The distillation process that CBD undergoes in order to obtain CBD isolate is often up to a manufacturer’s preferences, and there is not a lot of evidence that one distillation process is necessarily better than other commonly used distillation processes. Due to this, not many manufacturers even disclose what distillation process(es) that they use in the creation of their CBD isolate and their manufacturing of CBD products that use CBD isolate, but we will still quickly cover some of the most commonly used CBD distillation processes in order to provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of what goes into the manufacturing of CBD products:
- Winterization: This is the process to remove undesirable elements that were extracted from the plant; some examples include: fats, natural waxes, and lipids. This process is only needed when the oil was extracted at high pressure and at a high temperature (which is known as supercritical extraction) because this intense extraction pulls everything from the plant, including — most importantly — material(s) that you don’t want in the final product. Once extracted, the mixture is combined with 200% proof alcohol and is then stirred vigorously until it is completely mixed. It’s then placed in a deep freezer for a period of at least 24 hours. After this freezing period, the mixture will have a cloudy look to it, and it is ready for the filtration process;
- Short Path Distillation: This technique is often used for compounds which are unstable at high temperatures or in order to purify small amounts of the desired compound. The advantage of this distillation process is that the heating temperature of the product can be considerably lower (at reduced pressure) than the boiling point of the liquid or oil at standard pressure, and the distillate only has to travel a very short distance before condensing;
- Fractional Distillation: This is the separation of a mixture into its different component parts, which are known as fractions. Chemical compounds are separated by heating them to a temperature at which one — or more fraction — of the mixture will vaporize. It uses distillation to fractionate, which is a separation process in which a certain quantity of a mixture (either gas, solid, liquid, enzymes, suspension, or an isotope mixture; in this case of CBD isolates it is the solid plant parts) is divided, into a group of smaller overall quantities;
- Continuous Wipe Film Distillation: This is an ongoing separation in which a mixture is continuously fed into the process without any interruptions and separated fractions are removed continuously as outputs, removing them from the desired end product;
- Batch Distillation: The use of distillation in groups or batches, meaning that a mixture is distilled to separate it into its component fractions before the distillation still is again charged with more mixture and the process is repeated. This is in direct contrast to continuous distillation described above;
- Vacuum Distillation: This is a method of distillation performed under reduced pressure, which lowers the boiling point of most liquids. This technique is most commonly used when the boiling point of the desired compound (the CBD isolate) is difficult to achieve or will cause the compound to decompose or degrade, or even simply to save energy in heating.