These days, CBD and THC extraction has become more sophisticated, resulting in incredibly high-quality and premium CBD and THC concentrates with no impurities. Distillation is one of the newest and most effective ways of extracting pure, very high quality hemp concentrates.
While it’s not as popular as the supercritical CO2 extraction method –which is a pretty common process now–it is fast catching on as the absolute best CBD and THC extraction method in the industry.
In fact, industry watchers are beginning to say that these distillates will be the norm in the near future. This is owing to its much superior quality and purity. Let’s take a quick look at what cannabis distillation is.
What is Cannabis Distillation?
Cannabis distillation is a post-processing extraction technique done subsequent to an initial solvent-based extraction.
In practice, and by way of example, the raw oil (sometimes referred to as “crude” oil) from the cannabis plant will first be extracted via the use of a PX1 or PXP system. Depending on a number of factors, that crude oil will have a THC/CBD concentration of 60-80%.
What is not THC and CBD in the crude oil will be a blend of flavors and smells, known as terpenes, and a variety of other plant-based components from vitamins, antioxidants and additional consumable substances.
In order to further purify the oil, it will then be subject to the distillation process with a specialized commercial distillation unit such as the CDU 1000. The distillation process isolates specific compounds, such as THC and CBD, thereby producing the refined oil (or “distillate”) of over 90% purity.
The remaining terpenes and other non-THC/CBD compounds will have an insignificant effect on the flavor and smell of the product. By targeting THC and CBD, for example, one can see how flavor, smell and potency may not be controlled by the producer.
How does Cannabis Distillation Work?
In its most basic form, distillation is accomplished by using an apparatus that heats a solution to a specific temperature to vaporize a specific compound of a solution without destroying it, then condensing the vaporized compound back into a liquid.
A simple example of this is the process of purifying water. Heating water to 100°C (212°F) will vaporize H20 molecule, leaving behind any undesirable compounds. Rapidly cooling this water vapor causes it to condense into distilled, purified water.
The same principle used in water distillation can be applied to cannabis. A short-path distillation unit is a one of the most common apparatuses used in cannabis distillation.
Short-path distillation units have three major components: a boiling flask, a condensing head, and a collection flask. The cannabis compound being distilled is heated in the boiling flask. The vapor then passes through the condensing head (turning the vapor to a liquid) and collects in the collection flask, thereby isolating the THC and CBD components.
CBD and THC Distillates –Why are They Different?
Studies have shown that cannabis distillates contain higher percentages of CBD and THC compared to other extraction processes. So, the ratio of these compounds to the other terpenes is usually higher–usually in the 80/20 range.
The distillates are also in their most concentrated forms. These are concentrates in the real sense of the word. This means that they are very potent –probably the most potent sources of CBD and THC. This means you’ll get more value for money when you use them, and probably won’t need as much as you would other concentrates to get the results you need.