When it comes to the quality of a wellness tincture or topical salve, CBD extraction is a critical step: A product’s effectiveness is dependent on the handling of the hemp. That’s why we approach our in-house extraction as both craftsman and healers, treating each batch of certified-organic hemp with care and respect.
As part of our commitment to transparency and education, we’re sharing our process with you on today’s blog. Read on to learn why CBD extraction is one of the first things to consider when starting your health journey.
Only Extracted, Never Refined
When discussing CBD extraction, there are actually two subjects to consider—namely, extraction and refinement.
Let’s look at extraction first. During extraction, we use a solvent to draw the oil out of the hemp biomass. At Entangled Biome, we use 190 proof organic cane alcohol, which we source from the Oregon-based company Organic Alcohol. This is just one of the many reasons our CBD extraction process is so unique in the industry.
Essentially, extraction is like making a tea from the hemp—but instead of using hot water, we use organic cane alcohol at an extremely cold temperature (well below zero). After a short contact time, we separate the two and bring across the hemp oil into the alcohol. We then use a pharmaceutical grade rotary evaporator to recover the majority of our alcohol for re-use, leaving behind Full Spectrum Hemp Oil that has not seen any heat treatment.
The lack of heat is another noteworthy aspect of our extraction process. Heat is detrimental to terpenes and flavonoids, which are compounds we strive to preserve in our CBD-rich Full Spectrum Hemp Oil. Our subzero approach allows us to retain the full profile to its greatest capacity, so that we can share hemp’s synergistic benefits with you.
We keep things as cool as possible during the decarboxylation process as well. Heat is necessary at this stage to fully process the hemp oil, but we use the lowest effective temperature and the shortest timeframe to preserve the terpenes and flavonoids. This allows us to retain a nuanced profile whose complexity is still detected in our state-required lab analysis.
The second subject to consider when looking at CBD extraction is refinement. During refinement, manufacturers remove terpenes and flavonoids through distillation; as an additional step, some manufacturers isolate the CBD entirely, removing any other cannabinoids. The end results are Broad Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate respectively.
At Entangled Biome, we always extract—but never refine. We believe in the power of Full Spectrum Hemp Oil, with its complex interactions between the entire profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Our CBD-rich products offer enhanced benefits as a result of the entourage effect, a proven phenomenon in which the various compounds found in hemp work together to provide synergistic benefits.
Somewhere around 80-90% of products are refined after extraction. Because our offerings are only extracted and never refined, they are particularly unique within today’s market.
Ethanol CBD Extraction Versus CO2 Extraction
CBD extraction can be done using ethanol or carbon dioxide. Our use of organic cane alcohol is a type of ethanol extraction—but what are the differences?
Ethanol is a non-discriminatory solvent: It will dissolve everything if you give it enough time. We control the nondiscriminatory aspect of ethanol via temperature and exposure time. It’s a complicated, hands-on process that requires consistency and vigilance.
CO2, on the other hand, is discriminatory: It will dissolve within a specific molecular weight. CO2 is always going to be less complex than ethanol extraction as a result.
But more to the point, CO2 utilizes a solvent that originates in petroleum refining. Although it is a clean, medical-grade solvent, we have found that it doesn’t produce as effective of an extract—and it doesn’t align with our ethos as a company.
We are concerned with non-measurable frequencies in our practices and products. Due to the implications of petroleum refinement, we opt out of CO2. We have personal experiences with the detrimental impacts of the oil industry, as co-founder and chief extractionist Dean Foor spent eight years cleaning up oil spills through specialized engineering. Dean additionally worked on a one-year feasibility study on replacing petroleum-derived CO2 with fermentation-derived CO2. But as long as CO2 is connected to petroleum refinement, you won’t find it at work at Entangled Biome.
Our customers feel the difference in our approach to CBD extraction: Many say they can use our product at half the dosage of the leading brand that relies on CO2 extraction. Additionally, our products are effective for eight to twelve hours in the system, whereas CO2-extracted products tend be effective for three to four hours.
Co-Extraction and Homeopathic Medicine
In addition to our standard Full Spectrum Hemp Oil (FSHO) Wellness Tinctures, we offer a variety of co-extracted specialty tinctures. We create these blends using the FSHO-rich organic cane wash that we are left with after our in-house hemp extraction. This allows us to create uniquely synergistic tinctures and more, due to the interactions of herbs like skullcap and kava kava with the terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids.
Our approach to co-extraction is rooted in homeopathic medicine. A central belief of homeopathy is that herbal medicine can trigger our body’s inherent healing responses. By using infinitesimal amounts of plant material, we provide the body with the proper cue as to what it needs to do to be well.
