The cannabis market has been booming over the last few years as more countries around the globe begin to accept the wonders of the plant. What once was an illegal, unacceptable drug, is now – slowly – becoming a legal medicine and even a legal recreational pastime. One of the more modern inventions inside the cannabis world is cannabis concentrates.
Whilst some have been around for centuries, others have been created more recently by the wonders of science. There are several different cannabis concentrates out there, so sometimes it’s hard to find the information you want. In this article, we’ll be taking you on a whistle stop tour of all of the main cannabis concentrates. And don’t worry – this tour is completely free of charge. Put your seatbelt on. Let’s begin.
Cannabis concentrates can be found on dispensary shelves, boasting names like shatter, butter, wax, resin, and more. Any specific cannabinoid can be concentrated, so regardless of whether you’re looking for delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC, delta 10, THC-O, THCV, CBG, or something else, it can be found in concentrate form. This is great for delta-8 THC users, because it allows a concentrated form of this alternate form of THC which doesn’t cause anxiety like half-brother delta-9, and which leaves users with a clear head and energy, while having a similar medical profile. We’ve got great deals for delta-8 THC and many other compounds, so take a look, and try ’em out!
What are Cannabis Concentrates?
Once someone has total control over the marijuana plant, there are many ways to transform and eventually consume it. Cannabis can be placed in oils, edibles, the usual buds and even synthesised concentrates. It all depends on the creation process. But before we discuss how they’re made, let’s first truly understand what they are. And, as always, there’s never a better places to find complex definitions than wikipedia:
“A cannabis concentrate (also called marijuana concentrate, marijuana extract, or cannabis extract) is a highly potent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD) concentrated mass. Marijuana concentrates contain extraordinarily high THC levels that could once range from 40 to 80%, up to four times stronger in THC content than high grade or top shelf marijuana, which normally measures around 20%”
It’s in the name really, isn’t it? Cannabis concentrates are designed to be especially potent in comparison with cannabis buds or other products. By getting rid of any extra, unnecessary parts of the cannabis plant, cannabis concentrates are able to focus on what really matters: the terpenes and cannabinoids. It’s within these that the aromas and effects of cannabis are found – which is why people have spent years trying to find a way to harness them in the greatest possible way. That is why cannabis concentrates come in so many different shapes and sizes, and are made in a variety of ways.
How are Cannabis Concentrates Made?
Cannabis concentrates is an umbrella term for many different substances; some are liquids, some are solids and some are a mix of both. There are two main ways of making cannabis concentrates and that is through solvent extraction, and solventless extraction. One uses chemicals, labs and science coats, whilst others are easier to make and more natural. Let’s figure out what these are.
What is Solvent Extraction?
A solvent extraction is essentially when a chemical is used to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. By introducing certain chemicals, as well as heat and pressure, into the equation – this separation occurs. However, there isn’t just one way of completing this process. Some use carbon dioxide, whilst others use butane; these are two of the most common ways of using solvent extraction to create cannabis concentrates.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction
Carbon dioxide extraction is complex because, obviously, co2 is a gas, not a solid. However, the amazing result of a beautiful cannabis concentrate makes the process worth it. The carbon dioxide is first placed in a chamber where it is pressured and turned into a liquid through low temperatures. The co2 is then reheated, which due to the nature of carbon dioxide, makes it a supercritical substance. This substance is then passed through a chamber containing the cannabis plant. The supercritical substance will extract the trichomes, which contains the pure and potent compounds desirable to create cannabis concentrates. The substance that is left after this process can then be used to create a variety of cannabis concentrates.
Butane extraction is most popular for creatine hash oil. But how does it work? As mentioned earlier, any solvent extraction to make cannabis concentrates uses some sort of other chemical – which in this case, is butane. The cannabis is first covered with butane, in its liquid form. Butane happens to be a very easily liquefiable gas. Once this is done, heat and pressure is used, and yet again, what is left is a cannabis concentrate. This can be used to create hash oil, budder, shatter or crumble.
What is Non-Solvent Extraction?
Non-solvent extraction is a far less complicated process, and one that doesn’t leave you scratching your head quite as much. However, that’s not to say that the result is any less wonderful. Non-solvent extraction is made, as you can imagine, without chemicals in the creation process.
For example, kief and hash would both be cannabis concentrates that are made with non-solvent extraction. But, yet again, there are a variety of ways that non-solvent extraction can take place. Kief is made through rolling the dry cannabis plant over a sieve, and allowing the whitey yellow thrichomes to collect. Trichomes also look a bit like mini snowdrops up close. These are hugely potent and hold all of the best compounds of the plant.
Another example of a non-solvent extraction would be in the creation of hash. Hash is one of the oldest types of cannabis concentrates. In fact, a scientist called Gmelin first mentioned the substance in 1777. The process of creating hash can vary depending on technique. However, one way of making hash is in water. The cannabis plant is tumbled in icy cold water and is then filtered through a mesh. This substance is then dried and pressed into small blocks. The resin, which is what the substance is made out of, is very high in THC.
Why are Cannabis Concentrates Popular?
Before we take a whistle stop tour through some of the main and post popular cannabis concentrates, let’s first ask the question: why are they so popular? Well, it’s first important to realise that any connoisseur of any substance will always search for the most pure version of it. Think of pressed olive oil, some people will spend their lives searching for the first press because it will be the highest quality oil.
This is the same with orange juice, the first press of orange juice is considered to be the purest, healthiest and tastiest. Cannabis concentrates are no different to this. People who love cannabis and the effects of it, are always discovering new ways to enjoy it in its purest and most powerful form. As mentioned earlier, the average cannabis concentrate can have THC levels of over 60%. This is why cannabis concentrates are becoming more and more popular.
The Cannabis Concentrates
Kief is a collection of resin trichomes. Kief is one of the easiest cannabis concentrates to make. In fact, some three-part grinders have a section at the bottom that collects fallen down kief over time, which can then be placed in a joint and smoked. It is golden in colour, and powdery.
Hash is usually sold in brown blocks. Some are dark and some are light brown. Usually, a good way to tell if hash is good quality is to see if it burns like a candle. If it does, then your hash is excellent. Usually hash will be heated before consumption, so that small parts can be separated from the large block. These small parts of hash are then placed in the joint.
Charas comes primarily from India and Jamaica. It looks quite similar to hash but is usually darker and sold in balls, rather than blocks. The difference between hash and charas is that the latter is made from the entire cannabis plant, whereas the former is made from dried trichomes.
Shatter is an example of cannabis concentrate that is made from butane extraction. The substance is golden in colour and looks like shattered glass. It also looks quite a lot like frozen honey.
Wax is very similar to shatter, except it’s slightly more liquidy. Whilst the aroma and potency of wax is almost identical to shatter, it’s the consistency that differs. Wax is opaque and malleable. In addition, wax is dabbed into a joint in order to smoke it.
The average crumble has THC levels of anywhere from 60-90%. Again, there are many similarities between crumble and the rest of the solvent cannabis concentrates, however the look and consistency is different. Crumble literally crumbles in one’s hands. Crumble is also dabbed in order to use it.
The Tour Is Now Over
So there you have it, that was a quick and concise whistle stop tour of the cannabis concentrates. There are many other cannabis concentrates that people might mention, and all of them are very slightly different to the next. Like any enthusiasts, cannabis-lovers like to invent and name new cannabis concentrates constantly – even if they look and feel the same as before. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that cannabis concentrates are a highly potent and quite amazing substance.
But what’s your favourite cannabis concentrate? Drop us a line in the comment section below!
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