Preparation of Crude Extract for Spinning Band Distillation

by Paul on December 7, 2018

Various types of crude cannabis extract can be successfully distilled into high purity cannabinoid distillate. With that in mind, it’s critical that the crude always be properly prepared prior to a vacuum distillation process. Depending on the type of extract being distilled, this can include one or more post-extraction steps, such as:


  • Rough particulate filtration
    • Removes the bulk of plant material from a cannabinoid/solvent solution, typically used for ethanol-extracted solutions. Generally employs filter media (paper, cloth, filter discs) in the 10-25 micron range.


  • Winterization/De-waxing
    • Removes waxes and lipids that were co-extracted with cannabinoids. Uses sub-freezing temperatures to and coagulate the waxes/lipids, making them easy to remove with filtration.


  • Liquid-liquid separation
    • Removes chlorophylls, proteins and other compounds that can cause odor and burning issues during the distillation process. This process requires the use of solvents and must always be practiced in a safe manner.


  • Sub-micron filtration
    • Removes proteins, carbon residuals, and any other remaining non-solubilized contaminants that may be invisible to the naked eye. Failure to remove these compounds from a boiling flask prior to fractional distillation can cause undesirable results, including low THC potency.


crude extract preparation

Ethanol Extracted Crude Being Prepped for Distillation

Cannabis distillation equipment, including Spinning Band, is excellent at producing high purity THC/CBD distillate from crude cannabinoid extract. However, because not all compounds that are collected during an extraction process can be separated from each other using a simple distillation process, proper post-extraction / pre-distillation processing is a critical step to achieve high purity and repeatable results.

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  • Is it required to remove the chlorophyll from the crude ethanol extraction before distillation using the spinning column system?

    • In short, no it is not required. You can expect an orange/yellow to clear distillate even from crude that is fairly green.

      I will say though that the extraction of chlorophyll generally means either cell lysis or the presence of extra water in the ethanol. Both of these things will cause the extraction of other compounds that are undesirable. I think it is best to avoid picking them up in the first place as removing them can be more difficult.

      – Luke

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