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CO2 vs. Distillate: What are the differences?



CO2 vs. Distillate : What are the differences?

Did you know that there are quite a few options for vaporizer (vape) cartridges available on the cannabis market? It can be difficult to determine what may best fit your unique needs without first knowing that all vapes are not created equal! Some have cannabis derived terpenes, others add botanical terpenes to enhance specific flavors such as grape and mango.


When it comes to recommendations of products at the counter, many may rely on guidance from a Product Specialist. At TerraLeaf, we strive to reach beyond the misinformation and educate our staff and patients on the differences between different products based on their chemical makeup. Not only does the terpene content dictate how a strain may affect a patient, so too does the way the product is made. At TerraLeaf we currently offer two different types of cartridges, CO2 and Distillate both manufactured by Columbia Care under the brand names Seed & Strain and Classix.


Distillate vaporizers were first introduced to the patients of West Virginia by Seed & Strain. Distillate extraction involve a process of separating the THC oil from all the other chemical components extracted from the plant after harvest. At this point, the solvent is purged using pressure and heat, resulting in a pure THC oil. That is when Grower/Processors can add various terpenes to enhance the flavor and terpene makeup of the product. For example, think of soup or chili. The THC oil is the stock or base, and the terpenes are the "mise en place" that you add to that stock to enhance the taste and effects. Depending on what and how much you add, you will have different soup profiles; perhaps ranging from sweet to herbaceous. Distillate cartridges are very similar.


Depending on which terpenes are added you can create products with drastically different flavors, aromas and effects. As new plants are harvested and new batches of products arrive, this is important to note as you make your selections can vary in potencies and effects based on the harvested batch in which you purchased.

Although CO2 extraction has been around for a number of years in mature markets, we are excited to finally introduce these new to TerraLeaf Dispensaries! In CO2 extraction, when the flower is finished the curing process, the Grower will take the finished flower through a closed-loop system to extract the trichomes leaving behind any undesirable plant material. These systems pressurize and cool the CO2 resulting in a “super critical” state of the CO2 (a hybrid liquid gas) that is very efficient at separating the medicine from the plant material. This process results in a product that is true to the original source of cannabis flower from which it came. The terpenes are directly from the flower that was placed into the closed loop system making them cannabis derived.

This means they will have more specific and predictable effects that will vary between strains; making CO2 extracts more closely related to their source flower.

The differences can be confusing and difficult to navigate, but our Product Specialists will do our best to to answer your questions and help decipher which product may be the most beneficial based on your unique needs.


Location: 2018 Third Ave in Huntington, WV 25703 Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Phone: 304-446-4600 Online ordering is available – place your reservation today at www.terraleafwv.com under “online ordering menu” at our taskbar.


Schneider, Dave. “CO2 and Ethanol Extraction: Technology and History.” Www.cannabistech.com, 9 Aug. 2019, www.cannabistech.com/articles/co2-and-ehtanol-extraction-technology-and-history/. Accessed 4 May 2022.

Bennett, Patrick. “What Are CO2 Cannabis Extracts and How Are They Made?” Leafly, 29 Jan. 2018, www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-are-co2-marijuana-concentrates. Accessed 4 May 2022.

“What Is Supercritical CO2?” Alicat Scientific, 4 Mar. 2021, www.alicat.com/knowledge-base/why-supercritical-co2-is-super-cool/. Accessed 4 May 2022.

“Cannabis Extraction & Solvents.” Papa & Barkley, www.papaandbarkley.com/learn/what-are-solvents-cannabis-extraction. Accessed 4 May 2022.

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