A runny, translucent oil devoid of the waxes or undesirable compounds from the original plant. Distillate is desirable due to its potency and versatility. It can be used to dab, vaporize, and mix in as an ingredient in edibles, topicals, and other products. Distillate concentrates are achieved through an extensive refinement process that separates compounds from cannabis plant matter.
“The CBD oil in these edibles is from distillate.”
“This brand has a distillate oil vape pen cartridge that‘s worked wonders for me.”
More about Distillate
What is Distillate?
Distillate is a cannabis extract in which the final product has been systematically stripped of all materials and compounds except one specific cannabinoid.
Distillate is the base ingredient of most edibles and vape cartridges, and typically lacks any flavor, taste, or aroma. It’s a potent cannabis oil that can be used on its own or infused in other cannabis products or goods. The most common forms of distillate on the market are THC oil and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The name of the oil indicates the most prominent cannabinoid. In the case of CBD oil, CBD would be the most prominent cannabinoid. The name distillate refers to the cannabis purification process that removes and separates the cannabinoids, such as THC or CBD, into unique products.
Distillate is extremely potent, though it lacks the terpenes, or naturally occurring flavors and aromas, of the cannabis plant. One benefit of having the natural terpenes removed is being able to have complete control over the final product’s taste and smell. A drawback of removing terpenes is that without them, the final product may lack the therapeutic benefits commonly attributed to the entourage effect. Adding terpenes to distillate later in the process is possible, and many manufacturers do this, though it’s been theorized that any medicinal advantages are reduced by their initial removal.
Does Distillate Get You High?
Whether distillate gets you high depends on the precise cannabinoid you’re consuming. The main benefit is that by removing virtually everything except for the desired cannabinoid, the final product is incredibly potent. For that reason, if you’re consuming a THC distillate, you will probably get very high, as the resulting oil will be almost pure THC content. On the other hand, if you’re consuming a CBD distillate, you will tap into the therapeutic benefits of CBD but, because CBD doesn’t produce intoxicating effects, you will not get high.
Is Distillate the Same as Oil?
Distillate is one of the most commonly made types of cannabis oil, often coveted by consumers for its potency. And because it has been stripped of virtually everything other than cannabinoids it is extremely versatile, capable of being consumed on its own or as the base of numerous other cannabis products.
While all distillates are oils, not all cannabis oils are distillates. A cannabis oil is only a distillate if all other materials and compounds, including terpenes, have been systematically stripped and removed. There are many other types of marijuana oils on the market that have not undergone that process.
How is Distillate used?
Distillates can be consumed on their own using a dab rig or portable vaporizer. You can also vape them using a distillate cartridge and vape pen. Dabbing or vaping distillates yields a nearly odorless vapor, depending on whether it’s been flavored, with their effects typically being experienced instantly. Adding drops of THC distillate to flower in a rolling paper or bowl intensifies the intoxicating high without altering the flavor or smell.
As an alternative to vaping or smoking, you can make distillate edibles or topicals. In edibles, distillates provide the desired cannabinoids without any plantlike taste. For edibles prepared at home, the oil should be introduced with low doses, about 5 milligrams or less THC per serving, then slowly increase the dosage for the desired potency and taste. Distillates can be consumed on their own and dropped sublingually, or under the tongue. This type of oil can also work in topicals, which are applied transdermally, or applied to the skin and absorbed.
Distillates allow cannabis product manufacturers to separate the various cannabinoids and terpenes, then recombine them into specific ratios. For example, the starting material from a harvest of cannabis plants may not have enough naturally occurring CBD to produce a tincture to help treat anxiety disorders. With distillates, a more accurate CBD-to-THC ratio can be achieved.
How Is Cannabis Distillate Made?
The distillation process involves separating chemical components from a liquid mixture by controlling condensation and boiling. Humankind has used this process to refine alcohol for centuries. Therefore, it isn’t a new technique. However, the use of it to create incredibly potent cannabinoid products is.
Up until recently, there were two main methods for creating cannabis concentrates. The first is the use of solvents, such as butane. The other is the use of pressure or rinsing methods to extract plant compounds.
Unlike either method, distillation separates and refines molecules, and doesn’t leave behind solvent or plant residue. The process involves using heat to vaporize cannabinoids. Manufacturers then collect the vapor in a distillation cooling system. This removes everything from the cannabinoids, including chlorophyll and plant matter. The result is a clean and concentrated liquid free from solvents.
Next, a company can infuse the distillate into a wide variety of consumer products. It is a popular addition to topicals and edibles, for example.
Short Path Distillation
Let’s take a quick look at how companies create this potent product. The process of distilling the cannabis plant’s compounds that are extracted is called ‘fractional’ or ‘short path distillation.’ It can produce oils with over 99% THC.
As the name suggests, short path distillation involves the distillate traveling a short distance to separate the compounds. Companies tend to use alcohol and hyper-controlled temperatures. They feed the extract material into a gradually heated flask. Next, a vacuum pulls the newly created vapors into fractionating tubes first, then a condensing tube.
It is often necessary to repeat the process several times before refining the final product. This method is excellent for creating highly-concentrated cannabinoid distillates. The short path the compounds take means minimal loss during the extraction process.
How Do You Use Marijuana Distillate?
Although it is a relatively new product, there is an array of tried and trusted methods to use it. These include:
- Sublingual Consumption: You can place a THC distillate beneath the tongue; a drop or two is plenty. Instead of swallowing the oil, allow it to dissolve into the bloodstream. It should produce faster effects than via oral consumption.
- Vaporization: You can also use a vape pen to consume THC distillate. Make sure you purchase one with a refillable tank. Realistically, it is more sensible and safer to add a few drops to an existing cartridge for an extra kick.
- Dab Rig or Bong: Place a tiny amount of CBD distillate into a bong or bowl. Light it, and inhale the smoke.
- Old-School: You can try the classic method of smoking distillate via a spliff, joint, or bong. Again, it is better to add a small amount to some cannabis flower. Trying to smoke pure distillate is asking for trouble.
- Edibles: You can add THC distillate to cannabutter for cooking, or any food or drink you like. Some users even consume a hardened form like a pill.
Final Thoughts on Marijuana Distillates
One of the most exciting aspects of cannabis distillates is their potential for medical marijuana users. Proponents of MMJ suggest it has an array of medicinal properties. If THC has beneficial properties, giving patients the ability to use it in a 99% pure form could yield positive results. However, the jury is very much out on this claim. It seems more likely that it is a combination of compounds in marijuana that provides possible benefits.
Those looking for a new form of intoxicating high also flock to marijuana distillates. The extreme potency means it doesn’t take much of the product to have a significant effect.
Also, distillates are extremely versatile, so there are many options available apart from smoking it. Please remember, it is incredibly potent, so approach it with extreme caution.
If you don’t want to experience intoxication, you could try CBD isolates instead. You get over 99% of the cannabinoid, but there is no high. The best quality products are pure, clean, and worth consideration.