How does steam distillation of cannabinoids compare to other solventless methods of extraction?

Pa'auilo, Hawaii
Raised of $2,707 Goal
Ended on 12/20/17
Campaign Ended
  • $657
  • 25%
  • Finished
    on 12/20/17

About This Project

Cannabis essential oils use only water in steam distillation to extract terpenoids and phenylpropanoids but lack the more desirable cannabinoids like THC and CBD. The most common theory is that cannabinoids are too heavy for steam to extract successfully. I hypothesize that since cannabinoids are volatile like terpenoids and phenylpropanoids, they can be extracted using steam distillation, and be the most effective way to intake more medicinal metabolites than heat press oils and smoking bud.

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What is the context of this research?

Essential oils are made up of volatile secondary plant metabolites made mainly of terpenes and phenylpropanoids. Essential oils have been used as stimulants and sedatives on the nervous system, and for physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Terpenoids limonene, linalool, pinene and many others are key components in essential oils and are also found in the cannabis plant. According to Rudolf Brenneisen, through steam distillation, content of THC will not exceed 0.08%. My hypothesis is based off THC being a volatile oil, and therefore there should be no reason why greater percentages of cannabinoids cannot be extracted.

What is the significance of this project?

Current methods of producing cannabis oils high in THC and CBD use heat pressing or chemical solvents. Oils produced with the aid of chemical solvents are not considered true essential oils due to residual byproduct, and often called absolutes and concretes. If I can extract amounts of cannabinoids THC and CBD greater than 0.08% using only water, the resulting oil would be unprecedented. Instead of being a single-component medication like THC-only, or CBD-only oils, or even an oil with medicinal benefits but lacking the desired cannabinoids, the cannabis essential oil will contain all plant metabolites released from the plant during distillation. With no byproduct, additives or constituents subtracted, it would be 100% Pure Cannabis Essential Oil.

What are the goals of the project?

I hypothesize that steam distilling cannabis oils at different temperatures will contain a significantly higher percentage of cannabinoids and terpenoids than currently available. Comparing distilled cannabis oil to heat-pressed cannabis oil will provide another perspective of which process extracts higher percentages of constituents. To test this I will also produce a heat pressed product of cannabis. After the products are made, I will send the samples along with a sample of plant material for an additional reference point to Steep Hill Labs to test for heavy metals, pesticides, and composition of the oils and make the results available to all.


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In ancient times, essential oils were made using a copper still. The modern borosilicate glass oil distiller wont leave heavy metal residue and will steam distill the plant material and once the oil is separated from the water, must be placed in a dark glass container to shield from light. I will send by mail, samples of the essential oil. heat pressed oils and a sample of the flower itself, all of the same plant to Steep Hill Labs for testing of heavy metals, pesticides, and composition of the oils. The 2000 watt inverter and 2 deep cycle batteries are to electrically power the hotplate for at least 3-5 hours during sun time and likely the hotplate will operate about 1000 watts. This is necessary since my husband and I live in an off grid neighborhood with a 750 watt inverter, 5-100 watt solar panels and 2 deep cycle batteries that power all our wants and needs, but not enough to power a laboratory hotplate.

Endorsed by

I am excited to wholeheartedly endorse this project! Johanna is a real go-getter and I for one am ready to reap the benefits of this study, as are sooo many others with a plethora of ailments that could benefit from the results of this. I urge others to not only endorse, but help fund this project, so as to help those of us whom long for this kind of all natural medicine so that it may someday be the norm, and not have to run to big pharma to stuff their pockets with dead presidents! JOHANNA, THANK YOU for doing this, from all of us, THANK YOU
This project is not only inovative but ground breaking. The use of all natural materials and processes to extract important and medically useful oils is an important step in the production of safe medicine for all of us. I believe in Johanna's ability to succeed and bring nature and its healing capabilities to the forfront in medical advancements that would benefit the lives of millions of people.

Flag iconProject Timeline

If this project is funded, the first thing would be to obtain a card to purchase the quality plant material. It is expected to take 1 to 2 weeks for the card to be approved. I would order online the oil distiller around the same time. It would probably take a week or 2 to arrive. Once all materials arrive, the distillation process will take about 4 to 5 hours and heat pressing about 15 minutes. Then I can ship the sample for testing and await the results.

Nov 05, 2017

Project Launched

Dec 08, 2017

Order equipment and file for cannabis card

Dec 22, 2017

All equipment and materials should be in and distillation can begin. Samples can be shipped same day.

Dec 29, 2017

Results should be in by this date and will be made available asap.

Meet the Team

Johanna D. Decker
Johanna D. Decker
Audio Engineer


Full Sail University
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Johanna D. Decker

I am a child of the universe. I was born to be wild. I love philosophy, traveling, knowledge and expanding the mind, body and soul. It is my nature to help people in any way I can. I have lived and traveled coast to coast, Hawai'i and even Mexico, and right now, I see a lot of people I love and around the world suffering. I want to make a natural medicine for my people, from a natural plant through alchemy. I have educated myself on the process of essential oils and the benefits of medicinal cannabis. The only way to make sure cannabis essential oil is 100% pure is to make it myself ^.^

Additional Information

While researching, I have tried to figure out how much plant material I would need to make enough for a sample. It turns out it all varies based on the plant. What I have found is that 3 pounds of plant may average 15 mL of essential oil. In my budget I only ask for 2 ounces of plant material (1 oz for steam distillation and 1 oz for heat pressing) which averages $400. 16 ounces = 1 pound = $3,200. 3 pounds = $9,600. Any additional funding this project receives will go toward testing various strains of the cannabis plant.

Additional Research Sources:

Schnaubelt PhD, K. (2011). The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. Print.

Backes, M. (2014). Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. Print.

U.S. National Library of Medicine: Cannabis and Cannabinoids

U.S. National Library of Medicine: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

U.S. National Library of Medicine: Essential Oils

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

U.S. National Library of Medicine: In silico discovery of terpenoid metabolism in Cannabis sativa

Medical Jane: Terpenes

Project Backers

  • 7Backers
  • 25%Funded
  • $657Total Donations
  • $93.86Average Donation
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