Explore & Learn

What Is Distillate?

Besides concentrates and resins, which are known for their powerful potency, there is another cannabis product with an almost unheard-of potency: THC distillate. 

While not as popular among beginners, experienced cannabis users love distillate for its potency and versatility. . 

Before you give distillate a go, learn more about this amazing product and how it’s made. We’ll also discuss some pros and cons to keep in mind when choosing your next cannabis product. 

What Is THC Distillate?

Cannabis distillate is a super-refined version of cannabis, usually extracted from resin. The aim is to target a specific cannabis compound, usually THC or CBD, and remove all plant matter, including terpenes, and leave only the purest form of the compound behind. 

Once refined, the distillate is a golden color and often used in products that have tanks or cartridges, like vapes. 

After the distillation process, the distillate can contain between 90 and 100% pure THC, which puts it on a par with THC diamonds, one of the purest forms of cannabis. 

However,  the refinement process removes all plant material, including terpenes. 

Terpenes are the flavonoids in cannabis responsible for the aroma and flavor of your product. Without the terpenes, distillate is flavorless – unless the manufacturer adds terpenes back into the product after the distillation process. 

This lack of terpenes also means no entourage effect, which is when terpenes, THC, and CBD combine to create a deeper, more full-bodied high. 

THC distillate is a highly refined and potent cannabis product with a lot of THC content. 

THC Distillation Process

To fully understand the nature of THC distillate, it’s important to examine the distillation process. It’s a long process with intricate steps that affect the quality of the final distillate product. 

So, let’s look at the THC distillation process and how distillate is made. 

  1. Crude Extraction

The first step of the distillation process is crude extraction. The extraction process removes the resin trichomes from the plant matter. Resin trichomes are an essential component of cannabis plant anatomy. It’s these sticky hairlike structures that house the THC, CBD, and terpenes we all know and love. 

To separate the resin trichomes from the cannabis plant material, the harvest is “washed” in solvents like butane and propane. They remove the resin from the plant, leaving behind a crude cannabis oil. 

Growers also use other extraction methods. Popular options are hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide extraction. Exactly which option growers choose depends on their budget, equipment availability, and personal professional preference. 

  1. Winterization

Next, the crude oil from step one goes through winterization. Winterization is a process that removes plant matter and materials like fat and chlorophyll from the product and is necessary for the taste and efficacy of the final product. 

The winterization process involves adding ethanol to the crude oil mixture and then freezing the mixture for 24 hours. During that time, the alcohol and cold temperature separate and coagulate all waxes and fatty substances, which then rest on top of the oil. 

  1. Filtration

In step two, we separated and coagulated unwanted cannabis substances. Next, remove these substances through the filtration process. 

During the filtration process, the extracted oil and substances are pressed through filters, which remove the coagulated biomasses and sieve through the oil, leaving behind a fairly pure cannabis product. 

  1. Evaporation 

During the previous steps in the distillation process, a lot of chemical solvents were introduced to the mixture. To carry on with the distillation process and make the cannabis oil safe for consumption, growers must remove the solvents. 

This is done through evaporation. The exact steps will differ from professional to professional. The most common practice is applying heat to the mixture, which then encourages the solvents to evaporate. 

Putting the oil straight over an open flame isn’t safe. It’s also going to burn the product. Professionals will heat the mixture with specific equipment or toast the oil over hot water. 

  1. Decarboxylation

The next step is decarboxylation, a critical step in the distillation process. If this step isn’t completed perfectly, it’ll negatively affect the outcome of the distillate and final product. 

Decarboxylation, or just decarbing, is a process used to release carbon dioxide in cannabis oil. The decarbing process also turns the inactive THCa ingredient, which is non-psychoactive, into THC, which is psychoactive. It’s a common process, and it is also used to make cannabis cooking oil

To decarb the cannabis, apply heat to the mixture. Professional growers have access to vacuums, which they use to heat the mixture and capture volatile particles. Others use simple methods like cooking the oil on a stovetop. 

