Decarb and Winterization

Decarb and Winterization

Once hemp oil has been extracted from the cannabis plant, there remains a few additional processing steps to convert it into the more valuable form preferred by consumers and product manufacturers. These two steps are decarboxylation (or “decarb” for short) and winterization. These methods serve to further purify the raw hemp oil, and also to convert it into the form that can be absorbed and used by the body. For now, you can think of them as the “heating” (decarb) and “cooling” (winterization) steps to create a high purity cannabis extraction.

What is decarboxylation?

CBD Decarboxylation

Decarbing is a process that turns what most people would consider “inactive” cannabis components into active compounds. In a nutshell, raw hemp plant material is rich in acid precursors to the most well-known cannabinoids on the market today. For example, “THCA” and “CBDA”, when decarboxylated, will become the more commonly known “THC” and “CBD”. These cannabinoids have to be converted from their raw acidic forms before they interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.

In their cannabidiolic acid form – which is when they still have an “A” on the end – these raw compounds are not as desirable. However, once activated, they have much higher bioavailability in the body. This is the same reason that THC found in recreational cannabis must be smoked or heated before its mood-enhancing properties can be unlocked.

Decarboxylation is a Two-Step Process

  1. Time – During the initial stage of decarboxylation, plant material is heated over a specific time period to produce a chemical reaction. The molecular structures of raw cannabinoids have a carboxyl ring or group (COOH), which is composed of a carbon atom attached to an oxygen atom (CO) and a hydroxyl group (OH). Once heated, the carbon atom evades the structure and carbon dioxide (CO2) is released. For hemp that is rich in CBD, longer exposure and higher temperatures may be necessary; preserving terpenes requires a slower decarboxylation process.
  2. Heat – When decarboxylation takes place with heat via smoking, heating or drying, acidic cannabinoids like CBDA are transformed into their active form — CBD. Prior to this, the acidic cannabinoids are thermally unstable. The temperature-controlled process that involves the gentle heating of dried cannabis flower is one of the most basic forms of decarboxylation.

What is Winterization?

CBD Extract Winterization

 Another integral cog in the inner workings of hemp CBD oil production is winterization. Crude CBD extract should be winterized to boost quality and value, which will essentially improve consumer satisfaction and rid the final product of anything that shouldn’t be there; e.g. plant lipids and waxes.

When an extract is cloudy or softer/waxier in texture than it should be, it’s likely that it contains fatty acids like lipids. Failure to remove lipids means that the product purity and flavor will be less desirable. Thankfully, with winterization, a hemp extract can be further purified. This process requires the hemp oil to be soaked in alcohol and frozen for the separation of waxes. Hemp winterization may also prove beneficial for the removal of additional phytonutrients that may add unwanted bitter tastes to ingested oils.

Winterization is a Two-Step Process

To better understand how high-quality hemp CBD extracts are produced, enlighten yourself on the two main steps involved in winterization:

  1. Winterization: First, the crude extract will be dissolved in a solvent like ethanol or isopropanol, before it is placed in a sub-zero freezer. Temperature and time are two variables that may change based on the procedure and solvent being used. However, in most cases, manufacturers will conduct winterization with temperatures of -20 to -80°Celsius over a 24-48 hour period.
  2. Filtration – The next part of the process is filtration, which takes place once the lipids have precipitated to the solution’s surface. Generally, the solution will be filtered through various layers with the use of pumps and vacuums. Once evaporated, the hemp CBD extract will be stable, pure and lipid-free. Because of its purity and stability, the end product can be stored for a longer duration and, consequently, is more shelf-stable when mixed with other ingredients in oils and flavored tinctures.

At Nutra Pure Extraction, we have developed our proprietary methods for both of these processes with a focus on minimal “low-touch” approach. We believe that leaves a purer product closer to what Mother Nature intended. When you see the difference in our processed cannabis oils compared to mass-scale corporate extraction and processing, we think you will agree that the effort is worth it.


CO2 Extraction

CO2 Extraction

CO2 Extraction

As the popularity of ingestible cannabis extracts in legal states, and CBD in every state, continues to grow, more hemp producers are seeking out opportunities in this ever-evolving space. Since concentrated cannabis products constitute one of the most profitable segments of the market, it’s not surprising that the CO2 hemp extraction business is emerging as a preferred “cleaner” alternative to hydrocarbon and ethanol extraction.

The majority of hemp ingestible products like CBD oils and THC edibles are made using harsh solvents to pull the desired cannabinoids from the hemp plant. The harvested cannabis plant is dried, ground up, and put through a chemical process that often involves flooding the material with gases like propane or butane, then using chemistry to remove these chemicals from the extracted oil afterwards. The risk of these chemical pollutants remaining in small amounts afterwards is high.  

With so many consumers eager to get their hands on refined CBD products, extraction plays an important role in the overall process.

