Extraction Industry Blog

The Steps Following Crude Extraction to Distillate

The Steps Following Crude Extraction to Distillate

The last guide in the series explored one of the two options you have with further processing following cannabis crude oil, THC remediation. This part in the series will follow the other path, distillation. Distillation, as the term suggests, is similar to alcohol distillation. The mixture is heated to pull out the desired component. In alcohol distillation, it’s the alcohol; in this case, it’s cannabinoids. 

With distillation, you’ll further concentrate the extract and get a higher purity product. That product is devoid of many other plant components, so it likely won’t have the same smell or taste as the crude or the original plant. Because of the simplicity and purity, distillates are much more flexible and desirable for cannabis product manufacturers for their versatility. 

Two Options for Distillation

While the last part of the series treated THC remediation and distillation as opposite paths, that’s not really the case. You can choose one or the other, but you can also choose to distill crude oil after remediation.  In fact, it provides an excellent option for making federally-legal CBD distillates without the worry of distillation creating higher concentrations of THC. In fact, this is the better approach since it will be more counterproductive to remediate the distillate. 

If you opted for distillation first, that’s alright too. You’ll get a much more concentrated product with higher concentrations of both THC and CBD. In most cases, the CBD will go from around 50% to between 80% and 90%. THC concentrations will also increase dramatically, making remediation after the fact difficult but still possible. If you’re looking to make a marijuana extract, however, none of this would matter, and the increased concentration can be a good thing. It’s also possible to make a high-CBD lower-THC product this way, depending on the concentrations you started with. 

How Does Distillation Work?

At its core, distillation is a simple process. A mixture is heated to the temperature needed to evaporate the desired substance. That substance evaporates and rises. From there, it’s collected and cooled to condense it back to a liquid form. The collected liquid at the end should have an extremely high degree of purity. 

Cannabis distillation works similarly but usually involves much more technologically advanced equipment than your typical alcohol still. For example, ENTEXS extraction systems employ a wiped film dual-distillation module capable of collecting broad-spectrum cannabinoids, terpenes, and residues separately. This gives the processor control over which distillates they want to use.  

These sophisticated distillation systems use extremely high and low temperatures to achieve maximum efficiency in the distillation process. These systems also employ vacuums to collect distilled molecules rather than relying on simple condensation. The result is a distillate with a high degree of purity and a multitude of possible uses. 

In the case of ENTEXS systems, the entire process is automated. A continuous feed of crude can be piped into the distillation module while multiple traps collect distillate in the form of cannabinoids, terpenes, and residues. The process provides an unbroken flow of crude to finished product. The ENTEXS distillation module can be used in conjunction with one or more additional ENTEXS modules or as a standalone unit to accompany an existing extraction system. 

Stay tuned for the next part of the series, where we explore the differences between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum distillates, as well as the reasons why you’d like to choose one or the other. 

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