Cannabis distillates are one of the newer forms of concentrates to hit the market. While we are all familiar with wax, shatter and the other types of extracts that hold a THC concentration of around 70-90%, distillates can be refined to has high as 99.9% THC. Using new techniques of refinement and setting new standards for purity, cannabis distillates will soon be the standard in retail concentrates.
Distillates are made using a technique called ‘short path distillation.’ Also called molecular separation, the distillation process is able to separate and collect the various components of concentrates, and produces as close to pure cannabinoids as is possible. Before the distillation process can begin, your cannabis must already be broken down and processed using butane, CO2 or equivalent extracting gas. Once a raw extract has been collected, it can then be further processed into distillate.
As cannabinoids have a high boiling point, they make excellent targets for distillation. Even though they were initially extracted using butane or other gasses, the distillation process separates all potential extractor particles from the finished distillate, hence the “solvent free” label. Distillation often looks like a high school science experiment with rotating beakers catching cannabinoid distillates as they are separated from the excess particles of plant matter and solvent.
The end product is barren of terpenes and other cannabinoids. That means that they contain no smell or flavor. Many of the companies involved with THC distillate production actually re-infuse terpenes and cannabinoids into their products in order to give them the incredible flavors we sense in our favorite strains or a touch of relaxing CBD. The future of extractions and concentrates will be custom recipes of THC, cannabinoids and terpenes. Distillation of not only THC but other cannabinoids will allow doctors to prescribe specific cannabis-derived remedies as well as, allow the recreational user the choice to customize what they ingest. As the distillation process becomes more widespread, we will undoubtedly see more and more of these fine crafted products hitting the market.