Are you an indoor cannabis grower? Do you want to enjoy THC whenever you wish? Would you like to learn the DIY process for making THC distillate?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then it’s your lucky day. With the help of this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about how to make THC distillate in the comfort of your own home.
What is THC Distillate?
So what is THC distillate, you might wonder? Let us break it down for you. It is cannabis concentrate, distilled, and converted into cannabis oil. This form of cannabis extract is gaining popularity as it gives you the maximum amount of THC content that could be extracted from the flower. The higher the THC content, the more effective the product is.
THC distillate is the most versatile form of consumable cannabis extract as you can use the oily consistency in various ways:
- Smoking – spread some of the product on rolling paper, roll it, and light it up.
- Vaping – fill up the cartridge of the vape pen with the distillate oil and smoke as usual.
- Dabbing – vaporize the oils on a hot surface and inhale.
- Oral ingestion – ingest it directly by putting a few drops under your tongue or incorporate it into your food by adding it to cooking oil or butter.
To top it off, the THC obtained has already undergone carboxylation. So it is activated and ready to be used in whichever way you desire.
Different Methods of Making THC Distillate
Making THC distillate is an intricate process as it involves a little science. There are various distillation methods out there for cannabis growers to obtain THC content from their cannabis plant. However, the two popular methods you can use are:
1. THC Short Path Distillation Process
This process makes use of the basic fractional distillation that we all learned in high school chemistry. You start by adding the cannabis extract to a flask and provide heat to it. The THC in the extract evaporates and is collected.
Although instead of escaping up in the air, an opening in the side of the vessel leads the THC into a cooling tube. This flask provides it a shorter path to the collecting vessel, hence the name of the process.
2. THC Short Oath Wiped Film Distillation Process
There is an alternative process called the short path wiped film distillation. There are key differences between the two. The main difference, though, is that it makes use of rotating wiper blades instead of a fractionating column.
The extract is fed to the vessel, and the rotating blades spread it on the walls of the vessel evenly, though the material does not stay there for long. The cannabinoids are fragmented and concentrated into separate collection vessels.
A remarkable aspect of these two methods is that they require readily available scientific equipment that occupies less space.
But that’s not all. THC extracted via these methods is also of a relatively better taste and quality, so you enjoy the utmost gratifying experience. Moreover, consistency is key when it comes to any product you consume and, therefore, short path distillation is your answer. It is a guaranteed process, when done right, to produce consistent results every single time.
How to Make THC Distillate at Home?
So which one should you opt for, the short path distillation method, or its alternative, the short path wiped film distillation method? The two procedures vary in terms of cost, quality, etc. but more on that later.
First, let us explain what equipment you’ll need and how short path distillation works. This is the day your high school chemistry knowledge will finally come in handy.
You can buy short path distillation kits, but if you want a basic setup, you need the following apparatus:
- Cannabis grinder
- Ethanol (solvent)
- Round bottom flask (for heating extract)
- Bunsen burner (or another heating device)
- Vacuum (to help steam/vapors move along)
- Collection flasks
For either process, the first thing you need to do is to grind up the cannabis flower using a cannabis grinder.
THC Short Path Distillation Process
- Create a solution of the cannabis extract and a solvent of low boiling point, for example, ethanol.
- Load your extract into the round bottom flask.
- Wait for the extract to start heating up (you need to apply gradually increasing heat to the flask).
- A vacuum will help the vapors move into the fractionating tubing.
- The first substances to evaporate will be the terpenes and flavonoids. When they enter the cooling tube, you will observe that droplets of liquid start to form, as the steam converts into a condensate. This liquid will fall into the collection flask.
- When the collection has stopped, the temperature of the cannabis solution will start to rise again. This means other substances will soon start evaporating.
- The cannabinoids will be the next to rise from the extract and condense into the cannabinoid fraction.
- The remaining residue contains all the sugars, waxes, chlorophyll, etc. that did not evaporate due to having a much higher boiling point than THC.
- Use this condensate as it is or combine it with the previously collected terpenes and flavonoids (for flavor and odor).
THC Short Path Wiped Film Distillation Process
This process is more effective than the short path wiped film distillation process because it does not require a solvent to help the cannabis concentrates move along. Instead, it takes advantage of the difference between the boiling points of the THC content and the other elements present in the cannabis concentrates, such as sugars, plant waxes, terpenes, etc.
- Take your ground-up cannabis and load it into the feed vessel.
- The rotating blades will smear the extract into the walls of the evaporating vessel.
- As the extract is moving down the vessel, the heated walls of the vessel will raise the temperature of the material.
- The evaporated substances will come into contact with the internal condenser located at the center of the vessel. This temperature change will convert them back into a liquid. This is also where the extract is split up and concentrated due to the variance in boiling points.
- The liquid we collected at the base is our distillate.
- The bottom portion of the system also consists of a separate container for the residue to collect into.
- Terpenes will be in chilled and separate evaporators, in case you want to utilize them with your THC.
The proximity of the heated wall to the condenser allows a shorter path for the extract to travel through, which is why this method is also a short path process.
In both of these methods, the size of the collection flasks depends on the amount of extract you feed into the system.
To further improve the quality of your product, you can make the extracted material run through the process several times, in either of the two methods.
Which Method Should You Use?
Still confused about which procedure to choose? Here are a few factors to consider:
|Short Path Distillation||Wiped Film Distillation|
|Quality||Great quality||Even higher quality|
(basic turnkey to more elaborate setups)
(depending on quality and features)
(for smaller workspace or for operating multiple setups simultaneously)
|Not as compact|
Now that you are well-versed in your cannabis distillation knowledge, let us remind you that the first time is usually not the charm when it comes to the practical application. But don’t start panicking just yet.
Even though the processes are more complicated than they sound on paper, don’t lose hope. The first few batches could vary in quality and quantity. This is perfectly normal. It does take a few tries to master the skill of making the finest quality THC distillate.
THC and CBD are both great, but THC is the one responsible for the entourage effect. Most vape manufacturers now prefer using pure THC distillate in vape cartridges due to its potency and purity.
What’s more? With more and more countries legalizing medical marijuana, it is the best time to start pursuing this interest. So go on and start your DIY experience of creating THC distillate today.
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