Winterization Of CBD Oil


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Winterization is an important step in oil purification, including cannabis extracts, that allows for the removal of inactive compounds. Read the important steps of filtering and winterizing wax in hemp extraction and how extraktLAB's DrainDroyd is the best system for the task.

Cannabis / Hemp Winterization

Winterization is an important step in the purification of oils-including cannabis extracts-that allows for the removal of inactive compounds like fats, waxes, and lipids.


Precipitation of inactive compounds


Removal of unwanted compounds and refinement of cannabis extract

Solvent Recovery

Reclaim solvent to perform further extractions, winterization, or other post-processing techniques


Polish and activate crude oil for further refinement


Purification into a highly concentrated and refined cannabinoid oil


CBD isolate is used for herbal supplement and end-product applications


THC, heavy metal, pesticide, and color remediation


Preparation into tinctures, topicals, vaporizer cartridges, water-solubles, and other consumer focused end-products


Crude oil is extracted directly from plant material

Winterization Solutions

Buchner Funnel Kit

Our Buchner Funnel Kit helps you effectively perform vacuum filtration at a small scale. The kit includes a Duran Filter Flask, a Porcelain Buchner Funnel, and a full Filter Adapter Set for creating a vacuum-tight seal.

The kits are available in four different flask sizes; 5L, 10L, and 20L.

Available Sizes

5L, 10L, 20L, 20L Multi-Funnel


Duran Filter Flask, Porcelain Buchner Funnel, Filter Papers

M.W. Watermark Filter Press

Dramatically improve your filtering process while increasing capacity with these large-scale filter presses.

We carry a selection of industrial plate filter dimension sizes and a range of capacities, to fit the ever-changing needs of our customers.

  • FP-320 – (12.5″ x 12.5″) (Min. 2.8L to Max. 14L)
  • FP-470 – (18″ x 18″) (Min. 14.2L to Max. 113L)
  • FP-630 – (24″ x 24″) (Min. 57L to Max 342L)

Filter Style

Multi-plate Positive Pressure Filtration

Feed Pressure


Air-driven Diaphragm Pump

The Importance of Winterization

Winterization is a vital step in the purification of oils, including cannabis extracts. Winterization allows for the removal of inactive compounds like fats, waxes, and lipids. This process can be performed in a few different ways but what each has in common is the use of cold temperatures to facilitate precipitation of the undesired compounds. The resulting solids are then removed via filtration.

Winterization is most commonly performed as a post-processing step, but there are other techniques that can also be used to keep cannabis extracts free from undesired compounds. Below, we will expand upon winterization in cannabis processing and its effects on end product creation.

Why Winterization?

Winterization is a key step in the chain of cannabis processing. It creates clean crude extracts that are free of fats, waxes, lipids, and other inactive compounds. Those compounds contribute a poor flavor and aroma to end products and can also cause potential health risks from ingesting them. Winterized extracts are more sought after by the market, and while they take a few extra steps and pieces of equipment, they will provide you with higher-quality products to bring to market.

Winterization In Post Processing

Winterization is performed after the initial extraction process. The crude extract is dissolved in a solvent, commonly ethanol, and the solution is placed in a freezer. The colder the temperature, the faster fats, waxes, lipids, and other inactive compounds will precipitate from the solution.

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Freezer, Chest Style

Low-Temperature Freezer, Chest Style

Upright Freezer (-40°C)

Ultra Low, Upright Freezer (-40°C to -85°C)

Lab Freezer, Upright Style (-15ºC to -30ºC)

Ultra Low Freezer, Chest Style (-40°C to -85°C)

The precipitate will flocculate together and form a large, fatty-looking mass suspended within the solution. The solution must then be passed through a filter to remove the solidified fats and waxes. For small-scale processing, filtration is easily accomplished with a vacuum-assisted Buchner Funnel. At larger pilot-and-industrial scales, Filter Presses, Lenticular Filters, Bag Filters, or other methods may be used.

Filter Press

Buchner Funnel Kit

FP1 Filter Press

4 Stage Lenticular Filter Skid

The freezing and filtration steps are often repeated multiple times to fully remove all inactive compounds. After the undesired components are fully removed, the crude extract must be separated from the solvent by evaporation. This may be performed in rotary evaporators, falling film evaporators, recovery membranes, and more. This process creates a clean and appealing crude extract that can be turned into many marketable end products such as high-quality distillate, isolate, edibles, and topicals.

Inline Winterization & Alternatives

While not technically winterization, there are other methods for keeping extracts clean from waxes, fats, and lipids. These may be performed through control of variables, inline with extraction, through specialized membranes, or by introducing additives to induce precipitation.

In closed-loop hydrocarbon extraction systems, solvent is often injected into the system at an ultra-low temperature. As the solvent washes over the cannabis plant material, it does not extract the unwanted inactive compounds due to the effect of cold temperatures on solubility. This reduces post-processing steps and allows the extraction process to create a desirable end product without additional equipment for winterization.

Some closed-loop extraction systems also have a secondary column that performs inline winterization. The secondary column holds only the crude extract solution, which is then chilled to an ultra-low temperature. This is followed by a stack of filters that remove any precipitated fats and waxes. While this is inline winterization, it is often referred to as “dewaxing”.

The same temperature dependence on the solubility of a solvent also applies to ethanol extraction. When the ethanol solvent is properly chilled prior to the extraction, it will not dissolve fats, waxes, and lipids from the plant material due to the extremely cold temperature. Similar to the secondary column in the closed-loop example above, winterization may also be performed inline immediately following ethanol extraction by channeling the crude extract solution into a secondary vessel that chills to an ultra-low temperature.

