Everything You Need To Know About THC Distillate


THC Distillate

Cannabusiness has created some truly novel products in the last few years — from blunts to vape pens to concentrates to dabbing to THC and CBD strips, and everything in between. It seems like every other day, someone gives us another way to consume cannabinoids. Case in point: THC distillate.

You may not have heard of this cutting-edge product (it’s probably why you’re here, right?), but take our word for it, you’re going to want to try it.

Why? Because THC distillate has been tested at almost 99 percent pure. That makes for one heck of a righteous high! But it also raises a host of questions, like:

  • What are THC distillates?
  • How are THC distillates made?
  • What are their advantages?
  • How can you use THC distillates for yourself?

The experts at Honest Marijuana will answer those questions and tell you everything you need to know about this newest cannabis craze.

What Are THC Distillates?

Close up of THC Distillate

A distillate is the end product of a process called — wait for it — distillation (duh, right?). Distillation involves separating the chemical components from a liquid mixture by controlled boiling and condensation. If you’re at all familiar with moonshine, The Dukes Of Hazzard, or the hills of Kentucky, you’ve probably heard the words distiller, distillery, or even still.

That’s because humans have been using the distillation process to refine their alcohol for decades, if not centuries. So it’s really nothing new.

What is new, though, is applying distillation to cannabis plants and cannabis concentrates in order to extract the purest cannabinoids possible.

The basic definition of distillation (and distillate) as outlined in the previous paragraph is a good start, but to truly understand why distillation is so significant, we first need to discuss two topics:

  1. Cannabis plant biology
  2. Cannabis concentrates

Once we’re through those, it will be easier to explain how THC distillates are made. And if those subjects seem a bit daunting, don’t worry. We’ll keep it as simple as possible.

Cannabis Plant Biology

The cannabis plant contains three essential chemical compounds:

  1. Cannabinoids
  2. Terpenes
  3. Flavonoids

The best-known cannabinoid is THC, but there are 113 in all (including CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBC), and more are being isolated every day.

Cannabinoids are chemicals that interact with the endocannabinoid system in your body and brain to get you high, decrease your anxiety, and relieve your pain.

Terpenes are oils that give the pot plant its unique flavor, smell, and medicinal properties. Flavonoids are molecules within the plant itself that combine with the terpenes to produce distinctive tastes and aromas like that given off by the famous Sour Diesel strain.

Terpenes and flavonoids can make your ganja taste fruity, earthy, or even zesty.

The thing about cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids is that they all have different boiling points. “Why is that relevant?” you ask. Because separating these chemicals from the marijuana plant without completely destroying them is the ultimate goal of producing a THC distillate.

For that, we first have to learn about cannabis concentrates.

Cannabis Concentrates

Marijuana oil concentrate

Concentrates, a.k.a. extracts, are all the rage right now, and for good reason. They are exactly what their name implies: concentrated versions of the cannabinoids found in store-bought bud.

So if your favorite Fruity Pebbles strain measures in at 12 percent THC, the concentrate taken from that same strain could double or triple the potency if processed correctly.

Concentrates are made through a process called solvent extraction. Cannabis plant matter is soaked in chemicals such as isopropyl alcohol, chloroform, carbon dioxide, propane, butane, or even ice water. The solvent strips the plant of its cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids and holds them in a liquid state.

The solvent is then forced to evaporate (through a change in pressure or temperature or both), leaving behind a liquid that contains nothing but canna-goodness.

The nice thing about concentrates is that you can let them harden into shatter or wax for use as fuel for all your dabbing fantasies or keep them in liquid form as an oil or tincture.

In fact, brewing a DIY tincture for yourself is one of the easiest ways to get your hands on a cannabis concentrate. Here are two simple recipes for making your own tincture to tide you over while we talk about THC distillates.

