Most people over the age of 21 are familiar with the abbreviation “THC,” but odds are, many of them couldn’t tell you what it means or how it works. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol — it’s the compound in the cannabis plant that gives you that prototypical euphoric cannabis high.
The cannabis plant also produces THCA, short for tetrahydrocannabinolic-acid, in the arrangement known as delta-9 THCA. However, the THCA and THC molecules can be forced into other arrangements, called isomers. Delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC are all examples of such isomers. A tiny shift in atoms means the molecules all interact with the endocannabinoid system differently, consequently producing different mental and physical effects.
Delta-9 THC is mostly known for its euphoric and intoxicating qualities that lead to that classic cannabis high. Anecdotal reports clearly indicate that delta-9 THC provides consumers with a much stronger and longer-lasting effect than its isomers, delta-8 and delta-10. Delta-8 has been reported to produce a slightly relaxing high that’s short-lived and delta-10 reportedly creates a slight intoxication, but mainly helps to boost energy. But there are potential dangers affiliated with all three delta isomers.
Increasingly, brands across the U.S. are highlighting the various THC isomers featured in their hemp-based products, giving way to increased press and ensuing questions from consumers. Since the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, CBD and hemp-based products have grown exponentially within the country’s marketplaces. Touting the myriad benefits of hemp and CBD, these products can be found anywhere from Saks Fifth Avenue to the local gas station. The heightened media attention stems from the surfacing of these unfamiliar isomers in hemp products — especially delta-8 THC. To date, hemp products have only included the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), so the presence of THC isomers in hemp products has been extraordinarily controversial.
This leads us to the most logical of questions: How are these companies producing THC isomers from hemp?
Delta-9 THC is a non-polar lipid, which is derived from the cannabis plant by way of delta-9-THCA. THC isomers can be naturally found in the cannabis plant; however, cannabis is bred genetically for the production of delta-9-THCA. This means that in order to reach high concentrations of THC isomers (as seen in many of the products entering the hemp market) a delta-9 THC or CBD molecule must undergo a process to convert the compound from delta-9 THC or CBD to delta-8 THC or delta-10 THC.
Basic chemistry, using chemical synthesis or temperature and pressure, can be applied to these molecules to manipulate one into the other. Chemical synthesis can yield much higher concentrations of these isomers at a much higher rate of efficiency than the plant naturally produces. So, hemp and CBD manufacturers are turning to chemical synthesis by using various solvents and acids to synthesize the production of these isomers for their products.
As media coverage sheds light on these processes, industry members, consumers and governmental agencies are becoming increasingly concerned. Their collective lack of understanding related to whether operators are equipped to properly handle these solvents and acids is at the root of all of the hullabaloo surrounding isomers.
Delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC are all examples of isomers. A tiny shift in atoms means the molecules all interact with the endocannabinoid system differently, consequently producing different mental and physical effects.
An important step in producing consumer products is ensuring that there are no harmful chemicals in the end product prior to releasing the product to market. Can these manufacturers properly remove all residual solvents from the synthesized product? Are there harmful byproducts being produced and remaining in the final product? Are these operators equipped to test for dangerous chemicals and byproducts?
Without regulation in the hemp and CBD market, manufacturers aren’t required by anyone to test for these residual solvents. Consumer safety is of the utmost importance, everyone surely agrees, yet customers are left unaware of the potential risks involved with these unregulated products.
Risks of inhaling, ingesting or topically applying products with mid-high concentrations of solvents can result in irritation of the lungs or skin. These risks are compounded by the fact that this chemical synthesis process has jeopardized the success of local, legal cannabis markets.
Investigations are underway as licensed manufacturers in regulated markets have stopped sourcing locally grown THC cannabis biomass and are instead sourcing hemp CBD extract from out-of-state or international sources and converting the CBD from hemp into delta-9 THC. Not only are consumers at risk, but the local regulated cannabis industry is also at risk. Because of this shift in purchasing, small business owners are losing customers, as they’re unable to compete with hemp prices. Additionally, tax dollars that would otherwise be collected from the local suppliers aren’t going to the states they should.
By harnessing the power of chemistry, companies such as Heylo, a Seattle-based licensed cannabis processor, are creating products that highlight the positive effects of THC isomers without utilizing solvents. Heylo’s cannabis oil, The New Workout Plan, has more than 20% delta-10 THC, which is produced from delta-9 THC dominant cannabis plant material, extracted through CO2 extraction, and converted to delta-10 THC.
