Title Image

Molecular Still Distillation

Various CBD products including tinctures, edibles, vaping oils, and pet products are made with distillate. Molecular Distillation improves the purity, color, safety, and value of CBD extracts and is essential to formulating high-quality products. It greatly improves the purity, color, safety, and value of finished products.

Sunny Skies CBD uses molecular (or short-path) distillation. We use a wiped-film molecular still which causes less cannabinoid degradation than the more common fractional still and basic boiling flask type molecular still systems.

Molecular Distillation


What is the purpose of distillation?

CBD extracts need to be purified after extraction through a process called thermal separation. Thermal separation causes the ethanol, water, and terpenes to evaporate away and allows the separation of unwanted constituents such as lipids, sterols, chlorophyll, fatty acids, salts, sugars, and heavy waxes. These compounds must be removed for optimal purity, safety, color, value, and taste and are necessary for further processing to produce CBD isolate.

Is distillation the same as extraction?

No, they are separate processes. Distillation is the process that follows extraction. In the extraction process, certain compounds such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll are dissolved into a solvent (ethanol in our case). The distillation process evaporates the solvent away and separates other unwanted compounds from the extract.

What level of purity is Sunny Skies CBD distillate?

It depends on the composition of the feed material. Sunny Skies CBD uses only hemp biomass with high CBD concentrations, so our distillate ranges from 80-90+% CBD. In addition to increased purity percentage, Sunny Skies CBD distillate is also significantly lighter in color and higher in clarity than the majority of CBD distillate found on the market.

Why is a wiped film molecular still system better than a fractional still or basic boiling flask type short-path molecular still?

Wiped film molecular stills are superior for two main reasons. First, they offer less cannabinoid degradation and higher purity due to less residence exposure time on a hot surface. Second, molecular stills are continuous mode stills, while fractional stills are batch mode. This basically means that molecular stills are much more scalable, which allows Sunny Skies to process large quantities of material.

How does a wiped-film molecular still lead to less CBD degradation than the more common basic boiling flask type short-path molecular still?

CBD degrades with heat exposure. Thus, it is essential to reduce thermal exposure as much as possible. Basic boiling flask type molecular stills are considered batch mode apparatuses. Material moves through the system in a haphazard manner resulting in consistent, and as a whole increased exposure to heat and causing CBD degradation. Wiped film molecular stills, on the other hand, are designed to move the material downwards through the system in a thin sheet that is heated in a homogenous fashion, providing optimized heat exposure time for all material.