Over the last few years, cannabis enthusiasts have seen a massive explosion of growth, popularity and mainstream coverage surrounding our favourite plant. Cannabis continues to shed its negative stigma and gone are the days of being limited to a few strains of dried flower, or if we were lucky, some hashish when purchasing cannabis. Illegal grey market dispensaries had us spoiled for choice, offering almost countless varieties of dried flower strains as well as other cannabis concentrates and edibles. Then came recreational legalization in Canada to cap off the tremendous wave of cannabis mania, and it made Canada the weed haven of the world.
Now we’ve regressed a bit in terms of product choice, as shopping through the Ontario Cannabis Store has us limited (by law) to dried flower, oils or capsules. Even though there are lots of dried flower options to choose from, some of the best concentrates or extracts aren’t yet available. Luckily, the issue of somewhat limited product choices is temporary, as the legalization of private dispensaries and additional concentrate options (shatter, budder, waxes, distillates, and edibles) is right around the corner.
After all, everyone loves choice, but for some of us, the variety of options might be a little overwhelming, especially if you’ve never even heard of some of the product options before. While most people know about dried cannabis flower, you’d be surprised at how many are in the dark when it comes to cannabis concentrates.
Hashish and oil aside concentrates like shatter, wax, budder or THC distillates are still sort of underground and haven’t really gotten the ‘coverage’ that dried flower and joints enjoy. Of course, that’s all changing now, making it important to learn about all the cannabis product options available for purchase.
Of all the options, concentrates seem to be the least understood, especially one of the newest additions, THC distillates. In case you’ve never heard of THC distillates, we’ve put together this basic guide to help teach you what it is and how to use it.
What is THC Distillate?
Alongside other cannabis extracts like BHO (butane hash oil) or CO2 oil, THC distillates are becoming extremely popular amongst cannabis users. THC distillates are cannabis oil concentrates that boast the highest THC percentage (out of all extracts or concentrates) in an iimpurity-free medium. Distillates are ideal for use in vaporizers, edibles, tinctures or to dab in a rig.
Unlike other extraction methods, distillates are solvent free and purged through a short loop system. Even though the solvents used in BHO, Ethanol, CO2 and other common extraction methods are purged before the final product is ready, it’s still a good thing to keep any impurities completely out of the process if possible. THC distillates are produced using a revolutionary technology referred to as “short path distillation” to distill the cannabis compounds at low temperatures to extract even the smallest compounds from the cannabis plant matter.
The process is divided into two main parts, one where the valuable terpenes are removed (to potentially be reintroduced at a later stage) and the other which removes lipids, solvents and other impurities such as fertilizers or pesticides. The process results in a pure THC distillate that is already activated (psychoactive), odourless and taste free. The distillate is then returned to its state as a fine oil that’s impurity free and loaded with THC and terpenes.
Advantages of THC Distillate
Every method of consuming cannabis is different from the next, which inherently leads to the question of what is the best way to consume marijuana? Factors like purity, THC content, discretion, dosing or ease of use are commonly used to evaluate and compare one method to the next. Here’s a brief look at the reasons why THC distillates are becoming so popular amongst cannabis users.
The Purity Advantage
No other cannabis extract or concentrate offers purity like a THC distillate. The process of creating distillates doesn’t require solvents and allows for the removal of unwanted lipids, growing chemicals (fertilizers or pesticides) and plant matter like chlorophyll. Even terpenes are separated out at first but can be added back in later before the distillate is finished. The purity of distillates allows for easy dosing and makes distillates a great choice for cannabis edibles.
Product purity is also a major concern for anyone vaping or smoking THC because nobody wants to inhale carcinogens and chemicals that can damage the respiratory system. Distillates are solvent free and offer the cleanest way to inhale cannabis.
THC Percentages of Distillates
Perhaps the biggest selling feature of distillates is the THC content. Distillates have the highest THC content percentage of all the cannabis extracts available, which ranges from 90–99% purity – way ahead of the rest. For example, dried flower (15-25%) or BHO and CO2 extracts (60-80%).
Wondering how long it takes for THC distillates to work? The answer depends on your method of consumption, but typically, smoking or vaping will provide an almost instantaneous effect, as will taking distillates orally under the tongue. However, if used for cannabis edibles, the effects will take longer to onset due to a slower metabolization rate.
Not everyone wants to advertise that they are consuming cannabis or let people know they’re high. Consuming cannabis orally (oils, drops, tinctures and edibles) is by far the most discreet way to get medicated. Vapes are discreet as well, because you won’t smell of marijuana and you’re exhaling vapour instead of smoke.
THC Distillates for Medical Patients
For medicinal users, smoking or even vaping often isn’t the ideal solution. Extracts and concentrates allow for high doses of cannabinoids to be consumed without having to smoke ounces of dried flower. Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) started it all off and now THC distillates are ready to continue serving the needs of medical patients.
How to Use THC Distillate
THC distillate is extremely versatile, which is what really sets it apart from other concentrates and extracts. Distillate extracts lend themselves perfectly to a variety of consumption methods, including the most popular ones like vaping, dabbing, joints, tinctures and edibles.
Vaping THC Distillate
THC distillate is very effective for all types of vaping. Handheld vapes, disposable vapes, refillable vapes – you name it – THC distillates provide an instantaneous high and distinct flavour (if the distillate has had its terpenes added back).
Adding THC Distillates to a Joint
If you want to add some THC distillate to your next joint, all you need to do is spread a bit of distillate onto your rolling paper, fill it with ground up dried flower and roll as normal. The distillate will not only boost the THC percentage of your joint, but it will also add flavour while improving the smoke and burn of your joint.
THC Distillate for Dabbing
Fire up your dab rig and get ready for a THC blast. Distillates have joined shatter and waxes as the most popular cannabis products to dab (vaping THC on a hot surface). No product is wasted and the high is what you’ve come to expect from quality cannabis concentrates.
THC Distillate Tinctures
Tinctures are usually in the form of liquid drops that users place under their tongue to consume. Distillate tinctures offer one of the easiest methods of controlling dosages and medicating with THC, two reasons why they are very popular with discreet users and medical patients.
THC Distillate Edibles
One issue (if you want to call it that) with cannabis edibles has always been dosage control and taste. Some people don’t appreciate the distinct flavour of cannabis mingling with the taste of their edibles. That’s why distillates without the terpenes reintroduced are a popular choice when cooking with THC. You can add all the THC you want, and your food will never taste like you’re eating cannabis.
THC Distillates from INDIVA
INDIVA is getting ready to produce high quality THC distillate at our London, ON facility soon. Working together with Lucid Lab Group (cannabis extraction technologies), our premium distillates will be available for sale through vape cartridges, oils, tinctures, and are scheduled for inclusion in our cannabis edibles product lines when permitted by law. We’ve realized that while dried flower will always be at the root of the industry, concentrates and edibles are the future of cannabis consumption.