Some states and legal markets have quickly taken action to ensure delta-9 THC products are produced from legal and regulated sources. This will support the health of the legal medical and recreational markets, but only time will tell how the distribution of CBD and THC isomer products will be affected. Consumer safety is of the utmost importance as this industry is being built. I encourage everyone to be an informed industry member and consumer, and to find products you can trust.
Lo Friesen is an environmental chemist, product developer and botanical extraction thought leader. She’s the Founder/CEO of Heylo, a licensed cannabis processor in the state of Washington.
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.
If any cannabis lover had all the money in the world, their house would be full of all of the many weed accessories that are now available in the 21st century. The innovation that is now behind the cannabis industry is booming and, consequently, there are a plethora of exciting, strange and beautiful products.
The rosin press, a device that allows the user to create their own potent cannabis concentrates, is one of the more advanced accessories that a weed lover can buy. But in the capitalist world we live in, with thousands of new products coming out every week, it’s hard not to wonder: is it actually worth it? Should you bother buying a rosin press when the heat and pressure from a pair of hair straighteners could – theoretically – do the same job? Let’s find out.
What is a Rosin Press?
Don’t stress, the cannabis industry has so many random devices and tools that it’s not hard to get lost in them all. What ever happened to the days of a gram of bud and a lit joint, eh? Well, times have changed. There are now vapes to unlock the flavorsome terpenes and potent effects of weed, as well as edibles if you’d rather not inhale anything at all. But there is also something else, an industrial level rosin press that allows you to unlock the world of cannabis concentrates.
This device comes in many shapes and sizes, but it is worth noting that they are often large – definitely too large to take around in your pocket. Some are so big that you probably wouldn’t even be able to pick them up at all without some help. Remember – rosin press’ use heat and pressure to turn cannabis buds into concentrates.
How Does it Work?
Whilst a rosin press might look like a highly advanced and complex machine, it actually is pretty simple. The press has two slabs of metal that are heated to a certain temperature. These two slabs then press together – with the cannabis buds or hash between them – and eventually this results in a batch of concentrates, such as rosin or wax. It is important to remember that concentrates can be super sticky, so placing the cannabis in some baking paper before placing it on the machine is essential. This way, when the process is over, you can unfold the paper, slowly scrape out the wax and enjoy it. The common rosin press is powered by either pneumatic, hydraulic or manual power.
Pneumatic Rosin Press
This type of device uses air or gas in order to create pressure. A pneumatic rosin press is usually bigger as it needs an air compressor, but it usually has a higher yield. This is because air pressure can work quicker than water pressure.
Hydraulic Rosin Press
Hydraulic powered machines usually come smaller and more portable. These use heated liquid in order to create the pressure. The issue is that the yield can be lower with these machines.
Manual Rosin Press
This type of device is the simplest. It allows the user to use their own force to press the cannabis. These rosin press machines are the easiest to use and usually the most portable.
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A key factor to consider when debating whether to purchase a rosin press is whether you actually want to create cannabis concentrates. For some people, the idea of consuming a 40-70% THC product is close to a dream. For others, a 10-15% THC joint or vape hit is potent enough. Concentrate and its strength is not for everyone. NIH writes:
“Marijuana concentrates have very high levels of THC. Solvent-based products tend to be especially potent, with THC levels documented at an average of about 54-69% and reported to exceed 80%, while non-solvent based extraction methods produce average THC levels between 39-60%”
A rosin press is just one way of creating these sorts of substances, there are many other ways that involve both solvent and non-solvent solutions. Solvent methods use CO2, alcohol or hydrocarbons. Whereas non-solvent methods can use ice water, sifting or the rosin press (pressure and heat).
Types of Concentrate
There is a wide range of cannabis concentrates that exist in the world, and many of them seem like they are just the same substance but with a different name. Nonetheless, people find strict differences in each of them. Here are some of those:
How much is a Rosin Press?
