As stigmas surrounding cannabis and hemp are increasingly replaced with talk of positive medicinal effects – both physically and mentally – confusion has arisen when it comes to the various ways in which cannabis and hemp can be taken.
It’s a given that the numerous dogmas and falsehoods surrounding cannabis and hemp are going to take some time to backtrack. This is the natural result of more than 70 years of prohibition against a plant that is known to contain medicinal value for humans. As the many mainly unfounded stigmas are replaced by scientific studies showing the efficacy of cannabis and hemp, a whole other grey has been created; and that’s cannabis and hemp concentrates.
What are Concentrates?
Cannabis and hemp concentrates come in different forms. They are essentially extracted and distilled from the choicest parts of the plant and offer a stronger experience than conventional flowers.
Solvents are often used for extraction – in the same way that alcohol is used to pull vanilla essence from vanilla beans. Cannabis and hemp are interesting as they contain a multitude of complex compounds (chemical substances) that can be extracted and used to make a variety of products.
Trichomes are sparkling crystal-like structures found on the flowers of cannabis, and they contain most of the physiological and psychoactive effects felt by the user. The finest extracts come from a special process carried out to the cannabis plant, similar to the way any extract is produced.
What’s the difference between flowers and concentrates?
When we say flowers, we are mainly referring to high-CBD buds, although this does apply to THC-heavy flowers too. Apart from the apparent differences in the way one processes flowers as opposed to taking concentrates, there are significant differences in the effects.
There’s a good and straightforward reason for that, and it’s all about the trichomes. The trichomes that form on a bud contain not only compounds like THC and CBD, but also a range of terpenes that give different cannabis strains their unique aroma and effects.
Using concentrates (the details of how, we’ll get into shortly) offers stronger effects than your run-of-the-mill buds; often much, much stronger. Before we go any further; always use discretion and caution when using concentrates as the good quality ones really pack a punch.
Cannabis and Hemp Concentrate delivery methods
The difference between cannabis and hemp concentrates is basically this. One gets you high, and one doesn’t. Conventional cannabis is THC-heavy, and that’s the reason many people enjoy it. THC is the compound in cannabis mainly responsible for the high or stoned effects.
Then, there are CBD flowers, which don’t get you high but leave some people feeling calm, relaxed, and pain-free. One of the most obvious ways to take concentrate or extract is simply by sprinkling or smudging it into the bowl of a pipe or bong, or adding some to a joint. There are also dab rigs, vaporizers and vape pens which are specially made for this purpose.
It really just comes down to texture as extracts like shatter or badder which are malleable can be easily added to a dab rig. Powder concentrates like Keif or crumble are often enjoyed when sprinkled on some cannabis or CBD-rich hemp flower but can also be vaporized.
A dab rig is an advanced and sophisticated looking piece of equipment and one that people need to know how to use correctly. Also, bear in mind that top shelf cannabis concentrates can get you 15 times higher than conventional cannabis and that can result in some seriously intoxicating effects.
There are also both desktop and handheld vaporizers that are specially designed to handle concentrates, in a similar way to dab rigs but not precisely. Pre-filled vape pen cartridges also serve the purpose and are the choice for many who want ultimate convenience, powerful effects, and minimal hassle.
To answer the question: Are cannabis and hemp concentrates the right choice for you? It depends. If you’re a novice user or new to cannabis and CBD, concentrates are a tall order and best avoided, at least at first. On the other hand, if you’re a more advanced user or require stronger, faster relief from more severe symptoms, cannabis and hemp concentrates could be right for you.
The best advice is to speak to your local budtender at a dispensary where you live (In states where cannabis and CBD are legal). They will be able to assess your needs and direct you on the right path in terms of cannabis strains and the appropriate delivery method(s) for you.