Cannabis distillation is a process that involves extraction, winterization, decarboxylation, and distillation. It starts with the naturally grown marijuana plant and distills it to allow maximum purity and content. Once cannabis is extracted from its raw plant form, it can be distilled, resulting in a purer product with a CBD or THC content of more than 90%.
The process begins with the harvest of the plant followed by extraction of the active compounds from the raw plant matter. These extraction methods are either physical — including sieving and rosin pressing — or chemical, using solvents or diluents to break down plant matter. This results in an unfiltered substance (often called “crude oil”) with CBD and THC purity just above 50%. Post-extraction processing includes purification of the “crude oil” which eliminates contaminates and byproducts. Purification includes “winterization” which subjects the ‘crude oil’ to very low temperatures, separating the extraneous fatty byproducts like lipids, waxes, and chlorophyll so they can be removed. This is followed by decarboxylation which eposes the remaining concentrate to sustained heat in order to activate the cannabinoids it contains.
The final process of distilling the extract uses vacuum pressure, heat, and evaporation to separate terpenes and cannabinoids. This separation doesn’t occur until the process reaches a boiling point. THC and CBD have different boiling points for extraction. Distillates can be used singly or combined – for instance, by mixing high-THC distillate with high-CBD concentrate – to activate the entourage effect.
Once this step is completed, the extracts are ready for consumption. Although for CBD extracts, the concentrate might go through one more process to remove any traces of THC from the extract. CBD extracts that undergo this process are called Broad Spectrum.
Pros of Cannabis Distillation
If you’ve ever been exposed to marijuana smoke, you’re familiar with the pungent and very unique smell. And, if you’ve partaken yourself, you know it also has a very unique taste that can only be described as “weedy”. By using distillation, the smell and taste are gone, leaving room for a more pleasant olfactory experience that allows patients and recreational users to use topicals, cosmetics, edibles, vapes, and other forms of delivery without that “after taste” or lingering odor.
Cannabis Distillation PROS:
- Provides a higher potency
- Creates a pure concentrate
- Is odorless, tasteless, and colorless
- Offers versatility for product
If you have questions about medical marijuana or how it might be added to your treatment plan, please contact The Healing Clinics for more information. We are here to help!
Nahar L, Uddin SJ, Alam MA, Sarker SD. Extraction of naturally occurring cannabinoids: an update. Phytochemical Analysis. 2021;32:228–241 https://doi.org/10.1002/pca.2987
What is the significance of distillation in cannabis production? Published May 15th, 2020. https://www.healtheuropa.eu/what-is-the-significance-of-distillation-in-cannabis-production/100030/