Cannabinoid Affinity for Waxes/Lipids

During winterization, wouldn’t cannabinoids be lost in the solidified lipids and waxes?

Obviously waxes and lipids are non-polar, but so are typical solvents (alkanes especially). So in my estimation, lipids will have an affinity for the cannabinoids in solution and the cannabinoids will become trapped in the solidified lipids during winterization?

Is this correct or am I missing something?

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You are most definitely correct

there are some tricks to minimize this though

While both are “non-polar”, the waxes are much moreso than THC is. Polarity is a spectrum not binary. For instance THC is readily soluble in -60C ethanol while the waxes aren’t at all. Methanol which is very polar, and hexane which is very nonpolar, both dissolve THC readily. Actually just about anything less polar than water will dissolve THC.

Furthermore the quantity of ethanol in the solution is much much greater than the quantity of wax, so even if THC has a certain partition constant between wax and ethanol, that factor mitigates it.

For instance, let’s assume that THC partitions so that it is equally soluble in both wax and ethanol, and assumes an equal concentration. log( p ) = 0. There is 20x as much ethanol as wax in the winterization solution, so the mass of THC in the ethanol phase is 20x the mass of THC in the wax phase. Once you separate the phases and evaporate the solvent, then, you only expect a 5% mass loss of THC which is acceptable. That is assuming a partition that I honestly think is pessimistic.

Empirically speaking, in winterizations the THC i’ve lost isn’t much more than whatever liquid solution is left in the wax. With wax that was filtered to total dryness i’ve never had it tested more than a few percent of THC.


And worst case, you just dissolve that lipid/Cannabinoid mix in fresh ethanol, rewinterize and filter to recover most of those Cannabinoids

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After first filtration of fats, I usually let the wax cake settle into the paper - if it holds color like greenish/yellow - I’ll pour super-chilled etoh through it which will keep the wax Frozen in position but wash out everything else from the cake (lipid purification).
Also a good idea to keep all your fats after filtration - I’ve heard people re-running their filter clods in CLS and other means to recover some unexpectedly large amounts of Cannabinoids :sunglasses:

There are definitely cannabinods retained in the lipids filtered from winterized ethanol solution. Have tested on HPLC

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what are these tricks you speak of?

try read the rest of the thread…

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Brilliant, thanks for the advice!