Distillates have become an icon in marijuana culture. They have been considered the future of the cannabis industry in recent years. Distillate generally attracts marijuana lovers everywhere to its higher THC content and smoking discretion. THC distillate is found in dispensaries all over through cartridges, "dabables," edibles, or even spicing up joints.
But what is distillate?
Let’s look at this clear, sap-like concentrate and figure out why it's being known as the new frontier of cannabis.
One of the most commonly made types of cannabis oils is distillate. Distillate can be vaporized, dabbed, or used in edibles/topicals.
Distillate is a sappy, translucent oil that is devoid of waxes/undesirable compounds from the original marijuana plant.
The final product has been systematically stripped of all plant materials except for one specific cannabinoid; either THC or CBD. In our case, we will look at THC distillate.
The outcome of THC distillate is extremely potent but typically lacks naturally occurring terpenes. Sometimes terpenes or other flavors are put back into the distillate.
The drawback of this technique is the possible lack of therapeutic benefits associated with terpenes which affect the overall entourage effect.
But does it get you high?
Well, that depends on the cannabinoid used in the specific distillate produced – whether it is THC or CBD. This matters big time.
THC distillate is likely to get you extremely high where CBD distillate is pretty strictly a therapeutic or medicinal use product. THC distillate is known to produce an incredibly clean high.
Marijuana distillate is made through the actual process of distillation, think the way whiskey or moonshine is made. For cannabis, distillation is achieved through processes such as fractional distillation, short-path distillation, and other methods.
It begins as crude cannabis oil (plant material still present) and is purified through two main factors.
Winterization is a method to purify crude oil extract products. These products include plant waxes, chlorophyll, fats, lipids, etc. The crude marijuana oil is mixed with ethanol or alcohol. The mixture is then placed in a frozen environment for 1-2 days. When the distillate mixture is removed, impurities from the crude oil are separated and fall to the bottom by using colder temperatures.
After being taken out of the freezing cold, it is passed through a filter. At the end of filtering the mixture, ethanol is removed entirely by using techniques such as rotary evaporation or falling-film evaporation.
When winterization is complete, we move to the next big step needed for distillation; decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation is the process of removing carboxylic acid found in the amino acids and fatty acids within the plant. The removal process occurs when the heat is applied, heated to the point which eliminates the acid.
In other words, such heat allows the cannabis compounds such as THCa to change into 100% THC. THCa alone does not get you high until the actual decarboxylation occurs, activating the THC. The process helps cannabinoids interact and hit correct brain receptors in your body.
For safety reasons, making distillate is a complicated process that should be left to the professionals. In Colorado, it is illegal to manufacture distillates without a marijuana extraction license.
Like everything, distillates do come with some pros and cons. Let’s look further...
If you are just trying to achieve a potent high, THC distillates are the Robin to your Batman; a wonderful, dutiful sidekick. A small amount can produce incredible results.
It is a solventless extraction eliminating the need for butane. Being made of entirely THC, you will know almost exactly what you are consuming into your body.
Distillates are odorless/smokeless which allows less attention to be drawn to you smoking. They are a quick and easy relief on a short break.
THC distillates are immediately ready to use. The decarboxylation allows THC to quickly travel to your bloodstream and produces quick results for which you seek.
THC distillates stretch cannabis plants further than ever before by using every material possible in the plant. It can even use low-potency material, such as trim, and boost potency. New technologies can even produce 75%+ in return for the crude oil product. Much more than BHO.
Though higher potency is often a plus of distillate, THC distillate’s higher potency is discouraged to first-timer users or those not very accustomed to THC’s effects.
For these people, THC distillate can be overdone while smoking and lead to paranoia and anxiety. This often happens due to the lack of the modulation of CBD, CBG, and other cannabinoids present in strains.
High potency does not always equal a good experience.
THC distillates are produced for cheaper than other methods cause more of the plant can be used overall.
But, things needed to make distillate are another matter entirely. The machinery needed to manufacture distillates can be 10’s of thousands of dollars to buy. They also required specialized, skilled lab technicians to operate.
In the distillation process, terpenes and other natural flavors are removed to isolate specific cannabinoids. They often require special equipment to add the natural terpenes back into the distillate. The diminished terpenes can lead to a lack of the entourage effect being able to occur in your body. This often means companies add artificial flavors into the mixture. The artificial flavors can be extremely off-putting to those seeking an authentic marijuana experience.
The high potency of THC distillate can majorly boost your tolerance. The result is the need for much more THC in order to obtain a desired high.
So if you want 99% pure, solventless, sappy gold; distillates are the concentrates tailor-made for you.