What Makes CBD Pure?

Most people understand that cannabidiol (CBD) comes from Cannabis, as the name would suggest. However, many people still don’t fully understand the difference between CBD, THC, and Cannabis.

CBD is a popular natural health alternative that provides an array of potential benefits, including reported relief from pain and inflammation, insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, and depression. But what exactly is CBD? What makes CBD pure? And what is pure CBD oil?

In this article, we’ll take you through the basics of CBD, how it’s extracted from Cannabis, and what pure CBD isolate is so you may start getting relief.

How Does CBD Work?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, interact with our bodies in a number of different ways. The most common way they impact our bodies is by augmenting the effects of compounds in our bodies called endocannabinoids, which are part of the cannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex of receptors and enzymes that are involved in modulating energy, mood, pain, stress, immune system, and many other systems.

When we consume CBD, it interacts with these receptors to balance out several different areas of our bodies, providing various healing effects.

How Pure CBD Is Made

So how exactly is CBD made? Let’s dive into the CBD process that goes from the Hemp plant in the field all the way to your favorite CBD store.

You’ll notice that all CBD products are derived from the Hemp plant. This is why you’ll commonly see the word “Hemp extract” or “Hemp oil extract” on most CBD product labels. Once CBD oil is extracted from the Hemp plant, it is then transformed into a variety of products, including CBD oil tinctures, capsules, soft gels, topical creams, and gummies.

How Pure CBD Is Extracted from Hemp

When people refer to CBD production or manufacturing, they’re usually referring to a specific extraction method. The most common CBD oil extraction methods include carbon dioxide, steam distillation, or solvent extractions. We’ll go through each method below.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction

Carbon Dioxide extraction is the most exensive form of CBD oil extraction. CO2 extraction involves using supercritical carbon dioxide to separate the pure CBD oil from the Hemp plant material. “Supercritical” simply refers to CO2 that is in a partial liquid state and a partial gas state at once. This is why CO2 extraction is also called “Supercritical Fluid Extraction” (SFE).

In the CO2 extraction process, a system of pressurized pumps and chambers is used to expose carbon dioxide to very low temperatures and high pressures, to create liquid C02 that then extracts the hemp oil from the plant. The liquid CO2 is allowed to evaporate into gas (simlar to dry ice) leaving only the hemp oil containing high concentrations of CBD. Here is the breakdown:

• To begin CO2 extraction, the first chamber will hold pressurized carbon dioxide, while the second chamber will carry the Hemp plant.
• Next, carbon dioxide is pumped from the initial chamber into the second chamber. The supercritical CO2 presence begins to separate the oil from the Hemp plant in the chamber.
• The oil and carbon dioxide are both pumped together into a final chamber. At this point, the CO2 gas evaporates, and all that remains is an extract of pure CBD oil.

CO2 extraction is one of the most expensive forms of CBD oil extraction since it requires specialized machinery, but it is still the preferred form of CBD extraction. It’s the safest method and is the most efficient at extracting CBD.

The carbon dioxide extraction process is the same method that manufacturers use to extract essential oils for perfumes and to decaffeinate coffee or tea. At Panacea we use two very large CO2 extraction machines, along with a decarb oven to process our hemp into a high quality crude.

Steam Distillation

Steam distillation uses steam (as you may have guessed) to separate the CBD oil from the Hemp plant. Manufacturers will place the Hemp plant in a glass flask with an inlet and outlet connecting to another glass container below, containing water that will be boiled. The outlet connects to a condenser tube. Here is the breakdown:

1. The water in the glass container is boiled, which makes steam travel up into the flask containing the Hemp oil. The oil vapors that contain CBD are then separated.
2. Next, the CBD oil vapors are captured in the outlet tube that condenses them into CBD water and oil.
3. Finally, the water and oil mixture is distilled to extract all CBD from the water leaving pure CBD oil.

This steam distillation method has been used to extract essential oils from plants for hundreds of years, but it’s less common than CO2 extraction since it isn’t’ as efficient.

Steam distillation requires much greater volumes of the Hemp plant, and it’s not as accurate in extracting specific amounts of concentrated CBD. Plus, if the steam gets too hot, it could alter the extract and the chemical properties inside.

Solvent Extraction

The solvent extraction method follows a similar method to the steam distillation method, except instead of using water to separate the CBD oil from the Hemp plant, it uses a solvent like hydrocarbons or natural solvents such as ethanol. A food grade ethanol should be used. Many extractors take short cuts and use a non-food grade ethanol which is much less expensive. Buyer beware on using this type of crude oil for any finished products. The end result is a mixture of CBD oil with the solvent. In the end, the solvent evaporates, leaving just pure CBD oil behind.

Solvent extraction is a much more efficient method of extraction than steam distillation and also is less expensive. However, solvents in hydrocarbon extraction like butane, propane, or petroleum are much riskier. Ethanol extraction has been shown to produce very good CBD oil without the possibility of introducing toxic contaminants.

One downside to natural solvent extraction is that chlorophyll may sometimes be extracted, leaving the CBD oil with an unpleasant taste. If CBD is being used in topical creams or capsules, this isn’t an issue, but may not be enjoyable with tinctures, or gummies.

