Winterization Process in Cannabis Oil Extraction: Removal of Waxes and Fat

Winterization is an important process in cannabis oil extraction. Winterization is a process that removes waxes and fats from cannabis oil, which helps increase the purity of the product. Winterizing also improves how BHO vaporizes.

This process helps to create a THC-A (tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) dominant product. The winterization process can be done in two ways: with ethanol or ice water.

If not removed, these substances can cause issues with how you store your oil or taste when vaped. The purpose of this blog post is to explain how winterization works, how it can be done with minimal equipment, how long it takes for the process to complete, and what the result looks like.

There are several ways to winterize, but this article will focus on doing so through the simplest technique.

What is the Winterization Process in Cannabis Extraction?

Winterization is used to remove organic compounds from crude oil before distillation, such as fats, lipids, waxes, and chlorophyll. These compounds can cause issues with how the oil stores, tastes when vaped, or how well it is distilled. In addition, this process helps to create an acid-form THC concentrate (THC-A).

By definition, the winterization of oil involves dissolving a nonpolar substance (crude oil) in a polar solvent (ethanol) at sub-zero temperatures. By mixing these compounds, you create a mixture called miscella, which is maintained at those sub-zero temperatures so that the compounds coagulate and are filtered out.

If you have ever cooked a roast and put it in a container in the fridge, then winterization has happened. When you take the roast out, there may often be a layer of fats on top. To make the stock, this fat coagulated in the cooler temperatures and was taken away from the flesh.

Disadvantages of not doing so

It includes issues with how the oil stores or tastes when vaped. You can either do this process through simple techniques that will be discussed later in the article, but you must also consider how long it takes for them to complete and what the result looks like.

How Long Does It Take?

The winterization process is not a quick one; it takes around five hours to complete. Because of this, you must make sure that you have enough time available for the process and be aware of what equipment is needed (see below).

What Equipment Do You Need?

There are several pieces of equipment required in winterization:

  • A glass container with a volume capacity of five gallons (preferably a larger container like an orange bucket). The mixing bowl must be made of pure glass and have a wide top.
  • A stainless steel pot with dimensions three times your liquid’s size to allow enough room for stirring. Ensure it is high quality, so you do not warp or melt the metal from the heat.
  • A thermometer measures between 50 and -20 degrees Celsius, with a temperature scale in Fahrenheit or Celsius. You can use an oven thermometer if you do not have one for cannabis oil extraction purposes.
  • Coffee filters (metal mesh ones are recommended). Make sure to get enough of them before beginning this process.
  • A glass container with a volume capacity of five gallons (preferably a larger container like an orange bucket). The mixing bowl must be made of pure glass and have a wide top.
  • Insulated gloves for handling the hot oil when you are transferring it from one pot to another. You can also use oven mitts if you do not have insulated gloves.
  • A metal pot with a volume capacity of five gallons (preferably made from stainless steel). Make sure it has dimensions three times the size of your liquid to allow enough room for stirring and make sure it’s high quality so as not to warp or melt from the heat.

Important Steps in the Winterization of Oil

Important Steps in the Winterization of Oil

The winterization process separates constituents of cannabis extract by their different melting points. It essentially freezes and filters your BHO. 

Most primary extraction methods will require you to perform this step. Butane, propane, and carbon dioxide are non-polar, and they dissolve the excess plant material. Ethanol is a cold, wet substance.

If you keep it in icy conditions, it will not pick up many fats and oils. This means that you do not need to remove most of the fat and oil before using this substance for your cleaning products. The difficulty is in doing things correctly.

Maintain Sub-Zero Temperatures

While it sounds like it would be easy to keep the temperature at zero degrees, that is not always the case. The lowest temperature to try to reach is -80C. If it is not below -20C, then you cannot do an efficient winterization. Here are some ways to keep food cold: chillers, walk-in freezers, chest freezers, and dry ice.

The other challenge in this process is keeping everything cold for 24 hours. That way, the stuff you don’t want will coagulate and sink to the bottom. If you don’t do this part of the process right, the cannabinoid purity will be lower. The distillate will not be transparent, and that might hurt its value. This makes it easy to filter out the dirt. You can use a layer of DE or ciliate.



A filter is a thing people use to make water clean. It does this by pulling the dirt and other things out of the water. Normally, a vacuum is used to help get these things through the filter. The filtering process needs to happen quickly because the lipids and waxes might dissolve back into the solution. The filtering process needs to happen quickly because the lipids and waxes might dissolve back into the solution.


Some processors will filter their alcohol many times to get rid of any lipid and waxes. This is easier on a small scale. In large-scale facilities, this can be a problem. Buchner filters are a common way to filter miscella. However, these filters do not work well for those who need to use many filter media cartridges and lenticular hoses.

Hopefully, you understand more about the winterization process of cannabis extraction. Oil is necessary to create a high-quality end product.


The winterization process is an important step in cannabis oil extraction that helps improve purity and clarity.

The winterization process removes waxes and fats or lipids to lower viscosity (thickness) to be used more easily for quality applications like edibles. Wax is removed using a rotary evaporator.

This leaves behind an oily liquid that can be purified to get pure THC or CBD extracts for use in edibles, vaping pens, capsules, creams, suppositories, and other products.

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