The cannabis concentrates market is exploding, estimated to grow by 35% each year. And it makes sense- cannabis concentrates are stronger, more potent, and easier to dose than smoking flower or eating edibles. But what the heck are they? What do they look like? How do you use them?
What are cannabis concentrates and extracts?
As the name suggests, concentrates are condensed versions of cannabis that come in liquid form. They’re made from the flower or trimmings of the plant and extracted until it reaches a denser consistency than its leafy counterpart.
The objective of extracting concentrates is to maintain the elements that give it its cannabinoid and terpene content, thus preserving its potency, flavor, and aroma.
With the extraction process, you are essentially removing the chemical compounds from plant material to create a smaller quantity of gooey substances. On average, marijuana concentrates have 50-90% THC levels as opposed to around 10-25% for regular cannabis flower.
What are cannabinoids and terpenes?
There are hundreds of different chemical compounds in cannabis, but cannabinoids are the most abundant. THC is the cannabinoid that gives users the euphoric feeling often associated with marijuana. CBD is a well-known non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has become popular in wellness products because of its ability to restore and calm the body.
Terpenes are the flavor profile of concentrates. They smell like citrus, diesel fuel, or pine. The reaction they produce can change how users feel. In fact, more terpenes can result in a stronger high than when THC is used alone.
How do they differ from other types of products from the cannabis plant?
Cannabis concentrates are stronger than other cannabis products, come in many different forms, and don’t require smoking. For lots of people, not having to smoke is the best part – it lets them get high anywhere without worrying about lung damage from inhaling smoke.
This can be particularly beneficial to medical marijuana patients who may have respiratory conditions preventing them from smoking or who simply do not want to smoke.
Why are concentrates so popular?
Although concentrated cannabis extracts have long been used in cooking and baking “edibles”, they have only recently come into the spotlight as a standalone consumption method.
The expansion of legalized marijuana in the U.S has no doubt played a part in the explosion of popularity for concentrated forms of cannabis. In a world where it was illegal, developing the unique extraction processes we have now would not have been possible.
The many types of cannabis extract product
There are two main types of extraction methods: solvent-based and solventless. Here is a breakdown of the differences between them, as well as the types of extracts each method produces:
Here are the types of solvent-based extracts, which use hydrocarbons or solvents to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from plants:
- Live resin is a type of cannabis extract made with frozen plant material. Terpenes are preserved very similarly to those in living plants. The extract often appears shiny or glossy and ranges between golden and amber colors.
- Wax is a soft and gooey substance that is very sticky to the touch. These amber-colored and toned textures come in varying consistencies, from hard or soft blobs of concentrate oil to buttery ribbons of extract.
- Oil is usually derived from CO2 extraction and is typically sticky like honey. Terpenes exist in various smells, such as oranges and lemon ice, to preserve a pure flavor and smell. They are normally used in vape cartridges and disposable vaporizers.
- Shatter is a type of cannabis concentrate that gets its name from its glass-like appearance. It can be amber in color and is made through BHO hydrocarbon extraction. Usually, shatter is hard and sticky like candy. Many experts believe it to be one of the purest forms of cannabis concentrates available on the market today.
There are different types of solventless extracts, which are classified according to how they’re made. The most common methods don’t utilize any chemicals and instead rely on other techniques like filtration, heat, or pressure.
- Budder, also identified as batter or badder – and sometimes called cake batter by those in the know – is a hash oil produced from rosin that’s been subject to heat manipulation. The resultant creamier consistency makes it an ideal candidate for dabbing.
- Rosin is a type of cannabis extraction that uses heat and pressure on the raw flower. This process usually results in a deep yellow product similar to honey, with a thick consistency and many preserved flavor profiles.
Cannabis concentrate can be consumed in various ways
The most typical way people consume concentrates is through vaping, which can be done with a pen or by using e-juices. Unlike smoking marijuana flowers, vaping gets rid of harmful chemicals and carcinogens; yet it also affords users more control over how much THC they’re consuming.
“Vaping” is looked down upon by those who know a lot about concentrate consumption– The dab is much more popular among them.
The process of dabbing involves heating up concentrates in a quartz or titanium tube and then inhaling the resulting vapor. Dabbing concentrates can be done with an oil rig, which is a bong with attachments for concentrates; or the electric nail. The electric nail uses electricity to heat the concentrate, like the downstem in a bong but without fire.
A third, popular vaporizer is direct-draw. It has attachments for concentrates in addition to an e-cigarette battery and typically comes with various mouthpieces from which you can choose, depending on how you want to inhale your cannabis. This type of device offers control over the temperature; You can heat the product to any temperature that suits you.
Tips for using cannabis concentrates responsibly
If you have never used concentrates before, here are some tips to get you started:
Begin by taking a small dose of concentrate. This could be anywhere from 0 to .25g depending on your tolerance. As you become more familiar with using them, slowly increase the amount until you find a level that is enjoyable without making you uncomfortable or overstimulated.
Try different consumption methods until you find one that works best for you. As mentioned, there are many options. Consult someone knowledgeable about cannabis use. One of the helpful budtenders at The Bud Depot Cannabis Dispensary in Lyons would love to assist you!