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The Different Types of Cannabis Concentrates - Explained for Beginners

Marijuana concentrate is a broad term for a seemingly endless range of cannabis products. Between the confusing concentrate terminology, complex chemical profile descriptions, and an overwhelming amount of product variety, there is a lot to learn about cannabis concentrate consumption.

If you are new to concentrates or cannabis in general, familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of the production process can help you decide which type of concentrate delivers the specific benefits and effects you most prefer. Plus, you are much less likely to overconsume THC if you know about the varying concentrations of concentrate potency. 

What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Pros and Cons of Smoking Concentrates

Extraction Methods

types of concentrates

What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Concentrates are highly potent concentrated masses of cannabis resins, including cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabis concentrates have high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD). Marijuana concentrates often contain extreme levels of THC that are up to four times higher than the THC content of top-shelf bud. 

Concentrates usually come packaged in a small circular container that resembles lip-balm. However, some cannabis concentrates come packaged in a flat plastic bag. The packaging varies due to the concentrate’s consistency. And the concentrate’s consistency and compound profile depend on the method of its extraction. 

How To Smoke and Dab Concentrates

how to dab concentrates

Taking a “dab” or “dabbing” refers to the action of smoking cannabis concentrates. There are many ways to dab concentrates, including, in a rig, in a vape, or with a nectar collector. Each dabbing method comes with its own set of tools and unique approaches. Read on to learn about each way concentrates are smoked.

Dab and Rig 

There are many different methods ofsmoking concentrates. The most common concentrate smoking method is dabbing from a rig. A “rig” refers to the glass or silicone, bong-like water filtration device used most commonly when smoking dabs. There is a glass or metal bit on one side of the rig that gets heated with a torch. This glass or metal bit is called a dab nail or banger. After heating this bit, you will drop in a piece of concentrate or use a dab tool to scoop more malleable concentrates. After the dab comes in contact with the heated bit, inhale the smoke from the top of the rig, just like smoking from a bong. 

Nectar Collector

Another way to smoke dabs is by using a nectar collector. A nectar collector is a glass or silicone straw-like dabbing tool. To use a nectar collector, heat its glass or metal tip with a torch. Then, carefully tap and melt the concentrates with the heated end while inhaling the dab smoke through the top of the device. Nectar collectors are fast, fun, and easily portable. 

Vaping 

Vaping THC or CBD concentrates is quickly becoming a more popular dab smoking technique. This method includes using a cartridge containing cannabis concentrate and a battery for heating. The assembled device is often called a “weed pen” or a “weed vape.” Weed vapes are small, discrete, and easy to use. Vaping concentrates is by far my favorite way to smoke cannabis extracts. 

 

Pros and Cons of Smoking Concentrates

Many consumers advocate for the effects and benefits of cannabis concentrates. Some believe that smoking concentrates is healthier for your lungs than smoking weed because of the lack of combustion. However, those who smoke concentrates often become exposed to residual chemical contaminants (especially in the case of solvent extraction). Consider both the risks and the benefits of concentrates and learn about how you can lower the health risks of smoking. Weigh your options and learn about smoke filtration toget high in the healthiest way!

Pros : 

  • During the extraction and isolation process, beneficial and psychoactive compounds separate and become purified. This chemical extraction/purification produces concentrates that deliver a cleaner and more potent high.
  • Unlike flower, concentrates often include the compound profile. These profiles allow us to better understand what chemicals we introduce into our bodies. 

Cons:

  • The psychoactive compounds in concentrate are much more potent than the compounds in weed. The potency level can cause new or inexperienced smokers to overconsume THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids.The overconsumption of THC can cause adverse effects, including anxiety, heart palpitations, and paranoia. 
  • Concentrates often contain residual contaminants. The contaminates appear due to the pesticides used in the growing process and the solvents used in the extraction method. According to an article published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, studies reported that80% of tested concentrates were contaminated with harmful chemicals.  
  • The most commonly experienced downside of smoking concentrates is that the extreme heat used to vaporize them often causes accidental burn injuries. I, for one, have experienced my fair share of dab rig singes. When dabbing, be mindful of your torch use and your surroundings. The only thing worse than burning yourself is accidentally burning your smoking buddy! 

