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Grinding hemp plants for cbd oil

How To Grind Hemp Plant For CBD Oil?

Size does matter, as the old adage goes. And size counts a lot when grinding cannabis or hemp for an extractor. Grinding the plant material too finely can result in low-quality oil, while grinding it too coarsely can result in valuable cannabinoids being left in the waste.

Finding the correct particle size for your solvent and extractor, whether you’re extracting with supercritical CO2, hydrocarbons, or ethanol, will boost your returns and maybe speed up your production.

Learn how to adjust your grind for your extractor, strain, and post-processing equipment by reading on.

Why Size Matters When Grinding Cannabis and Hemp

When you grind cannabis or hemp with an industrial mill, you increase the surface area and make it easier for the solvent to access the cannabinoids and terpenes. The milling, on the other hand, exposes the material you don’t want, such as chlorophylls and plant waxes. These factors reduce the oil’s appeal and increase the amount of post-processing required for most finished products.

A finer grind effectively reduces the solvent’s selectivity while boosting its power. The solvent extracts whatever it can from the plant material in a short amount of time. This can be beneficial depending on the solvent. CO2 action is accelerated by a reduced grind size. Grinding too finely for a powerful solvent like ethanol, on the other hand, can be a mistake.

To accomplish the same extraction completeness with a coarse grind or no grind at all it will take longer. This can be beneficial depending on the solvent. However, ethanol and hydrocarbons are sufficient for most production goals. Using a small particle size could result in too much wax and chlorophyll being removed.

How Fine Should You Grind Cannabis and Hemp for a CO2 Extractor?

For CO2 extractors, cannabis and hemp should be processed to a particle size of 1/16″ – 3/16″.

CO2 could use a little more oomph when it comes to dissolving cannabinoids and terpenes in general. Grinding the material down to a smaller size allows it to extract the good stuff at lower pressures (without the terpene-compromising high temperatures). It also helps in other ways.

The passage of the solvent through the material column can induce “channeling” because CO2 extractors operate at super-high pressures (like 2,000 psi). The solvent channels rivers in the material where it can flow more freely when the particle size is too large or the grind is irregular. Other parts of the plant are left undisturbed and under-extracted as a result.

A lower particle size and an uniform grind are the answers. When all of the plant material is uniformly packed and sized, supercritical CO2 can reach all parts of the extraction column and remove all of the oil.

So, why does CO2 have such a wide variety of particle sizes? After all, the difference between 1/16″ and 3/16″ is significant.

Plant material and production aims differ from one manufacturer to the next. Smaller particle sizes and longer runs may be required by some strains. Because they extract more easily, some high-potency strains may do better with a larger size and shorter runs. The desired oil purity could also be a factor. Shorter runs with higher particle sizes produce better oil, but there is less of it.

How Fine Should You Grind Cannabis and Hemp for an Ethanol Extractor?

For ethanol extractors, cannabis and hemp should be processed to a particle size of 5/64″ – 1/4″.

Ethanol is a highly effective solvent. Extraction is rapid and preferably done at moderate temperatures to avoid co-extracting chlorophyll and wax from the material. The best grind is coarse, and some producers prefer not to mill the grain at all. For most strains, the best grind size for ethanol is anywhere between 5/64″ and 5/16″.

An increase in production capacity is another advantage of grinding for ethanol extraction. Grinding also reduces the amount of solvent required per pound. More plant material can fit in the extraction vessel each run when it is ground, boosting production speed and minimizing the amount of ethanol that must be distilled in post-processing.

How Fine Should You Grind Cannabis and Hemp for a Hydrocarbon Extractor?

For hydrocarbon extractors, cannabis and hemp should be processed to a particle size of 5/64″ – 1/8″.

Though the ideal grind for a hydrocarbon extractor varies according on the strain, the sweet spot is between 5/64″ and 1/8″. Butane and propane are potent hydrocarbon solvents. However, because the solvent is forced through the material, channeling can occur, just as it does with a CO2 extractor. Although the channeling problem is less severe, big particle sizes and unmilled material should still be avoided.


