Alcohol distiller for cbd oil

How to Make a Cannabis Tincture: Easy Cold Alcohol Extraction

Come learn how to make your own homemade cannabis tincture using a simple cold alcohol (ethanol) extraction method with our step-by-step guide. I’ve included plenty of photos to make the process as clear and easy to follow as possible. There is also a printable summary at the end – though I don’t think you’ll want to miss the extra tips in the body of the post.

Tinctures are a convenient, discreet, and easy way to enjoy your plant medicine. It’s kinder to your lungs than smoking or vaporizing, and offers more controlled and consistent dosing compared to smoking or homemade edibles. (I love that I can take just a few drops if needed.) You can use this homemade cannabis tincture recipe with any of your favorite cannabis strains, with CBD hemp only, or like we do – with homegrown herb!

What is a cannabis tincture?

A cannabis tincture is a concentrated alcohol-based cannabis extract, often referred to as “Green Dragon” among the cannabis community. High percentage alcohol is used as a solvent to extract the medicinal compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes) from the plant flower or “buds”. Though tinctures are essentially cannabis-infused alcohol, you do not get drunk since only a tiny amount is consumed.

Cannabis tinctures are highly therapeutic. Studies show that cannabis can be used to soothe a wide variety of physical and mental ailments, including sleep disorders, stress, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, muscle tension, joint pain, migraine headaches, inflammation, seizures, cancer, chronic pain and more. Cannabis tinctures can contain THC only (such as THC isolate), a blend of THC and CBD, or CBD alone.

When it comes to CBD, I always use my favorite certified organic full-spectrum CBD oil from NuVita. It’s federally-legal and is the most effective, potent and pure CBD oil I’ve ever tried. It does wonders for my anxiety, TMJ, and sleep issues! (Use code “deannacat” or this link to save 10% off) But if we want something with THC, we make our own tinctures using homegrown cannabis. It’s fun, rewarding, and a great way to save money!

What type of alcohol to make homemade cannabis tincture?

It is best to use either 200-proof food grade ethanol (aka ethyl alcohol) or 190-proof Everclear alcohol for this cannabis tincture recipe. Both are strong natural solvents that will effectively strip and separate the desired cannabinoids from the plant material. We use USDA organic ethanol from Culinary Solvents. It is pure food-grade grain alcohol, and doesn’t contain any additives or water. Use code “deannacat” to save 10% off pints, quarts, and gallons of regular and organic ethanol from Culinary Solvents!

Lower-proof alcohol (e.g. 80 proof vodka) is a weaker solvent and also has a higher water content than ethanol, which can interfere with the extraction and tincture-making process. You technically can make homemade cannabis tincture with vodka or other lower proof liquor, but it requires additional steps that we aren’t going to cover in this article.

Do not use rubbing alcohol.

What type of cannabis should I use?

It’s important to use decarbed cannabis in this homemade cannabis tincture recipe. If you’re not familiar with decarboxylation, it’s essentially the process of heating cannabis to “activate” it (explained more below). When exposed to heat, raw forms of THCA, CBDA, and other cannabinoids are converted to their active forms of THC and CBD – making it psychoactive as well as more therapeutic. (It’s the same reaction that occurs when you heat cannabis via smoking or vaporizing, and why eating raw bud doesn’t get you high).

Aside from that, use whatever cannabis you prefer or have on hand! Choose a strain (or combination of a couple) with traits you personally desire from your homemade cannabis tincture. We use what we grow: well-rounded sativa/indica hybrids that also offer a good amount of CBD. Learn how to grow your own organic cannabis at home here, and shop for seeds here.

For the most therapeutic tincture, I recommend using strains with a well-balanced THC to CBD ratio. If you’re looking for daytime relief with less mental effects, choose a CBD-dominant strain. Yes, you can totally use this cannabis tincture recipe with CBD hemp alone!

Why freeze alcohol and cannabis for extraction?

