Winterization is a process used to remove undesirable components like fats, waxes, and lipids from cannabis concentrate. By freezing and filtering the concentrate, winterization produces a more pure, clean product. The freezing temperature allows fats and waxes to solidify so they can filter out.
Fats and waxes are inherent to plants, but generally undesirable in cannabis extracts. Not only do they negatively impact flavor and scent, but lipids can also alter the look of a concentrate, giving it a cloudy, opaque appearance. Winterization results in concentrates that have enhanced clarity, potency, and a cleaner flavor profile.
While winterization is effective for removing impurities, it does have some downsides. The process can strip away terpenes and flavonoids, which also solidify at subzero temperatures. Winterization also tends to have a lower yield compared to alternatives like dewaxing. Ultimately, it’s a trade off between purity and preservation of aroma molecules.