People are looking at alternatives to smoking cannabis. Some are concerned about irritating their lungs in a time of pandemic. Others just want to try something else because they do not smoke or because they have heard about a different experience.
The thing is that concentrates come in many forms. Giving them each their due in this space is tough. But if you want to know more or just have an interest, here is a shot at a complete beginner’s guide to cannabis concentrates.
What is a concentrate?
A cannabis concentrate results from a process that reduces the cannabis flower to a malleable mass. Depending on the process, cannabis is delivered as oil, butter, wax, or crystal. Each by-product has its own street name, and those labels change and multiply. You might be looking at budder, cannabis oil, dabs, black glass, butane honey oil, ear wax, hash oil, honey oil, rosin, tincture, wax, and more.
However, people go to this trouble because the process effectively increases the cannabis THC or CBD potency a hundredfold. Concentrates can reach up to an 80% high-grade impact.
What is the concentrate process?
The concentrate processes seek to remove all the cannabis plant’s elements except the powerful cannabinoids. This occurs through solvent systems or non-solvent systems.
♦ Solvent systems use a liquid to dissolve the plant’s material. In time, the plant will breakdown and disperse its values into the solution. This extraction method leaves behind the THC, CBD, and terpenes that are the secret behind the respective cannabis strain.
Producers — commercial and individual — use a variety of solvents: butane, CO2, ethanol, or propane. These solvents accelerate the disintegration of the plant’s wood and fiber. However, some of them present a fire risk and transfer chemicals to the product.
♦ Solvent-free and Solventless Extracts are often confused. Some cannabis products are labeled as “Solvent-free.” However, that does not guarantee that they were processed without solvents. Rather, the label claims that the solvent residue has been removed.
Solventless extracts are prepared without using the solvents described. Producers make their product through heat and pressure, ice-water processing, grinding, and screening, and more.
What are examples of concentrates?
♦ Budder or Badder: This is a form of cannabis wax that applies to any extract with a buttery consistency somewhere between oil and shatter. It can deliver very high potency.
A product of a complex solvent process, budder is used for dabbing. Users scoop up small amounts of budder and apply it to a heated dabber nail where it vaporizes immediately. You then inhale the vapor, hold it deep in your system, and exhale. Others use it in vape pens or add it to their blunt, bowl, joint or pipe.
♦ Bubble Hash: They have been making Bubble Hash for ages. It is still a primitive operation in which dried cannabis buds are frozen and pressed through a series of narrowing sieves to produce a mud-brown residue containing the plant’s beneficial trichomes.
They process the cannabis with extremely cold distilled water. The water must not include fluoride or chlorine. The cannabis and ice mixture is stirred every 20 minutes over layers of cheesecloth or screens until the product drips through the layers to the bottom. This hashish can be used in many ways — from a recipe additive to a supplement for smoking.
♦ CO2 Oil: Producers use put cannabis under carbon dioxide (CO2) pressure to remove the undesirable cannabis plant matter. CO2 is not flammable and leaves a slightly sticky amber-colored liquid oil.
This oil provides a convenient way to consume. It can be added to recipes and beverages, but most people administer the oil sublingually. Administered under the tongue takes advantage of the bioavailability of the tissues under the tongue and throughout the mouth and throat for the speedy delivery of effects.
♦ Crumble: Cannabis crumble is the choice of many who want to optimize their THC experience as high as 90%. It is a dry spongey product that crumbles easily in your hands. People use it for dabbing or vaping or add it to the dry leaf in their joint.
Crumble is not for everyone, especially first-time users. Users risk paranoia and other extreme psychoactive results. It should not be used alone, and when used with others, everyone must know the risk and remedy.
♦ Isolates: It takes a complicated chemical process to produce Isolates. CBD isolates are popular because they deliver full medicinal effects without the psychoactivity of THC. The process breaks down the plant and isolates the CBD delivers as a crystalline powder for use in many applications.
THC isolates are manufactured in the same way producing THC with up to 99% potency. It can add experience to smoking, vaping, cooking, or other forms of consumption. However, it should be used with caution because of the high potency.
♦ Rosin: They have been making Rosin from cannabis for a long time, too. They use heat and pressure to produce this highly concentrated extract. One method uses a heat source like an iron or hair straightener to press a parchment paper envelope holding cannabis lain between mesh screens.
Rosin is used in bongs, joints, and blunts, but it is very popular among veteran users who like their dabbing.
♦ Shatter: Cannabis Shatter is a beautiful amber by-product. It is as brittle and seductive as some candies. Shatter results from a butane solvent process that blasts away the undesired elements to leave the trichomes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids in this sap-like product.
Shatter is extremely potent and used heavily by those who like to dab. Attractive as the honey-colored product may be, the process uses the flammable butane and risks passing through some of its toxins.
What is the result?
Cannabis users and producers never seem to run out of invention and innovation. They have come up with ingenious ways to create and deliver the medical and recreational benefits of the flowers.
You will find each of the concentrates listed here under various names and formulations. Each comes in slight variations, and there are multiple ways to produce them. One way to sort through them is to understand that the potency can be threatening, so you would be smart to start small and slow!