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Distillates are cannabis concentrates that are purified to remove all compounds other than one specific cannabinoid. In the case of THC distillate, this process involves removing all plant materials but THC, leaving behind a very potent, versatile oil that may not be the best go-to method for beginner marijuana users.
For more experienced cannabis users, however, THC distillate is a popular form of marijuana consumption that is discreet, scentless, and flavorless and can be vaped, smoked, used topically, or baked into edibles.
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What Is THC Distillate?
THC distillate is a highly potent cannabis oil produced during a distillation process that extracts THC — the active cannabinoid compound responsible for inducing a high — from the cannabis plant itself.
This complex process results in a final product that could be considered one of the purest forms of THC, as opposed to full-spectrum cannabis products, which contain terpenes and a greater variety of cannabinoids such as CBD.
Distillate vs. Live Resin
While distillate and live resin are cannabis oil concentrates, the refinement processes for each are quite different, leading to a stark contrast between the two.
Unlike THC distillate, live resin is a full-spectrum cannabis concentrate, which allows the concentrate to retain more properties of the original cannabis plant.
This means that live resin more closely resembles cannabis’s original form, making it an ideal stepping stone for new users who may benefit from building up a tolerance to THC before leaping to a more potent form of THC, like a THC distillate.
How Do You Use Distillate?
Following the extraction process, cannabis distillate can be enjoyed in various ways. While standard methods include dabbing and using vape cartridges, THC distillate can also be smoked with cannabis flower (simply top off your bowl with a few drops of the concentrate) or used to make cannabis edibles.
However you choose to use THC distillate products, it is essential to take it slow and remember that you have plentiful options for consuming THC.
Every person reacts differently to cannabis — not only to different forms of cannabis concentrates but also to different brands, products, and consumption methods.
A good rule of thumb is to start with a very low dose of THC distillate and wait a few hours to see how your body responds before consuming more; this is especially important when consuming edibles infused with THC distillate.
There are plenty of potential benefits to using THC distillate products. While many forms of cannabis have pain-relieving properties, studies show that cannabis with a higher percentage of THC can be more beneficial for pain relief than products with higher levels of CBD.
Since the process of producing THC distillates removes cannabinoids such as CBD from the concentrate, it is possible that THC distillate could provide a higher level of pain relief than traditional forms of cannabis, like flower.
Because THC distillate is so potent, another benefit could be the relatively small amount needed to induce the effects and benefits of THC. Though cannabis prices are decreasing, finding a way to get more bang for your buck never hurts.
While tolerance could increase due to frequent use of THC distillate, you always have the option of taking a tolerance break if you find yourself less receptive to the effects of THC.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
While the robust nature of THC distillate could be just what more experienced users need, those less familiar with cannabis could feel overwhelmed or anxious by the amount of distillate they have taken.
And although many may appreciate the pure THC focus of distillates, the extraction process does remove the naturally occurring terpenes found in cannabis plants, which contain anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and other potential therapeutic properties.
Some would reason that relying too much on any one cannabinoid would diminish the impact of the entourage effect, where the combination of various cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids produces greater therapeutic effects than if one cannabinoid is used on its own.
In other words, there are a lot of benefits to cannabis that you might miss out on by limiting yourself to THC distillate products. If the possibility of getting high is daunting, but you want a form of cannabis oil free of other terpenes, you could always try a CBD distillate to avoid intoxicating effects.
The Bottom Line
THC distillate is a potent form of cannabis concentrate that contains a high percentage of THC and may offer more pain relief than its full-spectrum counterparts.
It is an odorless and flavorless product that is usually dabbed or vaped but can also be added to edibles, used as a topical, or smoked with flower.
While versatile, inexperienced cannabis users should proceed cautiously when using THC distillates as too much THC can lead to unwanted side effects like anxiety. It is important to “start low and go slow” when dosing any new-to-you cannabis products, including distillates.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is THC distillate safe?
While more research is needed, THC distillate can generally be considered safe, as excluding other cannabinoids results in one of the purest forms of THC. While you may miss potential health benefits by choosing a distillate over a full-spectrum cannabis product, there has never been a fatal overdose reported from marijuana use.
Still, it is essential to know the source of the product. You can likely consider the product safe if you purchase your THC distillate from a licensed dispensary. If using a vape pen, consider the potential risks associated with some vaping cartridges. And if you are engaging in unsafe behavior while taking THC, such as driving under the influence of cannabis, you are ultimately putting yourself at risk.
Those with a family history of psychosis or who suffer from a condition that causes psychosis (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) should avoid THC.
Does distillate get you higher?
While the concentrated nature of THC distillate means that it is one of the more potent forms of cannabis, any cannabis-related high is variable, depending on the user. What might give one person nothing more than a slight buzz might give another person the shakes. And while some may find cannabis edibles overwhelming, it has been reported that some people can’t get high at all from taking edibles. Ultimately, the best way to determine if a THC distillate will get you higher than usual is to take it slow and find out for yourself.
Is THC distillate the same as THC?
THC distillate is a highly purified form of THC, often looking like a thick, clear, or amber-colored oil. It contains mostly THC and may contain very low levels of other cannabinoids and terpenes, so it is not always exactly the same as pure THC.
Some types of THC distillate, sometimes called “raw THC distillate,” contain purified THC only and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. If you want to try THC for the first time, you may want to try something aimed towards less experienced users, such as a low-percentage THC pre-roll, which might allow you to test out the full range of the benefits cannabis can provide.