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Exactly What Is CBD Distillate?

June 20, 2019

There are tons of entities out there producing full spectrum CBD distillate oil. From local farmers making it in their garage (literally), to GMP certified labs with blown out 100,000sqft facilities. Everyone seems to be in the distillate game. The reason this variation in producers is so large, is because full spectrum distillate is easy to achieve on a broad level, and it is currently used as a blanket term for CBD oil in the range of 70% - 90% CBD content that has been winterized and had the ethanol evaporated out.

Two full spectrum liters of CBD distillate, ready to go.

When is CBD oil considered "distillate"?

Without getting too technical, it all comes down to process. CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant using either co2 or ethanol extraction, this gives you a product called crude. The next step in the production of consumable CBD is winterization and filtration. Whether you need to put your crude through winterization is largely dependent on the extraction methods used. For example, if you use an ethanol extraction method that includes removal of the fats/waxes, then run your product through a falling film evaporator for ethanol recovery, then your product may not need to be further winterized. After you have your winterized CBD crude, you can now turn your product into a full spectrum distillate through one of two ways. Short path distillation or wiped film evaporation. They both come with their pros and cons, but to those who are looking to become a serious operator in the wholesale CBD game, you will want to go with wiped film.

After your winterized crude is put through the distillation method of your choice, this is when the product is considered distillate, and the product should be between 80% - 90% CBD, based on the quality of your input material and process.

How do you know if a distillate is good quality?

The biggest factors of good vs. bad quality distillate are 1) the percentage of CBD content, 2) the color, and 3) percentage of minor cannabinoids.

If you are a wholesale buyer of full spectrum distillate, purchasing a distillate with higher CBD content matters not only because you are getting more bang for your buck, but it eliminates some of the risks associated with a lower quality oil.

If Seller X is producing distillate at 70%, what is the other 30% makeup of the oil? I would venture to say there are still some fats/waxes in there along with unwanted terpenes that will effect color (dark) and taste (unpleasant). If the minor cannabinoid content is high, that is one thing. But that isn't the case with most low quality distillates out there. It can be hard to find a distillate with total minor cannabinoid content above 4%.

Then comes Seller Y who has an 85% CBD full spectrum distillate. This only leaves 15% oil makeup for other molecules - most likely giving the oil a much more smoother, golden look because most of the unwanted plant compounds have been filtered out.

The point is, full spectrum CBD distillate should not only be judged by the CBD content of the oil, it is the unwanted plant compounds taken out that also need to be considered.

Here at CBD Energy Labs, we pride ourselves on consistency. We understand that every step of the production process matters. It all factors in to the type of product you are left with in the end. If you can develop a clean, scalable, and repeatable production process, you will be able to consistently create high quality full spectrum distillate with little variation.

Daniel Doody, Head of Private Labeling

Daniel is passionate about achieving company growth through digital marketing and product innovation. His heart is as big as his tattoo, and he loves improving production efficiency, the Chicago Cubs, and increasing product bioavailability.

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