The Cold Method

cold method tincture with THC distillate

Ingredients

  • Your favorite weed
  • Oven
  • Cookie sheet
  • Mason jar with lid
  • High-proof alcohol
  • Freezer
  • Strainer or cheesecloth
  • Dropper bottle or two

Instructions

  1. Decarboxylate your dried and cured bud by breaking it into small pieces and placing it on a cookie sheet in a 230℉ oven for 35 minutes.
  2. Dump the decarboxylated weed into a mason jar.
  3. Pour in enough ethyl alcohol (Everclear or some other high-proof alcohol) to completely cover the plant matter.
  4. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for two minutes.
  5. Place the jar in the freezer for five days.
  6. Once or twice a day for those five days, shake the jar for a minute or so to help the plant matter dissolve.
  7. On the sixth day, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or strainer to remove the leaves and stems.
  8. Dispose of those solids.
  9. Pour the remaining liquid (your tincture) into a dropper bottle or two for long-term storage.
  10. Store the dropper bottles in a cool, dry place and enjoy.

The Warm Method

Ingredients

  • Your favorite weed
  • Oven
  • Cookie sheet
  • Mason jar with lid
  • High-proof alcohol
  • Strainer or cheesecloth
  • Dropper bottle or two

Instructions

  1. Decarboxylate your dried and cured bud by breaking it into small pieces and placing it on a cookie sheet in a 230℉ oven for 35 minutes.
  2. Dump the decarboxylated weed into a mason jar.
  3. Pour in enough ethyl alcohol (Everclear or some other high-proof alcohol) to completely cover the plant matter.
  4. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for two minutes.
  5. Store the mason jar in a cool, dry place out of the sun for 30 days.
  6. After 30 days, pour the liquid through a cheesecloth or strainer.
  7. Discard the plant matter.
  8. Pour the liquid into a dropper bottles for long-term use.
  9. Store the droppers in a cool, dry place out of the sun.
  10. Enjoy!

If you’re motivated to make your own cannabis concentrate, we suggest trying the cold method first. It involves the least amount of effort and wait time, so you can start ingesting it sooner.

And if you’re really jonesing for a dose of concentrate and you don’t have any on hand, you can always try the hot method to produce your own from raw bud. Here’s how to do it.

The Hot Method

hot method tincture using THC distillate

Ingredients

  • Your favorite weed
  • Oven
  • Cookie sheet
  • Mason jar with lid
  • High-proof alcohol
  • Pot (the cooking kind)
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Fan or ventilation
  • Cheesecloth or strainer
  • Dropper bottle or two

Instructions

  1. Decarboxylate your dried and cured bud by breaking it into small pieces and placing it on a cookie sheet in a 230℉ oven for 35 minutes.
  2. Dump the decarboxylated weed into a mason jar.
  3. Pour in enough ethyl alcohol (Everclear or some other high-proof alcohol) to completely cover the plant matter.
  4. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for two minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and set the jar in a pot or pan on the stove.
  6. Add an inch of water around the mason jar (don’t put any water in the jar or you’ll ruin it).
  7. Turn on your fan or crack a window to provide ventilation for the next few steps.
  8. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer the uncovered mason jar until the temperature of the alcohol/weed mix reaches 165℉ (the alcohol in the jar shouldn’t boil).
  9. When your brew reaches 165℉, remove the jar from the water bath and set it aside to cool.
  10. When the jar is cool enough to handle with your bare hands, pour the liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth to separate the plant matter.
  11. Once the liquid has cooled to room temperature, pour it into a dropper bottle or two.
  12. Store the dropper bottle(s) in a cool, dry place out of the sun.

Note: It’s essential that you take steps to ventilate the area where you’re cooking your tincture, and to keep open flames away from the alcohol. Alcohol and the fumes it produces when heated are flammable and can cause significant damage to your home if they ignite.

Are Concentrates The Best Cannabis Available?

From what you’ve read above, tinctures and concentrates sound like the holy grail of marijuana consumption, right? The most perfect form of marijuana that money can buy?

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not even close. THC distillates claim that top spot. Here’s why.

How Are THC Distillates Made?

As already mentioned, concentrates are usually produced by raising the pressure and/or temperature at some point during the extraction process. The focus of the solvent extraction is usually the cannabinoids THC or CBD.

