What Are Cannabis Concentrates & What Are They Used For?

Cannabis concentrate covers a variety of products that use extracts from the Cannabis plant. Concentrates are prized for their potency and high THC content, though this varies depending on the qualities of the original plant.

What are Marijuana Extracts?

Extracts are highly concentrated forms of marijuana that typically contain higher levels of cannabinoids, the active chemicals in Cannabis. Marijuana extracts are usually high in THC, the psychoactive component while hemp extracts contain more CBD, which is valued for its therapeutic qualities. The main benefit of extracts is that you can experience the effects by taking much smaller quantities.

How are Concentrates Made?

Concentrates are produced by passing a solvent such as butane or CO2 through Cannabis material. Depending on the type of extract, Cannabis may be fresh or cured. Live resin is made by using fresh flowers while types such as wax, crumble, and shatter are made using dried and cured flowers. The final result can be processed into a variety of consistencies. Users have their own preferences when it comes to concentrates.

Cannabis Concentrates

Popular Types of Concentrates

There are many types of cannabis concentrates and new ones are still being introduced. Concentrates are categorized in different ways, such as the solvent used during extraction (such as butane, propane, or CO2) and the consistency. Some of the most common types right now include:

  • Shatter —Known for its brittle, glasslike consistency.
  • Wax —Has the texture of beeswax.
  • Crumble —Has a honeycomb texture that easily falls apart.
  • Live Resin —Has a dark yellow color and the consistency of sugar or sap.
  • Solventless extractions —Methods of extraction that don’t use a solvent, including hash, kief, and rosin.

Within these categories, you’ll find many variations. The particular appearance of any concentrate varies depending on the original plant and the process used.

History of Concentrates

The earliest use of Cannabis concentrates was in the form of hashish, which has been used extensively in Asia and the Middle East for thousands of years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, hashish made its way to Europe and the United States and enjoyed a period of legal use until it was outlawed. Hashish was used by the government in the MK-Ultra program with infamous experiments designed to improve interrogation techniques.

Modern extraction methods using a closed-loop method weren’t developed until the 1990s. The most popular of these methods, which allows the solvent to be recycled, uses butane. For this reason, extracts are often called BHO for Butane Hash Oil. Other solvents include CO2, propane, and ethanol.

How are Concentrates Used?

Concentrates are often consumed using a process called dabbing, which is why the products are sometimes called dabs. The most common devices used to heat concentrates are water pipes called dab rigs and portable vape pens called dab pens. Some concentrates, such as shatter and crumble, are often added to flower and smoked in joints or blunts. Another option is to include concentrates in edibles.

Effects of Concentrates

The effects of concentrates vary according to the cannabinoid levels of the plant. As a rule, though, concentrates are stronger than flower. One of the primary motives for creating concentrates is to have a more potent experience. Here are a few points to remember when considering concentrates.

  • While concentrates are generally high in THC, there are also varieties that remove most or even all the THC. For example, CBD wax and CBD shatter are made for people who are mainly seeking the medicinal benefits of CBD.
  • Extraction often removes the terpenes, which produce many of the flavorful and aromatic qualities of Cannabis. If you prefer to experience the terpenes, which may have certain therapeutic benefits as well, live resin is an extract that retains most of these chemicals.
  • If you’re new to concentrates or are not familiar with a particular strain, begin with a small amount to gauge the potency and its effect on you.

Concentrates: A Convenient Way to Enjoy the Benefits of Cannabis

There is much to learn about cannabis concentrates. They encompass a wide variety of products with differing methods of extraction. If you’re seeking a potent experience, either for psychoactive or therapeutic effects, concentrates are worth considering. It’s important to do your research, buy from legal and trustworthy sources, and to read the labels so you know what you’re getting.

Want to learn more about concentrates or want to try them? Visit one of our Colorado locations.