From weed oil cartridges to medicated muscle creams, you can find cannabis concentrates in hundreds of products.
Concentrates are made from the cannabis plant that have been processed to keep only the most desirable plant compounds (primarily the cannabinoids and terpenes), while removing excess plant material and other impurities. Ounce for ounce, marijuana concentrates have a greater proportion of cannabinoids and terpenes when compared to natural cannabis flowers.
Concentrates can also help increase the potency of your flower. The next time you pack a bowl with cannabis flower, try sprinkling kief on top, or add drops of concentrate oil to cannabis flower before rolling your joint. Cannabis concentrate products can also be consumed on their own. For example, concentrates can be vaporized using a portable vaporizer or dab rig (this activity is referred to as “dabbing”). Dabbing has quickly become one of the most popular consumption methods in the market.
HOW POTENT IS THIS FORM OF MARIJUANA?
Marijuana concentrates contain extraordinarily high THC levels ranging from 40 to 80 percent THC amounts. This form of marijuana can be up to four times stronger in THC content than high grade or top shelf marijuana, which normally measures around 20 percent THC levels.
HOW IS IT ABUSED?
One form of abuse occurs orally by infusing marijuana concentrates in various food or drink products. Smoking remains the most popular form of ingestion by use of water or oil pipes.
Many abusers of marijuana concentrates also prefer using an e-cigarette/vaporizer because it is smokeless, odorless and easy to hide. The user takes a “dab” of the concentrate, then heats the substance using the e-cigarette/vaporizer, producing vapors that ensure an instant high.
Using an e-cigarette/vaporizer to ingest marijuana concentrates is commonly referred to as “dabbing” or “vaping.”
WHAT ARE CONCENTRATES AND EXTRACTS?
Concentrates come in many forms and include the most desirable parts of something. For example, orange juice concentrate has the smell and taste of the orange fruit, but without the excess fluid, peel or pulp. The same is true for the cannabis plant: the aromas, flavors, and other desirable substances can be retained while removing the leaves, stems, and other unwanted materials.
Extracts are a specific type of concentrate that use solvents to draw out the desired substances of a plant, seed or fruit. For example, vanilla extract is produced by using alcohol as a solvent to pull out the desired flavor component, vanillin, from vanilla bean pods.
The cannabis plant has complex compounds, or chemical substances, that can be used in a multitude of products. These compounds affect the look, smell, flavor, and texture, as well as physiological or psychoactive effects (if any) of cannabis products. The most desirable cannabis compounds are found throughout the cannabis plant in small, sparkling structures called trichomes. A cannabis concentrate refers to any product created by the accumulation of the trichomes from the plant.
TYPES OF CANNABIS CONCENTRATES
Kief is the most basic of the THC concentrates. It is a powder-like substance that lives on cannabis flowers. If you own a grinder with a small reservoir at the bottom, known as a kief catcher, you are probably familiar with kief.
Hash is, basically, pressed kief or compressed resin. There is finger hash, bubble hash, dry sift. To make hash, THC rich trichomes are separated from the cannabis plant and condensed with high temperature and pressure. It is highly potent.
Rosin is a sticky substance created when heat and compression meet a bud of cannabis flower. Unlike hash which is made with just trichomes, rosin is made with the entire cannabis bud. Rosin can be made commercially but is also able to be safely and easily produced at home with a hair straightener or t-shirt press.
Shatter is a solid substance, which resembles a honey-colored glass shard. When tapped with a dab tool, it breaks into pieces or “shatters,” get it?
Shatter is one of the most recognized concentrates, is easy to manipulate and is far less messy than other varieties of concentrates or extracts.
Wax – As the name suggests, wax concentrates resemble the texture of candle wax. Depending on the overall consistency it can be known as budder, badder, crumble or honeycomb.
Budder or Badder wax is the more viscous wax, which is gooey and can almost be stirred.
Crumble and Honeycomb wax have the same consistency but can be in different forms. Crumble is typically used to describe wax that is already broken up, or crumbled. Honeycomb is used to describe wax that is still mostly intact but is filled with holes like, you guessed it, a honeycomb.
Distillate is a refined, or distilled, version of a cannabis extract. After extraction, the distillate is run through a purification process several times. The result is a liquid, clarified distillate, much like honey in color and consistency.
Crystalline is a solid extract that has been through many processes and filters in order to destroy the plant matter remaining in the extract, preserve the THC and remove any leftover solvents. The remnants are clear crystals that boast 99% THC.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF USING MARIJUANA CONCENTRATES?
Being a highly concentrated form of marijuana, the effects upon the user may be more psychologically and physically intense than plant marijuana use.
To date, long term effects of marijuana concentrate use are not yet fully known; but, we do know the effects of plant marijuana use. These effects include paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, and hallucinations.
Additionally, the use of plant marijuana increases one’s heart rate and blood pressure. Plant marijuana users may also experience withdrawal and addiction problems.