As the medicinal benefits of cannabis are gaining more recognition, the industry is ramping up its efforts to keep up with the growing need. Manufacturers are continuing to improve their products’ delivery methods to give patients maximum relief. One of their biggest innovations is packing as much cannabidiol, the useful substance in cannabis, into a concentrate. The CBD concentrate has become one of the most popular CBD products in the market today.
What Are CBD Concentrates?
Medical marijuana has many active substances, but the ones gaining the most attention are tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and cannabidiol or CBD. The two cannabinoid substances have the same exact chemical formula of 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and two oxygen atoms. However, there is a slight difference in how these atoms are arranged, enough for the two substances to have meaningfully varying effects on the body. While THC is directly responsible for the euphoric feeling that cannabis imparts, CBD is mostly known for its medicinal benefits. Understandably, CBD has gained more acceptance from patients who are apprehensive about the psychoactive effects of THC.
CBD concentrates have very high levels of CBD. Some brands claim to have products that are 99% pure.
How Are CBD Concentrates Made?
There are many processes that cannabidiol can be extracted into a CBD concentrate, but supercritical CO2 is widely accepted as the safest and cleanest technique. It is a non-toxic alternative to extraction methods using solvents such as butane, hexane, or ethanol, where trace amounts of the harmful substance can still be found on the finished products.
Most CBD companies start their process by grinding up previously dried CBD-rich hemp to prepare it for oil extraction. The resulting grounds are transferred to a large container that is connected to a CO2 extraction device. This equipment uses carbon dioxide subjected to high pressure and very low temperatures to isolate the desired substance.
The resulting paste from the carbon dioxide extraction goes to the winterizing process. In this stage, the extract is purified by soaking it in alcohol and then freezing it, thereby separating the oils.
After winterization, the hemp oil is purified further into CBD isolates by passing it through a vacuum filter and a rotating evaporator. The alcohol is then recycled back into the system, and the CDB concentrate is processed into wax, shatter, live resin, budder, or crumble. The final form of the product is largely dependent on the heat, moisture, and texture of the hemp oil during the extraction stages.
What are the Benefits of CBD Concentrates?
Most CBD concentrates are extremely potent, which means small amounts are enough to provide relief for seizures, chronic pain, inflammation, headache, and mental or emotional distress. They also contain additional cannabinoids such as terpenes and flavonoids.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds naturally found in plants, but at much higher concentrations in cannabis. They give the fragrant characteristics that some plants have. More importantly, they offer many health benefits, such as antioxidant and antiviral properties. On the other hand, flavonoids are naturally found in fruits and vegetables. They help regulate many cellular activities and combat free radicals, which are known to accelerate the oxidation process.
With all the health benefits inherent to terpenes and flavonoids, this is not the biggest advantage of their presence in most CBD concentrate brands. The main selling point is the “entourage effect,” which is the synergistic characteristic of cannabinoids when consumed together. They boost one another, giving the patient optimal health benefits.
Things to Consider When Buying CBD Concentrates
When choosing a CBD product, look for brands that use carbon dioxide extraction in their process. It is a bit more expensive, but the guarantee of safety is worth the added price.
Next to the extraction method, pay attention to the purity of the concentrate. Most reputable brands offer 90% to 99% pure products, an ideal range for optimum effect. Be sure to avoid concentrates with purity lower than 80%, as they contain a significant amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
If you purchase the wax form of the concentrate, make sure it comes with a dab rig, which helps you control the amount of CBD you apply. It is important to begin in small doses, so you do not develop a resistance against the medicine. This will also help you maximize the use of the product. Another popular delivery method for the medicine is vapor. Though it involves having to use a vaporizer, its proponents claim that vaping is much easier on the lungs.
Whatever method you find most suitable for your needs, it is important to note that concentrates are extremely potent and must be consumed cautiously. Also, be sure to purchase only from reputable brands.