Cannabis concentrates – if purchasing from a dealer – can cost you anywhere from $50-150. The market is wide open, and often many buyers don’t know how much they should be paying. This is why many cannabis fanatics are considering purchasing a rosin press and making the concentrates themselves. If you’re one of those people, then let’s take a look at the average price of a rosin press. To be brutally honest, finding a device that costs less than $300 will be a stretch, with some larger ones easily surpassing $1000. Remember, these are industrial-quality machines. However, there are smaller ones – such as the Nectar Pollen Pincher – that acts as a great beginners rosin press.
If you think of it mathematically, the purchase of a rosin press only really makes sense if you’re going to use it reasonably frequently. The cost of a device can be around 5 times the cost of a gram of concentrate – at the least – which means that you’ll be starting in a deficit but can quickly reach a profit. This, of course, will only happen if you’re a cannabis concentrate connoisseur. Picture this:
You buy a gram of concentrate once a week for 2 months:
8 x $75 = $600
But what if you bought a rosin press?
Let’s say a rosin press costs $300
8 grams of usual bud, which you’ll use to put in the machine, costs around $100
This totals a $400 expense.
Therefore, in around 2 months you’ll be spending less than you would have done. However, if you’re not going to use it that much, then perhaps an alternative option is better.
DIY Rosin Press
On Amazon, you can buy a pretty basic hair straightener for around 20 bucks. If you want to invest a little more than you can purchase one with specific heat controls, which will increase the yield of your concentrates. That’s right, you can use a device like this to create these substances too. It might sound crazy, but many people use this method as a cheaper and beginners way into the world of cannabis concentrates. It has heat and it has pressure. The issue is, the yield of a pair of hair straighteners is going to be a lot less than an industrial rosin press. For your information, the yield essentially means the amount of concentrate you get from your cannabis buds, and how much is or is not wasted. Nectar Medical Vapes writes:
“The usual yield received from a DIY rosin press (hair straighteners) is only about 5%… It’s harder to manually change the temperature and pressure of hair straighteners, whereas with a rosin press it’s built into the system… However, with a shop bought rosin press the usual yield increases to about 40%, which is a great deal better and more efficient.”
It’s also important to note that the durability of straighteners is far less than a rosin press, which is literally designed to create wax. But, again, if you’re only wanting to try to concentrate every so often then it probably isn’t worth investing in an expensive rosin press. Straighteners will do the job if you’re looking to experiment and don’t mind wasting a bit of your stash.
Is it Worth It?
So, the question still remains, is buying a rosin press actually worth the money? Well, now you understand a little better about the different types, the price and what these devices can do, the answer to that question is left to you. It is evident that if you’re a concentrate lover then, in the long term, purchasing a rosin press will eventually become far more worth it. However, if you’re someone that simply wants to try these substances and are not looking to indulge in a long-term, industrial creation process, then why not just buy some straighteners? A rosin press is a powerful and wonderful device, but only if you really need it.
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This year I have been lucky enough to travel through Asia – including India and Nepal – writing about my experiences and searching for information around new substances. The views on drugs can drastically change from country to country, with laws, culture and availability affecting this. One nation may allow for cannabis legalization and psilocybin research, whilst another would deal with these substances extremely strictly.
The world is full of diverse opinions, and I came here to find out for myself. Research is one thing, but on-the-ground knowledge is another. In this article I will tell my story of landing in the south Indian district of Goa and experiencing some of the best hash in the world.
Travelling has always been an important part of my life. Since a young age I have tried to see and do as much as I possibly can, with emphasis on going abroad. There is so much that a person can learn about themselves and other people from experiencing new cultures and new places. There’s food, there’s music, there’s the people, there’s the substances, there’s endless possibilities. It increases empathy and love for the rest of the world, as well as opening your mind to different ways of living. NYU writes:
“We are communal creatures that are all of the same species, yet our location determines societal actions based off cultured and governmental laws. We are so similar, yet our little worlds are so entirely different.”
