Most people are probably aware that CBD has something to do with hemp, but aren’t entirely sure how this relationship works. How exactly do we get CBD from hemp? How can we get different types of CBD from the same plant? It’s all to do with extraction! 


Is Hemp The Same As Marijuana?

One common misconception about hemp is that it’s synonymous with marijuana, which can be used as a recreational psychoactive substance. It’s understandable that people make this mistake as they are technically just different names for the same plant variety – Cannabis. The difference between labelling a plant as either Hemp or Marijuana lies in its containment of THC. THC is the psychoactive compound that can cause a ‘high’. Hemp and Marijuana are identical in all other ways and contain both CBD and THC. The distinction comes from the rule that a Cannabis plant labelled as ‘Hemp’ will contain no more than 0.3% THC.


How Is CBD Extracted From Hemp?

In the UK and many other countries, marijuana is illegal, but hemp is not. Hemp can be used in creating a huge variety of incredible products involving numerous important industries. This includes: industrial materials and textiles; food or supplemental products; medicines; and other organic products. The list could go on! And of course, one of our favourite uses of hemp: we can extract CBD from hemp plants. CBD can be found in the stalks, stems, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. 


Supercritical CO2 Extraction

The first step to this process is cultivation. We must grown the hemp plants organically without herbicides or pesticides in order to produce the finest, high quality CBD products. We must then dry and cure the plants in order for them to be used in the following extraction process. The process used to extract CBD from hemp is called ‘supercritical CO2 extraction’. This process involves exposing CO2 (carbon dioxide) to very low temperatures and a very high pressure. This causes the CO2 to enter a ‘supercritical’ state. When the CO2 is in this state, it changes from a gas into a compound somewhere in between being a liquid and a gas. This means it can travel like a gas, but absorb things like a liquid.

Once we have this compound, we pump it through a chamber containing the dried hemp plant material. When passing through this chamber, the supercritical CO2 essentially absorbs the CBD – along with other cannabinoids and terpenes – from the plant matter. Lastly, we will depressurise this mixture of CO2, CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes which causes it to separate. We are now left with our CBD-rich extract! The other cannabinoids found in this extract can include THC, CBG, CBC, CBN, and more. ‘Terpenes’ are organic compounds found in the essential oils of plants. They can provide plants with their unique aromas, and can also carry potential health benefits of their own. These cannabinoids and terpenes will be present in much smaller quantities than the CBD, and they can even be removed later on through further purification processes. 

 Info Graphic of how CBD is extracted with C02

How Do We Get Different Types Of CBD Extract?


As mentioned previously, when we process supercritical CO2 extraction, we are left with a CBD-rich extract which also contains other cannabinoids and terpenes in small amounts. This is the most unprocessed and natural form of CBD extract. It contains all of the phytochemicals naturally found in the hemp plant. The is called ‘full-spectrum’ or ‘pure-spectrum’ CBD extract. This extract will contain THC, and although this will be in amounts below 0.3% and will therefore not cause any psychoactive effects, many people would prefer to have a CBD product containing 0% THC. This is where ‘broad-spectrum’ CBD extract comes into play. 



In order to get broad-spectrum CBD extract, we go through the exact same supercritical CO2 extraction process. However, once that is complete, the CBD-rich extract will go through a further refinement process to remove all traces of THC. Despite this, the other cannabinoids and terpenes will still remain in the CBD extract. This is brilliant as it means the extract contains large and diverse amounts of synergistic compounds which, when combined, can produce something known as the ‘entourage effect’. This means that the individual cannabinoids and compounds can work together to amplify the health benefits of each individual cannabinoid. This can maximise the therapeutic effects of the product. 


CBD Isolate

Although broad-spectrum CBD extract is incredible, for some CBD products it simply isn’t suitable. Therefore, the extract needs to go through a further refinement process in order to produce ‘CBD isolate’. CBD isolate is the purest variety of the CBD compound, and it comes in a powder or crystalline form. This further refinement process is known as ‘winterization’; it causes the remaining compounds to separate from one another which allows us to remove all compounds aside from the CBD. Although this extract may seem less desirable than broad-spectrum CBD, it is very beneficial for creating products which offer the potential therapeutic effects of CBD without any other interferences. Plus, the powder or crystalline form makes it a more suitable CBD infusing ingredient for certain types of CBD product.

 Info Graphic of three different types of CBD extract. Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and CBD Isolate

Our Hemp Plants and CBD – Honest Hemp

At Honest Hemp, we are a pioneering British grower of organic industrial hemp and a trusted importer, producer, and manufacturer of superior cannabidiol (CBD) products. We pride ourselves on principles of quality, sustainability, and honesty, meaning we source only organic ingredients from ethical suppliers. Additionally, we are passionate about our plants and agriculture so, of course, our hemp plants are grown and cultivated without the use of any herbicides, pesticides, or nasties. We strive to bring the purest CBD-opulent products onto the market in a way that preserves the source and promotes sustainability. 

Our CBD oils, CBD edibles, and CBD sprays are infused with broad-spectrum CBD-rich extract which offers you the CBD entourage effect whilst being 100% THC free. We infuse our CBD topicals and CBD e-liquids with 99.7% pure CBD isolate crystals, offering you a beautifully distilled and authentic CBD infusion with no trace of THC. Our products are designed to promote wellbeing amongst our customers. 

 All of our products are tested by a third-party laboratory for consistency and perfection. This enables us to provide our customers with a transparent and trustworthy service and products of the highest quality. We are proud of this honest approach, our fully traceable supply chain, and our independent testing and compliance process. Our goal is to use hemp to make a real positive impact on the world, and to ensure ourselves and our customers are part of this exciting journey to deliver on the potential that we all see.