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Dewaxing

Last updated: May 28, 2021

What Does Dewaxing Mean?

Dewaxing, or similarly, winterization, are processes designed to remove any undesired plant lipids (fats) and waxes from an extracted product such as shatter or a variety of other full spectrum extracts (FSE). These processes utilize solvents and very low temperatures to separate the unwanted lipids and waxes from the desirable terpenes and cannabinoids.

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Maximum Yield Explains Dewaxing

Lipids and waxes present in an extract can sometimes be experienced by a user as harsh on the lungs and unpleasant to inhale. Dewaxing allows for smoother dabbing with unadulterated flavor and a more pleasant experience. The result is a more refined product.

Some strains simply have a higher lipid content, derived primarily from the waxy cuticle that surrounds individual trichomes. These strains are more predisposed to auto-buddering. Auto-buddering can be seen visually as an opaque cloudiness that develops in clear, translucent extracts.

The cloudiness that indicates auto-buddering is cause by a process called nucleation. Nucleation happens when lipids and/or contaminants present in an extract begin to separate from the cannabinoids they are bonded with. The trichomes are just looking to revert back to their natural state. This generally unintentional nucleation process is known as auto-buddering or sugaring up.

Nucleation can be triggered by several contributing factors: changes in temperature, humidity, or overexposure to oxygen. It can also be caused by contamination of the product with moisture, dust, or pollen. In fact, some terpenes are hydrophilic (attracted to water/hydrogen bonding) which increases the opportunities for moisture to enter the product.

Dewaxing does not guarantee a product will not auto-budder over time. It does, however, remove most of the major factors that contribute to unintended auto-buddering. Proper storage is key to avoiding accidental auto-buddering.

Auto-buddering does not affect an extract’s effectiveness or safety. In fact, it is often done intentionally by some users who prefer the aroma, flavor, and taste of auto-buddered extracts.

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Synonyms

Winterization, Winterizing

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