That is why when a window of opportunity arose to travel through Nepal and India, I wasn’t going to turn it down. Myself and my partner had the money and the time to take our work with us and go away. The Journey started in Nepal in the old hippie trail location of Kathmandu – the capital. After days of sightseeing in an overwhelmingly bustling city, we headed to the small village of Bandipur. When I say small, I mean literally the size of one cowboy-looking street. It was absolutely beautiful. Then came Pokhara, a city stretching around a lake, where true bohemia has found itself. Here we took part in a meditation and yoga retreat, finding the high in transcendence instead of psychedelics. We were basically following in the footsteps of the Beatles before they wrote the White Album. Afterwards we went to the national park of Chitwan, a jungle where a plethora of wild animals run free in their natural habitat. This was where a guide – with only a stick in his hand to fend off tigers and elephants – took us around the huge park. Before we entered and boated across the crocodile-infested river, he offered us a joint. In a paranoid state already, I respectfully declined. I wanted to be completely alert. Fortunately but completely expectedly we survived, and I am still alive now to tell the tale. After this we went back to Kathmandu to have a few days rest, go to the Lord of Drinks (voted 52nd best club in the world by some unknown magazine), before heading on a flight to Delhi and Goa. It was here that the long awaited hash experience finally came to us. Here’s how it happened.
We’ve just landed in Delhi after a 2 hour flight from Kathmandu. It is safe to say that I still do despite flying as a mode of transport. Everytime I get on an aeroplane I have this ignorant hope that, somehow, it will be enjoyable… but it never is. After several pharmacies declined, eventually we were able to pick up some valium without a prescription in Kathmandu. This was extremely fortunate because it took the edge of anxiety off me for the duration of the flight. I don’t usually take any pills before flying, but with two flights in one day I just didn’t think I’d be able to handle it without some sort of substance. The truth is, valium takes away a lot of the anxious thoughts I have when I am on an aeroplane, but not many people advise taking them. Harbourside writes:
“Diazepam is a sedative, which means it makes you sleepy and slows reaction times. If there is an emergency during the flight it may affect your ability to concentrate, follow instructions and react to the situation”
However, I am unsure how much anyone can actually do if a plane is going down. Surely it would be better to be sedated rather than to deal with that emotional rollercoaster. But who knows? According to a study by the European Transport Safety Council, plane crashes have a 90% survival rate. So perhaps being alert and quick in your reactions is important.
We landed in Goa late last night and went to sleep pretty early. We’re staying in North Goa – Anjuna – supposedly the last remaining evidence of the hippie paradise of the 60s and 70s. But our first experience of the place was far from liberal and free. In fact, we attempted to go swimming and within minutes a bunch of old, dodgy-looking Indian men decided to try and record my partner swimming. We’d heard about this potentially happening in the Lonely Planet guide but, to be honest, it was shocking to experience. I very much doubt this sort of thing was happening in Goa’s glory years. Plus, Anjuna beach is now full of commercial clubs and bars, banging out chart music that makes your ears want to die. We spoke to a local who said that the famous clubs of the North – including Curly’s and Hill Top – had closed down due to drug controversy. These were, according to him, the last remaining authentic places in North Goa. Having come all this way, to be told this was nothing short of depressing. Is there nothing left of the old Goa that my dad relentlessly bangs on about?
Today was interesting. We rented mopeds and went half an hour up the road to Mandrem beach. This spot, further north, is supposedly more liberal and full of potential substances. Essentially, it’s been 4 days in Goa now and we still haven’t had the chance to buy any hash. It’s unacceptable. Before visiting India you hear about how much bhang lassis and hash there is lying around, but somehow Goa has yet to prove that to us. When I visited Rajasthan 3 years ago It was very accessible, but maybe there’s something about Goa that makes it harder to find. But today we found a lead. We went to the long-stretched, stunning beach of Mandrem where the smell of cannabis was certainly in the air. We followed the scent and found a tourist smoking a joint and asked if we could purchase some. She declined, letting us have a toke each, and then said that Arambol was the spot to get it and she gave us the number of a dealer. However, she warned us that Goa isn’t what it used to be. Police are now far more strict on drug use, and will fine you harshly. The chief of police in Goa recently said:
“We are conducting raids on those parties where we suspect there is sale and consumption of drugs. Goa will not tolerate drugs,”
We texted the dealer and after a long awaited reply, he responded, asking us to meet him at Arambol beach the next day. The wait for the hash goes on.