The problem with focusing on just the cannabinoids is that the other beneficial chemicals in the marijuana plant — terpenes and flavonoids — have very different boiling points.

So in the process of extracting the cannabinoids, the terpenes and flavonoids are usually destroyed. This dramatically affects the purity and potency of the final concentrate.

But by using steam distillation and fractionation, ALL of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids can be collected in one final product without any leftover solvents. That’s how THC distillates can weigh in at 99-percent purity.

The complete process can get pretty complicated and requires some specialized equipment, so you really can’t do it at home. But to give you a general idea, here’s how steam distillation and fractionation are done:

  1. Combine a solvent and cannabis plant matter to extract the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
  2. Raise the temperature of this solution to boil off the terpenes and flavonoids (they have a lower boiling point than the cannabinoids).
  3. Allow the steam from this boiling to pass through a water-cooled tube that causes the gas to turn back into a liquid. Those are the terpenes and the flavonoids.
  4. Raise the temperature of the solution even more to boil off the cannabinoids.
  5. Allow the steam from this boiling to pass through a water-cooled tube that causes the gas to turn back into a liquid. Those are the cannabinoids.
  6. You now mix the terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids together, let it solidify, and you’ve got your THC distillate.

There’s quite a bit more sciency stuff that goes into it, but that’s the basic technique. Having trouble visualizing the whole thing?

Thanks to Wikipedia, you don’t have to use your imagination. Here’s a simple illustration of the distillation process (the action goes from lower left to lower right).

THC Distillation graph

When all is said and done, you’re left with an amber liquid about the consistency of thick honey. You allow the distillate to harden (or keep it as an oil), and you’re good to go.

Again, there’s a lot of technical knowledge that goes into creating a distillate, so we don’t recommend trying it at home no matter how simple we’ve made it sound.

Stills can explode if not operated correctly, and we’d hate for you to get injured trying to make something you can (or soon will be able to) buy at your local dispensary.

Advantages Of THC Distillates

1) Distillates Are Already Decarboxylated

Unlike raw cannabis, distillates are decarboxylated and ready to use. The difference between a decarboxylated marijuana product and a non-decarboxylated marijuana product lies in how the cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system in your body.

If you ingest a non-decarboxylated marijuana product (like raw bud), your body treats it like any other green leafy plant you might eat (e.g., spinach, kale, lettuce, etc.). You might get a bit of nutritional benefit, but you’re certainly not going to get high.

When you ingest a decarboxylated marijuana product, the medicinal and psychedelic chemicals in the trichomes travel almost immediately to your brain, where they activate specific neurons that then produce the results you’re looking for.

2) Distillates Are Almost 100 Percent Pure

splash from drop into water body

If you like to know exactly what’s in the cannabis you put in your body, distillates are your holy grail.

With distillates, you don’t have to worry about additives or leftover chemicals (solvents). The science behind distillation means that only the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids will remain at the end of the process.

3) Distillates Have A Very High THC Content

Depending on the bud you use to make your distillate, the final product will have a very high THC count. Some of the strongest weed strains can top out at 30 percent THC or higher.

When concentrated into a distillate, THC count rapidly approaches the high 90s. That’s some pretty potent pot!

4) Distillates Produce The Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is the interaction of cannabis compounds (e.g., THC, CBD, terpenes, etc.) to produce certain physical effects. The entourage effect is so vital in creating these physical effects that some are impossible without it.

For example, THC is a great treatment for chronic pain, while CBD helps mitigate the symptoms of psychosis. You can’t substitute THC for CBD and expect to find relief from psychotic disorders. The two are not interchangeable in this regard.

And while you can use THC and CBD to treat some of the same things, you can only experience the specific, unique effects mentioned above by using one or the other. But put them together and suddenly you have a wide variety of new treatments and effects available.

For example, the combination of THC, CBD, terpenes, and other cannabis compounds makes the treatment of depression, OCD, arthritis, and migraines possible.

The cannabinoids and terpenes by themselves don’t result in these same effects. It’s their combination that produces what’s technically known as synergy.

