Cannabis distillate: what is it?
The future of cannabis is already here! Meet distillate or «The Clear» — the unique extract that contains 99% pure cannabinoids and no plant matter. It is tasteless and scentless in its original form, but flavor might be added post factum.
Distillation is a technique that allows to create pure marijuana extracts on a molecular level. The final extract is an appealing golden-like substance with oily consistency. The main characteristics of this concentrate are its high potency and versatility of use.
The word «distillate» is used to describe the process of creating a marijuana extract, not the final product. There is a number of products on the distillate basis, the most popular of which are CBD oil and THC oil. It is interesting that the name of the oil does not mean that it includes only one certain cannabinoid; it just indicates whether THC or CBD prevails over the other one.
Distillate: a leap forward in concentrate production
Considering the amount of marijuana products available on the market, it is sometimes difficult to know your way around. The last trend is consuming cannabis concentrates to get maximum potency with minimal time and effort.
Concentrates have always been differentiated according to their method of extraction: either physical (such as kief, dry sift, hash, rosin) or chemical, with the help of solvents (like shatter, budder, crumble, etc.) Both categories have their limitations: solventless concentrates contain too much plant matter and are not potent enough while the solvent-based potent extracts might be dangerous because of chemical residuals.
Before the appearance of distillate, products presented in any of the categories were too much alike. Extracts like shatter and wax differ mostly by shape and consistency, but the essence is still the same. Now, we observe the appearance of a totally new product, which is not similar to other concentrates available in the market.
Distillate is a breakthrough because it has no residuals, either plant or chemical ones. All the undesirable components of a flower are already excluded to make a perfect potency a reality.
The only side effect of such purity is the absence of terpenes that get separated as well as the other marijuana components. This detail becomes a disadvantage that is fixed by introducing additional terpenes to the final concentrate when it is required.
How to use a distillate: top 6 applications
One of the great advantages of a distillate is its versatility in consumption. The high effect in this case will be dependent not on the way of consumption but on the proportion between THC and CBD in the product. The way of manufacturing used for distillate production supposes extracting cannabinoids separately and recombining them in desired proportions to either increase the final high or boost the therapeutic effect.
The top six applications for a distillate are the following:
This way of consuming a distillate oil is always in demand because it allows to achieve the greatest high. Moreover, it is a typical way of consuming cannabis concentrates and experienced users often prefer using the same tools for all types of extracts. To dab, you will need an oil rig and a dabber. Pre-heat the rig`s nail with a torch or use the electric nail to get the right temperature. Drop a distillate oil on the nail and inhale the vapor.
Using a vape pen
You can use any type of vaporizer for smoking a distillate but the vape pen is the most popular choice. Feel the cartridges with distillate oil only or combine it with other marijuana product — find the way which works best for you.
For this option, distillate oil usually gets added to marijuana flower either in a joint, blunt, or a bowl. Start experimenting with a minimal quantities of a distillate to find your perfect dose. This way is recommended for traditional smokers who look for a potency boost.
Using in edibles
The main benefit that allows to widely use this concentrate in various edibles is the absence of taste and aroma. While flavor is highly welcome when smoking, in edibles it becomes the insurmountable obstacle. No one likes when the food tastes or smells like grass. With distillate, this problem is forgotten. The assortment of marijuana-based food products develops on a daily basis, and a distillate oil is a valuable component of many of them. Moreover, distillate oil is among the few products that can be consumed orally in its raw form, e.g. by placing drops under the tongue.
Newly discovered qualities of marijuana-based products allow to create cosmetics on the basis of distillate oils. To increase the beauty effect and the aromatic qualities, the oil is often enriched by terpene components.
Medicine and pharmacology
With a distillate, there is a possibility to calculate the correct amount of each compound, so it is starting to be used for the production of pills or bottle medicine. As for medical purposes, mostly cannabidiol is used, so isolates are more recommended as a treatment than THC distillates.
It is obvious that a concentrate so different from others has a unique production technology. The distillate manufacturing consists of four main stages called extraction, winterization, decarboxylation and distillation. Learn more about each of them to understand the peculiarities of the final product better:
This phase is very similar to the way most solvent-based concentrates are produced. It is aimed at separating cannabinoids like THC or CBD from the plant material that contains waxes, lipids, etc. The extraction might be performed in two ways: physical (mostly by using ice, pressure or heat) or chemical (with butane, propane, alcohol or carbon dioxide). After this stage, the product might still contain the impurities (either marijuana flower or solvent residuals).
The remains of undesirable marijuana compounds are removed with the help of ethanol. The mixture is kept in a cool place for 1-3 days to let the residue come down the jar. The name of this phase is explained by the cold temperature used for product storing. This stage ends when ethanol gets removed from the concentrate with the help of rotavap (rotary evaporator) or similar equipment.
The concentrate that has passed the winterization stage does not contain any active THC or CBD. Instead, there are cannabinoid acids (like THCA) that have to be turned into the active cannabinoids by the procedure called decarboxylation. The compounds get heated to the correct temperature that activates the desirable component (usually THC).
This is the final and the most distinctive phase of a distillate production. It is based on the different volatility of marijuana components. The aim is to differentiate each fraction separately by using heat and vacuum pressure. At a definite boiling point, the certain compound gets «caught» in the process of vaporizing by an immediate condensation. The separation of different compounds take place in sequence until pure cannabinoids get left. The desired components are THC, CBD and terpenes.
Isolates vs Distillates
Distillate is not the only marijuana product that contains pure cannabinoids. There is another solvent-based concentrate of this kind — an isolate. Similarities are obvious: both have no taste and aroma, both are extremely potent. What is the real difference and how to choose the best fit for you?
The first and the most important difference is the prominent cannabinoid. Despite the fact that both a distillate and isolate might have different cannabinoid combination, the most widespread ones are CBD isolates and THC distillates. So, if you want to experience a strong high effect, select a distillate; with an isolate, your high will be close to a zero despite the incredible potency. CBD isolates are valued for their therapeutic effect and a chance to get balanced quickly.
The second distinction is in the product appearance. You will never confuse one with the other. Isolate reminds of soft white crystals while distillate looks more like a golden oil.
The last distinction is in the method of production. Both have different levels of separating the cannabinoids from the plant material, but with distillates, the process supposes the molecular-level extractions based on the compounds` boiling points. This way is more progressive as it allows to save the valuable terpenes that can be added to the final concentrate.
High level of popularity is always accompanied with criticisms. Check two major drawbacks of this outstanding extract:
Active ingredients of marijuana are certainly potent but they have the greatest strength when accompanied by the other herbal components (such as terpenes). Having isolated the cannabinoids from the terpene content, we definitely make them less beneficial. Investigations prove that even in case terpenes are added to the ready THC distillate, the synergy gets broken.
Even multiply extraction levels cannot remove the plant pesticides. To eliminate this problem, it is necessary to select the safe and natural cannabis flower.
These aspects will sooner be called limitations instead of weak sides, so the distillate keeps holding the top position on the concentrate market.