Marijuana concentrates have only been available to the general public in the last few years. However, it is believed that people used them for over 12,000 years prior to their modern usage! According on historians, this potent creation from cannabis plant was utilized in China’s Steppe Mountains for millennia.
Concentrates are often referred to as “hash,” although they are quite distinct from the black bricks brought into North America and Europe from places like Morocco.
Concentrates are cannabis products that contain a greater THC concentration. They may be purchased in most jurisdictions, including Colorado and Washington. Although concentrates aren’t legal in all states, they can occasionally be obtained from authorized dispensaries. This comprehensive guide covers everything there is to know about concentrates, including the many sorts, how to use them, what factors to consider before purchasing them, and how much to take.
What Is Marijuana Concentrate?
The term “cannabis concentrate” refers to a range of products with exceptionally high levels of THC. It may encompass any product manufactured from the cannabis plant that has been refined into a concentrated form. It’s made entirely without extra plant stuff, including all of the terpenes and cannabinoids formed during flowering.
Although there are several similarities between the two, different THC content and texture distinguish many distinct items. It’s all about the texture when it comes to how these things are consumed. You may vaporize or dab wax concentrates, for example, or put them on a joint or blunt.
The odors, tastes, and effects of cannabis are due to the cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant. The trichomes, which are a collection of gleaming structures, contain these compounds. These trichomes are concentrated to produce products that can deliver an extremely powerful intoxication.
Types of Cannabis Concentrates
When it comes to the most frequent types of cannabis concentrates, keep in mind that they are classified as solvent-based and solventless. Wax concentrates, for example, are categorized as “solvent-based,” whereas kief production does not necessitate the use of a solvent. Let’s take a look at each category, followed by a quick summary of nine popular concentrates across both groups.
Marijuana Concentrates – Solvent-Based or Solventless?
There are solventless and solvent-based concentrates from the cannabis plant, both of which are considerably more potent than just the flower. A solvent-based extract is a method of extracting THC – as well as other cannabinoids and terpenes – from cannabis using a substance such as butane, ethanol, or CO2.
In contrast, a solventless concentrate does not require the use of a solvent to remove the target substance. Instead, heat and cold, as well as pressure and water, are utilized. The number of concentrates available is increasing all the time thanks to new technologies that allow cannabinoids and terpenes to be extracted from plant material.
The procedure used to extract concentrates varies significantly. While you may notice a difference in appearance and texture, the actual distinction is in the manufacturing process. The extraction method changes the biological and chemical makeup of the final products. While you won’t be able to see it, this does influence what you consume.
Because of the negative stigma associated with solvent-based concentrates, there is a lot of resistance against them. There’s also the issue of risk because you could be using butane or propane; these are dangerous gases.
Depending on the solvent used, solvent-based extractions may be harmful. However, advances in technology enable businesses to use certified lab technicians and high-tech equipment to safely produce clean concentrates by using solvents to extract plant material. These businesses operate a closed-loop system to guarantee that no airborne chemical exposure occurs during extraction.
Solvent-based extracts are said to be more potent and include a complete spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids, according to users. Because the flower isn’t physically shaken, the bud’s structure is preserved and terpenes are retained.
Contaminants are removed via a technique known as ‘purging.’ You must purge any residual solvent using butane, CO2, propane, or alcohol as your extraction solvent, whether you do it manually with a hand whisk, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the residue, or evaporate the solution. The word “purge” may refer to hand-whipping, vacuuming, or evaporation.
Let’s take a look at the most popular solvent-based cannabis concentrates.
CO2 is used in the extraction of cannabis oil. Supercritical extraction is employed, which entails a lot of pressure and carbon dioxide to isolate plant components. CO2 with high purity has an amber color and very little residual solvent after distillation.
Other chemicals are often added to lower the overall strength of the oil. It is, however, unusual for the oil to contain 30mg of THC per milliliter.
A solvent and a closed-loop extraction process are used to make wax. The substance has a gritty texture and is maintained at low enough temperatures to keep terpenes and cannabinoids intact. It’s whipped to remove the remnants of the solvent.
The consistency of the resulting concentrates will vary significantly at this point. Wax is known for being dry and crumbly, while budder has a greater moisture level and resembles butter.
This extract is produced similarly to wax in that it employs a closed-loop system and a solvent. The slurry is added to parchment paper in this case, and the atmosphere within the vacuum oven is vented. To remove residual solvent, the substance is ‘burped’ repeatedly, and over time, it begins to cover the paper.
Shatter, in the end, is easy to break down into little pieces. If the shatter does not evacuate properly, it results in a substance called “taffy,” which has a similar texture to taffy. Both shatter and taffy are characterized by a light to dark amber hue.