Synergy is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

The example above is but one illustration of marijuana’s synergistic effects in action. Isolate one component — like CBD — or push one component too high — like THC — at the expense of the other components, and the beneficial effects quickly decrease.

5) Distillates Are Discreet

Unlike burning down on a dab rig in the middle of the break room at work, distillates are extremely discreet.

As you’ll see in the next section, you can ingest distillates in several ways that won’t draw attention to the fact that you’re taking cannabis.

For those with physical or mental issues that require dosing throughout the day, being able to take their medicine discreetly (without the telltale marijuana smell or all the obvious equipment) is extremely helpful.

And the benefits listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. The advantages run the gamut from storage to transport to cost per gram. Distillates really are the next phase in the evolution of cannabis consumption.

But that raises the question, “How do you use THC distillates?” Read on to find out.

How To Use THC Distillates

Even though THC distillates are relatively new, they can be used in a variety of tried-and-true methods, so you don’t have to change how you get your dose of THC or CBD.

1) Sublingual

One of the easiest ways to ingest a distillate is to place a drop or two under your tongue (without swallowing) and let the liquid dissolve into your bloodstream.

Taking your distillate sublingually (under the tongue) produces medicinal or psychedelic effects a bit faster than swallowing it but not quite as fast as inhaling it via one of the other methods on this list.

2) Vape Pen

Another simple way to administer a distillate is through a vape pen. You will need one with a reloadable tank that accepts a variety of liquid and solid cannabis.

It’s also helpful if your vape pen allows you to adjust the temperature because the various forms of cannabis (e.g., shatter, wax, oil, liquid, etc.) vaporize at different points.

If you’re not yet ready to vape a full tank of distillate, try adding a few drops to another cartridge for an added kick.

3) Dab Rig Or Bong

For an almost instantaneous kick, scoop a bit of hardened THC distillate into the bowl of your bong or onto the nail of your favorite dab rig and get ready to fly.

4) Joint, Blunt, Spliff

woman smoking THC distillate inside joint

If you’re fond of the old-school methods of consuming cannabis, spread a small amount of THC distillate on a rolling paper and then create your own joint, blunt, or spliff.

The high THC count in the distillate means you’ll need only a few puffs to feel the effects. A distillate-infused joint, blunt, or spliff is great for sharing because a little goes a long way.

And if you’re really adventurous, you can kick things up even further by sprinkling a bit of kief on top before you close. Just make sure you strap in for a wild ride.

5) Pill

The major advantage of distillate in pill form (i.e., just a solid lump of distillate) is that it is much more powerful and will last much longer than traditionally smoked, vaped, or dabbed cannabis.

Plus, solid distillate doesn’t require that you learn how to smoke, is more portable, and doesn’t have the same unmistakable odor as regular marijuana.

If you need pain relief while you sleep, swallow a drop of hardened THC distillate for all-night relief from your symptoms.

The nature of digestion means that your body will release the cannabinoids in the THC distillate slowly over time. In fact, it can take up to two hours for you to feel any effects at all.

6) Edible

You can mix THC distillate into a wide variety of edibles for quick and easy consumption. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Really, you can mix liquid THC distillate into almost anything and make it work.

You can even drizzle it directly on top of a salad or in a smoothie in a pinch. If you aren’t fond of the taste, try mixing it into your favorite olive oil or vinaigrette dressing to mask the flavor.

The Possibilities Are Endless

There really is no end to the ways you can use THC distillates. The only limit is your imagination.

If you’ve never used THC distillates (or any concentrates, for that matter), it’s essential that you’re careful with how much you ingest to start. The strength and potency of THC distillates makes it all too easy to get way too high in a short amount of time. That’s no fun at all.

Our best advice is to start small and increase your dosage slowly.

This gently warning aside, don’t be afraid to give THC distillates a try. Doing so will help you find out for yourself if they’re right for you.

For more information about all things marijuana and to check out all our organic cannabis products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.

The post Everything You Need To Know About THC Distillate appeared first on Honest Marijuana.



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