Stepping into a cannabis dispensary can be overwhelming to some new patients and consumers sheerly due to the number of different cannabis products available for purchase. In this article, we are going to give you the 411 on one very popular product: THC distillate.
- What Is THC Distillate?
- How to Use THC Distillate
- Why People Choose—or Don’t Choose—Distillate Over Other Products
- Final Takeaway
What Is THC Distillate?
THC distillate is a highly refined, concentrated, and purified form of cannabis’ most beloved cannabinoid, THC. It ranges from being completely clear to a golden amber color and is very thick in form.
The high from cannabis distillate can be extreme due to its purity and potency. However, when used responsibly, distillate is perfectly safe. Like other forms of cannabis concentrate, the high from distillate has a quick onset within seconds to minutes, and the effects typically last 1-3 hours. It highly depends on your experience with cannabis and how you consume THC distillate, as there are various ways to do so.
How Is THC Distillate Made?
THC distillate is made using a unique process and specialized refinement equipment. The first step in creating distillate is extracting crude oil from dried cannabis plant matter through an extraction system, typically with the aid of a solvent like carbon dioxide, butane, or ethanol.
That product must then be put through the processes of winterization, filtration, and decarboxylation. Finally, the oil is put through the final distillation phase, which further purifies the oil through a commercial distillation unit, resulting in refined cannabis oil that’s been rid of any impurities or chlorophyll—aka THC distillate. Unfortunately, this process also removes all of the other beneficial and medically useful components such as minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
The Difference Between Distillate and Other Cannabis Oils
THC distillate is one of the purest and most potent forms of cannabis oil available today. Unlike other cannabis oils, distillate is pure THC extract and does not contain any additives, such as carrier oils, that are typically used in other cannabis oils and tinctures on the market today. However, if not extracted professionally there could be residual solvents.
Additionally, because distillate has gone through the decarboxylation process, it is activated. This means that, unlike some cannabis concentrates, it can be added directly to foods or collected in capsules since it will produce effects upon consumption.
How to Use THC Distillate
You may be thrilled to find out that there are actually several ways that distillate can be used. Before we dive into those, though, it’s important to reiterate the high potency of THC distillate.
On average, due to the way it is extracted, most THC distillate ranges from 90-99% THC. For this reason, it is advised to start low and slow if you are new to cannabis concentrates.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can consume distillate.
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One of the most common ways that you will find THC distillate sold is within vape pens. From disposable pens to refillable vape cartridges, there is a wide range of THC distillate-based vape options on the market for consumers to choose from. This way of consuming distillate offers a quick onset of effects, making it the go-to choice for many!
Once very limited, the range of cannabis edibles available on the market is now vast, and many edible brands infuse their products with the potency and purity of THC distillate. When consumed in edible form, the effects of distillate tend to be even stronger and last much longer than from inhaling it (averaging 2-10 hours). This is because the THC is converted into 11-OH-THC by the liver.
THC distillate syringes are widely available for purchase in dispensaries. With these products, you can easily dab distillate using a dab rig or pen. Compared to vaping distillate, this method will produce much stronger and longer-lasting effects.
Check out this article for everything you need to know about dabbing: How to Dab Cannabis Concentrates: Tips, Techniques, and Temps
While THC distillate is technically a cannabis concentrate and is most often vaped or dabbed, you can also smoke it by adding it to dried cannabis flower when rolling a joint or packing a bowl. For some extra pizazz, add a few drops from a THC distillate syringe to the top of the flower before lighting the bowl or joint.
Why People Choose—or Don’t Choose—Distillate Over Other Products
Many people are embracing all that THC distillate has to offer and for many good reasons. The high concentration of THC is especially beneficial for certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain. For many of these patients, being able to take in a potent dose of THC quickly can make a complete difference in their pain levels, spasticity, and more.
Recreational consumers also embrace THC distillate for its strong effects and efficiency (a little goes a long way). Additionally, many consumers and patients prefer THC distillate to other concentrates because of its purity, believing it is the cleanest form of cannabis oil you can find.
For the same reason that so many people embrace this cannabis concentrate, others avoid it at all costs. Distillate can simply be too much for some cannabis users—especially those new to the world of cannabis. Even some seasoned users dodge it and opt for less potent products, like flower. THC distillate could very well be your thing, but proceed cautiously when dabbling in it for the first time.
Some consumers also avoid distillate due to its lack of terpenes, the aromatic compounds in cannabis that also offer a variety of therapeutic benefits (along with other cannabinoids like CBD). This is due to the distillation process used to create distillate; while its purity is a plus, it also means the final product lacks the network of compounds thought to produce the entourage effect. However, some companies add terpenes back into their distillate after it’s made to create specialized flavors or enhance certain medicinal benefits.
THC distillate is a very pure and potent product that offers great benefits to patients and recreational consumers alike. The unique and technical extraction process used to produce distillate makes this cannabis concentrate one of the best. Not to mention that it can be consumed in all sorts of fun ways, from vape pens to edibles to joints.
Wondering if THC distillate is a good option for your medical situation and lifestyle? Chat with a cannabis coach to find out.
This article was originally published on 10/13/22. Updated on 4/11/23.