Cannabis Concentrates Versus Cannabis Dry Flower: What Suits You Best?


February 19, 2020

When it comes to the debate over dry herb and cannabis concentrates, the question isn’t really which one is better, the question is which one is better for you?

Thanks to our unique internal cannabinoid systems, lifestyles and preferences, there is no right or wrong answer.

Rather than try to position one above the other, this blog seeks to provide anyone asking this specific question with a general breakdown of the most commonly recognized pros, cons and differences so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

Price and Availability

We will speak to the legal market for this, although there are certainly comparisons with the black market here; regardless of black, grey or legal market preference, dry flower has always been easier and less expensive to obtain. First of all, you can’t have one without the other, and concentrates require complex chemical processes, expensive equipment and extra steps/time to make. So, it stands to reason that a wide variety of dry flower strains will be easier to find and obtain, than concentrate products.

As well, as of the writing of this blog, the amount of supply (companies with the licenses, facilities and expertise required to make concentrates) is drastically less than those LPs able to provide dry flower. As a result, it may be years before concentrates are as available and cost-efficient as dry flower.

Potency

The potency of weed varies by strain but there is a limit to how much THC—the psychoactive element of marijuana—can be in each marijuana plant. It is generally between 10% and 25%. With wax, it is possible to increase the THC potency to between 50% and 90%, so it’s easy to see which substance is more intense. However, it is also possible to make wax that has more CBD—which provides the beneficial aspects of marijuana—than THC, so wax can be more or less potent than dry herb.

Consumption

Once you get yourself a pipe, bong or book of rolling papers, consumption of dry flower is as easy as bringing flame and flower together. Sure, there are vaporizers and other tools that can complicate/optimize your experience, but the fact is that it doesn’t require much to consume dry flower. Concentrates, on the other hand, require tools capable of reaching much higher temperatures than a Bic lighter can achieve, and as a result, require unique tools that can range from portable, pen-sized vaporizer devices to dab rigs that require a blowtorch. Once you understand how to consume a dab of concentrates, chances are you will find the process quite simple, but only if you have the right equipment for the job.

The Experience

Dry flower cannabis consumption effects normally last longer and the high is more gradual and varied throughout the experience, while concentrate effects hit faster, last shorter amounts of time and are typically more intense. The reason for this is that typical “average” dry flower strains offer between 10%-20% THC, while potent concentrate products can boast THC percentages that reach much higher (between 60 percent and 90 per cent THC for some of the stronger products on the market).

Discretion

It may not be as bad as cigarette smoke, but the smell from a cannabis joint certainly can linger on your clothes and breath for longer than you may like. As a father of two small children, I didn’t see the problem with consuming cannabis at home, but did have issues with the annoying smell and potentially harmful second hand smoke that came part and parcel with joints.

For me, the quick and efficient process of consuming cannabis extracts made it a great fit for me at home. I can confidently consume my dab, before returning to my family, odour-free. It also makes it a lot easier to slip outside for a quick hoot in the cold, and allows me to return to the movie, restaurant or other public place, without questioning whether people are affected by the smell.

Upkeep

For those of us who like to keep our spaces tidy, cannabis concentrates can reduce the mess and work associated with ongoing cannabis accessory upkeep. With dry flower, pipes and bongs can turn black and get clogged with resin, while joints leave you with roaches and overflow that can clutter your table, ashtrays and storage containers.

Concentrates, on the other hand, may require a bigger commitment in the form of initial equipment purchase and long-term maintenance, but the mess it creates is minimal. This is due to two primary reasons:

Concentrates are concentrated, therefore you are working with smaller amounts and are less likely to waste any. While everyone is guilty of letting a little bud go to waste during a rolling session or at the bottom of a torched bowl, concentrate consumers typically only consume small amounts at any given time, and are more likely to consume all of it, leaving minimal residue behind.

Concentrates are easier to work with. Unlike dry buds that are dry and flaky and need to be broken down or separated from stems, and packed and rolled up before they are consumed (giving us plenty of chances to make a mess), concentrates come in forms that are relatively easy to work with (wax, shatter, badder) and need not be broken down or handled at all, except to be carefully placed into the dab rig.

Conclusion

If you are looking to take the next step in your exploration of cannabis products, and are looking for a more efficient, potent and discreet means of consumption, then concentrates are likely a logical next step in your evolution as a consumer. However, if you are new to cannabis, have low THC tolerance and don’t have a lot of money to put towards the practice, stick with dry flower — or don’t, honestly, it’s up to you.

Want to learn more about concentrates? Check out these blogs:

EXTRACTS AND CONCENTRATES: 5 STIGMAS TO IGNORE

CANNABIS CONCENTRATES: EXTRACTING TECHNIQUES AND PRODUCTS PRODUCED

DEWAXING AND WINTERIZING: HOW CONCENTRATES ARE MADE, AND WHY IT MATTERS