  • Heat the plant by crushing it into a fine powder and spreading it out on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place the hemp flower in a preheated oven at 224 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 60 minutes.
  • Fill a mixing dish halfway with alcohol and add the activated (decarboxylated) flower. Stir the buds for about 10 minutes with the wooden spoon. The alcohol will extract components such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients at this point. Stirring the mixture can help speed up the process.
  • Separate the CBD-infused extract from the rest of the plant. Strain the liquid into a collection jar using cheesecloth. It’s possible that the solution will be dark green in hue. Rep this procedure till the extract becomes clear.
  • Pour the alcohol tincture into the top of a double boiler and keep the heat steady. Remember that high-proof alcohol is volatile and will evaporate at low temperatures. As a result, you may need to turn the heat on and off. Also, because the vapors from the alcohol are extremely flammable, make sure the room you’re working in is properly ventilated.
  • The extract will have a thick, tar-like consistency after all of the alcohol has evaporated. Draw up the extract into a big syringe or a dark glass bottle with a glass dropper while it’s still heated.


  • Heat the hemp flower in the same way as you did for the alcohol extraction.
  • To begin the extraction process, combine the flower and the oil. Fill the top section of the double boiler with the flower and the oil. Fill the bottom container halfway with water and heat to a low simmer. Allowing it to get to a rolling boil will allow the terpenes to evaporate at 302 degrees Fahrenheit. Simmering the mixture can take up to 3 hours in most cases. The finished result will be slightly darker than the raw oil.
  • The top of the boiler should be removed. After that, cover the top of the glass jar with cheesecloth and pour the mixture into it. Before discarding the leftover strained flower in the cheesecloth, drain as much oil as possible from the hemp plant.
  • Cover the jar and keep it somewhere dry and cool. As needed, use the final product.
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What is the best way to extract CBD from hemp at home?

You must ensure that CBD has been converted from its inactive precursor CBDA before making CBD oil. CBDA is an acid with a variety of health benefits of its own, but it lacks the qualities of CBD.

That’s right, you read that accurately. Raw, unprocessed hemp plants contain no CBD. If you wish to extract CBD from hemp, you must first heat the plant material before mixing it with the solvent of your choice.

Other methods of heating can be used to activate CBD. The oven method is the most frequent decarboxylation method for manufacturing CBD oil at home. Some individuals use a slow cooker to activate CBD, which is another economical option. These approaches, however, are inexact and may not effectively activate your cannabinoids.

You’ll need a decarboxylator, also known as a precision cooker, to successfully accomplish decarboxylation. Without damaging terpenes, this device can maintain the ideal temperatures required for full activation of CBD and trace cannabinoids. Anyone who manufactures CBD oil at home on a regular basis and wants a consistent quality result should invest in a professional decarboxylator.

How is CBD oil extracted from buds?

Cannabidiol (CBD), a popular anti-anxiety and relaxation supplement, is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant and cannot be separated from it. There are many distinct varieties of Cannabis sativa, and not all of them contain large quantities of CBD. According to many of the black-market growers I’ve spoken with over the years, CBD was virtually eliminated from the commercial black market prior to the gradual end of cannabis prohibition in many locales, in order to maximize profitability of the psychoactive cannabinoid content of the plants through selective breeding. CBD’s widespread availability is undoubtedly owing to a shift in public view of this once-illegal plant and its legalization in a number of jurisdictions. CBD would be impossible to obtain without cannabis legalization, and there would be no testing to assure that customers received the product they paid for.

I spent a lot of time talking to CBD producers and exploring their lush farms while making dishes. My friends at Feather Canyon Farms in Del Norte County, California, will always be responsible for introducing me to some of the most impressive flora I’ve ever seen. Prior to this, my knowledge of these plants was confined to small indoor grows and the products available at our legal cannabis stores.

One thing I discovered from the CBD producers is that CBD in cannabis plants might be an unstable and transient feature. CBD production is influenced not only by a plant’s genetics, but also by its growing methods and what is known as terroir in grape and wine production. New CBD-rich cannabis strains are constantly being created for the legal market. I haven’t had the opportunity to taste all of them, but I have had the pleasure of sampling some of the most well-known strains, including Harlequin, Harle-Tsu, ACDC, Cannatonic, Charlotte’s Web, Sour Tsunami, and a rare harvest of Golden Goat with over 8% CBD. In terms of CBD-rich cannabis strains, this list is far from exhaustive.

