Houdini Lab

An Examination of Cannabis Short Path Distillation

Short path distillation is a novel method of separating cannabinoids and recapturing them in their original form. It is a very complex process, but it has recently emerged as an essential stage in the creation of cannabis vape products, edibles, and other refined cannabis products. These items demand a greater level of purity than can be achieved only through the use of standard extraction methods. Isolates of cannabis, sometimes referred to as distillates, have the potential to be the deciding factor in the development of entire medicinal preparations of cannabinoids derived from the whole plant.


The Fundamentals of Distillation through a Short Pathway

Some of the most technical components of commercial cannabis manufacturing are the distillation process and the equipment used in that process. Root Sciences and Pope Cannabis Distillation are just two of the many firms that are squarely aiming their commercial grade short route distillation equipment at the cannabis market. The high learning curve associated with all elements of the distillation processes is the primary reason why the majority of brands offer onsite setup and training for their products. There is no such thing as plug-and-play distillation equipment that can be used in a business setting.


With the exception of rosin extraction, the majority of popular extraction methods used in the cannabis industry rely on solvents such as butane, ethanol, and pressured supercritical CO2. Rosin extraction is one of the exceptions to this rule. In order to produce a concentrated final extract, the chemical compounds found in cannabis, such as the numerous cannabinoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll, must first dissolve in the solvent before being able to be separated from the undesirable organic plant material through the process of evaporation. Cannabis extractions are the raw material that are fed into the apparatus that performs short-path distillation.



The topic of purity is what separates distillation from extraction as the primary distinction between the two processes. The cannabis content of the petrochemical and CO2 extractions is higher than that of the raw flower, but a significant amount of the undesirable plant debris is still present. Cannabinoids found in an extraction are, for the most part, identical to those found in the unprocessed flower, but they are present in greater quantities. There is no such thing as the isolation of a compound.


The idea behind short path distillation is that it is possible to achieve a molecular separation of distinct chemicals by using a method that involves slow thermal heating. Each every chemical that makes up cannabis has its own unique vapor pressure point as well as boiling point. The temperature at which the vapor pressure is at its highest is specific to each cannabinoid, terpene, and other chemical component. The distillation method allows manufacturers to easily split a cannabis extraction into one or more formulations with a high level of purity. This is made possible through careful temperature control throughout the distillation process. The final elements that are often produced during short path distillation comprise any remaining waxes, sugars, and heavy residues together with one or more cannabinoids and one or more terpenes.


Distillation is a method of extraction that can be used in conjunction with solvent-based extraction techniques, but it does not require any additional solvents because it relies on a slow temperature separation rather than on additional solvents. In order to achieve the appropriate level of overall purity, manufacturers may choose to conduct a subsequent round of distillation after the initial one. During each subsequent round, additional impurities are extracted, which results in an even more refined end product. A number of manufacturers have reported achieving purities of more than 99 percent. In light of this, there is some cause for concern over the fact that the purity of the final product will be determined by the quality of the product that goes into the distillation process. Even after distillation, there is a possibility that some pesticide residue will remain.




The Application of Short Path Distillation in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The addition of short path distillation to the processing of cannabinoids enables the production of purities of at least 95 percent. As is the case with other marijuana preparations currently available on the market, the most common cannabis distillates are the primary cannabinoids, which are THC and CBD. However, there is a growing push to understand and isolate the secondary cannabinoids, which are less well-known, as well as the terpenes.


Whole plant cannabis preparations are enjoying a renaissance as a result of increased knowledge on the synergistic effect that may occur when dozens of different chemicals found in cannabis interact with one another. It is only logical to call into question the requirement for greater purity isolates in light of our current understandings of the entourage effect. Are isolates going to play a significant role in the development of cannabis medicine? In order to obtain pure pharmaceutical formulations from the plant, distillation is still an option that needs to be considered. The production of medicine that has a regulated synergistic effect can be achieved through distillation.



The process of separating individual cannabinoids into formulations that are nearly pure brings the process of developing specialized pharmaceutical preparations of cannabis one step closer to completion. Medical teams will be able to customise medicine to the patient and the ailment by combining isolated cannabinoids and terpenes as necessary until additional research and the perfecting of the distillation process have been completed. Even though there is still a long way to go until researchers have a complete understanding of the complex interaction between the various chemical components found in cannabis and the endocannabinoid system, distillation is an essential part of the process that leads to that understanding.


As the need for pure secondary cannabinoids and terpenes continues to rise, short path distillation is also being development at this time. Isolates of THC that are 99 percent pure are becoming less important to producers, who are shifting their attention to the separation of novel cannabinoids and terpenes instead. Now, rather than totally eliminating the terpenes, they are frequently separated from the undesired plant material in an external cooled collection flask, only to be included into the final product. This process takes place in the modern day. Cannabinoid producers are coming up with novel approaches to purify, extract, and recombine cannabinoids isolated from cannabis in order to create novel formulations. The distillation of cannabis is only one more step that must be taken in order to have a greater understanding of the different cannabinoids, their relationship to one another, and how they interact with the endocannabinoid system.