Concentrates 101 & How To Use Them
What are concentrates?
Concentrates are made from the cannabis plant and 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, cannabis concentrates have a higher proportion of cannabinoids and terpenes when compared to natural cannabis flowers. One of the leading benefits of concentrates is the rapid onset time and the ability to produce a high more potent than consuming cannabis flower. Concentrates have high bioavailability, meaning the effects you feel and experience, as well as the rate of absorption into your body, happen almost immediately. The results of a cannabis concentrate can last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the patient.
Why use concentrates?
Concentrates are rapidly growing in popularity for plenty of reasons. For one, they are much more potent than flower, providing a more economical way to consume cannabis. Because of the high potency, they allow medical patients to achieve faster relief than flower or edibles. Concentrates are even more efficient than flower, allowing patients to remedy medical ailments efficiently with a quick, large dose of cannabinoids. Dabbing (the action or practice of inhaling small quantities of a concentrated and vaporized cannabis) allows cannabis users to consume more discreetly. Concentrate vapor does not stick on clothes or residually hang in the air like combusted cannabis flower might.
What are the different forms of concentrates?
Wax & Budder
One of the most well-known type of dabbable concentrate, Wax is made by blasting plant material with a solvent using a closed-loop extraction system. The resulting slurry is heated at low temperatures and whipped vigorously to remove all remaining solvent. Because the product is whipped by hand, it gains airy peaks that are similar to whipped topping. Wax is generally drier and crumblier than its counterpart, Budder. Budder is basically Wax with higher moisture content. The consistency of Budder is oily and pliable, while Wax is crumbly and more solid. Budder contains a higher moisture content because it is whipped less than Wax. Remember, many hydrocarbon extractions are similar, but it is the finishing techniques that determine the appearance and consistency of the final product
Shatter is made by blasting plant material with a solvent using a closed-loop system. The resulting slurry is collected onto parchment paper and placed in a vacuum oven for solvent purging. After releasing as much solvent as possible a few times, the Shatter starts to take
shape and slowly spreads across the paper. Times in the oven can vary anywhere from 45 mins to a full day to achieve optimal consistency. Sometimes during the process, Shatter might not purge correctly resulting in a taffy-like concentrate. While Shatter is typically stable and easy to handle and snap, taffy is closer to Budder in its consistency and stability. Shatter ranges in color from light to dark amber and is high with terpene content, resulting in superior aroma and flavor.
Live resin is made the same way as wax. However, the starting product is fresh frozen plant material. By using cryogenically preserved plant material, the finished product has robust, exceptional terpene and cannabinoid profiles that resemble the qualities of the live plant. Live resin is known for its excellent flavor and resemblance to the aroma and taste of the live plant. It ranges in color from light amber to yellow-gold and has a moist, shiny looking exterior with a strong, rich smell. Lately, live resin has broadened its horizons, with many different consistencies and naming conventions. There are currently many “live” products on the market that exhibit high terpene and cannabinoid content and are extracted from the fresh-frozen starting material. Live sugar is a form of live resin that looks like a sugar crystals, while live budder is a smoother, more moldable consistency. No matter what the name is, live resin and its many variations offer the best flavor profiles and are frequently enjoyed by connoisseurs and novice cannabis patients alike.
CO2-extracted concentrates in the form of an oil have become more popular. This supercritical fluid extraction is performed with large amounts of pressure and carbon dioxide and is seen as an especially efficient process to separate plant material to produce an amber oil. CO2 extraction common in commercial extraction processes due to the fact that the equipment used is able to finely tune desired results. Because CO2 is a naturally occurring substance and is produced by the human body, it is widely considered as a natural solvent with less health concerns than butane, propane or other hydrocarbons. CO2 is often preferred to other extracted oils because it’s incredibly efficient and yields purer, cleaner product with limited processing and low residual solvent. Typically, CO2 oil is found most often in pre-filled oil cartridges for vaporizers.
