Steam distilled terps

From what I’ve gathered recently, steam distillation was more of a field extraction to test on site. Most have been using solvents to grab more terpenes, rather than boil.

From some of our extractions, some have a real cannabis smell and others have a sulfuric note that is present in the vape when vaped.

Most essential oils on plants with higher terpene profiles will always use solvent.

We ended up buying the Lab Society kit, but we need a more gentle boil.

Try useing a steam generator, I had better results with that.

We have one but I wish I could make the steam a slower trickle… it is too fast and doesn’t grab the terps in the middle bio mass clump.

you need to put a big ass stir bar into your biomass flask and grab it with a magnet on the outside. then you can fluff up the herb as you steam it.


Im thinking of converting my 6" column to a steam distiller, im going to put a stirring wand down the middle, i think with agitation, runs can be shortened tk half the time with same yield. Havent had the chance to play with magnets strong enough to effectively move wet herb

I don’t think a magnet will be strong enough to move wet biomass, not enough torque. The first and only run I did for steam distilled terps started very well with a good aroma. But I left it and came back an hour or so later and then it had a burnt, kind of vaped scent. Next time I do it I’m going to measure a lesser amount of water than what I collected to ensure less is ran though. Does anyone have a relative amount of water to avoid over doing it?

With steam generator


Steam still material comes out wet and can start degrading pretty quickly. Have a plan to dry it.

Honestly it’s a headache to do on large scale for the quality of oil. Better than nothing. I think we still have our 100 lb unit available for sale.

The oils we’re producing based on my technology are far superior, and I can achieve full control of what I pull and what I leave behind. We run about 200g a day. Enough to flavor 4,000 units.

These are still over their hydrosol

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More or less a pet project…so I don’t care if it’s hemp or not. Just want to play around with steam distillation.

What is everyone’s opinion on the lab society terp distillation setup?

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it works, you can also slap together your own if you just want to play.
I have seen some diy microwave distillation rigs, that could be fun to make.


Recommend vacuum? Water Aspirator? I have BBV 5.6 laying around I dont use - left oil pumps awhile ago. I was thinking like lavender and other things I can easily obtain.

you dont need a very high vac if you want to start from biomass, it seems like you need a certain amount of heat energy to liberate the oils effectivly.
my advise would be pulling a vac of around -27 hg and ramp up low and slow, see if you cant collect a few fractions as well. There may be some point where the resulting oil is unpalatable, if taken in fractions you may combine the best ones and toss the trash.


Thank you for the advice. One more stupid question…Any tricks on safely bleeding the steam line?

for steam injector? just turn it on and go. or you talking about blowing the rust from the steam line in a facility before tapping it for use?

Blowing rust and other particles out of line.

The steam generator that comes with the lab society setup is only like $70. I always use distilled water. Steam from some facility source might not be a good idea.

How much are you trying to do? Steam stilling takes you down the wet material rabbit hole. It’s great for hemp but…proceed at your own risk with plant material you care about. I look forward to the day that hemp oils don’t suck, sorry they do.

Microwave can give you even worse smelling oils. Sorry, Milestone but your machine is crap for the price. Build your own, you can find specs online. The IDCO model looks cool but at 65k euro, ouch!

As far as the under vacuum option. I found the commercial units running too hot, giving low essential oil yields, off yellow or off green at scale, barely better than a well packed and well staffed atmospheric still. Unless you’re doing this at home you’re going to want to scale. When one of the largest cannabis terpene companies in California, with the largest market share of one of the best vape pens for tasting cannabis vape pens, passes on a technology, it’s for a reason. I’ll be talking about this in LA in July.

Regardless, I’m interested revisiting the tech, now that I have a gold standard of what cannabis essential oils can be. @Soxhlet , I want to build a small unit for R&D, and am looking for a competent engineer.

To anyone pursuing the essential oils from this amazing and challenging plant. There are more of us out there than you’d think.

Come to Oakland, bring your work, smell ours. I found a good chemist who is committed to getting pure essential oils tested (42-terpenes) at half the rate of the companies that test 35. For those who really want know, I have the contact for a lab in Boulder, CO that will do over 100 compounds, but have never used them.

you want to connect the hose you intend to use and direct it into a sink while blasting the steam out to blow the schmoo out. You need to wear a long sleeve shirt, lab coat, face shield, steam proof gloves and cuffs. steam is not to be underestimated and will burn the heck out of you if you arent carefull. remember always have your lab buddy to watch out for you, and assist you in case of emergency. I would run some traps before the apparatus to collect any liquid that might carry over. See if your steam smells palatable before you use it for that purpose. You can use portable electric steam generator for producing steam as an alternative.

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We make just about anything you can dream up!

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