounds in addition to the therapeutic CBD.
A full-spectrum “hemp extract” CBD oil will contain all the natural hemp compounds like aromatic terpenes (which are highly beneficial in their right), flavonoids, omega acids, phytonutrients, and other phytocannabinoids like CBG and CBC.
The reason manufacturers put “hemp extract” on the ingredients label rather than listing each and every individual component is because, in all honesty, they probably don’t know exactly how much of each specific compound is in that exact hemp strain. As long as they label it “hemp extract,” their bases are essentially covered and you as the consumer know that you’re getting more than just your isolated CBD component.
However, it’s worth noting that oils containing “hemp extract” are actually a really good thing; several high profile studies have shown that CBD works much more efficiently in the presence of the “whole” cannabis plant, rather than by itself as an isolate, so it is actually advised to look for a full-spectrum blend rather than something that’s labeled, for instance, “99.9% Pure CBD isolate.”
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil Ingredients
Well, hopefully this article has helped in some way to better understand that confusing ingredients label on the back of your CBD oil or CBD vape juice. Basically, you can expect the best CBD oils to be made with one of three or four things: coconut oil (this is probably the #1 preferred carrier oil), MCT oil (this is just a natural fractionated version of coconut oil), olive oil, or raw hemp seed oil.
If the product that you’re using has anything else in the ingredients other than these things (and possibly some natural flavoring if you’re using a flavored oil tincture), then it’s advised you shop around for something else, because it’s probably not a truly “pure” cannabis product.
If you have any questions at all about what’s in your CBD oil, or would like us to recommend some high-quality CBD tinctures, then feel free to give us a shout either in the comments or on our Facebook page. Also, remember that there are still few regulations in the CBD and hemp industries. While hemp is legal under federal law as a commercial crop, hemp-derived CBD products are (as of the time of writing) not evaluated by the FDA.
How to Make CBD Oil at Home in Just 7 Easy Steps
If you want to know how to make CBD oil at home, you’ll be pleased to know it’s a lot easier than you think. Keep in mind. It won’t be the same quality and retention of plant compounds as professionally done by companies such as ourselves.
Sure, you can get it from an outside vendor, yet there’s something about homemade cannabis edibles that makes things fun. We all know there are different ways vendors do it. CO2 extraction is all the rage, but you’ll need a lot of money to buy the equipment and pay the technicians who operate it for you.
You may also have heard of alcohol extraction. While accessible, this isn’t the easiest way to do it. The method we’ll cover today means you probably won’t even have to don your mask and visit the grocery store. Everything you need is either in your cupboard, pantry or fridge. If you’re still missing something, you won’t drop more than a couple of bucks.
So if you:
- a) Own a stove
- b) Are on a budget
- c) Have no clue what you’re doing
…this is your chance to quickly and easily learn how to make CBD oil at home.
How to Make CBD Oil: The Full DIY Guide
Before we get to cooking, it’s important we understand some fundamentals about CBD and CBD oil. We could go on forever with the fine details, but all you need to know right now are the types of CBD products and some easy science.
Types of CBD
If you visit a CBD company’s website, you’ll likely come across the terms “full-spectrum,” “broad-spectrum,” or “CBD isolate.”
These labels refer to cannabinoid and terpene content – if any. Let’s take a quick look at what each product means.
Full-spectrum CBD oil (a.k.a. “whole plant extract”) contains all other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the source plant. Different plants contain different chemical profiles, but full-spectrum products will always contain some traces of THC.
However, THC won’t cause intoxication in such low doses, and even helps the overall potency of your CBD mixture, thanks to the “entourage effect.” This synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes effectively allows them to complement or improve the potency and effects of your CBD oil.
One complaint people have, though, is that full-spectrum maintains a strong cannabis or “hempy” taste.
Keep in mind, the homemade CBD oil method we cover doesn’t allow you to filter out any compounds, keeping your CBD rich in cannabinoids and terpenes – in other words, full-spectrum.
CBD isolate is a product containing up to 99% CBD, with all other compounds completely gone. It’s colorless, odorless, and flavorless. Some vendors who want their edibles or oils to be unaffected by any plant aroma often choose CBD isolate.
Although it’s almost pure CBD, isolate lacks any of the beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes that work to trigger the entourage effect. Consequently, the therapeutic benefits of CBD isolate are limited compared to other forms.
Broad-spectrum CBD is the middle ground between full-spectrum and CBD isolate. It retains the same compounds as full-spectrum CBD, but with all traces of THC removed.
This is handy if you’re worried about triggering a drug test (which is possible) or if you’re sensitive to THC.
What is Decarboxylation?
Ever wonder why you have to light cannabis on fire or heat it in a vaporizer? The simple answer is “decarboxylation.” It’s an essential step when making your own CBD oil.
Cannabinoids originally sit in an inert acidic form. For example, CBD is originally CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) prior to decarbing. When heated to a certain temperature, the CBDA undergoes a chemical change that turns it into CBD.
The process of decarboxylation of the acidic form of CBD (CBDa) to Cannabidiol (CBD) with heat.
How to Make CBD Oil at Home
Now that we better understand CBD oil, it’s time to dive in on making CBD oil. The method we’ll describe today is the same one people use with any cannabis oil. It involves the use of dried flower from either an industrial hemp variety or “marijuana.”