Why extract CBD With CO2?

CO2 extraction provides a more fine-tuned way to do smaller-scale, gentler extraction of botanicals. Because the pressure and temperature can be adjusted to capture more or less of specific compounds, like terpenes, it provides a more customizable cannabis extraction than large-scale hydrocarbon and ethanol extractions. Hundreds of delicate terpenes, flavonoids, and minor cannabinoids that are destroyed or chemically altered by those harsher extraction methods can be preserved using CO2 extraction. Less processing is required on CO2 extracted oil to remove chemicals after the extraction process, leaving a more natural and less processed raw material for finished goods that will be consumed by users.

What is CO2-extracted hemp oil?

Put simply, CO2 extraction separates cannabinoids like CBD that exist naturally in the hemp plant. Once extracted, the cannabinoid can be added and infused into a broad scope of products; e.g. topical balms and salves, ingestible edibles and drinks, sublingual sprays, etc.

CO2 is a versatile solvent that can be relied on to control pressure and temperature, all the while drawing the all-important cannabinoids, terpenes and waxes from the hemp plant material.

The result? A high-absorption, vaporizable oil with an amber tinge. CO2-extracted hemp oil is also rich in aromatic terpenes and therapeutic flavonoids; these plant-derived chemicals interact with CBD to amplify the oil’s overall effects.

How does CO2 extraction work?

CBD Extraction

Pressurized carbon dioxide is used to pull the phytochemicals from hemp with CO2 extraction techniques. Just like with cannabis-derived CBD oil, hemp-derived CBD is first pulverized into a dusty consistency, before being added to the extraction vessel. Once this step is complete, the pressurized CO2 will either be processed at a low pressure and temperature (subcritically) or at a high pressure and high temperature (super-critically) and passed over the hemp plant material.

During this stage, CO2 behaves like a solvent, which essentially forces the plant material to separate from the sought-after compounds. Once the hemp CBD oil manufacturers are satisfied that they have extracted all of the essential organic compounds, they will be left with a full-spectrum CBD oil. It’s important to keep in mind that subcritical extracts may not require any post-processing, whereas supercritical extracts must undergo post-processing as a means of removing undesirable fats, waxes and plant compounds. While we do not use alcohol extraction methods, our lab does rely on high-proof alcohol for our winterization services.

What are the benefits of CO2 extraction?

Considered to be the most efficient method of CBD extraction, CO2 is not overly time consuming and is regarded as being a generally safe practice. This “low-touch” method preserves and maintains more of the natural plant profile. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that this is a low-risk method of botanical extraction with no risk of solvent contamination.

CO2 is a non-toxic, non-flammable gas that serves as an environmentally-friendly option. Not only does it boast recyclability but also, it is free from chemical residues. Since no solvent sediment is leftover, nor nasty emissions released during the process, CO2 extraction is deemed to be one of the cleanest choices for hemp CBD oil producers.

Although CO2 extraction necessitates the labor of qualifiedpersonnel – and may therefore cost more money to execute – the efficiency and speed associated with this process is by far the most appealing in comparison with other methods of extraction. We are proud to only use CO2 extraction methods at our facility, because we believe it offers the cleanest hemp products for the consumer market.


Oil Remediation

Oil Remediation

Hemp Oil

Extracting hemp for its beneficial cannabinoids like CBD is a process that requires meticulous planning. Science and chemistry are needed to render a pure result from a raw agricultural product, and in no industry is that more clear than hemp. After all, the legality of a cannabis-sourced product is dependent on its cannabinoid composition.

Why, you ask? The federal legal framework outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill states that hemp products must contain no more than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Any hemp or hemp-derived oil that exceeds this level is subject to seizure and destruction, and the owner may be subjected to civil and even criminal penalties.

Oil remediation is the ideal solution for removal of contaminants or specific cannabinoids to produce a product of higher purity. In the case of THC, failure to perform necessary remediation of that cannabinoid could render the hemp CBD oil as illegal. With that being said, there are a few remediation concepts you ought to absorb ahead of buying your hemp CBD oil from a supplier, or delivering your in-house oil to the market.

What is THC remediation?


The process of THC remediation involves reducing or eliminating the psychoactive cannabis compound from hemp-derived distillates and extracts. Once the process is complete, purified oil that maintains its cannabinoid ratios and original plant profile is all that remains — a highly specific method of ensuring that your hemp-derived CBD contains exactly what is featured on the label, and complies with both state and federal laws.

For consumers, THC remediation services provide peace of mind that the hemp-derived CBD oil they are consuming is within the legal limit. For retailers, properly remediated oil means they can sell to a broader market. For hemp business owners, CO2 extraction presents an opportunity to transform limited state-legal inventory into a high-ROI product that can legally be transplanted and sold across state lines, and added to other finished good products for sale nationwide.

Why is THC remediation important?