Co-extraction is a highly efficient way of delivering herbal compounds that trigger healing responses. We can create effective dosages at a precision-engineered ratio, which means you get the maximum benefit from a few drops of tincture. This allows you to make our wellness products a realistic part of your daily routine, both from a financial and pragmatic perspective. We don’t want you to eat six pounds of mushrooms when we can give you the same benefits in a dosage that doesn’t break your bank.
At Entangled Biome, we are not selling milligrams: We are selling effects. We want to empower you through our approach to CBD extraction and co-extraction, so that you can be the best version of yourself.
A Pleasant Accident
Dean Foor created our co-extraction protocol in what he fondly recalls as “a pleasant accident”:
“I was literally taking immune boosting mushroom supplements from Fungi Perfecti, for all the reasons I had read about with regard to mushrooms and their benefits. I was taking these products every morning and then working in the lab. In the lab I was taking higher than usual doses of CBD because my immune system was being compromised.
“The first day I did that I had a moment of finding myself at the lab bench realizing that something else was happening. I was having a moment of losing myself to the universe. I experienced this the next day–lost in thought, when Jeff Ballard [our director of operations] came up and said where did you go? I described to Jeff, we discussed and realized something synergestic was going on, and the very next day I did a co-extraction for the first time.
“In that moment I realized I was being told something. I realized I needed to act on it, I needed to go buy the stuff that moment. So I went to Mountain Rose Herbs and bought the ingredients—and basically I started throwing pasta at the wall.”
With his understanding of homeopathy, Dean began his foray into the world of mushrooms—and our Energy + Immunity Tincture was born.
“Even at a fractional amount, compounds can deliver effective results with co-extraction,” Dean explains. “There are synergistic effects between CBD and our body—and CBD has an amplifying effect on many medicinal compounds.”
Dean went from Lion’s Mane to Shitake, Maitake, and Reishi to ginger, turmeric, and black pepper to ashwaganda and more. He is constantly riffing on new themes with our tinctures, as a craftsman, scientist, and patient. But our Energy + Immunity Tincture has remained unchanged since that first formulation, which has served as an affirmation of the effectiveness of our co-extraction process.
Local CBD Extraction
“I’ve been a home brewer/fermentor for 25 years,” Dean explains when discussing our approach to CBD extraction. “I’ve even been a national-certified judge in that arena. I’ve also been cultivating medicinal and culinary mushrooms for 25 years and medical marijuana for 20 years. Those experiences came after I finished my two engineering degrees.
“I’ve long been a proponent of craftsmanship since I learned to make wine and bake cookies with my grandmother. I love having a foot in both worlds–math, ratio, calculations, those all come to me naturally and subconsciously.
“I also had the great pleasure of working as a cellar master for four years in three continents and got a broad view of that world, from craftsmanship to industrial concepts. What I took away from that is gentle handling and being mindful that you should only extract from your own material what comes freely (without a lot of punishment to the plants). We never machine handle the flower or size reduce via grinding, we never press it, we never pump it. Everything is handled by hand–all production, from soaking and draining to separating and filtering. This hands-on approach begins with planting and harvesting the hemp and continues all the way through to packaging our product. We believe in the power of human hands.”
The Golden Ratio for CBD Extraction
When we extract hemp, we only recover 70% of the Full Spectrum Hemp Oil, as more makes for inferior quality. Dean started at 50% recovery and worked to 95% before working down to 70% to find the perfect balance. Most labs aim for well over 90% recovery–but we don’t and never will.
We additionally use the leftover biomass for other products, per Dean’s experience with winemaking: “You can make different cuts from the grape and make different products—your first cut is champagne, your second cut is a blended wine, etc. A lot of our philosophy comes from champagne production.”
Quality Starts Here
We believe that you can’t make a quality finished product without quality cultivation. Quality begins six feet below the soil line, as the soil biome is critical to the health of the hemp.
We are sun-grown on an organic farm of 30 years that has a tree barrier around the entire property to protect from any drift issue.
We start with the best, then we handle it with respect as craftsmen and healers, as quality of extraction has a huge impact on what we hand off to our customers. “ A winemaker’s job is to not screw up the grapes,” as Dean puts it. “Our job is to not screw up the hemp.”
Once we’ve created our CBD-rich tinctures and topicals, we have the pleasure of empowering the lives of others when we bring them the finished product. Here, you yourself continue the process of trust and respect by embracing the holistic, homeopathic effects of Entangled Biome.