Cold Trap for High-Quality Cannabis Extraction and Distillation


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Cannabis and cannabis-derived oils are considered to hold medicinal uses. Several therapeutic benefits of cannabis may be provided by high purity cannabidiol (CBD) oil without the mind-altering effects, in a format that is easy for consumers. CBD oil is prepared through the short-path distillation of crude cannabis oil, where precise temperature control is required during the distillation process to produce high purity oil.

For thousands of years, cannabis has been used medicinally and it is said to provide various therapeutic benefits from relaxation and pain relief, to preventing the spread of cancer and controlling epileptic seizures.

Currently, nine states have made cannabis legal for recreational use, with an additional 29 states allowing the medical use of cannabis. This legalization has increased the sales of legal cannabis in North America to about $6.6 billion in 2016, of which 71% was earmarked for medical use.

The Market for CBD Oil is Growing Rapidly

In the past few years, cannabis oils have become popular with consumers, because of their ease of transport, ease of use, and increased accessibility. Several cannabis-derived oils are currently available that include cannabis oil, hemp oil, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil, marijuana oil, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The concentration of various cannabinoids in the oils is the major difference between the types of cannabis-derived oils.

Cannabis is made up of a range of biochemical and pharmacological compounds. The two well-known cannabinoids in cannabis are CBD and THC. CBD is believed to have many therapeutic uses, whereas THC causes the mind-altering effects of cannabis. Since CBD is not psychoactive, it does not cause the mind-altering effects of THC or marijuana. Therefore, CBD oil enables consumers to access the therapeutic benefits of cannabis but without the mind-altering effects.

In contrast to THC and cannabis containing oils, CBD oil is legal in Europe, and 17 states (where medicinal cannabis use is otherwise illegal) have passed laws permitting the use of CBD oil with restricted levels of THC for treating conditions such as epilepsy, when other treatment options are ineffective. In 2016, the CBD oil market was worth approximately $170 million and is anticipated to quickly grow to an estimated $2.1-$3 billion in consumer sales by 2020.

What are the Therapeutic Effects of CBD Oil?

The therapeutic effects of CBD oil went unnoticed for a long time, perhaps because THC was regarded as the primary active constituent of cannabis owing to its psychoactive effects. Yet, in recent years, there has been a growing interest in the therapeutic applications of CBD oil.

Several retrospective studies, clinical case studies, and open-label clinical trials have proposed CBD oil to be effective in treating treatment-resistant epilepsy. Moreover, cannabis-derived oils have several potential benefits for cancer patients including increased appetite, while reducing vomiting, nausea, insomnia, pain, and depression. In addition, animal and in vivo studies indicate that cannabinoids may have a direct anti-cancer effect.

Research proposes that CBD oil has several other therapeutic effects such as treatment of sleep disorders, chronic pain disorders, anxiety disorders, inflammation, acne, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. Despite this fact, more research, such as placebo-controlled clinical trials, is needed to confirm the full therapeutic effects of CBD oil.

Short-Path Distillation for Precise Oil Extraction

It is possible to extract oils from cannabis plants in a number of ways, often using alcohol, solvents, or supercritical CO2. After extracting the crude oil from the cannabis plant, the oil is purified by distillation. Cannabinoids can be extracted individually to yield clear and clean distillates that are 99% pure and this is done by controlling the pressure and temperature of distillation in a process known as short-path distillation.

Short-path distillation is specifically suitable to cannabis oil distillation because it avoids thermal decomposition of the volatile cannabinoids. Precise distillation is very critical for the production of medicinal CBD oils, as THC levels are rigorously controlled in many medical applications.

In short-path distillation, the crude cannabis extract is heated in a flask with reduced pressure. The heat is slowly increased, and the crude oil constituent molecules boil at their specific boiling points in order to form vapors. The vapors ascend a short distance into a vertical condenser, where water cools them and the compounds in the oil are collected separately.

Polyscience’s Bent Immersion Probe Cooler can be integrated into the distillation process. The cooler holds a constant temperature with no fluctuation, providing certainty that distillations are extracting only pure, target compounds. This is very important for applications such as cannabinoid extractions, where high concentrations of THC can be the difference between a legal and an illegal product.

The Bent Immersion Probe Cooler from PolyScience

The Bent Immersion Probe Cooler from PolyScience. Image credit: PolyScience

The bent design of the Immersion Probe Cooler removes clutter in the lab, by having the hose run directly from the distillation apparatus, making mistakes less likely. The bent probe chiller can cool to temperatures as low as -100 °C.

References and Further Reading

  2. Everything you need to know about CBD oil —
  3. Global CBD Oil Market 2017-2021: Growth at CAGR of 39.19% - Growing Influence of Online Retailing —
  4. The Cannabis Market That Could Grow 700% By 2020 —
  5. 17 States with Laws Specifically about Legal Cannabidiol (CBD) —
  6. Cannabinoids in treatment-resistant epilepsy: A review — O’Connell BK, Gloss D, Devinsky O, Epilepsy & Behavior, 2016.
  7. Comprehensive Review of Medicinal Marijuana, Cannabinoids, and Therapeutic Implications in Medicine and Headache: What a Long Strange Trip It's Been — Baron EP, Headache Currents, 2015.
  8. Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation —Burstein S, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 2015.
  9. Integrating cannabis into clinical cancer care — Abrams DI, Current Oncology, 2016.
  10. Short Path Molecular Distillation —
  11. Achieving Ultimate Purity With Short-Path Distillation
  12. PolyScience Temperature Controllers: Redefining Cool


This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by PolyScience.

For more information on this source, please visit PolyScience.


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  1. Rebecca Graham Rebecca Graham India says:

    The real problem is, the market is flooded with the low quality and contaminated CBD oil and the patients instead of improving, deteriorate their health. The health must be the first concern at any cost.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of

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