No matter how experienced you are with cannabis and hemp products, THC-O is still new to the market, and navigating the slew of formulas available can be intimidating. Most of them, though, are made with something called “THC-O distillate.” If the term “distillate” doesn’t ring a comfortable bell, you’re probably wondering–what is THC-O distillate?
No worries, we’ll break down everything you need to know about distillate, including how it’s made, how to use it, and where you can get it for yourself. Let’s go:
Distillate simply refers to the purification method used during the manufacturing of a product. THC-O distillate is a pure form of extract that’s been distilled, meaning all unwanted materials have been removed, resulting in a final material that’s equally potent and pure. Most distillate products have a purity of 95% or higher, with the remainder of the formula reserved for terpenes for strain profiling.
THC-O distillate can be marketed on its own, but is also used to make a variety of different THC-O products. The quality of the THC-O distillate used during manufacturing heavily impacts the quality of the final product, so it’s important to understand how to verify the quality of the products you buy.
In order to understand how we get to the purification process (that is, distillation), we need to discuss the way that THC-O is extracted, or rather, converted from hemp derivatives. THC-O exists in natural hemp material, but usually in concentrations below 1%. Therefore, in order to create a THC-O concentrate that contains high quantities of the compound manufacturers need to use a process called isomerization.
Isomers are compounds that have the same atomic components, just arranged in a different order. During the isomerization process, CBD is extracted from hemp and is then exposed to an acid, usually acetic acid, in order to rearrange its molecular structure into Delta-8. Then, the same isomerization process is used to convert Delta-8-THC to THC-O.
Nothing else is added or removed, which is what makes THC-O made through these methods inherently different from a synthetic cannabinoid.
After the isomerization process, the majority of the resulting extract is composed of THC-O, but the process can also leave other cannabinoids, terpenes, unwanted plant materials, and solvents behind. The distillation process is a refinement method used to remove all of these other compounds to create a THC-O extract that is highly potent and pure.
Distillation involves the selective heating and cooling of a substance that forces compounds apart, allowing unwanted compounds to be removed. (For comparison, distillation is a common method used to purify drinking water.)
Because of the high temperatures used during distillation, the resulting THC-O distillate is fully activated and ready to consume. Then, this concentrated material can be used on its own or alongside other cannabinoids to create a wide range of different hemp products.
THC-O distillate is a simple concentrate, so it can be used in countless different formulas to create a wide variety of THC-O products. Or, it can simply be marketed, sold, and used as a concentrated material.
As a concentrate, THC-O distillate can be dabbed in a traditional dab rig or an e-rig, or it can be added to a vape pen. This can provide incredibly potent doses and gives consumers the ability to create their own unique THC-O formulas.
THC-O, however, is incredibly potent and easy to mismanage in this concentrated form, so many consumers prefer different dosing styles. THC-O distillate is used to make a variety of different products, like edibles and oils. THC-O distillate is also sprayed onto hemp flowers to create THC-O flower, a smokable product that mimics the taste, smell, and effects of traditional cannabis flowers.
There's really no limit to the way that THC-O distillate can be used to create products with different potencies, flavors, and dosing techniques.
Of course, THC-O is still fairly new to the hemp market and not all THC-O products are made equal. It's important to understand how to identify high-quality distillate and well-made products when you get ready to buy.
We mentioned that there's a wide variety of THC-O formulas out there and that the quality of THC-O distillate varies from brand to brand based on how it's made and the quality precautions taken during manufacturing. These inconsistencies make it incredibly important that THC-O consumers know how to navigate the market and look for high-quality formulas. Choosing a high-quality THC-O formula will not only help ensure a better THC-O experience, but will help ensure your safety when using hemp-derived THC-O products.
Here are some things to look for in a quality product:
It may go without saying, but a brand’s reputation is important, especially in the widely unregulated hemp industry. Do a little "background check" on the brand by reading the reviews, checking out their hemp source (the U.S.-grown, pesticide-free hemp is best), and their manufacturing standards (like using a cGMP-compliant facility).
The purity of your Delta-8 distillate matters. Ensure that the products you choose are free of contaminants like mold, pesticides, or solvents. At Vida Optima, our hemp is tested prior to manufacturing to make sure that none of these contaminants make their way to the final product.
We mentioned that THC-O distillate is usually around 95% pure, which means that 1 gram (1,000 milligrams) of THC-O will contain 950 milligrams of THC-O.
Of course, this 95% measurement is a rule of thumb and is not necessarily a requirement. Because there's no legal requirement for the potency of a THC-O distillate, some may have far less THC-O.
Always check the third-party lab reports to verify the potency of a product. Potency can vary from batch to batch. Make sure that the test results verify the information on the product’s label so that you know exactly how much THC-O you're buying, and exactly how much of the product to consume.
The appearance of a pure THC-O distillate can tell you a lot about its quality. For instance, distillate should be mostly clear, typically with a golden or rose-colored hue. Dark brown or muddy-looking distillate should be avoided. The distillate should also be free of cloudiness, which could indicate a misstep during the manufacturing process.
Because THC-O distillate is legally made from hemp material, you can order THC-O products online and have them shipped directly to your door. This makes them more accessible than traditional cannabis products for most people. They are also more potent, so keep that in mind when choosing a dosing style and potency.
Our premium THC-O products are made with potent THC-O distillate that's free of pesticides and other contaminants. Whether you're looking for edibles, sublingual tinctures, vape carts, or flowers, we guarantee that our entire hemp THC collection is made according to the industry's highest standards.
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