We are all becoming increasingly more aware of the popularity and interest surrounding CBD. This compound has become one of the most talked-about phenomena recently; its supposed ability to aid many different health ailments seems incredible. We understand that CBD products can be an excellent selling point, but how exactly are they made?
At SVC Labs, we have built up a wealth of experience for manufacturing CBD. Our state-of-the-art facility here in the UK has the capacity to produce over 136,000 units of finished product per day. We do everything in-house – from formulation development, to branding and design, right through to bottling and distribution. We are experts in how CBD products are made, with ISO accreditation, GMP certification, and quality assurance processes.
In this article, let’s take it back to basics. We will cover the full manufacturing process from start to finish – including the CBD extraction process – and explain how each different type of CBD product is made.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol – it is one of more than a hundred known cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. It has taken the world by storm in recent years, proving to be immensely popular amongst health, fitness, and wellbeing communities.
It is linked to the endocannabinoid system within the human body. This system is responsible for regulating many functions, such as sleep, mood, pain, and appetite. Research suggests that CBD has the ability to improve the functioning of this system which would essentially have brilliant impacts on our overall well being, as well as potentially having benefits for specific health concerns. Additionally, CBD is thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it an excellent ingredient for skincare products.
Due to how new CBD is and the lack of research surrounding its benefits, it cannot be classified as a health supplement. CBD products must be listed as novel food products, meaning you are not allowed to market your products as health supplements, or make any factual claims about the health benefits CBD may have.
Fortunately, CBD has been shown to be completely safe and have no dangerous adverse effects. This means it is a risk-free product – consumers can try it out and find out for themselves if it works for them or not. Many traditional pharmaceuticals carry multiple negative side effects with them, especially if a drug is taken by someone who doesn’t actually need it. CBD is a compound already produced naturally by the body – consuming more of it will not cause a problem, even for those who don’t necessarily need it.
CBD can be consumed in many different ways. There are different types of CBD extract available, as well as entirely different product types. Let’s cover this below…
What CBD Products Are Available?
There are countless CBD products available on the market today. It can seem a little overwhelming to some businesses or consumers – which products are the most effective? Is there any real difference between them?
Although the products will tend to have similar properties due to the fact they all contain CBD, there are actually many differences between them. The most predominant difference is bioavailability. This refers to the amount of a substance that can reach the bloodstream and have an effect when the substance is taken. Depending on the way you take a drug, it will go through different processes to reach the bloodstream. This can cause parts of the drug to be ‘lost’ along the way, which could essentially decrease the effectiveness (and vise versa).
CBD oils are taken sublingually – this means the oil is dropped under the tongue, and absorbed into the body via the sublingual glands. CBD oils tend to have a bioavailability between 8-15% – this is not bad, but some other product types are higher.
At SVC Labs, we produce multiple CBD oil products suitable for taking orally. This includes CBD in tincture, tablet, and capsule form.
Vaping CBD offers maximum bioavailability over all other products. It can reach up to 50%, and the product could also have an effect up to 60 minutes faster. The CBD is absorbed via the lung capillaries, and then enters the bloodstream.
At SVC Labs, we produce CBD e-liquids, CBD wax crumbles, and CBD isolates which are all suitable for vaping.
CBD topicals are applied directly to the skin – this is thought to have a bioavailability of up to 45%. Although the product does not actually reach the bloodstream when applied to the skin, it does reach many endocannabinoid receptors which are located in the skin all over the body.
At SVC Labs, our CBD topicals range is vast. We produce many products, including body butters, lip balms, roll-ons, facemasks, eye serums, moisturisers, hand creams, and more.
CBD edibles have a similar bioavailability to CBD oils, as they are also ingested orally. Products such as CBD gummies, chocolates, and honey are immensely popular at the moment among consumers – who wouldn’t love something tasty that also contains CBD?
At SVC Labs, we have developed a variety of CBD edibles available to white label or co-pack, with the largest demand being on CBD gummy bears and CBD vegan sweets.
