The Complete Guide to THC Distillate

Benefits of THC Distillate, How to Use it & How to Make it

What Is a THC Distillate?

Before we define a THC distillate, let’s define THC. THC, the more easily pronounced version of tetrahydrocannabinol, is the substance that gives marijuana its psychological kick. It acts similarly to the cannabinoid chemicals that your body naturally produces – giving the user a feeling of euphoria.

THC is a Popular Cannabinoid

THC is one of the numerous cannabinoids found in the resin that glands secrete in the marijuana plant. Other unique compounds include cannabinoids, such as CBD. CBD, which is popularly used today, is non-psychoactive and therefore can actually, in some cases, block the high that THC produces.

When THC works on the brain, it stimulates cells that trigger the release of the feel-good hormone and neurotransmitter, dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for producing the euphoria and high that marijuana users regularly enjoy.

Alternatives to THC Distillate

To learn how to distill THC, you need to define it and find out more about its potency. The following information will give you the details you need to know to better understand how this form of cannabis works. Not only is a THC distillate more potent than the popular BHO (butane hash oil) that is often used, it is safer.

BHO, a strong form of cannabis concentrate, comes in various types, including wax, budder, and shatter forms. Shatter gets its name because it looks like shattered glass. The “butane” reference indicates how the BHO is extracted – using butane.

However, this method of extraction may leave some people wondering about the safety of the product. Not only is the use of butane of some concern, but also the structure of the plant, which features a cuticle wax. Inhaling the wax can lead to breathing difficulties, as nodules can form on the lungs, all of which can affect respiration and produce granulomas.

Therefore, cannabis users are excited about the prospect of enjoying a pure and potent substitute in the form of a THC distillate.

Why a THC Distillate is Stronger and More Effective

While BHO is a concentrate of high-strength, a THC distillate is more potent in effect. That is because THC, when distilled, involves an added step in the refinement process. This step is referred to as a short path distillation. By extracting THC in this manner, you can produce a final product with a THC concentration of 99%. Even the purest cannabis concentrates cannot meet this level of potency.

The distillation of THC closely resembles the distillation process of fragrances or perfumes. Therefore, the process is really nothing new. It is just taking on a new spin today, given the legalized sale of CBD. Short path distillation, otherwise known as fractionation, includes additional steps – steps that go beyond the regular compound extraction used when obtaining raw materials from cannabis.

Raw materials in the plant may include cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. For distillate production, CO2 extraction is popular, as it is considered safer and more effective. Once the active ingredients have been extracted, you still need to take added measures to render the product a distillate. Even with a super-high extraction, such as CO2, some of the lipids and fats are left – something that you don’t want in your end product.


Winterization can take care of that sort of residue by the use of an alcohol-based solvent – a solution that will dissolve and destroy the unwanted compounds. After winterization, purified cannabinoids emerge, such as THC and CBD. At this point, cannabinoids undergo a process known as decarboxylation – a heating activity that activates the compounds.


To make it simple, decarboxylation simply means a cannabinoid, such as THC, must be heated in order to work. That is why people smoke marijuana versus eating its blooms. Cannabinoids, such as CBD or THC, have certain decarboxylation or heat points – or points when they become the purest. When THC is distilled, it ensures this purity. Distillation supports decarboxylation so each cannabinoid reaches maximum purity and potency.

Once decarboxylation takes place, THC is purified one final time through short path steam distillation, a heat and pressure system that distills the cannabis plant’s extracts into pure gold, or a pure amber-colored resin.

The Entourage Effect

A THC distillate is indeed a potent product, as it contains all the cannabis compounds that give the distillate its potency. This is known as the entourage effect. For instance, you can use CBD and THC to treat some of the same conditions but not all of the same conditions. Each compound has its own unique properties. When you put them together, you can enjoy more in the way of pain relief or relaxation.

The Benefits of THC Distillation

What is great about distillation or THC distillates is that, when it is done right, you can use the end product in one of the various ways. Depending on the consistency or temperature, you can do the following:

  • Smoke THC
  • Vape THC
  • Take it under the tongue as a sublingual oil
  • Infuse THC in edibles or topical applications
  • Use it in transdermal patches, so it is absorbed into the skin.

However, with that being said, you need to be careful about this type of high, especially if you are not used to this level of potency. If you are not used to using BHO or THC, you can end up getting too much of a good thing.

Why the Process of Distillation is Better

Remember, from history, when they distilled liquor in the 1920s and 1930s, or during Prohibition? Well, you can consider the distillation of THC the same type of activity. That moonshine that was made then was strong stuff. You can say the same thing about THC.

To get a more basic understanding of how a THC distillate is made, you just need to define distillation. Distillation is a process that entails separating certain chemical components (in this case, cannabinoids) from a liquid through the means of heat and condensation. That gives you a better grasp of how the distillation process works.

Cannabis Biology

Next, you need to review the biology of the cannabis plant. Doing so will give you a better idea of the anatomy of the plant and how THC extraction is possible. As noted, the cannabis plant is made up of three main chemical substances, or cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.

Of the 113 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, THC is the most recognized because of its effects on the human brain and body. Other isolated cannabinoids, used to elevate the mood, reduce pain, or relieve anxiety, including CBD, CBC, CBN, and CBG.

When these compounds interact with your body, they come into contact with the endocannabinoid system, making you feel better and less stressed. Terpene oils in the cannabis plant give the plant its scent, flavor, and medicinal qualities. The flavonoids represent molecules that mix with the terpenes to produce distinctive aromas. The terpenes and flavonoids lend an earthy or fruity taste to marijuana in its raw form.