This homemade cannabis tincture recipe uses a cold ethanol extraction method, also referred to as quick wash ethanol extraction or “QWET”. Freezing the cannabis makes the trichomes detach from the plant material more efficiently. When mixed with cold ethanol, the desirable cannabinoids and terpenes readily extract and combine with the alcohol – resulting in a stronger, better tincture.

Furthermore, keeping the mixture at a very low temperature helps reduce the amount of undesirable compounds in your tincture, such as lipids and chlorophyll. It’s a chemistry thing, but basically the freezing temperature influences the polarity of the lipids and chlorophyll so they’re more likely to stay bound to the plant material (and therefore get filtered out) rather than combining with the ethanol.

When done right, the resulting filtered tincture wash will be clear and golden in color rather than cloudy or green.

Supplies Needed to Make a Homemade Cannabis Tincture

  • 8 grams of decarbed cannabis
  • 6 ounces of 200-proof food grade ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or 190 proof Everclear
  • Freezer-safe glass containers, such as wide-mouth pint mason jars or half-pint jars with lids.
  • Small unbleached coffee filters, like these ones
  • Dropper bottles to store your finished tincture. We like these 2-ounce amber bottles; the droppers have mL markers on them for accurate dosing.

Yields: 2 ounces of homemade cannabis tincture

Please note that this is a two-day process, though ingredients are just sitting in the freezer for 97% of that time.

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Decarb your cannabis

To decarb cannabis, start by tearing up the buds into fairly small pieces. Then spread it out evenly on a baking sheet. For THC-dominant strains, heat the cannabis in the oven at 250°F for 25 to 30 minutes. For high-CBD strains, bake it for 40 to 50 minutes at the same temperature. (It takes slightly longer for CBDA to convert to CBD than THCA to THC does.) If you’re using a well-balanced THC:CBD strain, meet in the middle at 30 to 35 minutes. See this article for a more in-depth look at decarbing cannabis.

Don’t want to stink up the house? Consider using an Ardent Nova device for an easy, nearly odor-free decarboxylation experience. We just got one recently and love it!

Note that your cannabis will decrease in weight slightly during the decarb process (as it gets more dry). So, start with a few extra grams so you’ll end up with the 8 grams needed for this cannabis tincture recipe. Or, bake plenty so you have enough leftover to make homemade cannabis oil or topical salve!

Step 2: Freeze Cannabis and Alcohol (separately)

Use a scale to weigh out 8 grams of decarbed cannabis. Add the cannabis to a freezer-safe glass container with a lid. We like to use a wide-mouth pint glass jar. (Even though it seems more than large enough, the extra room in the jar makes it easier to shake compared to a half-pint jar.) Next add 6 ounces of ethanol to a separate freezer-safe container. Do not mix the alcohol and cannabis yet. Put both containers in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

Step 3: Combine Cannabis and Alcohol (First Wash)

After the initial 24 hours (or longer) is up, remove the cannabis and alcohol from the freezer. Pour ONLY HALF of the cold alcohol (3 ounces) into the container of frozen cannabis. Add a lid and shake vigorously for 5 minutes. Wrap the jar in a kitchen towel if it’s too cold to comfortably hold.

This process extracts the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material, and is considered the “first wash”. We’ll do two rounds total.

Now return the cannabis-alcohol mixture as well as the separate remaining 3 ounces of plain alcohol to the freezer for an additional 2 hours.

Step 4: Shake and Strain

Once the two hours are up, it’s time for another shake – and then we strain! Remove the jar of mixed cannabis and alcohol from the freezer, and shake it again for an additional 5 minutes. (We don’t need the jar of plain alcohol at this time.)

Next we’re going to strain the tincture through two mediums: cheesecloth first to filter the larger plant material, and then a finer coffee filter to further remove unwanted lipids and other residue.