Different Extraction Methods 

Cannabis concentrates are also called cannabis extracts because of the extraction process used to create different types of concentrates. There are many ways to extract cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from cannabis. As chemistry and medical research on the cannabis plant advances, humanity learns more about its beneficial and psychoactive compounds. These compounds are extracted, separated, studied, and used to produce marijuana concentrates.

Each extraction method separates certain cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and additional therapeutic compounds from cannabis plant material. But why should we study the different forms of extraction? As it turns out, the more you know about the differences between extraction methods, the easier it becomes to find cannabis concentrates that best meet your needs and preferences. 

Each extraction method varies greatly, which creates a wide range of concentrate types to choose from. But, each extraction method comes with a list of pros and cons. It’s essential to educate yourself on the different extraction methods, especially if you are inexperienced with concentrate consumption. 

Solvent Extractions

Ethanol, butane, propane, and hexane are evaporative solvents used to extract and isolate various compounds produced by cannabis. Extractions using solvents better separate and purify the individual compounds produced by cannabis. This separation and purification allow for the production of concentrates with thoughtfully constructed compound profiles. 

Isolate: 

Isolate concentrates contain nearly 100% pure CBD or THC cannabinoids. The extraction method and compound isolation achieve almost a complete separation and removal of all undesired compounds. After isolating and purifying the cannabinoids using butane, propane, or ethanol, it gets processed using heat and agitation. This practice causes the extracts tocrystalize.

Distillate: 

Distillate’s production process is similar to the isolate production process. However, the distillation technique does not allow for total isolation and purification of cannabinoids. This limitation means that the product outcome may be less potent than isolates. However, distillates contain a broader spectrum of cannabinoids and provide a more well-rounded high than isolates. 

Live Resin: 

The production of live resin starts by freezing cannabis instead of drying it before cannabinoid extraction. This practice allows gentle extraction of terpenes, cannabinoids, and other beneficial compounds from the frozen-in-time and-still-in-its-prime cannabis plant. The cannabis compounds in live resin are frequently extracted from the plant material during its freeze using a hydrocarbon blend of butane and propane that acts as the solvent. 

BHO: 

BHO stands for “butane hash oil.” Any cannabis concentrate using butane as the sole extraction solvent is considered BHO. 

 

Solventless Extractions

Extraction by heat and pressure, ice and agitation, or just plain old sifting are all solventless extraction methods. Many cannabis consumers prefer these extraction methods over methods using solvents due to the risk of residual contaminates left behind during the process.

Rosin:

Rosin is one of the simplest forms of concentrate production. With low heat and high pressure, you can extract a concoction of the easily accessible psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds cannabis has to offer. This method does not allow for isolation or purification, but it is an easy and fast way to produce potent cannabis extracts. 

To make rosin at home, all you need is:
  • Cannabis flower, kief, or hash
  • Parchment paper
  • Flat iron

Hash:

Hashish or “hash” is another form of cannabis concentrate that uses a solventless extraction method. Hash consists of the external resin produced by the trichomes (resin-producing glands) of a cannabis plant. According to an article published by the Frontiers in Plant Science,trichomes produce resinous secretions containing cannabinoids and terpenes sought out by many in the cannabis industry. 

These trichomes and their resin give the plant (especially the flower) its sugar-dusted appearance. The trichomes and resin can be collected dry and smoked as a powdery “Kief.” However, with low heat and lots of pressure, this kief turns to a hash. 

There are many different methods of extracting trichomes and their resin for hash production. Each extraction technique produces a unique type of hash with varying potency levels. Read on to learn the difference between the three main types of hash.

 

Types of Hash-

  • Bubble Hash:

Bubble hash is also known as “ice hash” in the stoner community. The first step of bubble hash production is to combine cannabis buds and ice water inside layered filtration bags. The vigorous stirring of this mixture separates the trichomes and resin from the remaining plant material. 

After multiple levels of filtration, the trichomes and resin are collected, dried, and pressed into blocks or disks of hash. The hash is then weighed, divided, and packaged for dispensaries to sell. However, with the right equipment and a bit of finesse, the production of bubble hash can be easily replicated from the comfort of home. 

