By Max Sargent

The world of cannabis concentrates is growing, and people are falling in love with these super-pure cannabis products. The purest of all is known as cannabis distillate, which contains almost 100% cannabinoids and forsakes all terpenes.

Some people love it; others are less sure. In this article, we look into this strange and truly modern product.

What Is Cannabis Distillate and How Is It Made?

Cannabis distillate products are a fascinating new form of cannabis that promise to change the way that cannabis is used in certain scenarios. Distillates are made by vaporizing cannabis material, then collecting and cooling (distilling) that vapor. This process is free from impurities and results in products that are about 99% pure cannabinoids.

Terpenes, which give cannabis its aromas and flavors, are destroyed in the process, meaning that a pure distillate product is odourless and flavorless. For some uses, this is helpful—but for recreational users, this can be quite a drawback. However, terpenes can be extracted by other means and then added to the final distillate product later.

Cannabis Distillate

Due to the nature of the process, people can engineer specific cannabis products with cannabinoid and terpene ratios to suit their desired use. So we no longer need to grow strains with particular cannabinoid and terpene ratios; rather, we can extract and distil the compounds we want, and mix them together later.

Some purists are against such an approach, but others see it as paving the way for a new, fine-tuned way to use cannabis that could be particularly useful for medicinal cannabis users.

Distilling Cannabis at Home

Though this may all sound very high tech, the process of distilling weed is actually fairly simple and straightforward, and you can do it at home as long as you have the right equipment.

The following process is simplified, but it should give you an idea of how to make cannabis distillate at home.

  1. Extract trichomes: First, you’ll need to remove the trichomes from the plant matter. You can do this either with a sieve (as is done to make kief) or with cold water or solvent extraction.
  2. Winterisation: Now you need to store the trichomes at -20 to -60ºC for 24 hours. For this, you’ll need specialist equipment, as normal freezers do not drop to these temperatures. This part of the process further isolates cannabinoids from other compounds such as lipids and chlorophyll.
  3. Decarboxylate: After being filtered through a rotary evaporator, you now need to decarboxylate your product at 110ºC for 40 minutes. This activates the THC, meaning that your body can make use of it.
  4. Distil: You can now distil what you have left using vacuum pressure and heat. What remains will be up to 99% pure, and will be odourless and tasteless.

With the correct equipment, this process isn’t too difficult. But as you can see, you won’t be able to just pop into your kitchen and start right away; you’ll need to buy some fairly particular equipment first. Not only is the outlay for this quite high, but you’ll also need a lot of bud if you want to make any meaningful amount or cannabis distillate at home.

Distillate Cannabis at Home

What Are the Benefits of Cannabis Distillate?

Cannabis distillate is a very pure product with some real advantages:

  • Incredibly pure concentration of cannabinoids
  • Extract can be added to all manner of products
  • Versatility of the product means it can be adjusted to desired use
  • Flavor can be added
  • Great for cooking when you don’t want the flavor of cannabis
  • Potentially very useful for medical users
  • THC distillate is very potent
  • Process removes pesticides and impurities

Drawbacks of Cannabis Distillate

But it’s not without its drawbacks either. Here are some of the potential cons of distillate:

  • Some people lament the loss of terpenes
  • Some aren’t happy about the idea of engineered cannabis products
  • Products are expensive
  • Difficult process compared to making other concentrates

Live Resin vs Distillate

Live resin and distillate are two fairly distinct products, though they share similarities too.

The major difference between the two is this: live resin is made to specifically enhance and show off the terpene profile of cannabis, whereas distillate renders the final product entirely odourless/flavorless. For this reason, the two products often appeal to different people within the cannabis community.

Another difference is that live resin could be considered full spectrum, as it contains a full array of the terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant material from which it was sourced. Distillate, on the other hand, is not full spectrum as it lacks terpenes and other non-cannabinoid phytochemicals.

But otherwise, they share commonalities too. Both live resin and distillate result in a cannabis concentrate with a very high percentage of cannabinoids—much higher than cannabis flower. Both also involve freezing. With live resin, freshly harvested cannabis flower is flash frozen in liquid nitrogen, before undergoing butane extraction. Distillate, however, is frozen after the trichomes have been extracted.

