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Using Short-Path Distillation to Extract CBD Oil From Cannabis

CBD also known as Cannabidiol has shown a lot of promise for new applications. There are many ways to extract the oil from the plant and short-path distillation is one of them.

In this interview, Krista Ferando, Customer Service Specialist, from Glas-Col talks to AZoM about how they are using short-path distillation to get the end product CBD oil.

What is short-path distillation? How does it work?

Short-path distillation is a simple technique that involves the distillate traveling a short distance. This technique is used in many types of distillation and has been around for many years in several fields. This distillation is completed under pressure which decreases the boiling point of the liquid.

Due to the lower boiling point, it is a good procedure to use for compounds that are unstable at high temperatures or to purify small amounts of a compound. The classic setup involves minimal travel for the vapors, hence the term short-path.

What applications use short-path distillation?

While general distillation systems in the laboratory can be elaborate and extensive, the short-path strategy utilizes less glassware which reduces potential loss of materials adhering to the inner surfaces of the apparatus. This technique is employed where product loss during processing can be expensive.   

What role does short-path distillation play in cannabis applications?

The process when using THC is often called fractional short path distillation. In the distillation process, you can extract the hundreds of cannabis compounds out individually because each compound has a different boiling point. After the extraction is complete you can add together the known compounds you want to make the best product for the customer.

Due to the expensive nature of the materials involved with cannabis, the short-path distillation technique contributes to the profitability of the processing operation.

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Why is it a crucial step?

The crucial aspect of distillation purification is temperature. Other physical chemistry variables contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency, but temperature is critical to achieving a high yield of desired products. Vacuum is often used to enhance the process by allowing distillation at lower temperatures thereby reducing the potential of altering the chemical makeup of the distillates.   

The short- path distillation is a crucial step to get the end product, CBD oil without terpenoids, flavonoids, and contaminates (by-products like residual solvents and pesticides can be removed).

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What is the difference between extraction and distillation?

Distillation and extraction are extremely similar as they are both separating compounds. The difference is: Distillation is separating compounds based on boiling points. Extraction is separating compounds based on solubility in the extraction solvent.

For the cannabis industry, extraction involves the collection of oils from the plant material. Whereas distillation describes the process of purifying the extracted oil into desired constituents which can be incorporated into marketable goods.

How does short-path distillation separate organic and inorganic compounds? Why is this important?

Short-path distillation separates components from the extracted oil by capitalizing on the differing chemical characteristics of the constituent compounds. The solubility and vapor pressure of compounds in a mixture (among other characteristics) affect the evaporation step during distillation. By selectively targeting these physical properties of the materials involved, the experimental conditions for collecting predictable and reproducible constituents can be identified.

This is done primarily through measuring the vapor temperature and/or noticing a color change. The distillation is completely reliant on temperature.


Please tell us about the features and benefits of the Glas-CoI equipment that can perform these tests?

Glas-Col makes a very reliable and cost-effective equipment for this process. Our series TM stir mantle, heated top, sir/heat control, thermocouples, and vapor temperature monitor are necessary for the extraction. Glas-Col also offers extra safety features including a hood and silicone spill proof tops.

Our mantles are sold in many different sizes, but popular in the industry are: 2L, 5L, 12L, and 22L systems.

Glas-Col also offers equipment for the testing of the end-product. This includes, shakers and evaporation equipment. By design, these standalone devices can be integrated into a unified package that addresses the critical aspects of distillation purification leading to expected yield and reliable performance.

What does short-path distillation mean for the future?

Glas-Col are just at the beginning and figuring out the best ways to complete this distillation for our customers. There are so many opportunities and Glas-Col are very fortunate to be able to participate in this at a time when we are able to learn so much about it. It is incredibly amazing seeing all aspects of this market coming together to figure out what needs to happen next. Short path distillation is the processing technique which meets the needs and concerns of the quickly growing cannabis industry.

Where can our readers go to find out more?

Please vision our website : or call our expert: 812-235-6167 ext 258

Krista Ferando


About Krista Ferando

Krista was a chemist for 10 years (2005-2015) before taking the role at Glas-Col. During those 10 years, Krista had experience in pharmaceuticals, forensics / toxicology, analytical chemistry, and environmental chemistry.

During those roles Krista was able to extract / prep samples, run instruments (HPLCMS, GCMS, FTIR, Headspace GC, ICPMS, IC, Karl Fisher, as well as many others), analyze the data obtained from the instrument, review data and release this data to the person requiring the test.

Krista received her ACS chemistry degree from Indiana State University in 2005 and her MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2008



Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.


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