What is cold-pressed CBD?

by Laura Howarth September 14, 2022

What is cold-pressed CBD?

Not all CBD is created equal. The extraction method that turns green, leafy plants into a bottle of concentrated cannabinoids will greatly impact the product's quality. Inferior extraction methods can result in ineffective products. And in some cases, can even leave behind dangerous by-products like the hydrocarbon butane.

The most common method of extraction is supercritical CO2 extraction. This is a clean and efficient way of separating cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds from the plant. But it isn’t the only method available. Cold-pressed CBD is growing in popularity thanks to its reputation for keeping things as close to nature as possible.

In this guide, we’ll explain what cold-pressed CBD is, how it is produced, and what this production method means for inclusion on the list of products with a Novel Foods application.

Cold-pressed CBD fast facts

  • Cold-pressed CBD is an alternative to CBD oil produced using CO2 extraction.
  • This production method produces an unadulterated extract.
  • Cold-pressed CBD oil contains all the naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, which can offer a synergistic effect.
  • Cold pressing could exempt CBD products from novel food regulations.

How is cold-pressed CBD made?

Cold-pressed CBD is a type of CBD oil that is made using the ancient method of cold pressing. This method has been around for thousands of years to extract compounds from plants.

CBD extraction dropThe plant material is mixed with a carrier oil such as olive oil and then pressurised. This method uses minimal heat, which helps to preserve the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids found in the plant. The potency of the plant matter is precisely the same as the extracted oil, so some favour this method as it can result in a higher concentration of plant compounds.

Minimal processing means that these are considered full-spectrum CBD products.

Many plant compounds are sensitive to heat, so they are lost in traditional CBD production methods such as supercritical CO2 extraction. Cold-pressed CBD fans will often point to this as a sign that it is closer to the natural product than anything else. This method is also free from additional processing, solvents, and chemicals, so there is a lower risk of contamination.

Is cold-pressed CBD better?

It’s difficult to say if one method is better than another since the finished products are so different. Making a direct comparison is therefore problematic. However, once we have a clear understanding of how the products differ, it becomes easier for consumers to determine which product is best suited to their needs.

Having CBD drops

Choosing between cold-pressed CBD and conventional CBD oil is often down to preference and taste. Cold-pressed CBD is a very natural-tasting product (so it can be bitter and earthy), and this alone can be enough to put some users off. If you prefer a lighter taste – or one that is flavoured to mask the earthiness – then a regular CBD oil that has been filtered would be better suited.

The main reason for choosing cold-pressed CBD oil over CO2-extracted CBD oil is the high concentration of terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant nutrients. These are often found in higher concentrations in cold-pressed CBD, as the heat used during CO2 extraction will destroy some of them. You can learn more about the benefits of terpenes here.

Cold-pressed oil also removes some of the risks associated with methods like alcohol extraction. Those who avoid alcohol for religious reasons would also be drawn to alternative extraction methods such as cold-pressing.

Cold-pressed CBD and Novel Foods

From a retailer’s perspective, cold-pressed CBD has some interesting implications for Novel Food applications. At the moment, CBD is considered to be a Novel Food in the UK, and all sellers must go through the process of submitting a Novel Food application. This costly and time-consuming process has led many retailers to close.

FSA logo

A Novel Food is anything that has not been widely consumed by humans in the UK and the EU before 15 May 1997. For these Novel Foods to be sold, they must have authorisation. However, some sellers believe that cold-pressed CBD should be exempt since there is evidence that humans consumed cold-pressed oils before this date.

However, the Food Standards Agency hasn't confirmed or denied this status. This leaves consumers in a difficult situation. The Novel Foods list is the first attempt to regulate a fast-growing industry. Some have suggested that attempting to get around being included in this list could be damaging to the entire sector.

Big brands like Love Hemp currently offer cold-pressed CBD products, but they are also included on the Novel Foods application list, so this allows consumers to shop with confidence. The fear is that cold-pressed CBD could provide a loophole or a backdoor into the sector for unscrupulous sellers that simply want to make a quick profit.

Summary

Cold-press extraction results in a product that is as close to the natural plant as possible. Minimal processing leads to a CBD oil that is rich in cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds. However, cold-pressed CBD has created a grey area in UK CBD regulations.

Novel Foods authorisation offers some reassurance to consumers that a company is following the rules, but cold-pressed CBD offers a loophole that could lead to poor-quality CBD flooding the market. Until the Food Standards Agency makes a move to either further regulate or officially exempt cold-pressed CBD from the Novel Food applications list, it is down to consumers to be cautious in their purchases and to only buy CBD from trusted sources.

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Laura Howarth
Laura Howarth

Author

Laura Howarth is a specialist CBD author based in Manchester, UK. She is passionate about sharing her love for CBD through educational articles and in-depth guides.


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