Everything You Need To Know About Making Cannabis Distillate
October 11, 2020
With the legal cannabis market’s expansion and an influx of cannabis recipes and DIY-guides, there is a lot of room to experiment and try your hand at homemade products. You can make homemade edibles, versatile infused coconut oil, and so much more, all from the comfort of your home.
Have you ever wondered how to make cannabis distillate? Unfortunately, it’s not as clear-cut as making a homemade edible or crafting a potent cannabis tincture. It requires sophisticated equipment and a deep understanding of the process. Essentially, it’s one of those “dont-try-this-at-home” processes. But we can still show you the basics of how it is done.
First things first, though:
What is cannabis distillate?
Cannabis distillate is a concentrated, highly potent product. In fact, THC distillate is considered the most concentrated product on the market. To make THC distillate, you must carry out the process of molecular distillation. This separates THC from most of the other compounds present.
Distillate can end up being 99% pure THC, making it incredibly potent. It’s free from other plant matter and contains no other cannabinoids but THC. Cannabis distillate is an oil. It’s runny, sticky, and very potent. Distillate is also typically odorless and tasteless, making it even more versatile than other concentrates.
You can make CBD distillate in the same way you make THC distillate. The result would be a highly potent CBD distillate, free of other cannabinoids and plant matter. Additionally, it would not be intoxicating like THC distillate.
THC distillate is different from other concentrates. Typically, to make cannabis concentrates you would use one of two methods: add solvents or add pressure/rinse. The solvent method involves adding butane or even alcohol to extract the cannabinoids from the plant. The pressure or rinse method involves extracting cannabinoids with pressure or by rinsing the plant.
Neither of these processes are perfect. But they are very efficient and popular. However, they tend to leave behind residue, both from solvents and general plant matter.
Distillation is different. The molecular distillation process actually separates and refines the molecules to leave nothing but THC behind. It’s why the product is often referred to as “the pure.” It’s also why the product is so potent.
Now that we’ve given some context about what cannabis distillate is, let’s take a look at how to make it. Unfortunately, it’s not much of an at-home project, but it is still beneficial to understand the process. So let’s jump in!
See Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Concentrates
How cannabis distillate is made
It’s possible to make a cannabis distillate for THC or CBD. For CBD distillate, a plant that is primarily made of CBD and has low THC levels must be used. For THC distillate, regular cannabis flower can be used.
Step 1: Extraction
To make distillate, you’ll first need to separate the trichomes from the plant material. Trichomes are resinous glands and little appendages found on the cannabis plant. They contain the bulk of the plant’s compounds, including terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids.
To extract, physical or chemical methods may be used. Wikileaf refers to three possibilities for separating the trichomes from the rest of the plant material. These include:
- Sieving, where humans physically separate trichomes. This involves sifting the plant matter over a mesh screen to collect the separate compounds. This method is chemical-free but allows for more impurities. Plus, it takes a lot of work to carry out.
- Solvents, like butane can be used to extract. Essentially, plant matter is soaked in butane to separate the parts. Then it is added to a tank with applied pressure to extract cannabinoids.
This is a process that should never be attempted at home. There have been explosions and casualties directly related to making butane hash oil.
- Supercritical CO2 extraction is a popular method of extraction. CO2 is heated and compressed into a supercritical state, where it retains both gaseous and liquid properties. This allows it to reach more areas and create a cleaner extraction without any residue. The remaining CO2 will evaporate at room temperature.
Step 2: Winterization
The next step is to purify the concentrate even more. To do so, the material must go through the process of winterization.
This is where the cannabinoids and terpenes get further separated from the plant matter. This removes all other impurities as well, including chlorophyll and fats.
The resulting concentrate is then mixed with ethanol and stored in a very cold space. The cold temperature causes more separation between impurities and the extract itself.
Now the remaining concentrate can go through a rotary evaporator (a piece of equipment that gently removes solvents by evaporating them) and get a final cleanse.
Step 3: Decarboxylation
At this point, the extract is close to being complete. But there’s still a very important step to carry out: decarboxylating the product. The cannabinoid THCA needs to convert to THC to provide the expected intoxicating effects. If the distillate is CBD, the extract needs to convert from CBDA to CBD to provide therapeutic effects.
Until the product is decarboxylated, it’s just a concentrated oil without the desirable effects users seek out.
To decarboxylate the product at this step, the concentrate must be heated to at least 220 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of time.
Step 4: Distillation
Once the concentrate has been decarboxylated, it’s time for the final step. Now the terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids present in the extract must be separated from the mixture.
The heat must be monitored carefully during the separation process, as different compounds have different boiling points. The easiest way to control the temperature and work with the various compounds is to use vacuum pressure.
Why choose cannabis distillate?
Both THC and CBD distillates are incredibly potent and powerful. This means you can use a small amount to get a big effect. This can be really cost effective for many users who rely on therapeutic effects or just have built up a strong tolerance.
Additionally, distillate is convenient. It can be added to various vape products or stirred into edible recipes. Since it’s typically devoid of odor and flavor, it’s a discreet way to toke up or eat a sweet treat without the overwhelming flavor of weed.
But like we said before – cannabis distillate should not be made at home. If you don’t have a deep understanding of the process, quality equipment, and safety mechanisms in place, you could be in trouble trying to DIY this cannabis product. There are many ways the process could go wrong, and you don’t want to risk hurting yourself. This could be by accidentally causing an explosion or by failing to fully distill the product and leaving solvents behind.
Don’t fret, though. You can purchase cannabis distillates at our Washington dispensary locations. Stop by our Bellingham weed store or Spokane dispensary to stock up on cannabis distillate and see for yourself what all the hype is about!
3 Cannabis Distillates To Try!
Aching for some Cannabis distillate but can’t make your own? Never tried it but not sure where to start? Try some of our most popular distillates at Satori Mj! We’ve collected a few of our favorite types of Cannabis distillate, for you to check out, whether in an applicator or cartridge, down below! Or, simply search for ‘distillate’ on one of our dispensaries individual online menu or take a shortcut with one of the links we added below!
Search for Distillate at Satori North Spokane, here.
Search for Distillate at Satori Bellingham, here.
G6 Jet Fuel Distillate Cartridge by Double Delicious
G6 Jet Fuel is a cross of some of the most renowned Diesel strains. By combining Aspen OG with High Country Diesel, we are left with a hybrid that stays true to the influence of SFV OG Kush and East Coast Sour Diesel in its lineage. Find it at Satori Bellingham, here.
CBD 4:1 Activated Delta8 Distillate by Honey Tree Extracts
This Cannabis Oil is 4:1 CBD:THC, so expect minimal psychoactive effects, and a full body sense of wellness. Find it at Satori Bellingham, here.
Featuring Shangri-La Distillate by Double Delicious
Bred by JinxProof Genetics, Shangri-La crosses parent strains Fudo Myo-o and 9 Pound Hammer The future in cannabis cannabinoid processing is Distillate! The process not only creates a very pure cannabis extraction, it also leaves out the necessity for using solvents to bind with the marijuana products. The final product is pure and does not contain any solvents, not even trace amounts! Find it at Satori North Spokane, here.
Keep Reading: How to Vape Cannabis
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