There are many different cannabis products on the market today, as well as a variety of consumption methods and added ingredients. Though all these options may seem overwhelming, they allow you, the cannabis consumer, to create a truly personalized experience.
You can not only choose how you want to consume your cannabis but also what types of effects you experience and how long you experience them.
One of the newest trends on the market for experienced cannabis users is distillates.
Distillates are often grouped in with a unique batch of cannabis products: cannabis concentrates.
Below, we’ll dive into what distillates, concentrates, and extracts are and why THC distillates are so popular lately. Plus, you’ll discover different ways to use THC distillates to elevate your cannabis experience.
A Look at THC
Before we look at distillates, it is essential to know what THC is and why so many people want it in distillate form.
When people hear the word “cannabis,” they often picture someone experiencing a high. That person may be feeling happy, giggly, a little tired, or even stuck on the couch.
But what gives people these feelings? THC.
THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of hundreds of compounds that make up a cannabis plant. THC is the most prominent compound in the plant and is psychoactive. It is responsible for the high feeling most people associate with cannabis use.
Science is still learning how THC, and its fellow compounds, interact with the brain and our bodies, but we do have an early idea of how THC works. In the simplest terms, THC works by attaching to your body’s cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found in the brain and nervous system. By interacting with these receptors, THC can produce a variety of effects, including:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Distorted perceptions and sense of time
- Full-body relaxation
- Energy boost
The specific effects you will feel when trying THC will depend on a few factors. Your tolerance and experience with THC, the way you are consuming cannabis, the specific strain you are using, and even your body weight can impact how you react to THC.
Distillates, Concentrates, and Extracts: What’s the Difference?
Distillates are among the most popular products on the cannabis market right now. It is often a term used in conjunction with the terms “extracts” and “concentrates.” Knowing what makes all these different products unique can be a challenge. Let’s take a look at what they each are.
“Extract” really refers to the process by which concentrates and distillates are made. However, when people say “cannabis extracts,” they are likely referring to products that fall into the concentrate and distillate category. Many people use the word “extract” as an umbrella term to refer to products in these categories and not the process by which they are made.
“Concentrate” is a catch-all term (like “extracts” is) for cannabis products like shatter, rosin, wax, crumble, oil, and dabs. A cannabis concentrate is made using an agent (often butane) to extract the materials from a cannabis plant. This allows manufacturers to create more potent forms of cannabis.
“Distillates” are similar to concentrates but have one significant difference: Distillates are stripped of every element except for one specific cannabinoid. This means when you use a THC distillate, your product will only contain THC and no other compounds. Plus, distillates are usually made post-extraction, while concentrates are made via extraction.
What Is THC Distillate?
We know that distillates are the pure form of one compound. So, a THC distillate means the product you have contains only THC.
Distillates are generally translucent and runny in consistency. They also have no taste or smell, but some manufacturers may add that in after they are made.
Because THC distillate is a “pure” THC product, users and dispensaries often regard it as a “top shelf” cannabis product, meaning you can expect to pay a little more for it than you would other products.
THC distillates (and distillates in general) are popular for many reasons, but one of the biggest is their potency.
Cannabis flowers have become more potent over the years, but even they pale when compared to a quality distillate. Buds can have THC contents that range (on average) between 10 percent and 20 percent, with anything over about 15 percent being considered high. THC distillate, on the other hand, can contain THC levels up to 99 percent!
Because of its potency, it is not a good idea for beginners to try distillates. These cannabis products should be used by those who are experienced with cannabis and well aware of their THC tolerance levels. You can expect a very strong high when using these, even when only using a small amount.
A Closer Look at Distillates: How Are They Made?
More and more cannabis users are finding ways to make products at home. This includes making your own cannabis edibles and even using press plates to create some extracts. But making distillates requires specific equipment and knowledge and can be dangerous. Because of this, you should not try to make distillates at home. Instead, leave it up to professionals and purchase them from an online retailer or local dispensary.
Distillates are made via a precise process. Here are basic instructions to give you an idea of what it takes to make these powerful products.
- The extraction process removes cannabinoids from the cannabis plant.
- Winterization needs to occur, in which the solution is mixed with ethanol and placed in a cold environment for a few days.
- Decarboxylation is done to activate the THC compound and remove the acid component from it.
- Using vacuum pressure and heat, the THC (or whatever compound is being isolated) is extracted.
5 Ways to Use THC Distillates
Whew. Now that we know what THC distillates are and how they are made, how can you use them? Distillates are quite a versatile product, allowing users many choices when it comes to how to consume them. We highlight five of them below.
