What Are the Differences between Concentrates & Distillate?

Concentrates vs distillates. Whats the best cannabis extract?

Posted on July 31st, 2018 to Cannabis by

The Differences between Concentrates and Distillate:

The emergence of cannabis into mainstream culture and the medical field has led to new and improved methods of consumption. For instance, concentrates were developed to give consumers a faster, stronger, high with less smoke inhalation damage on their lungs while still getting benefits from the plant. Today, distillates are becoming a new favorite among cannabis connoisseurs, and we will discuss why we are fans of them as well in a moment.


High quality chatter concentrate.
High quality shatter concentrate.


The term “Concentrates” is a catch all term referring to various cannabis extracts and their nicknames – which is where things usually get confusing. Rosin, shatter, BHO, wax, CO2, honey oil, crumble, hash, dabs, capsules, and tinctures are all types of concentrates you can purchase at dispensaries. The main distinction to make between concentrates and cannabis flower is potency. Flower potency typically ranges between 10-25% THC and concentrates typically fall in the 50-80% THC range, with extraordinary extracts pushing the 90% THC threshold. 

See all the forms of concentrates in this Concentrates 101 video from Leafly via their Youtube Channel.




As American author William Faulkner famously said years ago, “Civilization begins with distillation.” While he was referring to alcohol, distillation has been around for thousands of years—in fact it has been in existence since ancient Rome, India and Egypt with the distillation of water and alcohol. This time-tested process has now been modified to accommodate the development of cannabis concentrates. The advantage distillates have is the sizeable reduction of impurities on the lungs after vaporizing because they aren’t exposed to combustible smoke. 

Cannabis distillate vaporizer cartridges. Photo credit: WeedPornDaily.com
Cannabis distillate vaporizer cartridges. Photo credit: WeedPornDaily.com

It should be noted that the higher quality extract, the higher the quality of distillate. What separates distillates from traditional concentrates like shatter or wax, is they use thinning agents like butane, propane as an extraction method—whereas distillation removes all unwanted elements like ethanol. The distillation process would take a normal concentrate that has an 85% THC potency level and elevate it up to 99.85%. Distillate is also a lighter yellow color than concentrates, with considerable clarity— and distillate can be stored in a container, capsule, or cartridge depending on the product. You can vaporize distillates which is a great way to smoke cannabis indoors or incognito because it produces little to no smell, smoke, or obvious paraphernalia.

Here is a great video run-down about THC Distillate from our friends at Cannabis.net via their Youtube Channel.


The Debate with Distillates

In spite of the growing interest and positive developments being made in the world of cannabis, distillation is being held with certain points of contention— comparing distillates to hot dogs. They feel they are like hot dogs because they think distillates are a composite of low grade materials. 

A delicious hot dog!
A delicious hot dog!

However, the main point critics are missing is that distillation is a refinement of cannabis and not a composite of shoddy ingredients like hot dogs slopped together out of meat trimmings. 


High quality cannabis butane concentrate.
High quality cannabis butane concentrate.

Final Dab

Concentrates and distillates are both excellent ways to get really high, really fast. Concentrates are less potent and do have the combustible factor to consider, where distillates can be cleanly vaporized in secrecy. 

We love both methods, and we are excited to see how far cannabis will go, and how it will be applied both medicinally and recreationally in the future. 


Breckenridge Organic Therapy carries a variety of cannabis products that are naturally sourced and high quality. Feel free to stop by or contact us with any questions you may have and we will be happy to help!

Photo credit: The homepage featured photo for this blog article contains a composite image that includes a photograph of a vapor cartridge from WeedPornDaily.com.

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