Which Cannabis Extraction Method Creates the Purest Final Products?


by Nicholas Demski, Staff Writer for Terpenes and Testing Magazine and Extraction Magazine

High school was a troubling time for some. The jocks without the best athletic shoes weren’t much of jocks at all. The girls without the nicest clothes would be looked down upon. The band members had to march in the blistering sun all summer long. It was a rough time all around. Except, however, for the jocks with the best gear, the girls with the nicest clothes, and the band members who don’t mind sweat. The people in those groups had some undefined superiority over the others. We’re seeing a similar dynamic unfold in the cannabis industry, but it’s far less nefarious (albeit no less exclusive).

It’s the dynamic that appears when comparing the final products of different extraction techniques. Now, this post isn’t written to bash on any of the other extraction techniques that create some awesome products. However, there is something uniquely intriguing about short path distillation. That’s why, when someone asks me what extraction method creates the purest final products, I tell them that it’s short path distillation.

However, there’s one little caveat: I want to see the products ran through the distillation process a couple of times. To understand why, let’s take a quick look at how short path distillation isolates cannabinoids and other plant compounds.

Short path distillation uses a complicated arrangement of tubes, pipes, heating units, cooling chambers, collection beakers, and more. A typical set up looks a bit stereotypical (of course that’s what a chemistry lab looks like!), but how it functions is what makes it so unique.

“The best part of these gorgeous, gooey extracts is that they don’t have to be processed with potentially harmful chemicals.”

By slowly heating cannabis, short path distillation can progressively and accurately separate out cannabinoids. As the compounds slowly evaporate, the vapor is condensed and deposited into collection beakers that accumulate only what vaporizes at a certain temperature. The end result is almost perfectly separated plant compounds in the form of beautiful extraction goos.

Running it twice can isolate the compounds and remove impurities even further. A third run could create an extract that’s virtually pure cannabinoids.

The best part of these gorgeous, gooey extracts is that they don’t have to be processed with potentially harmful chemicals like butane. The consumer knows full well when they purchase concentrate created through short path distillation that they are getting a product that not only looks incredible but is likely much healthier than some other cannabis products out there. Consider the fact that short path distillation isolates cannabinoids and easily removes things such as waxes and plant lipids from the final extraction.

Beyond the cannabinoids, it’s also possible to isolate terpenes through the same process. That means that, when isolating cannabinoids, lost terpenes can be reintroduced in the process since they can also be captured during the short path distillation process.

Cannabinoids don’t exclude terpenes as though they’re going through Short Path Distillation High School. Everyone gets along with this uniquely purifying extraction method.

Have you tried any cannabis products that were created through short path distillation? How do you think they compare to more conventional extracts? Let us know in the comments!