Today, plenty of vendors offer industrial hemp dry herb in a variety of different strains and strengths – all with less than 0.3% THC. You can also get high CBD, lower THC flower from a dispensary or medical provider, depending on the laws in your state.
The following recipe will net you about 2 cups (500 ml) of CBD oil. The potency depends on how much CBD is in the dry herb, and the type/amount of carrier oil chosen. We recommend coconut oil because it does an excellent job retaining CBD and other cannabinoids.
The amount of dry herb and oil you use isn’t written in stone. The less oil you use, the more cannabinoids get packed into it. The level of CBD in your dry herb also affects potency.
But enough prepping – let’s make some CBD oil.
Things You’ll Need on Making CBD Oil
- 1/2 oz (14 g) industrial hemp flower or another cannabis flower (if legal)
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- 1 cup (250 ml) coconut oil
- Oven and stove
- Oven thermometer (optional)
- Meat thermometer
- Pot or saucepan
- Paper towel or coffee filter
Calculating Dosage When Making CBD Oil
Got all your ingredients? Great! Now it’s time to figure out how strong your oil will be. This requires some simple math.
Whether it’s industrial hemp or high-CBD “marijuana,” CBD levels vary from strain to strain. So let’s pretend your flower contains 20.0% CBD:
- Take 20.0 and move the decimal to the right, which shows your herb has 200 mg/g of CBD.
- Multiply that 200 by the number of grams you’re using – in this case, 14.
- We see that the total CBD in your batch will equal 2800 mg prior to decarboxylation.
- Now, we need to know the CBD per milliliter (ml), so divide 2800 by the 250 ml of coconut oil we’re using, which comes to 11.2 mg/ml of CBD oil.
If you find this dose is too little or too much, increase/decrease the amount of dry herb as needed. You can also add more oil to dilute the mixture.
To know how much CBD potency the hemp flower has, make sure you have the third-party lab report to get that number.
Here is a visual of a lab report on a cannabis hemp flower rich in CBD. As you can see, this hemp flower has a potency of 16% CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), which CBDA would then be converted to CBD after decarboxylation. Every 1,000mg of oil will contain roughly 160mg of CBD.
7 Steps on How to Make CBD Oil
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 225 o F. This is a solid middle-ground. But remember that oven temperature isn’t likely to reflect the exact number shown on your stove.
It’s handy to have a simple oven thermometer if you want to keep a more precise tab on temperature. Undercooking won’t properly activate the cannabinoids while overcooking evaporates them away.
Step 2: Grind the Flower
Using your grinder , coarsely grind your cannabis flower . A simple metal hand grinder is a great choice, as these tend to give you the consistency you need.
Don’t over-grind it. If the pieces are too small, you’ll burn them before you even start making your own CBD oil.
Step 3: Prepare the Ground Cannabis
Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil . Evenly lay out the ground cannabis flower on your baking sheet. It’s important to keep it in an even, single layer. Otherwise, the flower won’t cook evenly.
Finally, cover the sheet with aluminum foil .
Step 4: Decarboxylate the Hemp Flower
If you have an oven thermometer inside the appliance, check to make sure you have the right temperature. If the difference is more than 20 o F in either direction, adjust the heat as needed.
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove and let the hemp cool for 45 minutes. Once cool, lift the layer of aluminum foil. If everything went well, the herb will have golden brown, toasted color.
Below is an image of grinded cannabis flower on the left prior to decarboxylation, and decarbed flower on the right.
The picture was taken from Madison Cole from Herbal Dispatch.
Step 5: Mix CBD with Coconut Oil to Make Tincture
Turn your pot or saucepan to low heat, and add the coconut oil. DO NOT allow it to simmer or sizzle.
Use the meat thermometer to check the oil temperature. It should hover at around 150 o F. If the mixture exceeds 200 0 F, you could cause some cannabinoids to evaporate during cooking.
You can use an overhead stirrer like this to set it on automatic, and it will mix the CBD extract with coconut oil to make CBD oil tinctures.
Step 6: Complete the Oil Infusion to make CBD Oil Tinctures
Cook the mixture for 30 minutes to 4 hours. The longer you cook, the more cannabinoids get infused into the oil, and the stronger your final product will be.
Step 7: Strain
Place a coffee filter or paper towel above a cup, small pot, or another container. Carefully and slowly pour the oil onto the filter or paper towel to separate and discard the plant matter.
Pro tip: Use two or three paper towels layered together, as a single one could rip while you pour the oil.
CBD Oil Uses
Congratulations on your first batch! Now that you can make your own CBD oil, it’s time to put it to good use. Although oil is typically associated with straight oral ingestion, there are other things you can do with it.
For instance, you can use it in edible recipes to make an endless range of tasty CBD-rich treats, or mix it with moisturizer to create a soothing topical. Some people add it to smoothies or use it as a salad dressing.
Ultimately, there’s almost no limit to what you can do with CBD oil.
How to Make CBD Oil: Final Thoughts and Tips
While making CBD oil, it’s important to consider safety. There are also some tips we want to address that’ll make your CBD cooking experience much better.
Safety when Making CBD Oil
Fortunately, you won’t be working with explosive substances like butane, nor will you need to worry about leaving solvent traces behind (alcohol method). Aside from “don’t burn yourself,” there’s really nothing else to worry about during the cooking process.
CBD itself, however, is another story. The cannabinoid is known to interact with a broad range of medications . Talk to your doctor before adding CBD to your health routine.