Liv Resin vs Distillate

Rosin vs Distillate

Cannabis rosin is a concentrate made by compressing cured cannabis flowers between two hot surfaces, such as hair straighteners. The resin then runs out, cools, and can be collected and used like any other waxy cannabis concentrate.

With that in mind, rosin and distillate are quite distinct. Rosin is a basic concentrate made using heat and pressure, with no solvents or freezing involved. As such, it is also one of the easiest concentrates to make at home. The potency and purity of cannabis rosin varies, and it still contains some terpenes, though many can be destroyed in the heating process.

Distillate vs Wax

Wax is a form of BHO (butane hash oil), which is a solvent-based concentrate. It is soft and waxy, as the name suggests. Wax generally contains a full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids, making it popular among users with a discerning palate.

How to Use Cannabis Distillate

THC distillate lends itself to a number of ingestion methods, particularly vaporizing and edibles. Excitingly, its unique qualities also make it perfect for developing into pharmaceutical products.

Can You Smoke THC Distillate?

You can smoke cannabis distillate, but it’s not the best use for this product. As distillate is so pure, combustion would be a waste; you would need to mix it with something like tobacco or cannabis flower in order to burn it, which would in turn drive down the purity of your distillate. In this case, it would be better to simply smoke bud or more rudimentary forms of hash.

Vaping THC Distillate

Vaping THC Distillate

Vaping is one of the best ways to use THC distillate. By calibrating a vaporizer to the optimal temperature for the specific cannabinoid profile, users can really make the most of a given distillate product. That being said, the totally flavorless experience can be somewhat odd to those used to flavorful hits.


Distillate also lends itself well to edibles. For one thing, it is already decarboxylated, meaning it can be added directly to a recipe.

More importantly, the flavorless nature of these products means they open the door for chefs to imbue their food with the effects of cannabis, without adding any of that weed-y flavor. Therefore, you can essentially cook up anything you’d like, and needn’t to worry about cannabis affecting the taste of your dish.


The pure nature of distillates means that they are perfect for pharmaceutical use. While full-spectrum cannabis has potential medical applications as well, its consistency from product to product makes it hard to standardise for specific therapeutic use. With distillate, however, drugs can be developed with consistent concentrations of certain cannabinoids, opening up a whole new world of clinical possibilities.

Topicals and Cosmetics

It’s also possible to use distillate products to make cannabis topicals and cosmetics, though it's not the best use for such a particular product. The only reason that you’d use a distillate over some other extract is that, as it is free from terpenes, your topical or cosmetic could be fragranced to your liking.

Distillate Dabs

It’s also possible to treat your distillate like dabs—a form of vapeable concentrate consumed via a water pipe. The vapor is pulled through water and then inhaled, like smoke from a bong. While this will make for a potent psychoactive experience for THC lovers, the lack of flavor is considered by some to be a bit of a drawback.

Distillate Tincture

Distillate can also be used to make sublingual tinctures. For users who want high-quality, flavorless cannabis products that are easy to use and travel with, a sublingual tincture is a good option. The process of creating distillate tinctures is also very easy, and thus feasible for amateurs.

CBD Distillate

As you can distil at different temperatures, it’s just as possible to make CBD distillate. These products have all the same benefits, drawbacks, and uses of a THC distillate, except they come loaded with almost 100% CBD.

The main applications of CBD distillate appear to be in supplements and pharmaceuticals, as CBD is continually being studied for its therapeutic efficacy.

Is THC Distillate Safe?

Generally, yes, THC distillates are safe. As they are almost totally pure, it’s about as safe as inhaled cannabinoids can be. That being said, vaping does come with some health concerns, so don’t be fooled into thinking it’s completely risk free.

The main risk of using distillates is their strength; you might find you become uncomfortable at even very small doses. So if you choose to use a THC distillate, start small and proceed with caution!

DisclaimerExtracts, concentrates, and oils used for dabbing are among the strongest cannabis products available. Proceed with caution when using substances high in THC. Start with low doses and slowly increase over time to build up a tolerance to the compound.

Remember: Set and Setting will help you deal with various situations.

Stay Cultivated.

Are you aged 21 or over?

The content on is only suitable for adults and is reserved for those of legal age.

Ensure you are aware of the laws of your country.

By clicking ENTER, you confirm
you are
21 years or older