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First set up the coffee filter straining station. We find it easiest to set a small coffee filter in the top of a separate clean pint glass jar, fold it over the rim of the jar, and then screw on a lid ring to hold it in place. The cannabis tincture takes a while to seep through the filter, so holding it by hand isn’t fun.

Next, put cheesecloth over the jar that contains the cannabis-alcohol mixture (we use the ring trick again) and slowly pour it through the cheesecloth and into the coffee filter jar. See the photos below.

Now return the jar of remaining cannabis to the freezer while the first wash liquid is straining through the coffee filter (about 10 minutes).

Step 5: Second Wash & Strain

Now it’s time for the second and final wash. This step helps extract any final remaining cannabinoids from the plant material into your homemade cannabis tincture.

Simply repeat steps 3 and 4. Add the remaining 3 ounces of cold plain alcohol to the cannabis jar, add a lid, shake vigorously for 5 minutes, and strain through the cheesecloth and coffee filter once again – pouring it into the same filter and jar as the first wash.

Step 6: Reduce

After all the liquid has strained through the coffee filter into the jar, it’s time to reduce it by about half the volume. Excess alcohol will easily evaporate off, and the result is a more concentrated and effective homemade cannabis texture.

Do this by simply allowing the jar to sit out at room temperature with the lid off for several hours. We place the jar in front of a fan to help expedite the process. Note the volume of liquid in the container when you start (use a rubber band around the jar, or a glass marking pen). Keep an eye on it! Once it reduces by half, add a lid to stop further evaporation – or go ahead and bottle your final homemade cannabis tincture.

Step 7: Bottle and Store

Once it’s reduced by half, transfer the strained cannabis extract to a final storage bottle – such as these amber glass dropper bottles. Amber bottles are ideal since they reduce light exposure, which degrades cannabinoids. Store the bottle in the refrigerator for the best long-lasting quality. Congratulations, you just made a homemade cannabis tincture! Keep reading for usage and dosing information.

How to Use or Take a Cannabis Tincture

You can consume your cannabis tincture either under your tongue (sublingually) or mixed with a beverage (oral ingestion). Sublingual consumption will result in more immediate effects, while oral ingestion will have a slower onset but longer-lasting results. See the graphic below.

However, proceed with some caution! 200 proof ethanol is very strong, and I find it causes a burning sensation when applied straight under my tongue. To avoid that, I put a very small amount of water in my mouth first, squirt in the tincture, hold the diluted mixture in my mouth for a few minutes, and then swallow. Therefore my intake is mostly sublingual, but with a little oral ingestion too.

Strength and Dosing for Homemade Cannabis Tincture

When first trying your tincture, I suggest to start low and go slow. Without lab testing, it’s difficult to say exactly how potent a homemade cannabis tincture is. There are simply too many factors: the initial cannabinoid concentration and strain you used, how long and hot you decarbed it, the efficacy of your ethanol extraction process, and how much it was reduced at the end.

Start with a few drops, and then gradually increase the amount to find your “sweet spot” and desired results. (But wait a couple hours to see how you feel before taking more.) With this recipe, a quarter dropper is a fairly conservative starting point. I personally like to take .25 mL or a quarter dropper (though I’ve taken more just fine) while Aaron prefers about .5 mL or half a dropper. That’s just enough to take the edge off, relax our muscles, and help us sleep better without being too stony.

That was fairly simple, right?

Well folks, I hope this tutorial was easy to follow – and will enable you to successfully make your own cannabis tinctures at home now. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below. If you found this information useful, please consider leaving a rating/review and pinning or sharing this post. We greatly appreciate you tuning in today. Now go have fun making your own medicinal Green Dragon!

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Homemade Cannabis Tincture Recipe

Come learn how to make your own homemade cannabis tincture (aka Green Dragon) using a simple cold alcohol (ethanol) extraction method.