CBD can be produced in various amounts by hemp, a low-to-no THC cultivar of Cannabis sativa farmed for its seeds and fiber. CBD can be found in the resins of both wild and farmed hemp. CBD is produced by any type of Cannabis sativa, and the molecule is always the same.

Quality whole-plant infusions and extractions, in my opinion, are important. Epidiolex, the FDA-approved medicine, is a refined, standardized, and manufactured for consistency whole-plant extract of CBD. GW Pharma grows and processes its own cannabis to make therapeutic medications, which is unusual in the pharmaceutical industry. You should use whole-plant infusions and extractions whether you need a pharmaceutical therapy or are using CBD as a home remedy or for enjoyment. Similar sentiments were echoed by the cannabis farmers I spoke with.

I’m frequently asked which CBD brands are the best and which products to choose. However, when it comes to CBD, labels don’t really matter. Farms and plants are important. The first step in selecting high-quality CBD-rich cannabis plant goods is to look at the farm where they are grown. Know the farm and farmer before purchasing any CBD product. In most of our state-legal cannabis dispensaries, this is a simple process because this information will be freely available and even used as a marketing technique. When purchasing CBD products from the over-the-counter herbal supplement industry, this information is more difficult to get by.

Most of our state-legal dispensary systems have oversight and regulated testing, but CBD products sold over the counter in the general herbal supplement market do not. If you opt to buy CBD products from the herbal supplement market, you must trust the information they give you about plant material acquisition and test results. You should also be aware that purchasing CBD products over the counter in the mainstream herbal supplement industry is fraught with debate (both legal and scientific).

Test findings are important. The herbal supplement industry is highly uncontrolled, resembling the Wild West. In 2013, the New York Times published an expos detailing some troubling issues with the herbal supplement industry, including the fact that customers frequently do not receive the items they pay for. The FDA has also fined CBD supplement retailers in the over-the-counter herbal supplement industry for a number of breaches related to product labeling and distribution.

I’m not implying that all herbal supplement products are harmful. What I mean is that if you are purchasing supplement goods of any kind, it is a wise idea to seek out information and check it. You should also be aware that the purchasing of CBD products may not be considered legal in all areas.

This book’s purpose is to show you how to look for, locate, and consume CBD-rich cannabis. If you want a good product and a pleasant experience, both facts and aesthetics are important.

The following recipes focus on whole-plant CBD-rich cannabis extractions and infusions, as these high-quality, artisanal, and farmer-centric entire plants and whole-plant resins will unfold themselves in your kitchen with fragrant and delectable complexity. My objective is for you to be able to take advantage of all CBD-rich cannabis has to offer without missing out on anything.

Selection and dosage quantity of CBD or CBD: THC is a very personal procedure, and there is no such thing as an optimum dosage that works for everyone. If you have any doubts about what is best for you, you should speak with your own physician about it. There are also cannabis therapies MDs and DOs who can advise you based on your existing health state. If you’re thinking about using CBD for therapeutic purposes, you should first speak with a doctor who is knowledgeable and experienced in this field.

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I’ve put together a checklist that you can use to help you find products that are worthy of your consideration:

Is the farm or farmer’s name listed on the product label or available from the corporation or merchant that sells the product?

Does the product come with test results from a third-party lab that is not affiliated with any brand or manufacturer? Can you independently verify these results from a corporation, merchant, or licensed dispensary?

Do you have any pesticide, mold, or other contamination test results? (Cannabis is a great soil remediator, absorbing hazardous substances from the soil it grows in with ease.)

Have you scoped the thing you want to buy if it’s raw plant material to check for mold or insects? Customers can use magnification scopes at most dispensaries; take advantage of this.

Does the goods appear to be in good condition, and does it smell fresh and clean? Is there a harvest date or an expiration date on the product or plant material?

This formula will generate a gourmet oil extraction that will impress even the most seasoned connoisseur when flavors, textures, freshness, effects, and smells are used as the beginning point for evaluating a quality CBD oil product.

Farmers are the experts. And one of the most hardworking and informed CBD growers I’ve met, Mr. Jesse Davis of Feather Canyon Farms in Del Norte County, California, gave me this oil formulation.

