What is the difference between full-spectrum CBD and Broad-spectrum CBD?
Many of the beginning processes of both products are the same. The last process of “THC remediation” differentiates the two products.
How is full-spectrum CBD made?
First, let’s look at the process of extracting CBD from harvested and dried hemp flower
Able Hemp harvests our hemp biomass by hand in what we can the “grip and rip method”. Hemp material is then dried at low temperatures below 100 degrees to maintain high-quality cannabinoids for extraction. This step is crucial to producing high-quality full-spectrum CBD.
Dry hemp is then taken to a hemp handler where the material is milled into small easily extracted pieces. Using a Hemp handler is the only way to have our full-spectrum hemp extract legally made in the State of Oregon.
The beginning of full-spectrum CBD extraction
The Hemp handler freezes the hemp between -20 and -40 degrees Fahrenheit before washing the material with high-proof ethanol. This is the first step in the actual extraction process. This first process creates what is known as “crude oil.” Ethanol is used because it is a great organic solvent, but the downside is that it’s an indiscriminate solvent. This means that it removes the full-spectrum cannabinoids and the plant materials fats, waxes, and chlorophyll. But, Freezing the hemp material helps mitigate these undesirable extractants.
Winterizing crude oil
Once the full-spectrum hemp has been washed there is another process of cleaning and filtering the ethanol extract called winterization. This multi-step process involves again freezing the liquid extract to separate the solid fats and waxes. After, the CBD crude oil is filtered with progressively very tight filters, often down to 5 micron.
Reverse distillation of winterized Crude oil
After the ethanol has been filtered, this solvent has to be removed. Using a simple process of reverse distillation using a machine called a rotovap, the solvent is removed from the desired full-spectrum extract with heat, vacuums, and constant turning of the solution which avoids burning the extract.
After removing the solvent, you now have a stable, clean golden liquid known as “full-spectrum CBD distillate”. Able Hemp uses full-spectrum distillate because, while it is a lengthy process, it is also a very simple “organic” process that we resonate with because of its lack of stronger chemical solvents. The material, you can imagine is now very concentrated and contains around 80% CBD as well as CBC, CBG, and THC. At this stage, the THC concentration is about 3% and needs to be diluted to legal concentrations (0.3%). Then the distillate can be blended and bottled into finished products once tested for pesticide compliance.
During the rotovap stage, the distillate is also heated which in turn decarboxylates the extract so that it is ready to give you the best effect as an edible. Without this step, the effects of our full-spectrum CBD would not be felt in the same way.
How is Broad-spectrum CBD made?
THC remediation is the process of removing THC from the full-spectrum distillate. This process involves soaking the full-spectrum distillate with solvents like cyclohexane and acetone and then running it through a filter column. The solvent uses the difference in polarity in CBD and THC to help separate the two into different containers. Other solvents can be used for THC remediation, but it is up to the hemp handler as to what solvent they prefer.
The THC remediated distillate has a couple of shortcomings. The main issue is that the overall effect of the CBD distillate has been altered and is no longer as effective. THC remediation doesn’t just remove THC, it also degrades CBD and minor cannabinoids as well. Second, the solvents used in making broad-spectrum CBD are often aggressive and unnatural leading to unnecessary chemical use. These solvents have a negative impact on the environment.
The more we can do to keep our process as simple and our products as effective as possible the better we can serve our community. It’s not just about creating products, it’s about creating safe, clean communities.