Keyword: cannabis tincture alcohol, ethanol extraction cannabis tincture, green dragon recipe, homemade cannabis tincture, how to make cannabis tincture

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 8 grams decarbed cannabis
  • 6 ounces 200-proof food grade eylth alcohol (ethanol) or 190-proof Everclear alcohol

Instructions

Decarb your raw cannabis. Tear it up into fairly small pieces and spread on a baking sheet. For THC-dominant strains, heat the cannabis in the oven at 250°F for 25 to 30 minutes. For high-CBD strains, bake for 40 to 50 minutes and 30 to 35 minutes for a well-balanced THC:CBD strain. (I suggest starting with a few more than 8 grams since it will get lighter as it dries.)

Add 8 grams of decarbed cannabis to a freezer-safe glass container with a lid, and 6 ounces of ethanol to a separate freezer-safe container. Put both containers in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

First Wash: After the initial 24 hours (or longer), remove the cannabis and alcohol from the freezer. Pour only HALF of the cold alcohol (3 ounces) into the container of frozen cannabis. Add a lid and shake vigorously for 5 minutes. Now return the cannabis-alcohol mixture as well as the separate remaining 3 ounces of plain alcohol to the freezer for an additional 2 hours.

After two hours, remove the jar of mixed cannabis and alcohol from the freezer and shake it again for an additional 5 minutes. Then strain the mixture twice: first through a cheesecloth and then through a coffee filter into a separate clean container (as shown in this article). Return the jar of remaining cannabis to the freezer while the liquid is straining through the coffee filter (about 10 minutes).

Second Wash: Repeat steps 3 and 4. Add the remaining 3 ounces of cold plain alcohol to the cannabis jar, add a lid, shake vigorously for 5 minutes, and strain through the cheesecloth and coffee filter once again – pouring it into the same filter and jar as the first wash.

Reduce the liquid by half via evaporation. Simply set the jar out at room temperature with the lid off for several hours, or place in front of a fan to expedite the process. Note the volume of liquid in the container when you start. Once it reduces by half, add a lid to stop further evaporation – and/or transfer your finished tincture into it’s final storage bottle.

Store your homemade cannabis tincture in an opaque glass bottle in the refrigerator. We recommend 2-ounce amber dropper bottles.

Consume the tincture either under your tongue (sublingually) or mixed with a beverage (oral ingestion). Sublingual consumption will result in more immediate effects, while oral ingestion will have a slower onset but longer-lasting effects. **Please see notes of caution and additional information on usage/dosing below.

Notes

  1. **Ethanol alcohol is very strong and may cause a burning sensation when applied straight under the tongue. To avoid that, I put a very small amount of water in my mouth first, squirt in the tincture, hold the diluted mixture in my mouth for a few minutes, and then swallow. Therefore my intake is mostly sublingual, but with a little oral ingestion too.
  2. Re: Dosage, start low and go slow. Start with a few drops, and then gradually increase the amount to find your “sweet spot” and desired results. (But wait a couple hours to see how you feel before taking more.) With this recipe, a quarter dropper is a fairly conservative starting point.

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29 Comments

SoggyCashew

Is there a Machine that will do the process for me?

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

We use this Ardent machine to decarb our cannabis, I think the Magical Butter Machine has a tincture setting but it uses a very low heat setting whereas this recipe is cold alcohol extraction which reduces the amount of chlorophyl and other less wanted plant material in your final product. Hope that helps and good luck!

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Hi, what if you let it evaporate off too long? Can I add a little more grain alcohol or other liquid (oil) so I can make it liquid again and get it bottled? Thanks so much!

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hi Brad, yes if it evaporated too much, you have a highly potent oil on hand. Add back enough alcohol to account for a total of 2 ounces and you will be back in the ballpark of the recipe. Enjoy!

Renee

I left the tincture on my porch for about 5 hrs. The temp was around 75-82. About .5 oz evaporated. Prior the tincture had been out at room temp for 24 hrs (72 degrees in the house). Is this saying I didn’t have much alcohol to burn off?

