Short-path distillation is a distillation technique where the distillate travels a short distance at reduced pressure in order to separate the liquid into different compounds. In the case of the cannabis industry, short-path distillation allows different cannabis components (including THC and CBD) to be separated from the crude cannabis oil that has been extracted from the cannabis plant. The result? Isolated CBD and THC compounds that can reach a purity level of over 80%.
How Are Vacuum Pumps Used in Cannabis Distillation?
During the traditional distillation process, the crude cannabis oil is heated to a certain temperature. At this point, the solution evaporates and the THC/CBD vapor rises to the top of the short-path distillation unit – and is then condensed back into a liquid, effectively separating it from the other substances present in the crude cannabis oil.
However, using heat in the distillation process can change the inherent nature of the compounds in the crude cannabis oil. This is where industrial vacuum pumps come in! By using a vacuum pump instead of heat to reduce the pressure and power the distillation taking place, the liquid mixture will be separated into different compounds. The reason is simple: the vacuum pump will pull at different pressures, and these different pressures that are induced by the vacuum will separate the mixture into compounds of different chemistries.
Which Vacuum Pumps Are Best for Cannabis Distillation?
The vacuum pumps that are most well-suited for cannabis distillation include oil-sealed vane pumps, scroll pumps, and dry screw pumps. Why? These pumps all have the power to pull a deep enough vacuum to separate the crude cannabis oil into the various desired compounds! 2 of the more popular Atlas Copco vacuum pump ranges that work well for the cannabis distillation industry include: