Looking to enjoy CBD in one of its purest forms?
CBD distillate might be exactly what you’re looking for. Also known as “the pure,” the extraction method for creating CBD distillate from hemp plants delivers a highly refined form of CBD oil. If you buy the product from a reliable source, you can expect it to have at least 80 percent CBD content.
But CBD distillate doesn’t only contain CBD. It also includes many of the other useful cannabinoids and terpenes that make CBD so effective for improving health and overall wellbeing.
Because of its purity, there are several ways to use CBD distillate. It’s also used to manufacture products like tinctures, vape cartridges, and edibles.
But before you decide whether the product is right for you, let’s shed more light on it by taking a look at what it is, its variations, how it’s made, and more.
Like we said, CBD distillate is one of the most refined forms of CBD. Because of its high concentration, CBD distillate comes in a thick liquid state that’s as dense as honey. It is so concentrated that you need only a little dose of it to get the desired physiological effects.
Also, because of its highly refined state, CBD distillate has zero impurities, making it one of the safest forms of CBD to consume. It is also tasteless and odorless.
Manufacturers make CBD distillate by first extracting it from either hemp plants or cannabis plants. Most prefer using hemp plants as a source since they already have a higher concentration of the cannabidiol (CBD) compound and less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
In most cases, CBD distillate contains anywhere between 80 and 90 percent pure CBD. The other 10 to 20 percent consists of other hemp plant compounds.
There are several variations of CBD products available. What primarily differentiates each type is its level of purity and the hemp compounds it contains, both of which are determined by the manufacturer’s extraction process and the type of distillate.
Knowing what each variety entails is important. Without that knowledge, it’s more difficult to determine which variation of CBD to use to satisfy your health goals. Below are the three main varieties of CBD products:
Also known as whole plant CBD, full-spectrum CBD is one of the most popular options on the market. It has a high level of CBD but also contains a significant amount of terpenes and other cannabinoids and hemp compounds. That’s because full-spectrum distillates contain more of the original content of the entire cannabis plant.
People who choose to use this product do so because of the “entourage effect.” The idea behind the entourage effect is that CBD works best when all of the cannabis compounds are present. That is, each compound increases the effects of the others, leading to a higher potency.
Along with other compounds, full-spectrum CBD contains small amounts of THC, which is the ingredient that produces psychoactive effects in cannabis. However, the amount of THC in full-spectrum CBD is much too low to produce these effects. Instead, the small amount of THC is intended to enhance the effects of the CBD.
Research is still ongoing into whether the entourage effect is real, but so far, the evidence points to hemp cannabinoids and terpenes being more effective when they work together.
But on the downside, a lot of consumers are not fans of the earthy taste full-spectrum CBD tends to have. The earthy taste comes from the fact that the extraction process and refinement isn’t as thorough as that of a true CBD distillate or isolate.
Unlike full-spectrum CBD that contains most of the hemp plant’s original compounds, broad-spectrum CBD is a bit more refined. It is a THC-free distillate, meaning it contains most of the other compounds found in the hemp plant, minus the THC.
If you want to eliminate the risks of using a CBD product that contains THC, you are better off using broad-spectrum THC. It also contains fewer impurities due to its higher level of distillation.
On the downside, because of the absence of THC and other compounds in broad-spectrum THC, you get a lower entourage effect with this product.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD oil – even purer than CBD distillate. CBD isolate is so pure that some manufacturers make broad-spectrum CBD by first creating CBD isolate then adding other hemp compounds to it. That’s because they know that the distillation process for CBD isolate guarantees that it contains the cannabidiol compound and nothing else.
The process for refining hemp to create CBD isolate is very similar to that of CBD distillate. It only becomes more refined because CBD isolate is processed for much longer than CBD distillate, leading to a CBD content of almost 100 percent. That significantly exceeds CBD distillate’s purity level of 80 to 90 percent.
Due to how much it’s refined, CBD isolate isn’t available in oil form, but rather powder form. It’s usually a white powder that you can use sublingually by placing it under your tongue before swallowing.
And like CBD distillate, isolates are odorless and tasteless. On the downside, there is no entourage effect due to the absence of other hemp compounds in the product.
Since most drug tests test for THC, of which CBD isolate contains zero percent, using CBD isolate is a great choice if you want to completely eliminate the risk of failing a drug test.
The process of extracting CBD from a hemp plant and purifying it to create CBD distillate varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Many use a solvent-based method that involves the use of liquid solvents like carbon dioxide (CO2) or ethanol for the extraction process. Others use a solvent-less process for cannabis extraction. The solvent-less process utilizes either extreme rinsing or pressure techniques to extract the desired compounds.
