Cannabis Concentrates anno 2017
In this edition I will discuss the future of Cannabis –and that future is Extractions! The terms ‘Distillate’ and “Isolate” have probably crossed your ears because they are used in a wide range of applications nowadays and I think that they will get even more popular this year. I will do my best to explain in ‘common language’ what these terms mean and how these purified cannabis fractions are being made. Believe me people, molecular distillation is the future!
Crude/Raw cannabis oil (extract) contains a complex mixture of terpenes, cannabinoids & waxes. All these chemical compounds (fractions) can be separated from each other. This can be done because the boiling points (volatility) of the fractions are different, so each of these can be captured and separated from the other. How? Through a process called ‘fractional distillation’. Put into simple words, this chemical process separates the cannabinoids and terpenes by heating a crude cannabis oil mixture until the boiling point (fixed temperature) of the desired fractions. These boiling points are specified here: (source: https://www.projectcbd.org/ )
At every specific boiling point you can ‘catch’ a specific individual compound/fraction that leaves the crude oil mixture as a vapor, by cooling it down immediately (condensation). Distillation is performed after (whole plant -) extraction to further concentrate and purify desired compounds like: THC, CBD and Terpenes.
Watch this educational video made by Leafly which describes the distillation process:
THC-isolate or CBD-isolate is the purest form (pure fraction) you can get, because at this point you basically have the pure THC- and CBD molecule. Distillate on the other hand can still have some other cannabinoids present.
Put simply: isolate is refined distillate.
At the ASC you can find some of these purified (CBD only) extractions, CBD-isolate is available from a few different brands at the Amsterdam Seed Center: Endoca, Ubuntu Herbals and Harmony. Unfortunately these products do not contain any THC because THC-distillate and –isolate are not legal (yet) in Amsterdam.
There are many ways to consume CBD-isolate. it can be used to dab, cook, vaporize, infuse anything (food/drinks, massage oil etc.), it is already decarboxylated (meaning that all the CBD is active) so you can ingest it in its purest form to get all the benefits. When dabbing CBD-isolate, you will experience a menthol-/cherry-flavored vapor that gives you an instant body-relaxation effect.
It is very interesting how all the cannabinoids counteract with each other, specifically THC and CBD. Combining CBD-isolate with other cannabinoids (for example smoke a THC-rich joint while ingesting the CBD-isolate) can result in a very strong entourage effect. The benefits of these extracts featuring isolated compounds is that users can use specific cannabinoids -such as CBD - in their purest form. This is obviously good news for medical users. As the distillates don't taste (don’t contain terpenes) they are naturally a great option for making edibles too. In coming months, I shall be exploring the new world of cannabis compounds in more detail...
CBD can increase and extend a high, but also decrease a high and bring back a ‘cannabinoid balance’. It is all dependent on the (present) cannabinoids that you have consumed and their synergetic effects, all together = Entourage! I can only say that you have to experiment with it yourself to see what effect the different combinations has and find one that works best for you!