Ever wonder why some concentrates like distillate and shatter have a beautiful, clear amber colour? And why others, such as tinctures and budder, have a forest-green colour?
The secret lies in a refinement process known as “winterization.” It doesn’t have anything to do with the winter, but extreme cold is definitely one of the primary elements involved.
Wondering how your concentrates have such a beautiful golden colour and how you can go about achieving this yourself?
Stay with us as explore the winterization process, why you should do it, and when you shouldn’t.
What is Winterization?
Winterization is the removal of lipids, waxes, chlorophylls and other undesirables from a crude extract such as hash oil. The number of fats and waxes present in your extract will depend on the method of extraction.
Cold ethanol extraction is recognized as one of the best extraction methods for minimizing the number of undesirables in your finished product. The colder the ethanol, the fewer undesirables present.
Butane, or BHO (Butane Hash Oil) extraction, comes in at the middle, extracting a reasonable amount of fats and lipids from the plant. CO2 extraction yields the highest amount of fats and lipids.
When Would You Want To Winterize Oil?
Depending on the concentrate you’re making, winterization might be an essential step. CBD or THC Distillate, for example, require winterization in order to achieve the purity that distillate is known for.
Without winterization, the distillate might burn when placed in a vape pen due to the high amount of waxes and lipids present in the crude extract.
Additionally, winterization should also be done if you’re looking to achieve higher potency. The presence of waxes, lipids and terpenes can lower the total THC/CBD levels of your extract. Removal of these undesirables will yield a clear and translucent extract.
When You Wouldn’t Want To Winterize Oil
For as much good as winterization brings, there are definitely some cases where you refrain from refining your extract.
Winterization preserves the cannabinoids of the plant such as CBD and THC. But the issue is that it removes terpenes and flavonoids – the compounds necessary for the taste and smell of the product.
It is possible to re-introduce these terpenes and flavonoids at the end of the manufacturing process. But the natural bouquet of flavours and aromas originally present in the flower is impossible to replicate. If you value a certain strain’s flower and smell, then winterization is not something you should do.
How to Winterize CBD Oil: A Recipe
Crude oil extract (CBD, THC or cannabis)
Low-micron mesh filters
Step 1: Mix ethanol
Utilizing a 10:1 ratio of ethanol to crude oil extract, mix the 2 liquids together until they are combined.
Step 2: Freeze mixture
Place your mixture in a freezer for 24 hours at a temperature as close as possible to the freezing point of ethanol (-76ºC (-104ºF)).
Step 3: Filter
Take your mixture and slowly filter it through multiple layers of low-micron mesh filters. Ensure that there are no gaps between the edges of the paper and the filter.
A light cream and green coloured substance should start to collect on top. These are the waxes, fats, chlorophyll and other impurities that are now removed from the ethanol-oil mixture collecting underneath.
Step 4: Repeat
Repeat the oil-bath process to boil off the ethanol and you’ll be left with winterized CBD oil. It should be a much lighter golden colour instead of the unwinterized oil’s darker amber.
And you’re done!
Now that you know what the winterization process is and how to do it, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and start refining your own extracts!
At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind whether or not your concentrate will be better off with, or without winterization.
Unsure what to do with your winterized hash oil? One of our favourite things to use it for is the production of concentrates such as distillate and isolate!