Depending on the process, the resulting product is either large CBD crystals or a fine white powder that resembles confectioner’s sugar. While there may be a slight residual cherry flavor, neither form of CBD isolate should contain a distinct odor or taste. But don’t be fooled by its plain appearance — there are actually a number of reasons to get excited about CBD isolate and all that it has to offer.
For topicals, mix the CBD isolate with moisturizing oils or lotions and apply it to the area of your skin you’d like to treat. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When shopping for CBD isolate, it’s important to look for products from reputable companies that are lab-tested by a third party. This should ensure that your isolate doesn’t contain any THC, additional plant materials, or other impurities.
To make any concentrate you first have to extract. Manufacturers can use either a hydrocarbon solvent, like butane or propane, or ethanol solvent. Typically, we see ethanol used for the production of CBD isolate often with the use of a larger commercial extraction system – like a centrifuge. Smaller extraction systems can be used, it just depends on your throughput goals.
Step 1: Extraction
An additional option that some manufacturers complete to change the structure of the CBD isolate is to subject it to a crystallization process. This process results in a final product that is still 99.9% CBD but has a crystalline structure.
Step 5: Distillation
This crystallization process is started by putting the CBD oil into a large vat, or reactionary vessel, with a stirring attachment. The mixture is heated while constantly being stirred. Then, the temperature is lowered and the rate of stirring is slowed down. Once the mixture has cooled and nucleation starts to occur (the initial stages of crystallization), the stirring rate is drastically increased, which causes the crystals to separate from the solution. After this, the crystals are rinsed with pentane, or another chemical solvent, to remove any remaining unwanted impurities.