After chilling, the solution is forced through an inline filtration system to remove the precipitated compounds. This reduces possible contamination by never exposing the solution to the atmosphere.

Membrane Filtration

Membrane filtration is another method of dewaxing and an alternative to winterization. This method removes fats, waxes, and lipids from the solution but does not require ultra-low temperatures. In fact, this method can be done at room temperature in most cases. Membrane filtration is achieved by permeation of the solution through the membrane and is often much faster than standard filtration styles due to the shape of the membrane and backpressure of the solution.

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Why Choose Lab Society?

We’ve been at the forefront of the cannabis processing industry for many years now. And we’ve helped countless businesses and labs just like yours grow and become profitable. Let us create a tailored solution to fit your processing needs. When it comes to winterization, we have the expertise and equipment selection you need to consistently produce cannabis oil at any scale, with any budget, and for any operational capacity.

What You Should Know About Filtration, Winterizing Wax and CBD Extraction

After grinding, decarboxylating and extracting hemp the next important step is to filter and winterizing wax. In this article, we explain why this step is crucial to supercritical CO2 extraction.

Grow, harvest, test, grind, decarboxylate, test again, extract… What’s next? Depending on your extraction method of choice, it is very likely that the next step in creating your hemp concentrate will involve winterizing wax and filtering your mixture to begin the distillation process.

Because the crude oil that is created with methods like supercritical CO2 extraction will often contain waxes and lipids, it becomes important to remove them to create a quality final product for the consumer.

So, let’s take a look at this important process and why supercritical CO2 extraction benefits from it.

What is Winterization?

Winterization is the process of removing fats and waxes from the hemp extract. The process involves dissolving the CBD oil coming out of the CO2 extractor in food grade ethanol and subsequently chilling the ethanol oil mixture down to -20 degrees Celsius. The fats and waxes are less soluble at those temperatures and they will precipitate while the cannabinoids remain in solution. The fats and waxes are then filtered before solvent removal.

Why Winterizing Wax is Important

Because extraction will also take out plant waxes and fats with the desired cannabinoids, winterizing wax is critical to create a product that is desirable to the end user.

Winterizing wax and then filtering oil is important to remove the fats and waxes that would otherwise cause flavor and consistency issues. In vape products, for example, fats and waxes can cause a harsh flavor and can even cause irritation of the throat as well. This can all be mitigated by winterizing wax and filtering it out.

By winterizing wax, you solidify the plant fats and waxes at frigid cold temperatures while the desired components remain in a liquid form. This allows for a vacuum filtration method to be used that pulls the oil through a filtration medium that traps the waxes, fats and chlorophylls while allowing the desired cannabinoids and terpenes to be collected. This results in a higher quality product that is desirable and profitable to the end customer.

Why Winterize and Filter Your Oil?

Depending on the product that is being created, remaining waxes and lipids can cause a number of issues for both producers and consumers:

For the producer, remaining waxes and lipids can dilute product potency, and cause a lesser quality distillate overall. Quality and clarity of a hemp extract often go hand-in-hand, and remaining waxes can cause a final distillate to be cloudy or of undesired consistency – not the result a producer wants to see after all the hard work.

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For the consumer, waxes and lipids left in an extract can result in a shotty product as well. For example, smokeable hemp extracts or “dabs” as they are often called can come in the form of what is called “shatter” given its translucent clarity and breakable consistency similar to glass.

Both clarity and consistency mean quality shatter and a happy customer, but when residual waxes are left in the product it can cause what is called nucleation making that clear, brittle shatter turn into a soft, sticky opaque consistency.

Furthermore, fats and waxes left in any hemp concentrate can be harsh or have undesirable tastes when smoked or vaporized. Because of this, it is very important to properly winterize and filter those remaining waxes and lipids. And, there are many methods to do this.

As a proud proponent of supercritical CO2 extraction, extraktLAB does not use denatured ethanol for an extraction method for a number of reasons. However, a common method of winterizing wax involves the use of ethanol. So, we often face a recurring question in the dewaxing process.

Why Use CO2 Extraction When You Use Ethanol for Winterization?

Though it is undoubtedly the cleaner extraction solvent, biomass, fatty acids, waxes and resins can be co-extracted along with the cannabidiol and other cannabinoids when CO2 is used to extract hemp. The amount that is extracted depends on the pressure of the CO2 extraction.

In general, the higher the pressure and longer the runtime, the more acids and waxes will be extracted. Low pressure CO2 extraction methods, known as subcritical CO2 extraction, produce extracts that require very little post processing.

Many companies actually skip the winterization process depending on what they are using the oils for. The trade-off for lowering the extraction pressure to subcritical is that the run time increases greatly. The flow rate must be increased to compensate for the lower run time. In the case of our extraction equipment, the flow rate increases as the pressure goes down so those customers desiring runs of critical methods are able to do so with significant efficiency.

In the case of supercritical CO2 extraction, winterizing wax is likely going to be needed. The cannabinoids and CBD oils that remain in the solution are then introduced into a falling film evaporator. The ethanol is removed from the solution and may be recycled once it has been re-conditioned and tested for reuse. The amount of ethanol that is used in the winterization process is very small compared to the amount of ethanol that is used during an ethanol extraction.

For example, one gallon of ethanol is required to fluidize one pound of hemp for ethanol extraction. 1000 lb of hemp by extension requires 1000 gallons of ethanol. In contrast, 1000 lb of hemp at 10% cannabinoid will produce approximately 100 lbs of CBD oil. 100 lb of CBD oil – Approximately 30 gallons Of CBD oil, so 180 gallons of ethanol is needed to winterize 30 gallons of CBD oil.

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