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What is THC Distillate? Your Questions Answered

Every so often a new innovation or cannabis product catches the attention. We’re used to a lot of variety in the world of weed. Of course, we are. There are a whole range of concentrates, including shatters and oils, on the market today.  

Among these, THC distillate is beginning to bubble to the surface. It’s something new and exciting but will it replace traditional methods of taking cannabis. We take a closer look.  

One small drop of this viscous liquid on a dabbing rig is the equivalent of a 99% pure, decarboxylated dose of THC. Some are even argue that this is how the future of cannabis concentrates is going to be – you’ll be able to get your THC or CBD or other cannabinoid in an absolute, pure form.  

These high potency oils take an old manufacturing method and add a modern slant to it. We’re still at the innovation stage when it comes to THC distillate – there’s a lot more we could see over the next few years as labs and cannabis R&D bods get to work. But things are looking promising. 

THC Distillate: The Technology Producing 99% Purity 

There’s nothing really new about distillation technology. It’s widely used in manufacturing to produce pure concentrations of all sorts of chemicals and products. The important part of the process is called fractional or short path distillation which allows specific cannabinoids to be extracted at relatively low temperatures.  

Of course, we all know that the more we can get things out of cannabis at a low temp, the better the flavor and taste. But that’s not all, it allows us to produce concentrates with much higher levels of THC. In actual fact, the process of removing stuff from the THC is so intense that it also takes out the flavor with the terpenes. 

The process, as you might expect, is fairly complex and requires the right equipment. This is not something that you are going to be able to achieve on your own at home, not unless you have a few dollars spare. In order to get an oil that is almost pure THC, you have to create a distillate that has been through numerous refinement cycles.  

All the different components of a cannabis plant have different boiling points. Your THC will evaporate at a separate temperature to the terpenes or the CBD. Hydrocarbon or CO2 techniques are used to remove many elements from the plant first of all. The new extracted liquid will still have basic materials you don’t want including fats and lipids. These are removed next using a process called winterization which involves ethanol.  

The next stage in creating the THC distillate is decarboxylation. Most experienced cannabis connoisseurs will be aware of this process. It involves heating up the product to activate the THC or CBD. It’s a process that can easily be done in an oven and one that edible enthusiasts generally use. 

The final stage is to run the remaining substance through a short pass distillation system. This can happen several times until you end up with a much purer end product. The process uses a mix of boiling, vacuum pressure and steam to change boiling points and extract the THC or CBD. At the end, you’re left with a clear sap that reminds you a little of honey but which is pure gold.  

Uses of THC Distillate 

The fact that you can have a pure, unadulterated product that is almost 99% THC has a lot of potential. The biggest challenge, however, is how much you use. If you are adding a drop to your edibles or want to dab some distillate, is it actually safe? What happens if you get the dose wrong? 

The thing is, you can take your THC distillate any way you like. That’s probably why people are getting excited about it. You can add a tiny amount to your vape mixture. A small drop could be put onto your dabbing rig. Just a drop in your edibles mix could make a huge difference.  

The Benefits of THC Distillate 

First of all, you get a pure version of your desired cannabinoid. While this is limited at the moment, expect different terpenes, flavonoids and THC and CBD products to come on the market in the future.  

  • It can be tailored to how you want to take your cannabis. You can even put a few drops in a joint and smoke it with tobacco.  
  • For those who prefer to be discreet about there cannabis usage, the fact that THC distillate is odorless is also a bonus. 
  • There could be big implications for those who use cannabis for medical purposes. 

If we can isolate the right compounds, they may well provide much better therapeutic benefits for users. For example, if you suffer from anxiety, there could be a patch infused with THC distillate in the future that you can just pop on to keep you centered.  

The Disadvantages of THC Distillate 

The one big thing you need to be aware of is that this a concentrated form of THC. You can’t take too much as it will give you too big a high. There is some suggestion that the development of THC distillate has led to an increase in hospital admissions. For that reason, distillates may not be a good choice if this is your first time using cannabis. 

The other thing is that THC distillate is quite expensive, although the prices have started to come down in recent times. That’s down not only to better manufacturing processes but also drops in the price of cannabis flowers due to legalization in many states.   

Vaping THC Distillate 

One pretty efficient way to take THC distillate is to use a vaping device. You need to make sure this has ceramic coil rather than a cotton one which will absorb the distillate. Simply combine a small amount of your pure product with your usual oil and you should be good to go.  

Dabbing with THC Distillate 

Another popular method is to use a dabbing rig. This is where you heat up a nail and add the distillate in a very small quantity which then evaporates so that you can inhale it. As with vaping, you should get a fairly rapid physical and psychological response but you need to be extra careful with quantities.  

THC Distillate and Edibles 

If you are making cannabutter or oil, why spend so much time infusing your product in the dried and cured plant. Just add a few drops of distillate instead and simply make sure that you mix properly. This could certainly save you a lot of effort and still deliver the same results.   

Of course, having everything pre-prepared and refined takes away a lot of the fun for many people. Some of us do prefer to roll a joint or make a big blunt, construct a gravity bong or mess around with some shatter or crumble. The good news is that there is plenty of versatility in the cannabis market at the moment and that’s actually a good thing.  

THC distillate will suit those people who just want the effect and aren’t that bothered by the delivery method or the cannabis culture. It’s also a good choice for many medical cannabis users who want to be discreet while getting the health benefits they need. The fact that you can be flexible in how you administer the distillate could be a big factor for these people.  

On the other hand, some will find the lack of flavor and smell a little underwhelming. As the old adage goes: you pay your money and you make your choice. While some will try THC distillate as part of their ongoing cannabis experimentation, we can see many going back to more flavorsome and traditional methods, including growing their own plants and drying and curing their weed. 

Steven Meredith

Steven is a full-time freelance writer based in Wales. He joined the Seedsman team in 2018, contributing articles on a number of topics including global news, cultivation and strain profiles.

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