What Is CBD Oil? Where It Comes From & How

What Is CBD Oil?

Phytocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the oily, resinous flowers of the cannabis plant. This plant, scientifically known as cannabis sativa, contains perhaps as many as 115 phytocannabinoids that are generally recognized to provide the medicinal and therapeutic properties of cannabis in general. Cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating molecule and one of these phytocannabinoids, and is what we refer to as CBD.

CBD oil is a concentration of cannabinoid compounds that offer therapeutic relief, sans the head high or stoned feeling of its THC cousin. This is because CBD is usually derived from hemp, rather than marijuana, which by law can contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. In comparison, marijuana may contain upwards of 30% THC by dry weight.

Accessing CBD begins with the cannabis plant itself. The presence of CBD is determined by the cannabis plant variety and is located in the trichomes of that plant. Trichomes are tiny, mushroom-shaped structures located on the sticky cannabis flower, known as buds. These trichomes house the medicinal properties of cannabis, including CBD. These oily trichomes protect the plant from heat and ultraviolet radiation, while also providing the plant antibacterial and antifungal properties. Interestingly, some of the same properties that protect the cannabis plant may also have beneficial effects for humans, hence the rising popularity of hemp products.

CBD is extracted from the trichomes on cannabis plants. To make CBD oil, a producer first needs to select a variety chemovar -- chemical constitution -- that is rich in CBD and other cannabinoids. This is determined by chemical lab testing to find out which cannabis varieties contain the most CBD.

Trichome and CBD-rich plant material is then extracted -- mostly from the buds and flowers, sometimes the leaves, if enough trichomes are present. NOTE: Hemp oil extracted from stems, stalks and seeds contains virtually NO cannabinoids. 

There are a couple methods of CBD extraction. One method is the CO2 method. This requires application of CO2 at high pressure and low heat to remove intact trichomes from the plant matter, which are then processed into an oil. The high pressure and heat can tend to damage the cannabinoid profile of the plant, resulting in a less effective oil. Ethanol, used exclusively by Imbue Botanicals extraction is a skilled technique dating back to the 1840s, and formed the basis for Rick Simpson and what is commonly known as RSO. At imbue Botanicals, we utilize a pharmaceutical grade ethanol from organic sugar cane that we “super chill” the ethanol for better results. Combined with ultra-low pressure, we produce a raw oil for our products that is truly exceptional.

As an oil, hemp-extracted CBD can be extracted with very low levels of THC, insufficient cause any psychoactive effect, but still sufficient to activate the CB1 receptor in the Endocannabinoid System.

CBD oil can be used as an internal supplement in the form of liquid oil, gel capsule or tablet. It’s also gaining popularity in various topical products and even cosmetics and beauty products. As the demand for CBD and cannabis products is rising fast, so is scientific research about its therapeutic profile and how to optimize it for individuals.