Cannabis Concentrates: Potent and Flavorful Innovations

Concentrates—sometimes known as extracts—are among the newest and most exciting products in the world of cannabis. As well as delivering unparalleled potency, some varieties offer “hyperrealistic” flavors due to their high concentration of terpenes, the aromatic oils in cannabis. Bold, powerful, and delivering a strong rush of sensation, it’s no wonder recreational and medical marijuana concentrates have taken the dispensary world by storm.

If you’d like to learn about these truly revolutionary products and how they work, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll share everything we know about concentrates here, including the types of cannabis concentrates and what sets them apart from one another.

What Are Concentrates? A Fusion of Cannabis and Science

Concentrates are a large family of products that go by many names, including wax, budder, batter, hash, kief, rosin, and live resin, among others. No matter what they’re called, they’re all derived from the cannabis flower and processed into a highly concentrated form.

Because they deliver such a high proportion of both THC and flavor, cannabis concentrates are often used with vaporizers, a family of high-tech devices that include portable vape pens alongside more elaborate tabletop models. Vapes heat cannabis products to the point at which their volatile cannabinoids and terpenes are released as a cool mist. Like smoking cannabis, vaporizing produces a fast-acting effect—typically within a few minutes at most. But unlike smoking, that cool mist tends to be easier on our lungs and airways.

Why choose recreational or medical marijuana concentrates? Besides their portability and largely shelf-stable nature, many people choose concentrates for their potency. While the most potent cannabis flower tops out at roughly 35% THC, it’s not unusual to find cannabis concentrates that are as high as 90% THC. Whether you’re looking to kick back with friends or tackle the toughest chronic symptoms and medical conditions, nothing else approaches cannabis concentrates in terms of potency.

If you’re wondering about how CBD might fit into the concentrate picture, CBD-dominant cannabis or hemp flower can certainly be used to craft CBD-rich concentrates. While less common than their THC counterparts, CBD concentrates offer the same potency and additional benefits as their THC counterparts.


How Concentrates Are Made

As we hinted earlier, cannabis concentrates go by many different names. But the easiest way to understand these products has to do with how they’re made: Concentrated with or without solvents.

Solvent-Based Concentrates

Solvent-based extractions use different chemical compounds to separate cannabis plant matter from their cannabinoids and terpenes. Some common solvents include CO2, butane, and propane. Needless to say, working with these flammable compounds requires extreme care and experience with laboratory-grade equipment. As a result, solvent-based extraction should only be attempted by professionals in a controlled environment.

Solventless Concentrates

Then there are solvent-free concentrates. In contrast with solvent-based extraction, these techniques are far simpler, typically relying on little more than gentle heat and pressure. In fact, these methods are so simple and safe that, with proper care, you can even create some of these cannabis concentrates at home!

No matter the method, the goal is the same: To strip the trichomes—the hairlike glands you see all over high-quality cannabis flower—from the plants and concentrate them in a usable form. That’s because the trichomes produce and store the majority of the cannabis flower’s terpenes and cannabinoids, including THC and CBD.

Different Types of THC Concentrates

With that said, let’s introduce a few of the major types of cannabis concentrates:

  • Shatter: So named because it resembles candy-like translucent shards, this solvent-based concentrate is much-loved but requires skill to dose properly.
  • Rosin: A waxy, solvent-free product, rosin can be added to bowls or joints or enjoyed through a water pipe or similar device.
  • Kief: The simplest form of cannabis concentrate, this sand-like product is nothing more than the dried and sifted trichomes of the cannabis flower.
  • Hash: Created by pressing together kief, hash is a much-loved and historic form of cannabis concentrate.
  • RSO: Created by a Canadian amateur chemist, RSO (short for “Rick Simpson oil”) is typically consumed orally in very small amounts to relieve serious medical symptoms and conditions.
  • Wax: Typically taking the form of a creamy, amber-colored waxy substance, many people love the consistency of wax because it’s relatively easy to grab just the right amount.

How To Use Concentrates: Tips and Dosages

Cannabis concentrates are commonly consumed using a specialized “dab rig,” a tool that heats small amounts of concentrate to the point of vaporization and then collects the smoke for inhalation. While it’s not strictly necessary, for many, a well-designed dab rig makes the process more enjoyable. There are also many handheld portable vaporizing devices made to be used with cannabis concentrates.

Alternatively, tiny amounts of cannabis concentrates can be added to a joint or a bowl, keeping in mind that even a small amount will add significant potency. How small? When you’re just starting, we recommend using no more than the size of a grain of rice. Given their unparalleled potency, it’s important to start low and go slow with concentrates.

Explore the World of Cannabis Concentrates with Takoma!

If you’re looking for the region’s best cannabis concentrate selection, we’ve got options for every need and budget. As Washington’s #1 family-run dispensary, we’re dedicated to helping you get the very most from your marijuana experience. Interested in knowing more? Just ask! We’re always here to help.