Both CO2 and food-grade ethanol are effective solvents for extracting CBD from hemp plants. Even better, unlike other solvents, CO2 and ethanol leave only minimal traces on the finished product after the extraction process.
Using CO2 requires first transforming it into a liquid state by freezing it. The next step is transforming the liquid CO2 into a “supercritical” state by exposing it to a specific amount of heat and pressure. In this state, the CO2 is both liquid and gas, which is ideal for extracting cannabinoids from hemp plants.
Ethanol, which is a concentrated form of the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, is effective for extraction because of its high polarity. While the process of using ethanol for extraction is quite similar to using CO2, each option has its unique pros and cons.
For example, ethanol is safe for food processing yet very strong. Its strength makes it suitable for extracting CBD quickly. On the downside, if not used with care, its high polarity can cause it to dissolve water and oil molecules. That can lead to the finished product attracting chlorophyll and having a grassy or earthy taste that consumers may find unappealing.
CO2 extraction may be slower, but it’s safer, cleaner, and more eco-friendly. On the downside, the extraction process may accidentally eliminate some beneficial secondary cannabinoids and medicinal terpenes.
While CO2 and ethanol extraction processes are effective, they do leave trace amounts on the extracted product. To get rid of these traces and other impurities, the extracted product still has to undergo distillation, which refines it at a molecular level.
After distillation, what’s left is a finished product with pure cannabinoids and terpenes. The longer the distillation process, the higher the purity. In most cases, the distillation process consists of the following steps.
The winterization process is the first step to get rid of the impurities in extracted CBD oil. It is done by pouring the extracted content into a container containing ethanol and chilling it for two days. The purpose of this is to solidify the impurities, causing them to become heavy and settle at the bottom of the container.
After winterization, the ethanol and the solidified impurities are filtered out of the CBD. The next step is using heat to turn the filtered CBD into a vapor that’s fed through a cooling tube. The content that drips out at the end of the cooling tube is a pure distillate.
This process can be repeated several times to further purify the CBD oil.
After the entire winterization process, decarboxylation follows. It assists the hemp distillate production by making the inactive hemp cannabinoids active.
Using heat activates the hemp cannabinoids but has the downside of removing many of the heat-sensitive terpenes in the extract. On the upside, it removes earthy tastes from the solution, making the extract flavorless and more palatable for many.
The final step is steam distillation or fractional distillation to remove any excess or unwanted compounds from the solution. By the end of this process, the CBD oil can have a purity of over 90 percent.
Now that you know what CBD distillate is and how it’s different from other variations of CBD, it’s time to decide which the best one for you is.
The right CBD product for you depends on your health goals and which product offers the most pros and least cons to satisfy your needs.
With CBD distillate and isolate, you get the benefit of a product that’s free of impurities. More importantly, because of the high concentration of CBD in both products, you only need a small dose to get the effects you want. Smaller doses mean your supply will last longer, which will save you a lot of money if you need to use CBD regularly.
CBD distillate and isolate are also both flavorless and odorless, which means you’ll have no trouble ingesting them directly or mixing them into your food or drinks.
On the downside, these two types of CBD contain hardly any of the terpenes and other compounds in cannabis that have huge health benefits. That’s especially true with isolate, which is 100 percent CBD and contains no other cannabinoids or terpenes.
If you want to experience the entourage effect and the physiological benefits of cannabis compounds, besides CBD, you may be better off with full-spectrum CBD. But full-spectrum CBD usually has issues with purity because of its earthy smell and taste that most consumers don’t like.
A lot of manufacturers try to mask such odors and tastes by adding flavoring to it. While the flavoring may be enjoyable, there’s no telling what it’s made from and what dangers may be attached to consuming such flavorings, especially if they’re made from artificial materials. As long as you don’t mind the taste and smell of the hemp plant, full-spectrum CBD and its entourage effect benefits can be worthwhile.
The absence of other compounds in CBD distillate and isolates can be an upside if you don’t want a product that contains THC. Since THC can have a psychoactive effect and show up on drug tests, some consumers avoid using it, especially consumers who live or travel to areas where THC is illegal. If you want the full benefits of using CBD oil without impurities or THC, CBD distillate is a great choice.
CBD distillate and isolate are cleaner and purer products that are ideal for those who want the physiological benefits of CBD and aren’t interested in other cannabis compounds.
Since cannabidiol works better when other cannabis compounds are present (also known as the entourage effect), CBD distillate is a better choice for many users than CBD isolate since it contains 80 percent CBD and 20 percent other compounds.
But don’t take our word for it. The most foolproof way to find which product works best for you is to try them out yourself to see which one benefits you the most.