- Vape them. THC distillate vape cartridges and vape pens are available for purchase. These will produce an odourless vapour when you use them, making it a discreet way to enjoy your product.
- Add them to your joint. If you want to increase the potency of the cannabis flower you are using, you can sprinkle a drop or two of THC distillate onto your flower, rolling paper, or into the bowl of your pipe. Because THC distillates have no flavour, you won’t impact the taste your flower has, but you will increase its potency.
- Dab them. Dabbing is another up-and-coming way to consume cannabis, allowing people to enjoy concentrates and distillates. This process requires specialized equipment, but for many, it is worth it to get the strong high distillates have to offer.
- Make your own edibles. Cooking with cannabis is a growing trend as people look for easy ways to incorporate cannabis into their daily lives without inhaling anything. You can add distillate to your edibles recipe, providing you with a strong high without impacting the taste of your food or meal.
- Make a cannabis topical. You can apply THC distillate, or other distillates, directly to your skin for fast-acting effects. This is less common with THC and more common with CBD distillate, but still an option. You can use an oil distillate or make your own creams and lotions infused with THC distillate.
Dosing and THC Distillate
As we’ve mentioned, THC distillate is potent. While most people find the use of cannabis and distillates pleasant, taking too much can lead to a more intense high than you were expecting. This can leave you feeling anxious and create a bad experience.
That’s why taking the right amount of THC distillate is so important. You want to make sure you get the effects you want without experiencing adverse ones.
Unfortunately, there is no standard dose when it comes to cannabis products, and that includes THC distillates. Everyone’s body processes and reacts to cannabis differently. How much you can use is unique to you.
The first time you use THC distillate, be sure to start with a small amount and see how you respond. If you feel comfortable, you can slowly increase your dose each time you use it until you reach your desired effects.
If you use THC distillate as a way to add potency to your flower, either by adding it to the flower or your rolling papers, keep in mind the potency of the bud you are using. You’ll need to factor in the potency of the two to determine how much distillate you should add.
Too Much THC? How to Come Down
Despite one’s best efforts, it’s not uncommon to accidentally use too much distillate. Perhaps you miscalculated or didn’t realize the high THC concentration your THC distillate had and used your usual dose. Or maybe your body just reacted differently than it usually does.
Whatever the reason, if you find yourself “too high” from THC, there are some things you can do to help bring yourself down faster. It is important to note that these tips will not rid your body of THC but rather will help alleviate symptoms and effects of THC.
If you find yourself needing to come down from using THC distillate or other cannabis products, you can:
- Try to remain calm. Remind yourself that the effects will fade, and your feelings are temporary. Panicking will only exacerbate them.
- Find a quiet place to lay down. This can help you stay calm and may even help you go to sleep; when you wake up, you’ll likely feel better.
- Distract yourself. Try working on an adult colouring book or listening to some calming music to help your mind focus on things other than the effects you are feeling.
- Eat a peppercorn. Though this sounds like an odd option, many cannabis users swear by this trick. Take a bite of a peppercorn; you’ll hopefully feel some relief quickly.
- Try CBD products. CBD is another compound found in cannabis, but it does not get users high. In fact, it can help counteract the effects of THC. Eat a CBD gummy to help temper the effects you are feeling.
If you have a bad high, take note of how much you used so you can better manage your dosing with THC distillate (and other cannabis products) going forward.
Though the words “extracts,” “concentrates,” and “distillates” are often all used interchangeably to describe cannabis products like shatter, wax, and crumble, they actually refer to different things.
“Extract” is often used to refer to products that fall into the concentrate and distillate categories but is also the name of the process by which these products are made. A “concentrate” is a product like shatter or oil that contains various compounds pulled from a cannabis plant.
A “distillate” is made by isolating one cannabinoid, most often THC or CBD. So, a THC distillate would be a product that contains only THC and no other parts of the cannabis plant and no other compounds or cannabinoids.
Distillates are popular, in part because they are incredibly potent. Some THC distillates can have a THC content of up to 99 percent. Because of this, you should not use THC distillate if you are inexperienced or have never used cannabis before. Experienced users should also keep this potency in mind and adjust how much they consume and how they consume it accordingly.
There are also multiple ways people can use THC distillate. Some of the most popular include:
The consumption method you use is up to you and your preferences. Just be sure to start with a small dose and slowly work your way up. Because of its strength, a little bit of THC distillate can go a long way in giving you the high you want.