While sampling this oil at home, I was pleasantly surprised, and the process of producing it was much more so. This oil is a stunning emerald hue with a delicious minty and herbaceous flavor that I have never encountered with a CBD oil before. It’s rich in both CBD and the natural terpenes of the Harle-Tsu CBD-rich cannabis plant. Although this oil was not intoxicating, it was quite nice and calming.

This oil was processed for 24 hours in MCT oil (fractionated coconut oil) at a low temperature, yielding a CBD oil product with 10mg CBD and less than 1 mg THC.

THC per milliliter dose What was the temperature like? 175F (80C) is a substantially lower temperature than is common for complete decarboxylation. What was the deciding factor? The oil’s gradual processing over a 24-hour period. Temperature, time, or both time and temperature are all factors in decarboxylation.

I am confident that the oil’s flavor profile was only feasible thanks to a thorough, low-temperature processing technique that preserved the bulk of naturally existing terpenes in the complete cannabis flowers from the CBD-rich Harle-Tsu cannabis strain produced in Del Norte County’s mountain region. When it comes to creating an amazing CBD oil like this one, flower quality is crucial.

This makes about 10 oz. (296ml) of CBD oil, however depending on the CBD concentration you want, you can raise or decrease the amount of oil or flowers.

10 oz. MCT oil (296ml) or more (otherwise known as liquid fractionated coconut oil)

  • To properly process this oil, you’ll need a slow cooker with a low heat setting. Toss the cannabis leaves into the slow cooker.
  • Pour the oil over the marijuana, making sure to cover all of the flower material. This is the moment to add a little extra oil to cover the blossoms if necessary. Set the slow cooker to low or low cook and cover it (depending on your model).
  • Your slow cooker should reach a final processing temperature of around 175F (80C) in at least 3 hours. Check the temperature with a candy thermometer and make any necessary adjustments. At this point, stir in the oil and plant material and cover the slow cooker once again.
  • Stir the oil and flower material every few hours to ensure that the infusion is uniformly distributed throughout the process. Stir infrequently to avoid allowing more volatile terpenes to escape into the air. Keep the lid on the pot during the procedure to preserve as many volatile elements as possible, such as terpenes. This can be let to cook without stirring overnight.
  • Cool the oil by disconnecting the slow cooker and letting the materials to cool to room temperature for a few more hours after the 24-hour period has passed.
  • Using cheesecloth, strain the oil from the plant material into a clean glass jar. The oil is now ready to use in any recipe or on its own in regulated doses.

Common Kitchen Appliances That Can Be Used

If you’re at home, the first place you should look is your kitchen. In a pinch, several common kitchen machines can be used as cannabis grinders. You can probably discover something that will work if you look hard enough. Typical examples include:

Coffee Grinder

When it comes down to it, a coffee grinder is still a grinder, as the name implies. First and foremost, make sure your coffee grinder is free of any leftover coffee grounds or bean residue (unless you enjoy smoking coffee with your weed – to each their own).

Make sure the cannabis is loosely packed in order to avoid damaging your grinder and grind away. Similarly, if you don’t want your morning coffee to have an extra kick tomorrow, clean your coffee grinder once you’re done.

Cheese Grater

This method requires a little more effort, but it is as successful. Make sure your grater is clean, set it on a plate or container, and start grating. Keep an eye on your fingers while you shred, and after you’re done, check for any residual buds stuck to the grater’s teeth.

Mortar & Pestle

If you don’t have access to coffee grinders or cheese graters, go with the classics. If you’re going to use a mortar and pestle, you’ll want to let the weed sit out for a few hours to dry it out and make it simpler to grind. After that, make sure your mortar and pestle are clean before getting down to business. Make sure you’re not grinding too hard.

Cutting Board & Knife

This procedure is more time-consuming than others, yet it is no less successful. If you don’t have any of the other items listed above, a chopping board and a knife will suffice in a hurry. Make sure your knife is sharp before you begin julienning your supplies.

Shot Glass & Scissors

Perhaps you’re at a party where the host lacks luxuries such as a fine “cutting board” or “knife.” Well, chances are you still have a few shot glasses and a pair of scissors hidden away somewhere, and that’s all you really need.