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hello Renee, did you use 190 proof alcohol or higher? The time can also vary due to the humidity and moisture in the air in your specific environment. If you did use high proof alcohol, I have found that placing directly in front of a box fan or something similar is the best way to get it to evaporate at a quicker rate. I can usually get 4-5 ounces of the tincture down to 2 ounces within a few hours when I place the jar right in front of a fan, the extra air running over the top of it can really help it evaporate off. Hope that helps and good luck!

Thomas

Hi. Firstly, thank you for detailed recipe.

I’m curious about left-overs. Is it usable after process, is there any THC left in it?

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hi Thomas, there may be trace amounts still left but the hope is that the extraction process pulled out all THC and cannabinoids with it. The plant material also more or less breaks down into tiny little bits, you could probably mix it into edibles if you let it dry out afterwards but I don’t think it is worth saving. Good luck!

Jennifer

First of all, thank your for such detailed instructions!
just messed up and forgot to drain the first half off before the second wash. Is this going to affect potency too much?

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hi Jennifer, so you left the first wash in the jar before adding the second wash to it, before then straining off the cannabis from the tincture? If so, this won’t have any effect on the potency, reducing your final volume by half will have the greatest effect on potency. Hope that helps and enjoy your tincture.

It’s not worth using it, but you could be surprised how much liquid absorbing dry flower. I’m putting leftover under diy press and getting about 20 ml of tinkture. With good press you can get even more.

Megan

Curious, how long will the tinctures last? Can we freeze them? I know we need to keep them in the fridge just wondering how long they are good for?

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hi Megan, since it is an alcohol based tincture it can last for well over a year, if not even longer (as in years) if stored properly.

Hi Deanna! Michigan prohibits the sale of this Culinary Solvent and Everclear. Do you have any suggestions for a good substitute? Thanks for your time. BTW i LOVE LOVE LOVE your site. I stumbled across your page during COVID – you were promoting the Excalibur Dehydrator, which i ended up purchasing. I mean what better way to use my COVID cash, am I right? My family loves the dehydrated banana chips and mango. YUM.

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hi Barb, we’re so glad you found our site and it’s great to hear you’ve picked up dehydrating, we use ours for so many different things. States and their permits or laws are something else… In California, we can’t buy 190 proof Everclear but we can order Culinary Solvents online and have it shipped to our house without permits. Anyway, you can use 151 proof alcohol, whichever brand is easiest to find (most likely Bacardi 151) and give the tincture a try with that. When it comes to the reducing part of the recipe, you can let it evaporate in front of a fan and see how much of the alcohol evaporates off (although there is some water in the lower proof alcohol so it won’t evaporate as readily). See how much it reduces by, if you get close to half, we will consider it a success. Even if not, the tincture will likely just have a lower concentration of THC, meaning you will have to take more to get the same effects as a tincture that gets reduced by half. Let us know how the recipe turns out and how much you can get the final tincture to evaporate by.

Momma2leg

Hi, can I use the “shake” to make my tincture?

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

You can absolutely use shake or trim, most recipes call for adding 2 to 3 times as much when using trim instead of flower to get to a similar potency. Although, I am not sure how much trim can fit in the jar and still get submerged in the alcohol. The cannabis does break down pretty well once it gets combined with the alcohol so you may have to add the trim in stages. Hope that helps and good luck!

Besides diluting the final product is there any other reason not to dilute the final product after reducing it?

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hi Rick, if you don’t want the tincture to be as concentrated or strong, just skip the reduction step, just know that you would essentially have to take twice as much tincture to get the same effects as a tincture that was reduced by half. A tincture that isn’t reduced by half will also have more of an alcohol burn taste as not as much of the alcohol would be evaporated off. What did you want to dilute the tincture with? You can always just dilute your individual desired dose with juice, coffee, smoothie, or whatever you prefer if you don’t like the flavor. The tincture as is, has a really long shelf life since it is made with high proof alcohol, if you mix it with something else, the storage capabilities may be reduced. Let me know if I didn’t answer your question well enough or if I missed something. Good luck!

