Let’s look at the terms used to described CBD raw ingredients and what they actually mean
Types of CBD Concentrate
The main two types of cannabinoid concentrates are full-spectrum and isolates.
High-purity extracts have similar characteristics to honey: thick, clear and amber coloured.
Both full-spectrum and isolates should be produced to the same high standards and should be tested for the presence of contaminants such as heavy metals.
What is Full-Spectrum CBD?
Full-spectrum CBD is an extract that contains CBD as well as the other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant.
Full-spectrum concentrates are the end product of the extraction process. Unlike isolates, full-spectrum extracts often do not undergo any further refining.
So, full-spectrum products will benefit from the entourage effect because of the terpenes and other cannabinoids in its blend.
But full-spectrum will also contain THC - the controlled cannabinoid with psychoactive properties. However, broad-spectrum extracts are full-spectrum extracts with the THC content removed.
- Benefits from the entourage effect
- Higher THC content than isolate
- Lower overall CBD content
- More expensive, especially broad-spectrum extracts
What is CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol. During the extraction process, the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and unwanted plant compounds are removed leaving only the desired CBD.
One of the benefits of CBD isolates is that they have no smell or flavour so CBD isolates are a great choice for edible products.
But to counter this advantage, CBD isolates won’t benefit from the entourage effect from the presence of other cannabinoids or terpenes. This lack of entourage effect makes isolates cheaper than wider-spectrum extracts.
CBD isolates undergo more purification processes following extraction. Purification methods include crystallisation, and chromatography (extorted via CO2 or solvents). CBD isolates are basically full-spectrum concentrates that have been purified.
- Flavourless and odourless
- High CBD content
- Lower cost
- No/trace amounts of THC
- No entourage effect
Example extraction process
In this example, the cannabinoid extraction process includes several stages ending with distillation. There are several methods of extraction including CO2, hydrocarbons and ethanol. Here’s an overview of the ethanol solvent extraction method:
Stage 1: The raw plant material is broken down.
Stage 2: The resulting sludge or “crude” is cleaned with a solvent.
Stage 3: The crude is filtered to remove fibres, fats and waxes and other unwanted particles.
Stage 4: Through evaporation, the solvent used in stage 2 is removed.
Stage 5: Fractional distillation refines the product into a cannabinoid concentrate.
Retail forms of CBD concentrate
CBD e-Liquid or e-Juice
CBD is a popular choice for vaping and so comes in an e-liquid form. An e-liquid, also known as an e-juice, is the fluid that gets heated by an e-cigarette. The heated fluid produces a vapour which is inhaled by the vaper. E-liquids are mostly made from propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, distilled water and flavouring, such as CBD.
CBD Crumble, Wax and Shatter
Crumble and Wax look a bit like crystalised honey and can be made from CBD isolate or a full spectrum concentrate.
Wax has a lower moisture content than Crumble. Wax is usually a solid that turns into an oil when heated.
CBD shatter is made in a similar way to a crumble or wax except that shatter has even lower water content. Shatter looks more like a boiled sweet and is harder and more brittle. Unlike CBD crumble, shatter doesn’t make a very good cooking ingredient.
CBD oil is the cannabinoid extract in liquid form. The extract is diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut or good old hemp oil. CBD oils are often the final product whereas CBD concentrates are the active ingredients used to make other retail-ready CBD products.
Choosing a CBD concentrate
The CBD concentrate you choose should be based on a number of factors:
What is your budget?
Isolates are cheaper than broader-spectrums extracts. Whichever you choose, make sure it is from a reputable producer and get the CBD concentrate independently tested.
Who is your consumer?
Are you marketing at experienced CBD users or newcomers to CBD? Are they looking to start with a pure CBD product or is the entourage effect important to them?
What is the final product?
If your product is an edible consider the flavour of the concentrate. Could the earthy natural flavour of a broad-spectrum extract affect how your product tastes? If so, maybe a CBD isolate, which has less flavour, would be more suitable.
Could THC content be a problem?
If your final product will be sold in larger volumes, a full-spectrum extract may push the THC content over the legal limit of 1mg per container. So do your research and ensure you are not breaking the law.
What documentation does the supplier provide?
Look for certificates of analysis including heavy metals and pesticides. Does the supplier provide a break down of the cannabinoids present in the concentrate? If so, what is the THC content?
How can Phytovista Laboratories help you choose the right CBD concentrate?
The UK CBD market is young and lacking regulation. Suppliers and manufacturers should regulate themselves by ensuring their products are safe, accurately described and free from controlled substances.
PhytoVista Laboratories is a testing facility with an established reputation. By using our lab testing services, we can help you assess the potential CBD concentrates on the market. Plus, we can work with you to help ensure the safety and accuracy of your CBD end product.
Get in contact with PhytoVista Laboratories for a quote on testing your product.