Updated: May 30
They could, of course, spend a lot of money on processing equipment and take care of its maintenance, professional operation, troubleshooting, and analysis themselves.
Or, they could work with a toll processing company that offers hemp extraction services to turn their industrial hemp crop into CBD extract.
However, not all toll processors are the same. That's cause for caution, but don't freak out.
We've got answers for seven of the most critical topics hemp extract makers should think about while looking at toll processing choices.
BUT FIRST, WHAT EXACTLY IS CBD OIL?
CBD oil is a concentrated extract made from the flowers and/or leaves of the hemp plant. In the process of extracting chemicals from plants, a solvent, heat, pressure, and time are used together. When the extract is used to eat or put on the skin, it is often mixed with another oil, like sunflower, soybean, hemp, or olive oil.
Many toll processors have entered the CBD extraction sector from hemp plant material. However, they are not necessarily experts. Here are seven crucial facts about working with a tolling partner to extract CBD from hemp biomass:
Working with a toll processor gives you access to high-value procedures and equipment while maintaining raw material quality, sourcing, and price under your control
You've already spent time, money, and effort on high-quality hemp biomass, so it's important to know you can count on your contract tolling partner to receive, store, manage, and process the material correctly to make sure top-quality CBD extract from your hemp.
It's also critical to choose a toll maker with the precise skills and capacity you need to process your hemp extract and deliver it to your clients. Hemp extraction capabilities may include the following:
Capabilities for receiving in bulk
Storage conditions that are ideal
The extraction of solvents
CBD extraction with supercritical CO2
Processing after extraction
Let's face it: the initial capital outlay for CBD extraction equipment is only the beginning. Installation, training, and experience of technical workers and equipment operators, process troubleshooting, and everything else that goes into making high-quality hemp extract may soon become too expensive for most people.
A reliable tolling partner, on the other hand, can receive, store, handle, decarb, and extract your CBD and hemp goods precisely as you want. Also, a full-service toll processor of hemp biomass can keep track of all the steps and do the necessary tests and analyses to make sure the product is pure, effective, and of good quality.
Not all hemp oil manufacturers can also provide blending, emulsification, packaging, and even logistics to help you get your CBD extracts and oils to market as soon as possible. Before you begin working with your hemp processor, ask a few short questions to ensure you've chosen the most effective approach to bring your CBD goods to market.
The extraction method you choose is important. Make sensible decisions and collaborate with an experienced team
Depending on how you do the extraction, your product might be better or worse for making tinctures, topicals, oil mixes, or other goods. It's critical to ensure that your toll processor has the extraction capabilities you need.
Solvent extraction can be done with organic solvents like ethanol, which also comes in organic versions that have been certified by the USDA. But it could also have hydrocarbon solvents that aren't as good, like butane, hexane, petroleum ether, and naphtha. Because solvents can have specific affinities with different herbal elements as well as mixtures like herbicides and pesticides, which may then end up co-extracted with the desirable CBD compounds, solvent selection can have an impact on the flavor, color, viscosity, and other qualities of the final product.
Because of this, different solvent operations, like winterization, filtration, and/or centrifugation, may be needed to get rid of chemicals that aren't good. Some of these issues may also be addressed by distillation and molecular isolation.
More advanced extraction methods, such as supercritical CO2, have many benefits, such as being able to target specific components and using a safe solvent that doesn't leave any traces. Supercritical CO2 hemp extraction employs pressurized carbon dioxide at regulated temperatures to extract Phyto compounds from the whole hemp plant without damaging the CBD, resulting in CO2 hemp extract that can be blended directly into formulations with minimal post-processing.
Customers who buy CBD, herbal extracts, and supplements want more information. Simply stated, people want to know as much as they can about the sources of the things they intend to consume. Aside from ensuring maximum potency and purity, adopting a residue-free extraction technique may help hemp manufacturers distinguish their products and establish customer confidence.
Decarboxylation requires the proper equipment, experience, and process control
Raw hemp has very little naturally occurring CBD, but it should be high in CBDA, or cannabidiolic acid, a 2-carboxylic acid molecule. Decarboxylation is the specialized process of converting CBDA to CBD, the active component desired, by using heat and time.
How hot is it, and how long will it be? High temperatures or prolonged exposure might destroy the CBD you're attempting to decarboxylate, decreasing the value of your final hemp extract. That's where the skilled staff of a reputable toll processor comes in. They know how to get the most out of decarboxylation to get the most potency and value from the product.
Quality, purity, potency, and safety must be proven by testing and analysis
Hemp may be susceptible to pests such as mites, fungi, and bacteria, depending on its location and other conditions. As a result, many hemp farmers use agricultural pesticides to safeguard their crops. In 2021, the USDA made a final rule for growing hemp in the United States. Since 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency has allowed hemp to be added to the list of uses for 59 pesticides, 58 of which are biopesticides.
Because hemp is a bioaccumulator, toxins and heavy metals from the soil, such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead, may get concentrated in the plant as it develops. These undesirables may be extracted with hemp cannabinoids. There have been reports that hemp-derived extracts contain dangerous amounts of lead, copper, nickel, and agricultural chemicals. Ask your toll processor what kind of testing they can do.
It is just as important to be able to test CBD extract for potency as it is to be able to test for contaminants. As more information about CBD becomes available, people may want to know even more about what they're buying. Testing is beneficial for business. To protect customers and make sure the product is pure and effective, look for testing and analysis that includes the following:
Profile of Potency
Solvents That Remain
Inquire about the quality processes, certifications, and accreditations of your contract toll processor
Your tolling partner does more than just say they follow a procedure when they have a quality management system in place. Their approved QMS means that each person's job is written down and carried out and that changes and improvements are also written down. ISO 9001 is a third-party quality management certification that is internationally recognized.
Before entering into a deal with a hemp processor, request documentation that their facility is FDA-registered, with certifications such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Food Safety Management System (FSSC 2200), and current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).
Hemp biomass that is organic? Look for a toll processor that is organically certified
Under USDA organic rules, hemp grown in the US under the US Domestic Hemp Production Program can be certified as organic. Most farmers want to be certified organic hemp growers, which means they are willing to follow the rules of farming that are needed to grow organic hemp. As a result, it's essential to confirm organic certification via a USDA-accredited certifying body.
End-to-end services may assist you in streamlining your process from seed to shelf
Most customers prefer to use CBD oil and hemp extract that has been made into a solution that is easy to use and has a controlled dose, whether it is to be taken orally or put on the skin. A contract toll processor that can do full research and development, make custom formulations based on your needs, and do specialty production of food- and drug-grade goods may help you reach your goals much more quickly.
A toll processor with specialized expertise on board can help you make your CO2 CBD extract a reality, whether it's for tinctures, lip balms, oils, lotions, salves, or even food compositions. If the same toll maker can also provide bottling, labeling, and packaging services, as well as logistics to get your final product to your distributors as soon as possible, that's even better.