Cannabis concentrates are oils that are extracted from cannabis plants using a variety of methods. These oils contain the cannabinoids and terpenes of the cannabis flower. Typically concentrates are vaporized, “dabbed” or eaten. Unlike when smoking cannabis flower, plant matter is not combusted and inhaled when consuming cannabis concentrates which many consider to be healthier or “cleaner”. Cannabis concentrates are much more potent per weight so typically require that far less product be consumed in order to achieve the desired effect. Concentrates made properly should still maintain qualities of the original strain such as smell, taste and effects, in a condensed form. Concentrate making should always be performed by a professional in a well-ventilated area. One way to think about concentrates is to treat them like desert, whereas flowers would be your mains.
Difference between concentrates:
Concentrates come in all forms and size. Knowing the difference between all of them can help continue your journey towards finding the best methods of cannabis delivery for your particular case. Many of these concentrates are also simply different versions of the same strain. Concentrate varieties include shatter, kief, rosin, hash, RSO, CO2 and BHO (which is what wax, shatter, live resin and crumble are). Typically these names refer to either the texture or consistency of the product, or the method of production. For example, wax is called wax because it looks like bees wax or ear wax, crumble is a more crumbly version of wax. Shatter is shatter because it has a glass-like consistency and can break or shatter apart when agitated. Whether you draw your preference on look, texture, or extraction method, the most important thing is the proper delivery of your medication. Again, while all concentrates are different, many sharing the same original flower strain will maintain similar effects. Concentrates can be made a few different ways. The first and most common involve some sort of solvent and heat including CO2, butane, hydrocarbons, propane, water, and alcohol. The second are processed without a solvent such as hash – which is made using water, or rosin – which is made using heat. Solvent-free concentrates are the best choice for those who have and aversion or poor interaction with the above named solvents.
Types of concentrate:
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
BHO, or butane hash oil, is an extremely potent concentrate popularly consumed for dabbing and other vaporization methods. Cannabinoids are drawn out of the plant through butane extraction, which leaves behind a wax that will either maintain its sticky consistency or harden up, resulting in a crumbly “honeycomb” or a glasslike “shatter.” Because its THC content stretches up to 80%, BHO is a popular remedy for chronic pain and other intractable symptoms. Always be sure that your oil is lab-tested for purity, as improperly purged BHO may contain traces of butane.Wax, shatter and live resin all fall under the umbrella of Butane Hash Oil extract (BHO). Wax, shatter and live resin all fall under the umbrella of Butane Hash Oil extract (BHO).
Named for its waxy consistency, cannabis wax is a soft, opaque concentrate that contains crystals that occur during the extraction process. Wax typically takes one of two forms. It can either appear solid and soft or brittle, known as “crumble” or “honeycomb”. It may also contain more running oils and take on a gooey consistency, known as “budder”. Wax has recently become very popular because of the ingested method known as “dabbing”. Wax may also be vaporized.
Shatter is an amber glass-like concentrate with a clean and pure reputation. Like wax, shatter draws its name from its physical look. The consistency can vary between brittle glass and stretchable taffy (also known as “snap and pull”) depending on the flowers used to create the concentrate. When produced, the heat and moisture may combine with terpenes to create a more flexible shatters, with the glass like quality coming from the undisturbed molecules resting after heat. Shatter, like wax, has also become very popular because of it’s concentrated effect and is ingested using it for “dabs” or used in conjunction with a vaporizer.
CO2 oil is a concentrate made possible by expensive botanical extractors that use pressure and carbon dioxide to separate plant material. This method, called supercritical fluid extraction, is one of the most effective ways of reducing cannabis to its essential compounds. The amber oil it produces can be vaporized in a variety of ways, one of the most popular being portable vaporizer pens containing cartridges containing CO2 oil.
Also known as dry sift or pollen, kief is made up of the resin glands found on the trichomes of cannabis flowers. These glands contain the terpenes and cannabinoids that bring a diversity of flavors and effects to various cannabis strains. Kief is commonly used to make hash, or you can collect kief in a grinder and sprinkle it onto ground cannabis for more potent consumption.
One of the oldest players in the cannabis game 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, solvents like ice water or ethanol may be used to more effectively strip the plant of their cannabinoid-loaded crystals. Though not as potent as BHO and other cannabis concentrates, hash remains a staple of cannabis culture around the world.
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)
In 2003 a man named Rick Simpson treated his skin cancer using a homemade remedy made from cannabis. By soaking the cannabis in pure naphtha or isopropyl alcohol, the therapeutic compounds are drawn out of the plant, leaving behind a tar-like liquid after the solvent fully evaporates. Also known as Phoenix Tears, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) can be orally administered or applied directly to the skin. Many other businesses now sell their own renditions of the Rick Simpson Oil, some of which are high in THC while others contain only non-psychoactive compounds like CBD.
Live resin is a type of cannabis concentrate that is manufactured using a technique that takes freshly harvested cannabis and freezes it to subcritical temperatures prior to and throughout the extraction process. Where these methods differ from other extraction processes is in the amount of time harvested cannabis plants are allowed to dry and cure before the extraction.
The drying and curing process that a cannabis plant typically undergoes can have a devastating impact on terpenes, the flavorful factory molecules present within the trichomes that line virtually every corner of a mature cannabis flower and its surrounding foliage. With cured concentrates, the cannabis plant is allowed a certain amount of time to wick itself of moisture and chlorophyll before the extraction occurs. During this time, trichomes are subjected to conditions not conducive to terpene preservation. Interactions such as increased exposure to heat, oxygen, physical agitation, and light all play a role in degrading terpenes. However with live resin, the plant is flash frozen immediately following harvest and kept at freezing temperatures throughout the extraction process. By doing this, the cannabis plant retains its valuable terpene profile, thus retaining the plant’s original flavor and fragrance that can then be carried over into the final product.