It may have seemed that the cannabis industry hit the potency plateau with dabs but the latest type of marijuana concentrate is obliterating predecessors with its euphoric power. Often referred to as cannabis distillate or by colorfully colorless nicknames such as “The Pure” and “The Clear”, this uber-concentrate is being touted as the future of the burgeoning concentrate sector of the industry. But you don’t make it to the top without ruffling a few feathers.
Cannabis Distillate Has Achieved 99% Potency
The ultra pure look of cannabis distillate (photo: Dope Magazine
High end concentrates that rely on hydrocarbon or CO2-based methods of extraction boast an 80% purity rate at best. That’s a praiseworthy percentage but not nearly as impressive when stacked up against cannabis distillates which can achieve an astounding 99% purity. These are the types of marijuana concentrates that rip windows through space and time. Obviously, a very little amount of cannabis distillate will go a long way and it’s priced accordingly. But this high cost also covers the heightened purity as well as the intense methods of production utilized to achieve such a robust product.
The Painstaking Process
Cannabis distillates are painstakingly created through a process known as “short path distillation.” Cannabinoids, terpenes and other molecules are segregated and refined to purge them of contaminants. This is achieved through heated vaporization of both the THC and CBD. The vapor produced is then guided through a specialized cooling system before collecting into glass containers. However, just running the product through this system once is not nearly enough to produce the purity and potency that earns cannabis distillates their lofty reputation. The process must be repeated again and again, eventually resulting in the crystal clear substance with the fitting nickname of “The Clear.” The process is considered solvent-free which is distinctly different than a non-solvent process. In creating these ultra-potent distillates, a hydrocarbon solvent is in fact utilized but no residual solvent remains after completion of the process. Along with solvents and contaminants, the process also sacrifices all of the product’s terpenes which brings us to the point of controversy.
The Question of True Purity
Since the heat needed for proper short path distillation typically eliminates all terpenes, some companies are actually using processes to re-infuse the cannabis distillate with terpenes; sometimes even from non-cannabinoid plants. Purists are calling foul over this method, citing that the re-introduction of foreign terpenes destroys the valued purity of the distillate. Others have taken issue with the scientific meddling in general, stating that it destroys the natural quality and health benefits associated with cannabis. And then there are some concentrate enthusiasts who are simply excited by the flavor possibilities offered by such a customizable process.
Is 99% pure cannabis distillate really the future of the concentrate market or simply a flashy luxury reserved for the highest of the high end? That answer’s not quite as clear as the distilled concentrate itself but the buzz surrounding it is certainly noteworthy. Fans of shatter, hash, and non-distilled waxes and oils needn’t worry about their favorite products being overtaken by the ultra-concentrated THC sap anytime soon, considering the lofty price tag. But a new plateau in getting high has definitely been achieved.