Derived from its seeds, hemp oil is often confused with its popular counterpart, CBD oil. While CBD oil is indeed a goldmine for health, hemp seed oil also has numerous benefits for the skin. Discover its extraction process.
How is hemp oil produced?
What is hemp oil?
This refers to a vegetable oil extracted from hemp, a plant native to Central Asia. This plant is also known by the name of Cannabis Sativa. Its richness in omega 6 (linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid involved in the production of the cell membrane) and omega 3 (polyunsaturated fatty acids that maintain the skin's elasticity and are involved in anti-inflammatory processes) gives its oil softening and soothing properties on the skin. Hemp oil has a fluid oily texture. Depending on its extraction method, its color varies from yellow to green-yellow. It emits a slightly spicy scent and reminds one of the smell of freshly cut grass.
The extraction of hemp oil can be accomplished in three different ways (mechanical, via an extraction solvent, or with supercritical fluid), which will slightly influence its composition and color, ranging from yellow to yellow-green.
The extraction of hemp oil through cold pressing.
Like the majority of vegetable oils, hemp seed oil can be extracted through a process known as cold pressing. This extraction process involves several steps.
Harvesting of seeds. It is necessary to select those that are not open near the fully grown flowers. To do this, it is recommended to touch the husks to see if they are hard. In France, the harvest period generally extends from the end of August to October.
Cleaning and drying of the seeds.
Crushing of seeds through mechanical pressure. This step is carried out at room temperature and does not involve any chemical reaction. What is obtained is an unpurified hemp oil.
Purification of the oil through decantation and filtration (no chemical reaction is performed).
This extraction method allows for the procurement of a 100% pure and natural oil, preserving all the active principles of the seeds. The only downside is its yield, which is not excellent: 60-80% of the oil can be extracted from hemp seeds, depending on the pressing conditions.
The extraction of hemp oil using carbon dioxide.
The extraction of compounds using supercritical CO2 dates back to the 1970s. It was then an ecological alternative to the use of traditional extraction solvents, which are often polluting and harmful. CO2 is a gas well-suited for the extraction of plant material due to its purity and non-volatile, non-toxic, and non-polluting properties. Even though this extraction method is very expensive, it provides a high-quality hemp vegetable oil (its biochemical composition is almost identical to that of the original seeds). The principle is simple: the plant material is passed through a flow of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is subjected to low temperature and high pressure. The active molecules of the hemp are then naturally extracted before moving into another chamber. In this new chamber, the temperature and pressure are controlled to separate the hemp's active ingredients from the CO2.
The extraction of hemp oil by solvent.
Even though this method allows for a high extraction yield, it most often uses polluting and harmful solvents such as n-hexane or methanol. Indeed, several studies have proven the toxicity of hexane towards the nervous system and its dangerous nature due to being highly flammable. Moreover, it is classified as category 3 reprotoxic, harmful (Xn), irritating (Xi), and dangerous for the environment (N). Methanol, on the other hand, is mainly controversial due to its flammable nature, which makes it particularly dangerous.
Discover hemp oil in Typology's beard and hair oil.
Composed of 100% naturally sourced ingredients and certified organic, our fortifying oil for beard and hair contains hemp and castor oil, both derived from first cold pressing. This treatment nourishes and softens the hair. When applied to the roots, it stimulates hair growth for a denser and softer beard. For the hair, this oil is applied mainly to the mid-lengths and ends to nourish and repair the hair fiber.
Frederic Fine & al., Les agro-solvants pour l’extraction des huiles végétales issues de graines oléagineuses, OCL Journal, (2013).
Milan Kostic & al., Optimization of hempseed oil extraction by n-hexane, Industrial Crops and Products, (2013).
Krunoslav Aladic, Cold Pressing and Supercritical CO2 Extraction of Hemp (Cannabis sativa) Seed Oil, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Quarterly, (2015).