Isopropyl alcohol is used, but the goal of this extract is to preserve as much of the plant’s original chemical profile as possible. The advantage is that the cannabinoid profile is similar to what a live plant would have. Due to its great taste and aroma, particularly because the terpene profile of a living plant has been preserved, live resin is quite popular. Live resin has an amber color and shines when wet.
This is a more advanced type of concentrate that uses high-tech scientific equipment to heat and vaporize the cannabis components in marijuana flower. The vapor is collected in containers after it passes through a cooling system. To guarantee you receive only pure cannabinoids and minimal solvent residue, the process is repeated on an ongoing basis.
The process entails separating cannabinoids and terpenes from plant material without the use of solvents, as the name implies. Ice is one of the most popular non-solvent extraction techniques; it is used to chill marijuana flowers to below-freezing temperatures. This procedure causes the resin glands in the flowers to move about, eventually freeing them from the epidermis.
The popularity of hash extracts like rosin and bubble hash is due to the lack of solvents. On a parts-per-million (ppm) basis, you may be confident that there will be no residual solvents. You could, however, damage the bud’s structure during the procedure.
Let’s look at the most popular solventless concentrates below.
This non-solvent solution is made using water, ice, and micron bags (also known as bubble bags) to filter the plant material and waste. Bubble hash may be safely produced at home. Marijuana flower, water, ice, a bucket, and at least seven-micron bags in sizes ranging from 25 to 220 microns are all you need.
You freeze the plant’s trichome glands with ice water, making it simpler to snap them off. Trichomes are heavier than water, therefore they fall to the bottom of the container. You filter the water and collect the trichomes using the bags. Bubble hash is rated on a 1-star scale (lowest) through 6-star (highest).
The simplest type of marijuana concentrate to produce. All you have to do is massage marijuana flower on a specific filtering screen to agitate and extract the trichomes from the plant. Collecting the trichomes with a three-chamber grinder is usually sufficient.
Kief can also be extracted, and it’s even more potent than that found in hash. It is derived from fresh-frozen cannabis flower and is often known as “live” kief since it comes directly from the plant. In other words, after harvesting, the plant was immediately frozen to maintain its entire cannabinoid profile and terpenes. The typical technique is to use a nitrogen bath. After that, you shake the trichomes to extract the kief.
To make rosin, you need high pressure and high temperatures. The aim is to isolate the essential oils from the trichome heads in order to generate solid resin. You can safely produce rosin at home since it does not require solvents. The quality of rosin produced depends entirely on the quality of marijuana used.
In the past, tortilla presses and hair straighteners were used to combine the heat and pressure needed to make rosin. There are machines designed specifically for this purpose in today’s world.
Semi-refined kief that has been mechanically or manually extracted with numerous micron screens to preserve the trichomes. The most effective dry sift on the market is known as “full melt,” and it contains up to 90% trichome resin heads. Stalks and heads are included in half melt. Because it also contains plant debris, dry sifting is generally tan or white in color.
Methods of Consuming Marijuana Concentrates
There are numerous way to consume cannabis, some of which allow you to use it on the go.
Add concentrates to cannabis flower for a more powerful effect. The advantage is that you don’t have to worry about getting too high. Bowl topping is best for novices who are using concentrates for the first time.
For example, if you’re smoking a bong or pipe, sprinkle a tiny amount of concentrate into the flower’s bowl. When rolling a joint or blunt, add some concentrate; this is known as ‘twaxing.’ If you have a stretchy concentration that won’t stick to itself, you may even make a lengthy line of it and wrap it around the outside of the joint!
Apart from flower, bubble hash is the most popular choice for bowl toppings. Because of its combustion qualities, many users enjoy bubble hash since it is comparable to flower in this area. Please keep in mind that if too much heat is applied, bubble hash may remain lit; as a result, put out the fire as quickly as possible. Ideally, you should maintain the flame close enough to allow the bubble hash to melt without combusting.
The first and most common way to consume concentrates is via a dab rig, which is a tool designed specifically for dabbing. It’s better to get a rig made of borosilicate glass since it produces superior flavor. Step one begins with filling the device with water. Experts recommend filling the device until the water level reaches two inches above the diffuser or downstem.
Exhale through the mouthpiece to check the water level. If you end up with water in your mouth, you added too much water! Then place your nail (also known as a banger) into the joint of the rig. Joints come in sizes such as 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. ‘Season’ the nail by heating it with a torch until it is glowing. Add a little concentrate to the nail and repeat the step at least twice more after it has cooled down.
When you’re ready to smoke, add some concentrate to the red-hot nail and breathe in the vapor. You don’t need much concentration to feel high, so test your limit with little amounts.
