Cannabis concentrates 101
A far cry from the days of a simple doobie, the ways of consuming cannabis have definitely diversified. One of these ways is cannabis concentrates, which have enjoyed a massive boom in popularity over recent years. Like most cannabis categories that offer a wide range of products, concentrates are no exception. Depending on factors like extraction method, concentrates come in many rich varieties, textures, and even flavors.
While there are lots of different forms of cannabis concentrates, we’ll be running down the most popular of them.
Starting with the basics- what is a concentrate?
Simply put, cannabis concentrates are, you guessed it, concentrated forms of cannabis. Commonly referred to as dabs, concentrates are made through varying processes of extraction meant to draw out the most potent parts of the plant, cannabinoids and terpenes, while leaving behind excess plant matter and impurities. The most common forms of extraction are butane and propane, although solventless extracts are more popular in some markets. These methods of extraction produce varied concentrates like budder, wax, rosin, shatter, and more.
The end product, or concentrate, is way more pure, potent and powerful than other forms of cannabis containing anywhere from 50% to 90%+ THC. Like we said, certainly more potent!
How you consume concentrates will depend on the type of concentrate at hand. Extracts made from CO2 are typically sold in vape pens, while concentrates like shatter and badder are best consumed using a dab pipe or rig. With so many different concentrate options out there, it can be hard to know which one is best for your needs. Let’s hit the differences:
Live Resin & Rosin
You might have heard the names ‘rosin’ and ‘resin’ used interchangeably. While they do hold some similarities like potency, they also possess key differences.
Live resin is an extract made using the BHO extraction process, however, the biomass for a live resin extraction is limited to fresh-frozen flowers. The fresh-frozen flower does not have the same curing process as the typical dry-cured fed for BHO extractions, allowing it to hold a much higher terpene content, translating into higher terpenes in the live resin extract.
Rosin, on the other hand, does not undergo an extraction process using solvents like butane or CO2. Instead, extraction is done by applying heat and pressure to the plant’s buds, kief, and trim, allowing this concentrate to typically be more flavorful than others. Although both are powerful concentrates, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference.
-Can be consumed using a dab rig or vaporizer.
Undergoing the BHO extraction process, shatter comes in brittle, hard candy-like sheets shattering into little pieces when broken apart.
Pro tip: Because shatter may soften in its packaging, try placing the package in the freezer for a couple of minutes prior to use. This will firm it up, so the shatter doesn’t stick!
- Can be consumed using a dab rig or vaporizer.
Wax, Budders, Crumbles, Sugars & THCa
Badder, batter and crumble, terp Sugar, THCa, and diamonds are all types of BHO concentrates. Badder, batter and crumble undergo an additional step that involves whipping the concentrate to varying extents in order to rid it of residual solvents. This whipping process causes each of these concentrates to have slightly different consistencies. Badders tends to be thick like frosting, crumble is generally bumpier in texture, and wax holds more of the look and sticky feel of honey. The chart below explains what to expect with each.
- Can be consumed using a dab rig or vaporizer.
Another popular choice on the list, vapes are pre-filled carts that contain different cannabis oils like distillate or sauce.
C02 oils – the most common cannabis oils to be found in vape carts and pens, C02 oils are runny in texture and full of flavor from terpenes, the aromatic molecules that give cannabis its unique flavor and smell. Produced from CO2 instead of butane, C02 oil has a taste that differs from butane hash oils.
Distillates- most distillates are produced from extracts that undergo a cold filtration process called ‘winterization’ followed by a process called 'decarboxylation' which uses heat to convert the THCa and CBDa into THC and CBD. The material is then distilled to isolate the THC and CBD fractions needed for carts.
Sauce- sauce is produced as the THCa in an extract crashes out of solution (the molecules of THCa line up and grow into crystals). As the THCa crystals grow on the bottom and sides of the container, the rest of the cannabinoids and terpenes are left in the liquid fraction. This flavorful full-spectrum liquid is known as 'Sauce.'
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