As marijuana legalization spreads, many cannabis patients and consumers are turning to concentrates. Concentrates offer a stronger, faster dose of medicine that is much cleaner to consume than flower and hash. Perhaps you’ve heard of distillate, a form of concentrate that is more liquid in consistency than shatter, budder and wax.
If you’ve ever wondered how to transform cannabis or hemp into distillate, or any other kind of concentrate for that matter, one key thing to remember is this: the strain and how it was grown affects the outcome of your product. Whether the strain was grown to maximum potential and grown with organic vs. chemical supplements, and whether it was grown indoors vs. outdoors all influence the final product.
Overwhelmed? That’s why we’re here we discuss exactly how to make CBD distillate. Don’t feel pressured to get into more than you can take on!
Start Making CBD Distillate From Flower Or From Oil
You can either start making CBD distillate by growing your own flower or flower from your local budtender.
You’ll notice below that we also suggest the CO2 method of extraction. Although it involves purchasing expensive equipment, CO2 extraction is the safest and most efficient method of CBD extraction. Many other extraction methods either produce low yield results that are too costly or hold a lot of health risk with leftover residues from solvents.
Keep this in mind when you’re deciding what works best for your lifestyle and your cannabis needs. This is why we add the extra steps of cultivating your own cannabis before the extraction process even begins.
How Do I Grow My Own Cannabis?
While there is absolutely nothing like freshly harvested, sunkissed cannabis, there are incredible products and tech out there to create an amazing indoor grow operation ranging anywhere from the size of a closet to a warehouse.
Soil is hugely important – most of your nutrients should come from the soil so pick a type that is rich in nutrients.
Ed Rosenthal’s Complete Guide to Growing Marijuana is an amazing resource to teach you how to best treat your grow for optimal results. Pair this book with some research into the latest tech, equipment, tips and tricks and get yourself CBD dominant strain either as seeds or as clones from a mother plant.
By now you’ve probably heard of decarb-ing cannabis, but if you’re not familiar, decarboxylation essentially means you bake it. Baking your cannabis before turning it into butter or oil for cooking and baking as well as prior to producing into distillate activates the compounds in the flower so it binds to your base, otherwise your body won’t absorb the CBD as well.
If you want to grow your desired cannabis strain and dry and cure it, then some great CBD-only strains to grow include Charlotte’s Web, Harle-Tsu and Ringo’s Gift are all great CBD-only strains.
Decarb your cannabis
To decarb your cannabis, start by:
- Setting the oven to 225 degrees Farenheiht.
- Crumple an aluminum foil sheet and spread flat across a baking sheet – pyrex is best.
- Coarsely grind your cannabis and spread over aluminum foil
- Bake on middle rack for 45 minutes, checking on it every 10 minutes, if it begins to
brown or smell like burning turn your oven down 25 degrees and monitor from there
– remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes.
Starting With CBD Oil
After you have decarb-ed your cannabis, now it’s time to turn it into oil!
You can use many different methods such as carbon dioxide, steam distillation, and hydrocarbon or natural solvents. Solvents can leave behind unsafe residues or undesirable tastes in your finished product but are the more common at-home method because they are fairly inexpensive and easy to work with.
Steam distillation produces a lower amount of yield than other methods and requires specialty equipment. While the CO2 extraction method does require specialty equipment, it yields the highest doses and is by far the safest method for consumption.
So, now that you have your CBD oil, you want to purify it even more to become distillate which requires a process called winterization.
Winterization is a very appropriate name, as it involves freezing a mixture of ethanol and CBD oil to allow the pure CBD compounds to separate from any leftover impurities from the initial extraction process.
After freezing for 48 hours or more, the mixture is then filtered through low-micron mesh filters and you’re left with a clear liquid substance through winterization.
Here’s how you can do it yourself:
- Use a 15:1 or 20:1 ratio of ethanol and CBD oil (respectively)
- Mix until combined
- Place mixture in a container in the freezer for 48 hours until it reaches -76ºC or -104ºF
- Place 2 – 3 low-micron mesh filters in a funnel and filter mixture from the freezer in a jar
- The ethanol mixture will collect in the jar and all of the impurities will collect on top of the filters as a light green sauce or cream
- Store in a cool, dry place that does not have direct sunlight. Purchasing medical syringes or droppers to easily dose your distillate is a common way people store their finished product
Please note, for the winterization process, if you do use a solvent such as butane for your base CBD oil, before winterization you’ll first want to heat the ethanol and CBD oil mixture to ethanol’s boiling point of 110 – 120 degrees Fahrenheit. After the filtration process, then place your remaining substance to boil again for any remaining residues. Repeat as needed.
Use CO2 extraction
In this guide, we’ll be using a CO2 extraction method known as “short path distillation” named for the short path the oil takes when it’s being distilled. Distillation kits can be found online starting at $1000 and easily set up.
- Begin by the distillation flask with your winterized CBD oil and gradually heating it to 130 -180°C.
The winterized oil will be exposed to high temperatures within the vacuum – evaporating away any undesired cannabinoids and terpenes.
- Use a vacuum pump to draw the distilled vapors through the fractionating column.
The fractionating column condenses and evaporates the oil repeatedly until most everything else other than CBD is filtered out.
- The CBD oil vapours will rise higher and higher due the difference in boiling temperatures and the amount of CBD will continue to increase in concentration.
The CBD vapors then travel through the condenser, which cools and collects the condensed CBD vapours into distillate.
Final Thoughts On How To Make CBD Distillate
CBD distillate is a cannabis concentrate that’s extremely versatile and able to be used in a variety of ways. Now that you’ve read our how to make CBD distillate guide, you can now DIY at home!
Enjoy distillate in a beverage of your choice, a medicated sauce or just as it is. Since the cannabis has already been decarboxylated there’s no need for further heat or combustion!