Post-Extraction CBD Oil Creation

After the extraction process is complete, the manufacturers will choose to keep the final product or concentrate it even more creating a distillate. Three general types of CBD byproducts may be created, including Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and CBD Isolate.

Full-Spectrum CBD: Entourage With THC

The CBD oil that remains after extraction is called “Full-Spectrum CBD Oil.” This means that flavonoids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids (including THC) from the Hemp plant still remain. Since the CBD was sourced from the Hemp plant, the amount of THC will be lower than 0.3%, making it legal in the United States.

Full-Spectrum CBD oils contain a variety of other Hemp plant elements like amino acids and terpenes. Many people prefer Full-Spectrum CBD oil since it includes the health benefits of the other chemical compounds (cannabinoids) of the Hemp plant along with CBD. This combination is known as the “entourage effect.”


• Includes the complete benefits of the Hemp plant
• “Entourage Effect”
• Requires less processing


• May show up on drug tests (0.3% THC)
• May have minor psychoactive side effects
• Stronger natural odor and flavor

Full-Spectrum CBD is the best option for anyone who has been recommended a specific THC to CBD ratio. Also, individuals who suffer from more severe symptoms may want to use it over Broad-Spectrum and CBD Isolate.

It’s important to note that even though CBD oil that contains less than 0.3% is legal in the United States, if you choose a brand that isn’t as trusted or hasn’t done lab testing, the percentage may be higher. This is why it is important to study up on who is manufacturing your products. Panacea Life has a very high standard for quality in this regard.

Broad Spectrum CBD: Entourage Without THC

Broad Spectrum CBD is similar to Full-Spectrum CBD in that it contains almost all the other compounds and cannabinoids from the Hemp plant. However, it undergoes another process that just removes the THC.


• Includes the complete benefits of the Hemp plant
• “Entourage Effect”
• No risk of psychoactive effects
• No risk of THC implications


• Less availability
• Stronger natural odor and flavor

Broad-Spectrum CBD oil is best suited for those that want all the benefits of a full spectrum oil without any THC, making it safer to use if you are concerned about testing positive for THC for your job or life in a state with strict Cannabis laws.

CBD Isolate: The Purest Form of CBD

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. To create CBD isolate, manufacturers will undergo another process to cool and purify the CBD that will fully remove every Hemp plant compound and cannabinoid other than CBD alone. After this stage, all that remains is 99% pure cannabidiol. At this point, it is a crystal-like form which is then turned into a sugar-like powder. To “recreate” CBD oil, the CBD isolate is then turned into a CBD oil tincture by mixing the powder with a carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil, or Hempseed oil.


• The purest form of CBD
• No risk of psychoactive effects
• No risk of THC implications.
• Tasteless, odorless


• Does not provide the full benefits of the Hemp plant

CBD isolate is best suited for people who have been recommended high doses of CBD. It’s also best for those who are sensitive to THC or other cannabinoids, or do not like the smell or taste of a full- or broad-spectrum oil. Since CBD isolate is tasteless and odorless, it’s much easier to consume and mix with a drink like tea or in your cooking.

Further CBD Product Creation

After CBD has been extracted, and the chosen form of oil remains (Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, CBD Isolate), the manufacturer will either bottle it up as an oil, or they may decide to create other CBD products.

Here are a few other CBD products that are derived from pure CBD:

• The CBD may be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil to create CBD tinctures.

Edible CBD gummies are made by combining CBD Isolate with juice, organic corn syrup, and natural flavors for easy consuming.

CBD isolate is sold on its own or in the powdered form to be used in baking and cooking recipes. Chocolates, baked goods, and teas are common CBD edibles that many people like to make at home.

CBD capsules may be created by combining CBD with a carrier oil like MCT oil to create the capsule’s volume. Olive oil may be used as a casing around a soft gel capsule.

• CBD oil may be mixed with different essential oils, aloe Vera, coconut oil, shea butter, or waxes to create skin salves or other topical creams.

Depending on your preference, you may want to choose just one type of CBD product, though most CBD users have two CBD products on average. You may want to have a CBD oil tincture at home to use in your tea in the morning. Then when on the road later, you might want to use a topical cream when you need relief. Whatever methods allow you to get the most enjoyment in the most convenient way is ultimately how you should make your decision.

Final Thoughts

It’s been nearly 80 years since CBD was first isolated from Hemp by American chemist Roger Adams. After it was discovered that CBD could, in fact, be separated from the Cannabis plant, researchers were able to finally hone in on the compound to unlock its true impact on the body.

Ever since CBD was shown to carry powerful health abilities, individuals have been trying to figure out how to get the purest form of CBD to relieve them of their many ailments. 

Thankfully, it’s never been easier to get pure CBD oil. With a variety of forms of CBD, including Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and Isolate, you may get the relief you need. There are nearly a dozen different ways to consume CBD you may get the relief of how you need it and when you need it.

Remember before purchasing any CBD products that you make sure you choose a trusted company since the CBD industry isn’t currently regulated (as of January 2020). Make sure the company has independent lab testing results demonstrating quality and purity. Also, check what type of extraction method was used by the company if possible. Products that were created through CO2 extraction will usually be more expensive but also are generally higher-quality.

Remember to always consult with your doctor before using CBD products, especially if you are taking any other medications, including pharmaceuticals and supplements.