Maggie

Hi! Thank you for this wonderful recipe, Im in the middle of making it right now and wanted to clarify one thing. For the second wash do I also need to let the mixture sit in the freezer for two hours before straining it? The recipe says to repeat steps 3 and 4 but it also says to shake for 5 minutes and then strain. Just want to make sure im not missing 2 more hours in the freezer. Thank you so much!!

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hi Maggie, the second wash doesn’t need the two hour freeze time, that is only for the first wash. Second wash is shake for 5 minutes and strain/filter. Hope that helps and enjoy your tincture!

I make tincture with my own alcohol.. about 85% (170 proof) double distilled in an air still from sugar wash and alcohol-tollerant distiller’s yeast, then I wash (overnight in the freeezer) about a quart of untrimmed buds moderately packed into a ball jar (pre-frozen) with periodic shaking, and then recapture 75% for re-use, again using the air still. Finally, I dilute the resulting gesin with ginger brandy until I have 5 droppers full of tasty tincture. I do this with either THC/balanced strains or CBD strains, and mark the droppers differently. I may get a slightly ‘greener’ product with the 170 proof solvent, but it’s 100% available without the state controlled oversite of solvent ethanol, economical, and I know exactly what is in it.

I tried re-washing the green and distilling off the resulting solvent and had such a low yield of resin that I no longer do that extra step, but I grow more green than I can ever use so that doesn’t limit what is available to me… in a different growing circumstance that tiny extra yield would be more worth it.

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My lungs can’t take smoking or even vaping from a lifetime as a woodworker and all the irritating dust I have assaulted myself with, so edibles or solutions are what work for me. further, my cellar-drying makes me fearful of molds, so alcohol processing is my go-to solution (as it were), and the convenience and consistency make the final product easy, portable, and reliable, and I have taken it thru airport security for years with no hassles.

I used an oil solution for years until my wife expressed an interest in CBD but couldn’t handle any of the oils I tried… that led me to the ginger brandy I use exclusively now. It takes a while for the low alcohol ginger brandy to dissolve the pure resisn if I remove all the available ethanol, so I try to nab the final distillation while there is a smidge of the original ethanol left to save about a week in the time it takes for the resin to mix thoroughly with the brandy. i do that by measuring the solution before final distillation, marking 75% on the bottle, and stopping when the output level gets to that mark. Results may vary but that is what works for my setup – others might find a modification in technique is best for them.

Emily

Do you think this will work with a 151 proof everclear? That’s the highest proof I could find!

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Hi Emily, you could give it a go with 151, the main thing with lower proof alcohols is they contain water which doesn’t evaporate off as readily as higher proof alcohol. It will also trap more chlorophyl and other impurities in your final tincture although that isn’t a deal breaker. Give the tincture a try with 151 and see how much you can get it to evaporate off at the end by just placing it in front of a fan as that is the easiest way to do it. Hope that helps and let us know how it turns out, good luck!

Samantha

Just made my first batch! Instructions were perfect. Love this blog for teaching so many things!

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

That’s great to hear it went so well for you, hope you enjoy your tincture as much as we do!

Allen

As with all of your information, this was another grand slam home run. Absolutely the best, easiest to understand recipe for cannabis tincture I’ve ever run across! I’ve made tincture since the early Green Dragon days of Dr. Wu, changing my methods each time while finally incorporating QWET. I am really pleased to see that we’ve arrived at exactly the same place. Big difference, however, is I have an aging brain and a large pile of unintelligible notes. You, on the other hand, have created a reference for the ages. Very well done!

Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

Thank you so much Allen! It’s great to hear that tinctures have been treating you well for years and it has become our favorite way to ingest cannabis as well. Thanks again and enjoy!