Intranasal CBD products are administered by inhaling them into the nose. This is similar to vaping CBD, meaning the bioavailability can reach up to 50% and the effects can happen quickly.
At SVC Labs, we manufacture products that are suitable for intranasal consumption, such as CBD nasal sprays.
CBD Soft Drinks
Lastly, you can find CBD infused drinks – these will have a similar bioavailability to the CBD edibles we mentioned previously.
At SVC Labs, we can create bespoke CBD drink formulations to suit all of your white label needs.
How is CBD Extracted From Hemp?
Before we discuss the extraction process, let’s cover the 3 different types of CBD extract that are available.
Full-spectrum CBD extract contains a combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant oils that are all found naturally in the hemp plant – although the most predominant compound is CBD. It is the most unfiltered type of extract, and will contain some amount of THC.
At SVC Labs, we produce full spectrum CBD extracts with either 0.05% THC or 0.02% THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD extract is very similar to full-spectrum – the difference is that all traces of THC have been removed. This is more appealing to many customers.
CBD isolate is a pure crystalline or powder form of extract. It contains only CBD – all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant oils are removed.
At SVC Labs, our CBD isolate is at least 99.7% pure.
The Extraction Process
CBD is found in the stems, stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. In order to get the finest CBD products, we must first cultivate our hemp plants organically in bio soil, with no use of herbicides, pesticides, or GMOs. This is because hemp is known to absorb toxins from the soil it is grown in – we do not want any toxins in our plants or in our products!
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
This process is used to extract all of the CBD, terpenes, and plant oils from the hemp. First, we take CO2 (carbon dioxide) and expose it to very low temperatures and high pressure. This sends it into a ‘supercritical’ state – this means it is halfway between being a gas and a liquid. It can travel like a gas, but absorb matter like a liquid.
Secondly, we pump the supercritical CO2 through a chamber that contains the dried hemp plant material. The CO2 will pass through this chamber, and absorb the cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant oils from the hemp.
Lastly – once the CO2 has passed through the chamber – we depressurise this mixture so that the compounds from the hemp plant separate from the CO2. This leaves us with a full-spectrum CBD rich hemp extract in the form of a crude oil.
At this point, we undergo a refinement process whereby certain cannabinoids can be removed or added. In order to get broad-spectrum extract, the THC is removed from the crude oil.
Winterisation is a further purification process which causes all of the compounds in the extract to separate – we use this to achieve CBD isolate. The full-spectrum crude oil is combined with ethanol, and is then put into a deep freezer at below-zero temperatures.
During this freezing process, the CBD remains with the alcohol solution, whilst the unwanted compounds, fats, waxes, and lipids are frozen. The mixture is then filtered so that we are left with the pure CBD and alcohol solution.
Lastly, the alcohol is removed using a rotary evaporator so that we are left with pure CBD.
The Manufacturing Process
At SVC Labs, we manufacture CBD oils, CBD e-liquids, and CBD topicals at our UK facility. We also produce CBD edibles by sending our own crude oil to a trusted manufacturing partner.
In order to manufacture our CBD oils, the CBD extract is first heated to a warm temperature. Next, it is blended with a carrier oil. At SVC Labs, we use either hemp seed oil or MCT oil as the carrier. Lastly, we add any flavourings or terpenes that the specific product requires.
When we manufacture CBD e-liquids, we firstly warm the propylene glycerol. Next, the CBD isolate or extract is blended in. Lastly, we add flavours or terpenes – much like we do with the CBD oil process.
CBD Topicals / Cosmetics
When manufacturing CBD topicals, the ingredients will vary quite vastly between the products, but the process will remain the same. Firstly, the CBD isolate or extract is blended in during the oil phase. Different components will be added throughout the process and in different phases – the order of this depends on whether each ingredient is oil soluble or water soluble. The last step is to add any essential oils such as lavender oil or chamomile.
Head over to our CBD page to read more about our products, or to our White Label Manufacturing page to find out how you can make your own CBD product range with us. Contact us here for any questions or enquiries.