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How to Consume Concentrates

dab rigs on a shelf | Verilife

Now that you’ve learned a bit about what cannabis concentrates are, you may be interested in the various consumption methods available; specifically, consuming concentrates. The ways in which concentrates are consumed are slightly different then what you may be used to, so here’s a primer to get you started.

  • What is cannabis concentrate?
  • How to smoke or vaporize concentrates
  • Are concentrates more potent than flower?
  • How do concentrates make you feel?
  • How to store cannabis concentrates
     

What is Cannabis Concentrate?

Cannabis concentrate is a term used to describe concentrated forms of marijuana. Where flower typically has a THC content ranging from 10-25% percent, some concentrates contain anywhere from 50-80% THC. Cannabis concentrates are popping up on product menus more often these days, with terms like shatter, wax, and live resin covering the menus of most popular dispensaries.

There are many reasons someone may choose to consume marijuana concentrates, but you’ll find it’s largely due to the amount of THC in a single dose. If a cannabis consumer is looking to ingest higher levels of this psychoactive compound - whether for medical or recreational reasons - cannabis concentrates offer it as an option.
 

How to Consume Concentrates

While our complete guide to cannabis concentrates covers everything you need to know, including how to make the wax, here’s what you need to know about consuming concentrates.

Dab Rig

The most common method of consuming marijuana concentrate is to use what’s called a “dab rig.” Dab rigs are a lot like glass pipes, but they work a little differently. Instead of using a lighter to heat the flower while inhaling, you need to heat a nail - also called a “banger” - that you can then use to heat and inhale your concentrate.

In order to use a dab rig, you’ll need a torch. Propane torches are an option, but getting rid of used propane tanks can be a hassle. Butane torches are the best way to go when it comes to using a dab rig. All you have to do is use your butane torch to heat up the nail (which is where you’d normally put your flower in a water pipe) until it’s red hot. Once the nail is red hot, you need to wait for it to cool down. It’s important to heat your nail until it’s red hot to keep it clean in between sessions, also called “dabs.”

Did you know there is a day to celebrate cannabis concentrates? Learn more about National Oil Day here.

While your nail is cooling down, you can use a stick tool to pick up a chunk of concentrate. Place that concentrate on the hot nail and inhale the smoke or vapor that comes from it. As far as the ideal temperature goes, you have to play around a bit to figure out what works for you. Liquid cannabis burns and vaporizes at a different temperature than wax, so it also depends on what type of concentrate you consume. Since different locations offer different types of concentrates, it’s important to know how to use multiple types of concentrates.

E-nails 

If you don’t want to use a torch, you can get a dab rig with an e-nail, a nail that heats up electronically. While e-nails aren’t a part of marijuana basics, they’re pretty easy to use. Most e-nails hook up to a box that allows you to control the temperature, and that box plugs into the wall. All you have to do is set the temperature and wait until your e-nail has heated up. Then you can consume your concentrates without having to worry about using a torch.

Vaping Concentrates

Vaping is a popular way to consume marijuana for people who want a simpler way to consume concentrates. Instead of heating concentrates to their smoke point, a vaporizer simply heats concentrates until the THC burns and releases its vapors. If you decide to vaporize concentrates, you can choose between reusable and disposable.

A reusable vaporizer pen means you will need to purchase a pre-filled cartridge that is screwed onto the vaporizer battery. Make sure you purchase the right cartridge type for your vaporizer pen. (The standard size is a 510 thread.) A disposable vaporizer pen already has a battery and pre-filled cartridge that is thrown away when empty.

Are Concentrates More Potent Than Flower?

Consuming concentrates produces a much different experience than flower, largely due to the extraction methods and how terpenes are maintained throughout. However, it’s important to note again that the psychoactive effects in consuming concentrates will be much stronger. This means it’s especially important to start low and go slow. A single gram of concentrate can be split into 20 doses, while a gram of flower is typically split into six or eight doses.

Our marijuana buying guide has more information on THC percentages and why they matter.

 

How Do Concentrates Make You Feel?

One of the biggest differences between concentrates and flower or concentrates and edibles is that concentrates can take effect much faster. It may take a while to feel the effects of edibles, but you’ll likely feel the effects of shatter or any other concentrate almost immediately. Cannabis concentrate is also much stronger, so it’s important to start slow so you can figure out what you can tolerate.
 

How to Store Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates should be stored in a cool, dark area where there is little-to-no moisture. You’ll want to tailor your storage container to the type of concentrate you purchased. For example, budder is easy to scoop out of a glass jar, but shatter will become very sticky and difficult to remove. If you’re unsure of the best method for the product you purchase, consult with a budtender.

Getting started with cannabis concentrate can be a little overwhelming, but it’s simple as long as you understand the basics. If you have any more questions about concentrates, you can check out our complete guide to learn more.

Recreational Cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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