Although a desktop vaporizer may still be used, a growing number of individuals are choosing portable vape devices like pens. Basic vape pens allow you to add concentrate to the chamber and transform it into vapor right away. All you have to do is breathe in! There are sophisticated gadgets available that let you adjust the temperature setting. This is critical if you want to keep as many terpenes and cannabinoids as possible.
Purchasing Cannabis Concentrate: What to Consider
There are several items on the market, but they aren’t all made equal. Marijuana concentrates are expensive, so double-check any brands you’re considering before purchasing. Otherwise, you may be duped or become ill as a result of hazardous chemicals in the goods.
Look for supercritical CO2-extracted cannabis concentrate. You won’t know if you’re getting a high-quality product. Also, why spend a lot of money on butane-extracted concentrate when you can make your own at home?
Take note of the THC concentration. The greatest isolates on the market have a THC content ranging from 90% to 99%. Any product with an THC concentration lower than 80 contains a high number of polyunsaturated fatty acids. A concentrate with 60% THC has as much as 40% waxes, which aren’t necessarily ideal.
Most isolates and concentrates contain at least 80% THC purity. The highest-quality producers use 90% or more.
When you select your concentrate, be careful when dosing it because it is easy to get carried away while ‘dabbing’ wax, for example. It only takes a tiny amount to create an extremely powerful high.
Using too much concentrate, on the other hand, may be harmful. Aside from the potential for negative effects such as paranoia, using high-THC concentrates is costly. Depending on where you live and the type of product, a gram of 90+% THC concentrate might cost anywhere from $50 to $100 or more.
Second, as you use cannabis as a medicine, it is critical to start slowly by microdosing to see how it affects you. Your aim should be to gradually increase the dose until you discover the minimum effective dosage. You’ll quickly develop a tolerance and lose any therapeutic effects if you take too much all at once.
Storing Your Marijuana Concentrates
While your concentrates may appear to be sturdy, they must be kept in a dry environment or else they will dry out. We recommend using an airtight container that is stored in a cool, dark location. There’s a danger of your concentrate melting and losing its fragrance, taste, and cannabinoids if it’s kept in a warm location.
To prevent your concentrate from adhering to the surface, wrap it in parchment paper before placing it in an airtight container.
Strain pods come in a variety of shapes and sizes, allowing you to store concentrates. They’re simple to maintain, non-stick, and keep your stuff at the proper temperature. They won’t shatter or get broken over time. If you want to vape on the go, they provide easy storage as well.
Dispensaries generally sell glass or plastic containers, but if they aren’t non-stick, the concentrate will get trapped on the surface. A heat-resistant, tempered glass container is required.
Why Consume Cannabis Concentrate?
For recreational users, cannabis concentrates provide a whole new world to explore in the realm of cannabis. It may offer you with a degree of intoxication that you have never before experienced. Concentrates allow MMJ patients to feel a much quicker and more powerful effect than they would from smoking marijuana flowers.
Concentrates are ideal for people who prefer to consume cannabis frequently, due to the fact that they provide a longer-lasting high, have an aromatic and flavorful taste, and offer various advantages. The blend of so many terpenes ensures that you get the best flavor and smell possible from cannabis.
Cannabis concentrates, unlike smoked marijuana, provide a degree of discretion when vaped. Furthermore, depending on the extraction technique, these products may result in a more pure high.
Users quickly discover that there is no such thing as the “best THC concentrate form,” only what is appropriate for their requirements. If you want to experience the unique taste of a certain strain with an amazing high, cannabis concentrates should be on your “to-try” list. However, proceed with caution!
Marijuana Concentrate Dosing
Concentrates are often sold in portions ranging from 0.5 grams to 1 gram. Lab reports on reputable sellers’ websites reveal the cannabinoid and terpene content of their goods. While some solventless concentrates may contain less than 50% THC, the most powerful solvent-based concentrates can have up to 90 percent THC.
Let’s assume you have a gram of concentrate with an THC concentration of 80 percent. This implies that there is 800mg of THC in the gram. For comparison, an edible starting dose should be 5-10mg! It’s nearly impossible to break down a gram of concentrate into 80-160 portions.
First, break down your concentrate into portions with a total of about 100mg of THC. Getting a 20mg dab from a 100mg portion is significantly more convenient than obtaining an 800mg chunk. Pre-filled vaporizer cartridges are another good option for microdosing.
Use your dabbing instrument to pull the tiniest quantity feasible if you’re using concentrate to dab. Analyze the effects of each portion on you and decide whether it’s advisable to increase the dosage next time. When it comes to concentrates, using a little rather than a lot is always preferable.