Full-Spectrum vs Distillate: An Easy Guide

by jessica
Distillate, drizzled on a piece of paper

Thinking about all the types of weed products is enough to make your head spin. So no one would blame you if you were confused by full-spectrum vs distillate. 

But knowing what these two terms mean is essential. Think of it like a foundation when building a house. Full spectrum and distillate are two types of extracts used as the base of your tincture, edible, or vape cart. 

So exactly which one is better, distillate or full spectrum? The answer comes down to personal choice, but knowing more about these extract types helps shed some light. 

What Is Full-Spectrum Extract? 

[caption id="attachment_1008" align="alignright" width="332"]cannabis wax, on a what background Wax is only one example of a high-terpene full spectrum extract.[/caption]

Full-spectrum cannabis extracts are the most natural of all the concentrates. Producers derive full spectrum extracts from a gentler extraction process that preserves sensitive and volatile compounds.

The result is a product that contains the maximum amount of terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids, all of which are naturally occurring phytochemicals of the cannabis plant. This means the taste and aroma of your toke or edible will be native to the plant or strain used to make the extract. 

Full-spectrum extracts give you a more natural and complete experience. They encourage the entourage effect, a theory that cannabis phytochemicals work together better than they do on their own. 

The supposed effect, because it’s never been thoroughly tested, improves certain cannabinoids' effectiveness while reducing some side effects, resulting in a better experience overall. 

What Is Distillate? 

[caption id="attachment_1063" align="alignright" width="308"]cannabis distillate oozing out of two syringes Cannabis distillate can be made into edibles, vapes, or sold as pure concentrate.[/caption]

Distillate extracts are almost the opposite of full-spectrum concentrates. Producers remove all the terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids except for the specific targeted cannabinoid intended.

Making distillate concentrates requires advanced laboratory equipment (for example fractional distillation) and an extensive refinement processes. The process separates cannabis plant material into a variety of phytochemicals, depending on temperature and time. 

The manufacturer removes any cannabinoids that it feels is undesirable for the final product. For example, THC distillate is potent and usually contains only one cannabinoid — THC.

What Are the Major Differences Between Full Spectrum and Distillate? 

What the Extract Contains 

One of the main differences between full-spectrum vs distillate extracts is the cannabinoids each concentrate contains. 

More than 110 cannabinoids, such as THC, CDB, CBN, and CBG, exist, and each of these interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system differently. Full-spectrum extracts retain the complete cannabis plant profile including its cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals.   

A distillate extract only contains the cannabinoids and other natural plant substances the creator of the product wants, and manufacturers remove “undesirable” phytochemicals.

The Effects 

Because of the cannabinoids and other phytochemicals in the extract, distillate and full-spectrum weed products produce different effects. 

A distillate CBD oil will only have the mild therapeutic effects stemming from CBD. While a THC distillate will give you a potent high, but limited nuanced effects because there are little to no other compounds included. Creators of distillate products can isolate near pure forms of THC or CBD, for example, with purity levels reaching 99 percent.   

A full-spectrum product contains psychoactive (for example, THC) and non-psychoactive (such as CBD) cannabinoids, so you’ll potentially benefit from a therapeutic high. 

The effects will be more nuanced, more balanced, and more flavorful with a full-spectrum extract. Full spectrum products contain minor cannabinoids like CBG and CBN which may have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Or, with a product containing CBD and THC, you won’t likely experience a potent high because CBD reduces the effects of THC.        

The Cost 

In general, full-spectrum extracts are rarer and costlier than distillate concentrates because the extraction process is more time consuming and the equipment more expensive. But the cost differs depending on the manufacturer, the quality, and the dispensary markup.

Mountain Remedy’s Favorite Full-Spectrum and Distillate Products 

1. Absolute Xtracts Blackberry Kush Vape Cartridge 

Absolute Xtracts is well-known for clean CO2 extraction and using the whole cannabis plant to provide full-spectrum ganja products. So if you are after a full-spec experience and an earthy, sweet berry-tasting high, get the Blackberry Kush Vape Cart.  

A legacy strain, Blackberry Kush is indica-dominant, so your whole body will relax and any pain and stress will melt away.    

2. Jetty Extracts Blue Dream UNREFINED Live Resin Vape Cartridge 

For another full-spectrum high, check out Jetty Extract’s Blue Dream UNREFINED Live Resin Vape Cart

The live resin is uncut, and with the cryo extraction method, the maximum amount of the cannabinoids, terps, and other natural plant phytochemicals are preserved for a true flower high.  

Enjoy a clear-headed and euphoric high with these dark berry flavors.  

3. Absolute Xtracts Key Lime Vegan Gummies 

If you are looking for a potent THC distillate, check out the Key Lime Vegan Gummies by Absolute Xtracts. Each gummy contains 5 mg of THC. 

With these gummies, expect a perfect balance of tartness and sweetness and imagine you are chillin’ on a beach in the tropics.  

4. Buddies Capsules

Another great THC distillate extract product that’s also easy to consume is the Buddies 50 mg Capsules. These caps are potent but flavor-, sugar-, and odor-free.   

5. KIVA Midnight Blueberries Camino Gummies 

The Midnight Blueberries Camino Gummies by KIVA are also made via distillate. Kiva has created this custom combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids tailored for a relaxing high. 

With lavender and chamomile oils, these gummies will ensure you sleep like a baby. 

What’s Better: Full Spectrum vs. Distillate?

If you want a natural therapeutic high, full-spectrum extracts are better. You get to experience the natural profile of the cannabis plant with its cannabinoids, terps, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals. Plus, there’s the possibility of experiencing the entourage effect. 

But no two full-spectrum concentrate batches are exactly the same, and you won’t know how your body reacts to all the phytochemicals.

If you want to know exactly what you get, then a distilled concentrate is more standardized, and you’ll be able to anticipate the effects since each batch is mostly the same. The product creators can produce distillates with unique aromas and flavorings, making these products even more special. 

At the end of the day, the best extract for you depends on what you need and prefer. So try to find the full-spectrum vs distillate product that works best for you.