Each of the above compounds has certain boiling points. Therefore, to ensure you separate your THC properly, you must know the boiling point so you don’t destroy the compound. To learn this concept, you must know more about cannabis concentrates.

Cannabis concentrates, or extracts, are concentrated forms of cannabinoids. So, if a favorite strain of cannabis contains 14% THC, a concentrate, when produced properly, should double the potency.

Using CO2

The extraction process for a concentrate often uses pressurized CO2 to retrieve desirable cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, including essential waxes and terpenes. Using carbon dioxide is effective, as it is versatile and performs well as a solvent at a certain pressure and temperature range.

CO2, when used as an oil, is amber-colored and non-toxic. It can be used for tinctures or vaporized for use. The CO2 extraction method is standard in both the food and herbal supplement industries. For instance, the CO2 process is used to remove caffeine from coffee beans, thereby producing decaffeinated coffee.

Extracting the Compounds Using Solvents

With that said, concentrates may also be extracted more broadly with solvents. The plant is soaked in chemicals, such as carbon dioxide, propane, butane, chloroform, or ice water. In turn, the solvent strips the plant of its compounds and holds them in a liquid state.

The maker then forces evaporation of the solvent by a change in pressure and/or temperature. What you get is cannabis in its pure liquid form. You can allow a concentrate to harden into a wax or shatter, or maintain its liquid form as a tincture or oil.

Making a THC Distillate – Why It Is Better than Making a Concentrate

While you may think you’ve got something with a concentrate, you cannot preserve the other key compounds, such as the flavonoids and terpenes. That is because these substances are usually destroyed during extraction, as they each have different boiling points.

Distillation allows you to focus on all the goodness of the plant – the THC and the terpenes and flavonoids. When you use fractionation and steam distillation, all the main components—cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes—all combine to produce a 99% pure product.

How to Make THC Distillate

Keep in mind that extraction, as well as steam distillation, can become complex and involve the use of special equipment. Therefore, you really cannot make distillation a DIY at-home project. To give you an idea of how steam distillation and fractionation work, the following steps will provide more insight.

  1. First, combine the chosen solvent and cannabis plant for extraction.
  2. Raise the temperature of the solution to boil off the flavonoids and terpenes in the plant matter, as they have lower boiling points than cannabinoids.
  3. Direct the resulting steam through a water-cooled tube – a tube that turns the steam back into a liquid. The terpenes and flavonoids are contained in this liquid.
  4. Raise the solution to an even higher boiling point to boil off the cannabinoid compounds in the plants.
  5. Direct this steam into the water-cooled tube so the steam will turn to liquid – a liquid that contains the cannabinoid substances.
  6. Mix the liquids containing the flavonoids and terpenes and the cannabinoids and allow them to solidify.

Basically, and in the simplest terms, this is how you produce a THC distillate.

Distillation Equipment

As far as basic equipment, you will need a thermometer to record the temperature, a Bunsen burner for heating, a condenser, and a fractionating column. Use a bottom flask over the burner and set it under the fractionating column. The condenser and tubing will produce the resulting liquid.

When you are done, you have produced a THC distillate that you can allow to harden or keep for an oil. The gold-yellow product takes on a consistency like honey.

A Synergistic Response

A THC distillate permits you to enjoy the synergistic effects of the cannabis plant – something you cannot do when you isolate the compounds and produce concentrates.

When cannabinoids and terpenes act alone, they don’t produce the same effects. It’s their combination that produces what’s technically known as synergy. The combined effect is greater and more satisfying than the sum of the effects separately.

How to Use THC Distillate

You can use a THC distillate in one of several ways – methods that are varied with some being discreet. For example, you can ingest your distillate by placing a drop or two beneath the tongue. Allow the distillate to dissolve into your bloodstream. Don’t swallow it.

Use a Vape Pen

You can also use a vape pen if you are a seasoned cannabis user. The pen permits you to adjust the temperature of the distillate, whether it is produced as a wax, oil, liquid, or shatter.

Use a Bong or Dab Rig

You can get immediate results using a bong or dab rig. Adding some hardened distillate onto a nail or into a bowl will give you an instant kick.

Rolling THC Distillate in a Joint

If you are old-school, add your THC distillate to a rolling paper and create a joint. You can make a small amount go a long way using this tried-and-true technique.

Taking It in Pill Form or Ingesting from the Syringe

For easing joint discomfort or pain, you can take a THC distillate in pill form. When you ingest the hardened distillate, the compounds are released slowly into the bloodstream. You don’t have to worry about odors and the effects last for a longer time.

Add it to Your Coffee

You can also mix your THC distillate into a food or liquid. Add it to a favorite beverage or include it in a candy recipe or in your coffee. Just remember to play it safe – a little bit of the substance can go a long way.

THC Distillate Dosing Guide

Most people are surprised to find out that they can enjoy a better mood and improve their focus while alleviating pain by taking very low doses of a THC distillate. In fact, micro-dosing in an amount of only 1 to 5 mg works out great for enhancing workday performance and relieving anxiety. As noted, you can get a lot of mileage out of using a small amount. Less is more when it comes to this form of THC.

Summary of THC Distillates

You can find a variety of ways to use a THC distillate. Not only is this form of cannabis safe and potent, but it also does not take much to realize the effects you want. Again, go easy on the stuff if you are not used to it. When you use this type of THC, you are sampling a premium product.