  1. Distillation

Distillation is done with a distillation machine, which warms the oil to evaporate it. The oil is then passed through a cooling center, which condenses the distillate and separates it from the last bit of “bad” matter. 

Depending on the distillation unit and the dispensary, the machine might have various heating and cooling systems, or the grower might pass the distillate through the machine multiple times. 

The distillate is caught and checked for impurities. The more the distillate passes through the unit, the clearer it becomes. 

  1. Final Refinement 

The distillate is completed in step 6. But some dispensaries or clients might prefer a more refined product. Some dispensaries continue to refine the distillate through molecular distillation, which uses a very low vacuum pressure.

Can You Make Cannabis Distillate At Home?

Yes, theoretically, you can make distillate at home. There are a few DIY methods online. But, without distillation machinery, you’re never going to achieve a high-purity product. Instead, you’ll be left with a dark gold product that holds maybe a fraction of the power of professional-grade distillate. 

Unlike growing cannabis, the distillation process has no cheap shortcut. To create pure distillate, you need vacuums and distillation machinery. There is no effective DIY method to achieve this process at home. 

Using THC Distillate

Let’s explore popular ways to consume cannabis distillate.


Just like concentrates, you can add distillate to your dab nail. However, because of texture differences and the potency, less is more. Use a syringe or dropper to pick up and drop the distillate on the dab nail and remember to take it slow with the dosage. 


Vapes are a popular medium for distillates because of their ease of use and potency. Vapes have tanks or cartridges perfect for an oil or distillate. The vape or vape pen heats the distillate in the cartridge, producing a very potent vapor for users to enjoy. 


One of the biggest contentions people have with cannabis is the smell and the taste. Distillate is virtually flavorless, while also being an extremely potent product. It also already contains active THC, which means you can add it straight to your food or beverages without the need to do more work. 


Another fun way to enjoy distillates is as an additive to your joints. Just add a sprinkling of distillate with your weed and enjoy a long-burning and super-potent joint. Just keep your tolerance in mind. This is better practiced by experienced smokers with a high THC tolerance. 


Because of the potency of distillate, it’s very effective as a topical. However, it can be a little thick and difficult to absorb, so we recommend mixing it with a body lotion for easier absorption, 

Pros And Cons Of Distillate

Lastly, let’s skim through the pros and cons before you choose your next cannabis product.


  • Very high potency: Distillate can contain up to 100% pure THC. 
  • Virtually Flavorless: It’s a good option for people who struggle with harsh tastes or want something a little more discreet. 
  • High Purity: The distillation process removes almost all plant and biomass matter from the distillate, leaving a truly pure cannabis product behind. 
  • Versatile: Whether you decide to add it to your dinner or sprinkle it on your joint, distillate is a versatile and easy-to-use product. 


  • No Terpenes: Distillate has no terpenes, which means no flavonoids that give off a pleasant taste or smell. 
  • No Entourage Effect: Because of the purity of distillate, there is no entourage effect – the effect that makes THC, CBD, and terpenes work together for a full-bodied high. 
  • Thinning Agent: To keep the distillate liquid at room temperature, a thinning agent, like propylene glycol, is added to the product. 
  • Potency: While potency is a major plus, it can be a con if you’re a beginner or someone who struggles with moderation. Too much distillate can lead to headaches, nausea, vomiting, and hallucinations. 


There are many ways to enjoy cannabis, including high-potency products like distillate. Distillate, similar to concentrates and resin, is a highly refined cannabis product. The distillation process, which involves a lot of filtering and refinement, removes all plant matter besides the desired THC or CBD. 

While there are a few cons to THC distillate, the pros outweigh them. Distillate has incredible potency and its versatility makes it a great add-on for cannabis lovers. 

If you’re interested in high-potency products, visit your nearest Embarc location. Embarc has a range of high-quality cannabis products, available at insanely low prices. Visit us today!