I am writing this with a cheeky grin and sensation of warmth, this is because we finally found our Goan hash. In the evening we headed to Arambol beach, the dealer felt it would be less obvious in the dark. The stretch of water was lit up by hundreds of candle lit tables glowing up the beach. It was a very romantic image. Nonetheless, we couldn’t stop and have a coupley meal, we had a goal to achieve. We had to get the hash. We waited for maybe an hour, twiddling our thumbs, standing in the dark. We probably looked like dealers ourselves. Then, finally, a dude with a bucket hat and a tank top walked up to us. He shook my hand and passed me a block of hash – 5 grams. It cost 3000 rupees, which is around $30. Whenever someone passes you a drug with a handshake you can’t help but feel like you’re in a gangster movie. But nonetheless, I kept my cool. The dealer was actually called Adi and he was a very nice guy. We spoke for an hour or so about the culture of Goa and how it has changed. He told us that drug dealers are so afraid of getting caught that they are now seriously limiting their dealings, as well as seriously raising their prices. The days of cheap Goan drugs have gone. You could expect to pay 1500 rupees for an ecstasy pill and around 5000 rupees for a gram of meth – they don’t sell cocaine. Either way, we were happy to finally get our hands on some hash.
The one last thing he mentioned as we got on our moped to go and enjoy our drugs in peace, was to be careful of police on the roads. He said that they are constantly stopping tourists, checking them for drugs, and then giving them a fine if they find anything. I didn’t think this would be relevant until, on our way back, we were faced with this exact situation. I was driving the bike and – out of nowhere – I saw a man in a police uniform up ahead. He waved at us to stop. At this moment I had to make a split decision. There was no legal requirement for me to stop. I did not need to stop. Who was this guy? I had my helmet on and my lights were working. What reason did he have to stop me? So, without thinking, I revved faster and drove straight past the police officer. He shouted but, other than that, nothing else happened. However, if I had stopped, I would have been seriously fined by the corrupt Goan authorities.
When we arrived back at our hostel in Anjuna, we rolled up a few joints and headed to Anjuna beach. The hash crumbled deliciously in my hands and gave the most beautifully mellow high. A complete body relaxation, without any head anxiety. Finally, we had found our block of hash and luckily we had 5 grams of it too, which meant that we wouldn’t be running out any time soon.
All I can say – today was a good day. But it doesn’t end here.
The world of cannabis is constantly changing, with more and more people finding new and extraordinary ways to consume it. Weed buds are not the only option anymore, there are now liquid cartridges that can be used in electronic vaporizer devices. But not only that, even scientists have had their input, creating cannabis concentrates. These golden, potent substances can be placed in joints or, even better, put in a vape too. But how does it work? What are the crucial steps in vaping concentrates? In addition, why bother at all? Today we will be looking at how to vape these potent substances, as well as the benefits of doing so. Let’s go.
What are Cannabis Concentrates?
Have you ever looked at a cannabis bud, and wondered what it would be like if you could take away all of the excess materials and only be left with the most potent part? Only cannabinoids and terpenes, all in a beautiful filtered down substance. Well, this is exactly what cannabis concentrates are. Terpenes are responsible for the flavours and aromas in cannabis. There are supposedly over 150 types. If you’ve ever bought a gram of ‘blueberry kush’ from some dodgy guy, then chances are the blueberry smell comes from its terpenes. If not, he’s just given a random name to it, which is also possible. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, are the compounds in the plant that are responsible for the effects they have. There are over 100 of them. However, CBD and THC are the most prominent and well known. THC is a psychoactive substance, which means that it has mind-altering effects, whereas CBD is not. Nonetheless, they both bind to the endocannabinoid system in the body, which consequently changes the processes in the body that are responsible for: appetite, mood, senses and pain. This is why people can feel a variety of effects when consuming cannabis. But, not only that, this is why it is used in medical practices. When cannabis concentrates are made, it’s these compounds – terpenes and cannabinoids – that are filtered into a special substance.
Different Types of Concentrates
There are many types of cannabis concentrates. Some of them are so similar that having two separate names seems pointless, but the connoisseurs out there swear there’s a difference. This difference comes in its texture and form. Whilst the majority of concentrates are golden, honey-like substances, they all can have slightly alternative forms.