  • Dry Ice Hash: 

Dry ice hash and ice hash have a similar production method. Except, the dry ice method skips the use of water altogether. As dry ice melts, it turns to carbon dioxide and evaporates; this eliminates the need to dry the trichomes and resin after separation and before getting pressed. 

Dry ice works effectively to separate trichomes and resin from cannabis. In fact, hash consumers report dry ice producing more pure and more potent results compared to ice hash. Trust me; top a packed bowl with a thin sheet of dry ice hash, and you’ll get blasted to space and beyond. 

  • Dry Sift Hash: 

Unlike most trichrome and resin extraction techniques, the dry sift method requires no water or ice. To make dry sift hash, start by collecting the buds and the trim of cannabis plants. This mixture of bud and trim will be chopped finely and sifted through a series of filters, each varying in filtration level. 

After multiple sifts, collect the trichomes and resin. Then, use low heat and pressure to press them into a hash. This method is by far the easiest to recreate at home. Even if you lack the force to press your hash, you can still enjoy smoking the unpressed kief!

 

Different Characteristics of Cannabis Concentrates: Oil, Wax, Crumble, & Shatter

You now know what they are, how they get made, and how they are smoked. The last step to becoming an expert on cannabis concentrates is familiarizing yourself with the different characteristics, consistencies, and industry terminology used to describe the diverse types of concentrates. Plus, once you properly familiarize yourself with concentrates, you might just discover a fun new way to incorporate them into your smoking routine!

Oil Concentrates:

Oil concentrates are much thinner and runnier than most other types of concentrate. The concentrate in weed vapes or dab droppers is usually a THC or CBD oil. Cannabis oil ranges in color from nearly clear to dark brown, and Its consistency is similar to honey. Another name for cannabis oil is “sap.” My favorite way to consume cannabis oil is by brushing a thin layer onto the outside of a joint or blunt. Then, I sprinkle on kief, using the oil as an adhesive. 

Wax Extracts:

Wax extracts are whipped during production to incorporate air into the concentrate. This practice changes the concentrate’s consistency from thick and stiff to soft and malleable. The color ranges from light yellow to dark brown. Its appearance is similar to ear wax or frosting.

Budder/Butter:

Butter concentrates are made similarly to wax extracts. However, budder includes more whipping, which results in a softer, fluffier consistency. These concentrates range in color from light yellow to brown. As the name suggests, budder has a similar appearance to whipped butter or cake batter. Budder is often dabbed or added to infused joints or blunts. 

Crumble “Honeycomb”:

Crumble is a powdery or crumbly concentrate that falls apart easily. Crumble can be smoked on its own. However, consumers of crumble often add the concentrate on top of (or layered throughout) a packed bowl of flower. Its color ranges from light yellow to dark yellow, and its appearance is similar to under-mixed pie crust. Another name for crumble concentrates is “honeycomb.” 

Shatter:

Shatter, also known as “glass,” is a thin, brittle, and often translucent cannabis concentrate. Shatter ranges in color from yellow to dark brown and is similar in appearance to caramelized sugar after it hardens. Shatter is most commonly dabbed. 

Crystalline:

Isolated, purified, and crystallized CBD or THC. Crystalline ranges in color from see-through clear to cloudy yellow. Its appearance is similar to small quartz crystals. Other common names for crystalline concentrates include diamonds, isolate crystals, and (my personal favorite) wizard stones.  

Terp Sauce:

Terp Sauce is a wet concentrate with a high terpene potency often added to isolate crystals to improve their taste, smell, and effects. This concentrate ranges in color from crystal clear to translucent brown. Terp sauce is also commonly referred to as “sauce.” When a product contains both crystalline and terp sauce extracts, it is called “sauce on the rocks.”

 

Consider Using A Cannabis Concentrate Smoking Filter

You should now be well informed about the different type of cannabis concentrates. If you still have questions or concerns about the therapeutic and psychoactive effects or the possible health risks of marijuana extract consumption, speak with a medical health professional. Practice safe consumption by learning about different cannabis products before smoking them. And consider incorporating a filtration device into your cannabis regimen. ThisMouthpiece Filter allows consumers to experience all the beneficial and psychoactive effects of smoking weed while lessening potential lung damage caused by smoke. 

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