Explain the difference between CBD crude, distillate, and isolate.

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  • #100000479
    RAW Moderator

    This will require a bit of understanding of several intertwined topics.


    First stage of extraction, normally done via ethanol, BHO, or CO2. Produces a dark oil with many terpenes and flavonoids. Prices vary depending on method with ethanol being the cheapest around $1,500/L and CO2 closer to $3,000/L.

    Filtration through distillation. Crude oil is refined to remove the flavonoids and terpenes, resulting in a gold/slightly clear oil. There are two types of distillate, oil with minor amounts of THC (1-4% range) and THC-free distillate. The slight THC version goes for roughly $3,500/L and THC-free goes for around $9k/L.

    99%+ pure refined CBD. At room temperature and pressure, it looks like crystals or white powder, similar to flour. Costs roughly $5,000/kg.

    Kilograms and liters are sometimes used interchangeably when referring to these extracts.

    Assuming 10% CBD material and proper extraction methods, it takes roughly:
    30 lbs to make 1 kg of crude
    40 lbs to make 1 kg of distillate
    60 lbs to make 1 kg of isolate


    Rafael pretty much nailed it.
    I think we could go into further detail about the chemistry of each kind of oil and how those organic compounds interact with the human body, but there’s still a great deal of research to do on that level.

    I am a hemp processor and I have access to all kinds of CBD products, and I prefer the crude oil. Crude oil still has many of the lipids, waxes, fatty acids, sterols, cholesterols, chlorophyll, etc. Many of these cannabinoids and other organic compounds have health benefits in an of themselves and ironically the market wants them removed from the oil.

    In my opinion, that’s where you get the most out of the entourage effect. Chlorophyll is one of the first compounds we typically remove in the refining process. Chlorophyll is a detoxifying agent that is good for your blood, skin, and joints. Raise your hand if you’re getting too much chlorophyll in your diet.
    My personal belief, based on anecdotal evidence, is that the more you refine the oil, the less beneficial it is. That’s not in all cases, but generally speaking.

    I don’t think isolate is bad, and it does have its uses and a legitimate market, but I think its a product that will find less and less use as the consumer begins to understand just how cannabinoids work in the body.


    I like your thoughts around the holistic benefits of crude.
    Could you expound on the differences of crude?
    Like is what comes straight out of the CO2 extractor considered crude with all those benefits? Or does it need winterized first, so that it is similar to ethanol crude?

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