Cannabis Concentrates 101
If you’re new to recreational marijuana or medical marijuana, you might have heard the term “cannabis concentrates” but aren’t sure exactly what they are or if they’re right for you. We’ve created a guide that discusses the types of cannabis concentrates available and the ways you can consume them so you can decide if you want to give concentrates a try. We’ll answer:
- What are concentrates?
- Why are concentrates different from other cannabis consumption methods?
- What are the different types of concentrates?
- What do you need to purchase to start vaporizing concentrates?
What are Marijuana Concentrates?
Marijuana concentrates are exactly what they sound like—concentrated cannabinoids and terpenes from the marijuana flower. The flower is put through a process known as extraction that creates a concentrate, which allows the user to experience the effect of the cannabis without the plant material. In their reduced form, some concentrates may allow you to experience higher levels of THC than you might in a product with plant material, so paying careful attention to dosing is important.
Why are Concentrates Different from Other Cannabis Consumption Methods?
Concentrates are different from other forms of cannabis in a few ways. In general, concentrates may:
- Offer a higher potency. (Flower can have a THC potency from 10 - 30% while concentrates might range from 50 - 99% THC.)
- Can be consumed in multiple ways, including vape pen, dab rig, edibles, and tinctures.
- Come in a variety of types.
- Don’t contain plant material.
These four factors make concentrates a versatile form of cannabis on the market, so you can customize your cannabis experience.
What are the Different Types of Concentrates?
The extraction process is unique in that it can help create a variety of different types of marijuana concentrates. Here are the most common forms of concentrates:
- CO2: This oil is produced using CO2, which uses a lower temperature and better retains terpenes. This makes it a favorite amongst people who enjoy cannabis for its flavor and aroma. Oil is typically consumed via vape cartridges or disposable vapes.
- Distillate: Distillates do not typically retain the flavor of cannabis, and the more refined the distillate is, the less flavor it might have. In fact, distillates that are sometimes used in vape pens and cartridges often have terpenes added back into them to give them flavor.
One thing to note, distillates sometimes carry a more subtle high than other types of concentrates because they are refined. This is because many distillates don’t offer the entourage effect—the theory that the “high” you feel is caused by the plant materials working in conjunction with the cannabinoids. As with all marijuana concentrates, dose carefully until you know what works for you.
- BHO (Butane Hash Oil): This type of extraction utilizes butane gas as the solvent to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from plant materials. It can be a very dangerous extraction method due to the highly flammable nature of butane. Commercial operations will utilize closed-loop equipment to safely extract the resin.
- Shatter: Shatter has the appearance of broken, amber-hued glass, which gives it its name. Shatter is broken apart and vaporized via an oil or dab rig.
- Wax: Wax has a consistency and texture that can range anywhere from hard and flakey all the way to gooey or creamy. It’s consumed in an oil or dab rig.
- Crumble: This concentrate is a drier form of wax. It sometimes has an appearance very similar to a honeycomb.
- Live Resin: This cannabis concentrate is created by flash freezing the plant material after harvest. This process better preserves the flavor and aroma of the plant, and it can also make this concentrate more potent than others.
- Rosin: This concentrate is created by taking the marijuana bud and applying heat and pressure (usually through a heated press) to create a syrup-like product filled with flavor and color. Rosin is typically smoked via an oil or dab rig.
- Budder: This concentrate (also called batter or butter) is created by adding small amounts of heat to rosin to create a cake batter-like consistency.
It’s important to note that every state has different regulations around the types of concentrates that can be sold. Check with your local Verilife dispensary to find out if they carry the concentrate that interests you most.
What Do You Need to Purchase to Consume Concentrates?
While most concentrates are inhaled, there are a variety of tools or other options available. The most common tools to vaporize concentrates are:
- Vape Pen: Vape pens are common for new cannabis users. Disposable concentrate vape pens may be available, but multi-use pens will allow you to switch out cartridges with new concentrates.
- Oil or “Dab” Rig: A dab rig refers to a glass pipe connected to a nail or banger. The concentrate is placed on the hot nail, then inhaled through the glass pipe.
If you prefer not to invest in concentrate tools, there are additional options:
- Edibles: Edibles are a favorite for people who aren’t interested in smoking. Edibles can be anything from chocolate to tea or even hot sauce that contain cannabis concentrates.
- Tinctures: Concentrate tinctures used to only be a liquid mix of cannabis and alcohol which is applied with a dropper under the tongue (referred to as sublingual application).
To learn more about the variety of tools available to smoke concentrates, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Smoking Concentrates.
How do I Learn More About Concentrates?
As with all our cannabis products, if you’re still unsure if concentrates are right for you, visit your local Verilife dispensary and speak to one of our expert representatives. They offer judgment-free expertise to help everyone from new cannabis users to experts in the industry find the right tools, products, and strains for them.