Your Guide to Cannabis Concentrates
The interaction between body chemistry and specific strains is one of the greatest mysteries of cannabis. Whether a strain (and its associated concentrate) affects you in an uplifting way or a relaxing way depends largely upon how it interacts with your body, as well as the manner in which it is consumed.
Why Use Concentrates?
Often concentrates are recommended for patients requiring a higher level of medication for certain conditions. Some patients prefer concentrated medication for ease of use and small dose size.
Why So Many Types?
Shatter, wax, rosin, oil, crumble, sap, pull-snap, taffy, budder…these are some of the names cannabis extracts have earned through their popularity and diversification. This list might lead you to believe that there are major differences between each one, but the division between a glass-like shatter and a more crumbly wax is more superficial than one might expect.
For those of you who are new to concentrates, a cannabis extract is an oil containing highly concentrated amounts of the cannabis plant’s key chemical compounds - THC and CBD are the most famous. While this is achieved through a variety of extraction processes and solvents, the end product is a highly potent oil of varying consistencies popularly consumed by vaporization, smoking, and/or dabbing.
Wax & Crumble
Cannabis wax contains opaque oils that lost their transparency during the extraction process. The wax-like feel is due to the amount of moisture contained in the oil. Oils with even more moisture tend to form gooey waxes often called “budder,” while oils with less moisture take on a soft, brittle texture known as “crumble” or “honeycomb.” The term “wax” can also be used in a general sense to describe the category of soft extracts.
As Leafly explains: “Rosin refers to an extraction process that utilizes a combination of heat and pressure to nearly instantaneously squeeze resinous sap from your initial starting material. The term "rosin" originated as a method of making a product used to lubricate violin bows. With cannabis, this method is incredibly versatile in that it can either be used with flowers or to clean up hash and kief into a full-melt hash oil. The result is a translucent, sappy, and sometimes shatter-like product. If executed correctly, rosin can rival the flavor, potency, and yield of other solvent-based extraction products.
One reason for rosin's newfound popularity is that it's a solventless technique, meaning the process does not require use of any foreign substances. Instead, rosin uses a mechanical process involving heat and pressure to extract the resin from the plant. Other extraction methods utilize light hydrocarbons such as butane and/or propane. Often, these complex and mechanical systems require a lengthy purge to safely remove most, if not all of the residual solvents from the final product.”
Kief is the simplest of concentrates, composed of trichomes (crystals coating the outside surface of the cannabis flowers containing high levels of cannabinoids) detached from the dried plant material, usually via specialized screens.
One of the oldest forms is hash, a concentrate made by compression of the plant’s resin. The powdery kief that coats your cannabis flowers can be collected and pressed together to form hash, or Carbon Dioxide (CO2) may be used to more effectively strip the plant of their cannabinoid-loaded crystals.
This highly refined extract is created using carbon dioxide compressed at high pressures until it becomes what is known as a “supercritical fluid,” which is able to remove the essential oils from the cannabis plants. Unlike Butane Hash Oil (BHO) it is non-flammable and contains no dangerous chemical solvents.
How to Use Concentrates
- Along with cannabis - many concentrates can be crumbled and placed on top of a pipe or into a joint
- Alone in a hash pipe
- Kief may be used in coffee, tea or heated and mixed with butter
- Vape pens
- Dabbing – vaporizing on a hot surfaces. It is very easy to consume too much, too quickly. While it’s fairly easy to do five dabs in a row in less than five minutes, it’s a little harder to smoke five joints in that same amount of time. So when it comes down to ease of use, it is much faster and easier to consume massive amounts of cannabinoids in concentrate form and it is essential that people use very, very small amounts.