As marijuana becomes more popular, people are starting to learn about the different ways to consume it. Smoking is one of the most popular and well known methods, but it’s not the only way. In fact, there are many ways to consume marijuana, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
With each different consumption method, there are different types of extracts that are best suited. For instance, flower is most often smoked, BHO (butane hash oil) is “dabbed”, Co2 extract is usually vaped, and THC distillate is usually vaped or used in edibles. Today, we’re going to discuss THC distillate, and the ins and outs of THC distillation.
What is THC Distillate?
THC (Delta 9 Tetrahidrocannabinol) distillate is a type of cannabis concentrate that has been purified to remove other compounds, resulting in a product that is extremely potent. High quality delta9THC distillate can be upwards of 95% THC. Distillate is typically a thick oil, similar to honey with a clear to golden color. Since it has been refined down to mostly THC, it has little to no terpenes, leaving it essentially odorless. THC distillate can be used in various ways, such as vaporizing, dabbing, and even cooking. It is very popular in vape cartridges and edibles, because it has very little taste or smell profile after being refined.
How is Delta9THC Distillate Made?
The first step to making THC distillate is by extracting cannabinoids like THC and CBD from the Cannabis plant. This initial extraction is done by using some sort of solvent like butane, propane, ethanol, or Co2. Distillate can be made using any of these types of extracts as the input. For small to medium scale cannabis extractors, butane or propane is the most common source of extraction. For large scale hemp processors, ethanol extraction is typically used because of its scalability.
Now, before the extract can be distilled, it needs to be “winterized”. Winterization is the process of removing undesirable compounds like fats, waxes, lipids and chlorophyll from the extract. This process is typically performed by diluting the extract into ethanol or another solvent, then cooling the mixture as cold as possible. The solvent and cold temperature will separate the undesirable compounds out from the cannabis concentrate, and then the two will be filtered to separate them.
Decarboxylation is the process of heating the extract until the acidic versions of the cannabinoids (THCA, CBDA, etc) convert to their non-acidic counterparts (THC, CBD, etc). This process allows the concentrate to be used without being heated (by a vaporizer or lighter). So these decarboxylated extracts can be eaten or used orally and provide the psychoactive effects. Decarboxylation also applies enough heat to remove the majority of the solvents used in extraction and winterization before it moves to distillation.
The winterized extract is then distilled to remove all other compounds, resulting in a final product that contains mostly pure THC. The process of distillation involves applying heat to the extract until it turns into a vapor, then cooling it back down into a liquid. Since compounds in cannabis have different boiling points, we are able to separate the compounds as the temperature increases in the distillation process.
Compounds with a higher boiling point will vaporize first, and be carried through the distillation system where it will be cooled and turned back into a liquid. This is how we separate the desirable compound of delta9THC from the undesirables. When we distill THC, we are trying to remove all other compounds like minor cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBN, etc) and terpenes to achieve the most potent extract possible.
To recap, distilling THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the process of separating and purifying THC from other compounds in the cannabis plant. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the “high” that is experienced when it is consumed.
The process of distilling THC involves heating the cannabis plant material in a vessel to vaporize the cannabinoids and other compounds. The vapor is then condensed and collected in another vessel, which contains cooling equipment. The resulting substance is a highly concentrated distilled THC oil that is extremely potent and can be used in a variety of ways, such as in edibles or as a vape oil.
Distilling THC allows for a more precise control over the potency and purity of the final product. It can also remove any impurities or contaminants that may be present in the starting material, ensuring that the final product is safe and free of harmful substances.
THC Distillate is one of the most potent and versatile extracts in the cannabis market. It can be used for just about any product on the market, including vapes, edibles, infused pre-rolls, tinctures, and topicals. While Delta9THC Distillate is one of the more time consuming products to produce, it is also one of the cleanest, and most potent. For information on distillation equipment, reach out to our team of experts today!