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CO2 Oil vs. Distillate: Which One Is For You?

on November 08, 2018

Should you use oil, or distillate? Which is better? If you’re new to the CBD/THC vape world it can be confusing. Not to worry though, we’re going to break it all down for you and set the record straight.

CO2 Oil

There are a variety of different extraction methods that can be used to create oils, however, many today are opting with CO2 (carbon dioxide) extraction. That’s because CO2 is a naturally-occurring substance, and can be used as a non-toxic solvent. Most of us know CO2 as a gas, but if can be changed to its liquid form with enough pressure. So, during the extraction process, the cannabis is washed with liquid CO2, which separates the cannabinoids and terpenes (the good stuff) from the rest of the plant material. This creates a concentrated oil. Any CO2 that’s left in the oil will evaporate, and you’ve got a solvent-free product! It can be vaped at this point, but it usually goes through one more stage of processing to remove plant waxes and lipids from the extract. You’ll get a nice, light amber colored oil that can run anywhere from 50-70% concentration. The cannabinoid profile that was in the starting plant material is representative of what you end up with in the concentrate. (They call this a full-spectrum product). So, if you start with a high CBD strain with little THC, then you’ll end up with a high CBD concentrate, aka CBD oil.


Distillate is an even more concentrated form of cannabis extract. You can start with a variety of different types of concentrates to create CBD and THC distillate, but just for ease of understanding, let’s say you’re starting with a batch of CO2-extracted CBD oil, as described above. The CBD oil is heated up to the boiling point of CBD. What happens is the CBD becomes a vapor, and condenses in a second container, while the other stuff (chlorophyll, any remaining solvents that may have been used to create the oil), is left behind. What you end up with is CBD distillate. It’s mostly clear, mostly tasteless, and its concentration ranges anywhere from 80-90%, or possibly even higher. From this point, the distillate could be added to vape cartridges, or even used as an ingredient in other products like CBD dog treats or oral CBD drops.

Which one is better?

It’s all about personal preference, neither one is better than the other! If you like the flavor profiles of cannabis, and want to get the full-spectrum of cannabinoids from a product, then you’d probably be better off with CO2 oil. If what you’re really after is exclusively the CBD and THC, and the taste of weed isn’t really your thing, then CBD distillate is going to be a better choice. For price point, CO2 oil is usually cheaper, but distillate is more concentrated, so you need less of it, which means the price is generally a wash. Give them both a try, and decide for yourself what’s a better fit for you.

Bonus points: CBD Isolate!

Now this is going to really blow your mind… CBD isolate is created by yet another refinement process, typically ending up with a substance that is 99% pure CBD. It can be vaped, placed under your tongue, used as an ingredient to create CBD edibles, and much more.