Venturing into mass markets is not such an easy feat when THC comes into play. While this cannabinoid may harbor health-enhancing properties in the form of chronic pain relief, its mind-altering effects mean that it is restricted outside of the 11 U.S. states that have legalized the plant for recreational use.

While some hemp strains will grow with less than the 0.3% legal limit of THC, it is not possible to completely separate CBD from THC with plant breeding and cultivation alone. Since concentrations of this cannabinoid may spike during the distillation process, stripping hemp oil with remediation is the primary way to ensure your product is legal.

THC Remediation Techniques

There are four main ways in which THC can be removed from hemp oil, each of which boasts its own pros and cons. Highlighted below is an overview of each technique:

  • Crystallization – The resulting product of crystallization oil remediation is a white CBD-laden isolate powder. Although highly effective at separating the two cannabinoids, the crystallization technique may also remove potentially desirable plant compounds like carotenoids, flavonoids and terpenes; therefore this option is not ideal for consumers or suppliers who wish to retain the hemp plant’s therapeutically abundant profile. We do not use any crystallization techniques at Nutra Pure Extraction.
  • Degradation – Another technique to remove THC as well as contaminants and residues from hemp oil is degradation, which utilizes chemical, UV light degradation, and/or heat and oxidation for conversion. Since the result is a black, sludgy substance, degradation is not the most desirable option for satisfactory consumption. Moreover, since THC is not the only target molecule being degraded – CBD is also affected by this process – there’s a chance that you may lose some of the preferred compound with this non-selective method of remediation.
  • Liquid/ Liquid Extraction – When hemp CBD oil is exposed to two separate solvents that have no mutual solubility, individual cannabinoids and unwanted components can be forced out of the oil by binding it with the solvent it has an affinity for.” Typically, water and an organic solvent will be put into a device known as a “separatory funnel”, before active compounds contained in the system are separately distributed.
  • Chromatography – A popular choice in the pharmaceutical, food and manufacturing industries, this method of oil remediation is a widely used technique that can dramatically increase product value. There are two “phases” used in chromatography: the “mobile phase” is the fluid that is used to dissolve the mixture that needs to be separated and the “stationary phase” is a material that is held within a structure to capture parts of the mixture. Once the mixture enters a column filled with stationary phase particles, specific compounds are separated, a process called elution, from other compounds with different molecular weights. At Nutra Pure Extraction we have all the equipment necessary to do column chromatography to remediate targeted components from hemp oil.

Collaborating with a well-equipped remediation lab like Nutra Pure Extraction will grant you the opportunity to serve a broader audience with your hemp products. Contact us today to discuss your next remediation project to ensure you get the highest value, purity, and effectiveness from your CBD oil.




At Nutra Pure Extraction, we offer customized products and extraction services to the legal hemp industry. Our custom manufacturing lab facilities can produce top-quality hemp health products for businesses and end consumers. From providing local farmers with Supercritical CO2 extraction on demand at a competitive price, to providing winterization and decarboxylation services, our extraction facility is a fully-equipped shop for hemp business clients worldwide. Our full-service extraction lab can even assist with filtering and remediation of your oil to enhance its quality and purity, and ensure compliance with legal hemp product regulations.

Value-added Hemp Products


Looking for retail-ready hemp products like tinctures, oils, topical creams and softgels? We can extract and produce cannabinoid-rich products, (legal throughout the United States with < 0.3% THC) manufactured to your exact specifications in a pristine GMP-certified facility. Every batch is 3rd-party lab tested, and traceable from soil to oil so you have complete transparency and verification of the hemp source.

Looking to launch your own “white label” or private brand of hemp-derived products? We can provide full-spectrum oil, tinctures, and softgels in custom potency levels for your brand. With a minimum order size of just 24 bottles (36 for softgels), we can help you launch your own house-brand, or provide bulk product for you to bottle and label yourself. Put our experience to work for you.

Extraction Services for Farmers and Labs


Our extraction services are perfect for those wanting to maximize terpene or specific cannabinoid profiles. For farmers, we can customize a proprietary CO2 extraction to preserve the natural profile of your crop. We never use hydrocarbons or harsh solvents that can degrade the potency or purity of your oil, and every batch is third-party tested before and after it is processed. We take great care to ensure contaminated hemp is never processed on our CO2 system.

We will also do tolling agreements (50/50 customer split) for farmers that wish to bring us their tested biomass for toll extraction, and our minimum order size is just 50 lbs. Our economies of scale allow us to lower your costs on any order size from small-batch to enterprise level. Contact us today to turn your crop biomass into concentrated oil that is higher value and shelf-stable.


Not sure where to start? Our team has decades of experience in the hemp industry, so reach out and Contact Us with any questions or requests you have. We look forward to working with you on your next hemp project. Our team specializes only in legal, hemp-derived cannabis products and services.

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