An Overview of the Cannabis and Hemp Oil Distillation Process

Are you looking to improve your cannabis and hemp oil extraction methods? In this blog, Maratek is going to give an overview of the cannabis and hemp oil distillation process and how it can help to create a consistent pure product.

What is distillation?

Distillation is a process that heats a substance into a vapor and cools it back to a liquid. This process can be used to separate components with different boiling points. There are different variations of this process, which are all dependent on the components, and the temperature, and pressure of the system.

Simple distillation is appropriate for the separation of materials that have significantly different boiling points. When heated the liquid that is more volatile will vaporize and travel through the system, recondensing into a liquid when it passes through a chilled condenser. This results in the volatile substance becoming separated from the initial product.

How is distillation used for cannabis oil?

The cannabis and hemp industry uses distillation to further purify crude oil. The extraction process generally uses solvents such as ethanol, or CO2 to remove the crude oil from the plant biomass. The distillation equipment then takes the crude oil and produces a pure product, usually of either THC or CBD distillate by removing other volatiles and contaminants.

Distillation can take multiple passes to remove all unwanted compounds before producing the intended final product. The first pass usually removes low boiling point volatiles. A second pass focuses on distilling the desired cannabinoids, leaving behind other contaminants such as waxes, sugars and any leftover plant material. This results in a pure product of the desired cannabinoids or terpenes depending on a company’s intention.

Multiple passes can be necessary especially if a company does not use a winterization process on their products . Winterization removes any contaminants like fats, and waxes from the initial oil extraction. Without this process those contaminants are left in the solution and will need to be removed during distillation to produce a pure final product. Setting up multiple distillation equipment that are connected directly to each other reduces the need for multiple passes through a singular system.

The most common form of distillation system is short path distillation. It is beneficial because the vapor travels a shorter distance before it is condensed, allowing the equipment to take up less space. The crude oil is deposited at the bottom of a flask where it is then heated to initiate the distillation process. This system generally gets used on a smaller scale, as it typically needs more manual operation or oversight.

A similar equipment is the wiped film distillation system. The only difference to the above system is the introduction of a wiper blade that spreads a layer of the initial feed product onto the chamber walls. This thin layer reduces the amount of time heat is applied to the product. Prolonged exposure to heat can degrade a cannabis product and this equipment reduces that risk. The wipers also provide an even spread that supports more consistent evaporation and condensation rates.

The popularity of wiped film short path distillation may also be attributed to its continuous feed abilities that increase output and efficiency. Continuous feed supports operation by helping to produce large quantities and maintaining consistency. This process is more automated due to continuous feed and the wipers and is therefore more suitable for large scale operations.

Temperatures and pressures used in a system can usually be altered to address a business’s specific goals. Changing the pressure can affect the temperatures at which certain compounds boil at, making it easier to remove them from the product. If boiling temperatures are lowered, this also decreases the risk of overheating and degrading the product.

Distillation is relatively simple once the extraction process has taken place. After all the undesirable materials are removed during the extraction process, the purest form of crude oil is left. As this is not a one size fits all method, the industry today requires you to focus on both scaling up for the mass market, and scaling down for smaller, more local needs.

As short path distillation requires less pressure to be exerted on the distillate, it is more common and favorable when working with volatile compounds and when purifying small amounts of substance. With heat, pressure, and humidity – it forces the remaining impurities and traces of solvent extraction residue out.

The short path causes the cannabis extract to break down into its constituent compounds. THC and CBD are separated out at different temperatures as they have slight differences in boiling points. It is more effective and has better results when it is done on a large scale using industrial level equipment. Once it is distilled, the cannabis concentrate has a higher CBD or THC content compared to the crude oil. Distillates of different cannabinoids can then be blended to customize a product.

If further purification is required, the distillate can be passed through an isolate production system to obtain up to 99.9% pure cannabinoids.

Want to learn more about the process of distillation in the cannabis and hemp extraction industry? Maratek has engineered short path distillation systems that will improve the purity of your product. Contact us today for more information .