Distillates use highly scientific equipment to heat and vaporize the THC and CBD within the flower, bringing the vapor into a cooling system for consolidation and eventual collection into beakers. This process is repeated over and over again to create pure cannabinoids without residual solvents or plant matter. Short path distillation is used to separate and collect cannabinoids from contaminants to create a clean, clear final product. The process of short path distillation leaves little terpene content. They are lost in the extraction process due to the amount of heat used. However, extraction artists and companies are introducing terpenes into the post-extraction process to create specific and sought-after flavors.
Rick Simpson Oil (or RSO) is a very popular an extremely potent decarboxylated concentrate extract that is consumed orally. It utilizes pure light aliphatic naphtha to remove resin containing the cannabinoids, resulting in dark, viscous products with THC levels up to 90% and an earthy flavor. This particular form is often used for medicinal purposes, as made famous by Rick Simpson who controlled his cancer thanks to RSO. RSO is considered an early example of solvent-based concentrates. You can learn more about RSO from Rick’s official website, phoenixtears.ca.
What are your options for consuming concentrates?
As with flower, there are many ways to consume concentrates. Some are more efficient than others, but ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. The most common method of consuming concentrates involves using a dab rig in combination with a small butane torch to heat a nail for the concentrate to evaporate. However, more discrete and safer ways are becoming frequently popular, like the portable vaporizer pen or e-rig.
Dabbing with Rigs Dabbing is the process that’s used by the majority of concentrate enthusiasts. Dabbing is so popular because there are various options to customize your rig and attachments. Concentrate enthusiasts often use this route to express themselves and personalize their ideal dabbing experience. The method of dabbing is also more complicated than smoking flower. While flower can be relatively simple to pack into a pipe, bong, blunt or joint, a few more tools are necessary for dabs. To effectively consume concentrates, a torch, a rig with a titanium or quartz nail and dabbing tool are needed. The titanium or quartz nail is inserted in place of a traditional sliding bowl and is heated by the torch.
Some consumers use electronic nails, or e-nails, which are heated to a specific temperature by a small machine. E-nails are often high in price and not very portable, so be sure to research if they are right for you before investing. Another dabbing apparatus is a Nectar Collector. A Nectar Collector is essentially a portable nail that allows concentrate consumers to travel without hauling their rigs around. Some Nectar Collectors’ have a middle chamber where water can be filled to produce percolation, similar to traditional rigs and water pipes.
We have all of these devices in the Wellness Shop available for purchase!
With Cannabis (Bowl/Bong/Pipe) One of the easiest ways to smoke concentrate is to add it to flower, also known as bowl-topping. By doing so, you’ll be able to get some of the potent effects of concentrates without getting too high or increasing your tolerance. Bowl-topping is an excellent way for novices to start on concentrates. Just pack your bowl with flower, and then add a small piece of wax, shatter or budder on top. You can also try layering it between flower in the middle of the bowl. If you like joints or blunts you can sprinkle concentrates inside before rolling.
Vaporizer Using a vaporizer, whether portable or desktop, is one of the most effective ways to consume any concentrate. Not only are vapes discreet, but the user typically has more control over how they’re consuming the product. The functionality of vaporizers is excellent for allowing the consumer the ability to change the temperature to match the kind of concentrate they are smoking and the various melting points.
How Do I Dab? (with a traditional dab rig)
· Dab rig
· Dab tool
· A torch
1. Add water to the dab rig
2. Scoop out a small amount of concentrate with your dab tool and set aside
3. Remove dome, take torch, and blast nail with fire; stop after a while
4. Wait a few seconds for nail to cool
5. Place dome on the nail & bring the dab in contact with the hot nail
6. Swirl dab tool as you inhale through the mouthpiece
7. Congrats, you’ve done your first dab!
*To achieve even vaporization and convection within the dish of the nail, most experienced dabbers will use what is called a “carb cap” to cover the nail and evenly distribute heat. Using a carb cap allows for better flavor and more economical and even vaporization of the concentrate.
Ready to start using concentrates now? Stop by Chesacanna & we’ll help you find what works for you!