CANNABIS CONCENTRATES: A BEGINNERS GUIDE


May 14, 2020

Cannabis is an incredibly versatile plant that offers a plethora of benefits to a wide variety of consumers. As such, the ways to consume cannabis are plentiful; from classic dry flowers, topicals, drops and capsules, to edibles, beverages, sprays and concentrates. How you choose to consume is entirely up to you, but if you are interested in concentrates, here’s a few things you should know, and a few things you should ignore, as you explore this pure and potent cannabis extract. 

Recently, concentrates have begun to find their way onto cannabis retail shelves across Canada. Regardless of whether you’ve heard of dabs, extracts, shatter, badder, resin, caviar, wax, sugar or any other number of product names and category slang, all of these terms refer to cannabis concentrates. 

The different names listed above cover slang, synonyms or a specific type of concentrate, typically named after its consistency. 

What Defines a Concentrate?

Simply put: Cannabis Concentrates extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from fresh or dried cannabis plants in an attempt to offer a stronger, more precise and potent cannabis experience free from any non-beneficial elements of the cannabis plant.  

The extraction process, and there are several ways to do this, involves removing the excess plant matter using temperature, pressure and fluids, leaving only the cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabinoids and terpenes are what this plant is known for: the cannabinoids provide the euphoric effects and wide range of healing benefits, and the terpenes provide the aromas/tastes that you experience in all sorts of plants and flowers. 

Together, they combine to provide even more powerful effects than possible when consumed separately – this is called the entourage effect. Keeping them intact to create a product jam-packed with the very best cannabis has to offer, leads to a more enjoyable experience — as long as the increased potency is accounted for by the consumer. 

THC and CBD are the most commonly recognized cannabinoids found in cannabis – but there are several more, and you can read about them here.

For a list of the most common terpenes found in cannabis – read this.

Extraction Methods

Just like consumption, there are many ways to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. At Stigma Grow, we use BHO hydrocarbon, but others use CO2, alcohol or a variety of solventless extraction methods that rely on pressure to literally squeeze out the potent goodness. Each of these processes have their own recipe for success, but as their results can vary drastically, understanding the how and why behind each process will help you pick the right-fit for you. 

Types of Cannabis Concentrates

The various types of concentrates are differentiated more than anything by their texture and can be most easily broken down into two categories: solvent-based extractions and solventless extractions. 

Solventless Extracts: Dry Sift, Ice Water Hash, Rosin

Solvent-Based Extracts: HydroCarbon (BHO), CO2 Oil, Distillate

As mentioned above, cannabis concentrates are often named according to their consistency, and can come in a variety of potencies, at a variety of prices, based solely on the producers abilities. 

Shatter (Pull ‘N’ Snap)

Shatter gets its name for its glass-like consistency since it often shatters into little pieces when broken apart. Typically yellow or amber in colour. Pull ‘n’ Snap product consistency looks like shatter, and turns glass-like in the cold, but is more pliable (taffy-like) when kept at room temperature.

Badder (Budder/Wax)

This concentrate’s consistency is much like candle wax and often needs to be handled using a dabbing tool. Wax is normally yellowish in colour and can be smoked out of both a rig or vaporizer.

Rosin

Made with just heat and pressure, you can make small batches of rosin with parchment paper and a hair straightener or invest in a hydraulic press for large-batch production. The result is a concentrate that is golden, sappy, and oil-like.

Oil

Cannabis oils are what you have likely seen consumed via vape pen cartridges or syringe. Oils are the most popular form of CBD concentrate and are commonly utilized to make a variety of edibles.

Hash

This long-standing form of concentrate has been a popular staple of the black market for decades, and can be made relatively easily by pressing kief into small disks or pucks, or by using ice water and sifting screens.

For more information on the types of concentrates, and what you should know to ensure the best fit for your preferences, feel free to explore the rest of our blog, or any of the suggested links above.