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Place your bud in a (clean – this cannot be stressed enough) shot glass and begin chopping it up. You can cut up your bud over a plate if all the shot glasses are now in use because there are six distinct games of quarters going on.

How to Harvest and Dry Hemp for CBD Production

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Estoy de Acuerdo / I agree

There is a lot of interest in growing industrial hemp for CBD production, especially since hemp was legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Take a look at some of my previous articles regarding the potential risks and rewards in the CBD market as well as agronomic considerations for successful industrial hemp production.

Fresh cut hemp drying. Whole plants hung in this fashion during the drying phase may have humidity trapped in the center due to the ‘closed umbrella’ shape that an entire plant takes on. Breaking off and hanging individual branches is recommended. Photo by George Place.

CBD oil extraction process. Photo by George Place

Harvesting hemp is a critical stage for CBD production. The presence of molds and mildews will lower the value of hemp floral biomass so a timely harvest is essential. There are visual clues on the hemp bud that growers should monitor. When trichomes on the hemp bud shift from white to milky white it may be time to harvest.

Weekly testing of CBD content can inform the grower of when harvest should be initiated. This is in addition to the required THC test with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. While some of the tests for CBD, cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticide residue, mold, and heavy metals can cost as much as $300 the return on investment can be significant. For example, if 1000 lbs of biomass will be harvested on one acre the difference between harvesting when the crop is at 6% CBD versus when the crop is at 7%CBD is equivalent to 10 pounds of CBD oil. Current prices for CBD oil are $5 per gram. With 454 grams per pound, a 1% discrepancy in CBD content on one acre can be a $20,000 crop value difference. Growers need to test frequently to make the right decision regarding harvest timing.

Weather will also be a key factor in determining when to pull the harvest trigger. Harvest time for hemp coincides with the hurricane season. Growers will have an easier time drying and curing their hemp floral biomass if they can bring it in before the arrival of a storm. This is the time when adequate labor is crucial. The vast majority of hemp growers for the CBD market are relying on labor to cut the stalk (the machete is the current tool of choice) and load the biomass. This takes a lot of time and physical exertion. I have heard reports of growers that had an excellent crop of hemp floral biomass but suffered massive losses because they could not harvest it in time (their two-person harvest team was not adequate). The importance of measuring the labor requirement is a big reason why we recommend that first-year hemp growers for the CBD market start with 1 acre or less. Growers need to keep track of the amount of man and woman hours that it takes to bring in the harvest. Maintaining sharp tools during the harvest process will also save time and effort.

Drying and Curing Hemp

Hemp biomass made from chipping the entire hemp plant. This biomass is low quality and will receive a reduced price. Photo by George Place

Once hemp is harvested growers should immediately move the floral biomass to the drying facility. This could be a simple structure like a barn. The facility should be under roof, out of direct sunlight, and well ventilated. Growers need to set up several fans and have them blowing continuously. Significant ventilation is crucial! Ideal temperatures for drying and curing are 60 to 70 degrees F at 60% humidity. Some processors say that hemp growers should not dry their floral biomass at the same temperatures as flu-cured tobacco. Those temps are too high and dry the hemp too quickly. A slow drying with high airflow will cure the hemp, produce a higher quality end product (better cannabinoid and terpene spectrum), and fetch a higher price.

It is difficult to estimate the square footage of drying space needed per plant. Using a flu-cured tobacco with 800 square feet a grower was able to dry 1 acre worth of plants (approximately 1350 plants) in 3 days. Another grower was able to dry approximately 1.5 acres worth of hemp (plant number not stated) in a 2500 square foot barn.

Hanging entire plants upside down on wires in the drying barn is a common practice. Unfortunately, as those plants dry the branches droop down in the formation of a closing umbrella. That closing umbrella shape results in less airflow to the center of that entire hemp plant. Thus more mold and mildew will grow in that center portion. We advise growers to break off the individual branches from the hemp plant and hang branches on the drying wire, not whole plants. This step is more labor intensive but will help minimize mold and mildew.

Dry and shucked (stem removed) hemp flower biomass. Photo by George Place

Dry hemp biomass still on the stem, referred to as unshucked. Photo by George Place