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Reading time - 7 minutes - March 17, 2021
Cannabis concentrates are hard to nail down. Not only literally, because they’re often liquids or loose solids (ha ha), but also because cannabis concentrates is a large umbrella term that covers many types. The marijuana plant has been extracted in many different ways. There are almost endless variants of possibility and ways to enjoy cannabis. The key thing to remember is that cannabis concentrates occur when the best, most pure parts of the plant are extracted and turned into a concentrate. This means that cannabis concentrates are often a lot stronger than the usual joint or dry herb vaporizer hit. In this article we’re going to be giving you an easily understandable guide into the huge world of cannabis concentrates. Our aim is to make it simple whilst ensuring we include all the juicy, concentrated info. So, as always, strap yourself in. Let’s go.
Cannabis concentrates and what they are can be confusing, but don’t worry, we will go through this step by step. Cannabis concentrates are created by extracting the most effective parts of the cannabis plant. It takes the terpenes and cannabinoids that are most responsible for the high feeling you get when you enjoy weed and puts them into a concentrate. This means that cannabis concentrates are high in THC. In fact, within usual marijuana buds, there’s usually only around 10-20% levels of THC. Whereas within cannabis concentrates there’s a lot more, it can have THC levels of anywhere from 50%-90%. Yes. Wow. Incredibly strong.
Cannabis concentrates usually take form as wax, shatter or oil. However, there are lots of terms used to describe the varying types of cannabis concentrates. Words you may hear thrown around are: rosin, resin, sap, budder, crumble, diamonds and hash (to name only a few). All are often found in a beautiful, honey nectar, gold colour. Making these can be a whole lot of fun, especially using a rosin press. You’ll probably be wondering: how do you get the best rosin press? Well, we’ll get on to that later!
There are over 100 cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. The two most prominent are known as THC and CBD.
This cannabinoid has psychoactive effects that produce the ‘high’ feeling people experience. This includes feelings of euphoria and joy. The higher the THC percentage, the more intense the high.
CBD does not have psychoactive effects, but instead has calming tendencies. CBD is known mostly for its inclusion wellness products, which focus on healing, anti-inflammation and helping with anxiety and sleep deprivation. If you’re interested in finding more out cannabis’ health benefits, check out our article: does cannabis help with mental health?
There are over 200 terpenes inside the marijuana plant. These are what gives weed its aromatic smell. The hints of berry, pine, mint etc. are all down to Terpenes (or Terpenoids). Terpenes are also found inside flowers and the rest of nature too, it’s not only in marijuana.
So far you know that cannabis concentrates include many different substances. Some are liquids, some are solids, some are somewhere in between. Don’t worry. We’re getting there.
The question to answer is: how are cannabis concentrates made? Well, they are actually made in two different ways: solvent and solventless.
Solvent extraction is when a chemical – such as butane or carbon dioxide – is used to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the marijuana plant. It might sound hella’ scientific, but the results are hella’ awesome, so without sounding like a cringey science teacher, keep listening.
An example of solvent extraction is through the use of butane or BHO. With this you can make hash oil. Butane strips all of the oils from the dried up bud and leaves a beautiful liquid full of all the best terpenes and cannabinoids. The great thing about hash oil is that it can then go on to become so many other cannabis concentrates: crumble, wax, budder, resin and others.
The other solvent extraction to create cannabis concentrates is carbon dioxide. ‘But how could a gas do that?’. Well, when you surround the weed and the co2 with high temperatures, a substance is left. You can use the process of distillation, which refines and isolates the cannabinoids. This is usually referred to as ‘crude extract’. It is the basis element of other concentrates like crumbles, shatter, budder and wax.
As you can see, making cannabis concentrates are like crazy science experiments in GCSE Chemistry. However, they aren’t made only with solvents like butane or carbon dioxide. They can also be made with just pressure and heat. Kief is made this way. Also known as dry sift or dry sieve, this slightly off-white powder is made by rolling the dried marijuana flower over a sieve. This process collects the trichomes from the plant, which are the little sparkly things that sort of look like mini snow drops. Alternatively, you can make ice water hash or bubble hash by tumbling the weed plant through ice water and filtering it through a mesh. You then let the substance dry before consumption.
Both kief and bubble hash can be pressed into alternative cannabis concentrates or used as they are in a joint or in a dry herb vape. Like all cannabis concentrates, they are extra strong.
So, now we’ve gone through the science and definitions behind cannabis concentrates, let’s take a look at the main types. You’d think cannabis concentrates were an art form with how much variety there is and how wonderful the names are. Perhaps they are. What do you think? Most cannabis concentrates can be used in a dry herb vaporizer, and they will need a cannabis concentrate pad to hold them.
Hash is one that will make sense to many of you, perhaps the only one that will make sense. Hash is a family favourite. Hash is made simply, without solvents, using ice water. The extract is pressed into a ball or a brick, which can then be burned off and put in a joint or a dry herb vaporizer.
Shatter is made by BHO hydrocarbon extraction. After pouring the extract onto a surface, the mix is left until it becomes shatter. Like the name, it looks just like golden coloured broken glass. It can be a little bit sticky. Shatter can be heated up and inhaled using a dry herb vaporizer.
Some of the cannabis concentrates are very similar, except slight differences. Wax is a little more liquidy and softer. It’s even more sticky than shatter. Wax also needs a dabbing tool and cannabis concentrate pad in order to use it in a portable vaporizer.
When making wax, if the extract is left to dry up, then crumble is created. It’s a concentrate which looks again like the name: a sandy, honeycomb-like substance.
Resin or ‘live’ resin is a cannabis concentrate that is kept alive using frozen plant material. This means it maintains its terpenes and cannabinoids. Not only that, it keeps its aromas, making this cannabis concentrate a popular choice. Resin often looks shiny and glossy, with the usual golden-tint.
This cannabis concentrate is one for the professionals. It’s harder to make, and more expensive. Again, it’s in the name. The extract is left to sit in the dark, in a cool room, for weeks. After sometime the substance will crystallize with pure THCa. THCa is extremely potent. More potent than THC.
Rosin is made through heat and pressure. You can actually make rosin with hair straighteners or just by pressing hash with something very hot. If you want to make it easier, then try a DIY rosin press kit.
Budder resembles butter or cake batter. It’s made by taking rosin and slowly heating it, making it creamier in texture. This is another cannabis concentrate that can be made at home.
We’ve now established that cannabis concentrates are, in a way, an art form. And like with any art form, it is developed, shifted, changed. Cannabis concentrates are a way for weed lovers to enjoy their dry herb in many different ways. Because cannabis is so receptive, all of these cannabis concentrates are slightly different and have alternative qualities.
These incredible beauties are also a lot more potent. Which means you don’t need as much as you think to reach a good level of enjoyment. The best way to enjoy cannabis concentrates is to use them inside a dry herb vaporizer. This will ensure you maintain the flavours, and the intensity.
This was the best cannabis concentrates guide. We hope you found it enjoyable and, as always, educational.
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