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Difference Between Winterizing and Dewaxing Cannabis

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With an increasing demand for CBD oils, any local grower and breeder would jump on the opportunity to create pure and clean cannabis concentrates. It is expected that soon the demand for CBD will skyrocket considering there are already more than 10 states passing CBD oil bills. So are you ready to create cannabis concentrates using your home grow?

Cleaner and purer concentrates

The key to getting the best profits in making cannabis concentrates is to make them clean and pure. There are many ways to do these but the most trusted and the most popular are winterizing and de-waxing. These are two completely different processes to clean your concentrates but are similar in the sense that the finish product is pure, clean and safe.

Winterizing process

In winterizing, grain alcohol or ethanol is used to separate plant waxes and fats. Because it is hard to burn off ethanol than butane, more of the terpenes are removed from the batch. This process is more common than de-waxing and is technically basic to do. Winterizing can be accomplished even by first time extractors.

People winterize because it is easier and needs only basic materials and butane. This technique won’t be too hard on your yields despite affecting terpene levels.

De-waxing process

De-waxing is far more complicated than winterizing but will be able to efficiently clean your concentrates. Instead of ethanol, the main solvent here is butane and is referred to as a single-solvent. Butane is run through the plant to extract it. Then the concentrate must be kept in sub-zero temperatures to let the lipid material separate from the concentrate.

The concentrate should be placed through a Buchner funnel and attached to a passive vacuum system. What will happen is the unwanted particles will soon rise at the top. At this stage, butane can be easily removed from the system without evaporating. Butane has to be removed fast to be able to separate the unwanted layers from the rest of the concentrates. De-waxing is almost the same as winterizing however this is not as efficient as the later. But the good news is your terpenes are not affected with de-waxing compared to winterizing.

De-waxing improves the color and purity of the concentrate. There are no additional solvents added to the concentrate which could affect terpenes or could change color and flavor of the end product.

Preparing your materials for winterizing and de-waxing

Possibly the most important equipment you need is an explosion-proof freezer for winterizing and de-waxing. Since it is very dangerous to use butane compared to alcohol then you must have an explosion proof freezer ready.

Using dry ice to immediately chill butane is becoming popular. Instead of cooling butane by running air over it, some people use dry ice to immediately drop its temperature. But there is a downside to using dry ice. The temperature could reduce the temperature so low it could get below -30 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, you might lose some of your yield. And if the temperature drops to less than -50 degrees Fahrenheit, the cannabinoids condense into fats that you actually want to get rid of.

Will de-waxing and winterizing affect yields?

After de-waxing usually you get more yields at around 6% more. This is because this technique can increase the number of lipid heads. Using a de-wax or winterizing  actually removes lipids and fats from cannabis plants and no matter what technique you use, there will always be some lost yields. But despite the small loses, de-waxing creates concentrates that are smoother and better on the lungs.

Working with chemicals

There’s no doubt about it, because both winterizing and de-waxing will make you work with chemicals and flammable solutions. The key is to keep safe and to make sure that you know what exactly you are doing. An important thing about de-waxing and winterizing is to avoid using or wearing anything that can cause static. Anything static can ignite the butane and cause accidents.

Make sure that you use clean and disinfected materials in winterizing or de-waxing. Cleanliness begets clean yields so you must never handle your yields with unclean and sanitized equipment and to always clean everything and disinfect your hands before you work.

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