The chemistry of the cannabis plant holds strong from seed to sale. This is especially the case with extraction and/or distillation. After all, not all concentrates are made the same. This process is important to dial in because it affects the overall quality of the final product. Removing all impurities while ensuring important cannabinoids remain abundant is the key to concentrates.
Starting with the plant material, the initial crude extraction takes place. A variety of methods can accomplish this process, such as organic ethanol, butane, or CO2 extraction. Elite Botanicals uses organic ethanol to capture the cannabinoids from the plant material into a liquid mixture. They then heat the liquid to the boiling point of ethanol to evaporate all of the solvent out, capture it in a separate flask, and leave behind a dark crude oil that is nearly ethanol free.
Then, one heats the resulting crude oil for decarboxylation. This process activates the cannabinoids by converting the acidic compounds into base compounds. Once the crude oil has been extracted and decarbed, more work is still needed to achieve the purest and most potent product. Removal of the waxes, fats, and lipids found in the crude extraction is still needed.
Removal of those undesirable components of the crude oil happens through a process referred to as ‘winterization.’ During this process, the crude oil dissolves into organic alcohol. After that, one places the mixture in extremely low temperatures to freeze. The components then coagulate to allow the process of filtration. Following those steps, fractional distillation of the oil can occur to remove 100% of the alcohol and achieve the most pure product possible.
Distillation removes impurities from the crude oil, truly allowing the cannabinoids to shine. This process uses a vacuum, heat, and condensing coils to guide cannabinoids into different collection vessels. Heating of the crude oil forms it into a vapor, which rises and travels through the condenser. That vapor then cools to a liquid form in the collection vessels. Each vessel collects a ‘fraction’ of the oil, creating extremely potent and full-spectrum cannabinoid oil, known as distillate.
The processes of extraction, purification, and distillation make this oil incomparable to the rest. Distillate sets itself apart with the undesired components, solvents, and impurities being completely removed. It is ready for smoking, vaporizing, or even adding into some amazing products for ingestion or topical use.