There are more than just these too. Anything that is a concentrated version of cannabis counts as a concentrate. This means that any type of weed oil is also part of the concentrate family. Also included is hash, which is commonly made from being pressed into small blocks. When discussing cannabis concentrates, people are referring to the more potent types – the ones listed above. This is because their potency is especially high. Here is the amount of expected THC in a usual batch of substances:
Flower buds – 15% THC
Hash – 30% THC
Concentrates – 60-90% THC
How Concentrates are made
Cannabis concentrates are made in a variety of ways, and some are far more expensive than others. Remember, this process can require a great deal of expensive equipment. As Jesse in Breaking Bad would say: “It’s science b****”! Here are the most common methods of extraction:
Solvents are added to the cannabis in order to dissolve the potent part of the plant: the resin. When the solvent is then removed, vape oil, wax or shatter is left. The types of solvents that are used include:
This kind of process requires expensive equipment and people who definitely know what they are doing. We would not advise you to try this at home.
Using a mesh, the small pieces of kief can be slowly shaken out of the plant. This separates the potent parts from the rest of the cannabis.
This is a common way of making hash. The cannabis is put in a jar with water and ice. As it is agitated, the parts separate. This is one of the cleanest ways of making concentrate.
Heat & Pressure
This is probably the most common way of making cannabis concentrates. With this method you can make all types – including wax, shatter and budder. It’s simple, you place the bud in between two hot metal plates and press. This then extracts the good stuff. You can buy a rosin press, or you can even use straighteners.
How to Vape Cannabis Concentrates
Vaping cannabis concentrates can be the greatest thing you’ve ever done. The potency may be something you’re not used to, so you must ensure you take it easy the first time. Remember, this substance can be far more strong than your usual flower buds. Here are the crucial steps to help you along your way.
Step 1 – Choose Your Vaporizer
First things first, ensure your vaporizer can actually take concentrates. There are two types of cannabis vapes, dry herb and cart. For these types of concentrates, you’re going to need a device that allows for raw material to go inside. Cartridge vapes allow you to consume cannabis oil, but we’re focusing on vaping the raw materials. There are specific dabbing vapes that exist, although it’s probably better to purchase a vape that allows for more than one kind of substance. This means a dry herb vape is the one for you. However, you must also ensure that it fits a concentrate pad in too. Without this, your concentrate will be melting into the crevices of the device and breaking it. The pad will stop this from happening. Dry herb vaporizers can cost anywhere from below $100 to over $400. It really depends on how much you want to spend and how much you think you will be using it. You want a device that is also easy to clean, otherwise you may only be using it once to vape these substances. Once you’ve chosen a vaporizer, turn it on and get ready.
Step 2 – Concentrate Pad
Now you must input the concentrate pad. This usually looks like a small, metallic accessory. It shouldn’t be hard to place it in your device, as long as it fits your specific vaporizer. Ensure that this is the case. Once it is in, you can slowly place a small amount of concentrate (budder, wax, shatter or even hash) onto the pad. Don’t overpack the vape, space allows for the heat around the substance to do its work. Remember, you can have several goes at this so there’s no need to overdo it the first time.
Step 3 – Perfect Temperature
Finding the perfect temperature can be tricky but essential. Vapes usually heat anywhere from around 180 degrees to 240 degrees. The hotter it is, the more potent it will be but the less flavoursome. The lower the heat is, the less potent but the more aromas will come through. You’ll have to find the perfect balance yourself.
200 degrees – low levels of potency, with great flavour
220 degrees – Reasonably potent, okay flavours
240 degrees – I’m super high, less flavour
These are some tips but, ultimately, you must decide what works for you.
Step 4 – Enjoy
The last step, as it should be, is to enjoy yourself. Vaping concentrates can completely open your cannabis world. You don’t need to only smoke joints anymore, there’s now far more interesting ways to consume your substances. With the potency of concentrates, make sure you’re set and setting is ideal for you to enjoy the high. Ensure that your location is perfect, the people you are with are kind, and your mindset is ready. With this in place, and the vape turned on, you’ll be prepared to have a great time.
Benefits of Vaping Concentrates
You can reap the rewards of the purest form of cannabis. With up to 90% THC, you will be sure to feel the full force of the plant. This also means you won’t need to constantly top up, and can sit back and enjoy the high.
The flavour you experience from vaping concentrates is something you may not be used to. When you smoke weed, a lot of the terpenes are burnt out. However, with concentrates and the lower heat of vaping, you are sure to taste flavours you didn’t even know were there.
A vape hit is far less harsh than a hit from a joint due to its lower temperature levels. You can enjoy the avoidance of throat pain.
Unlike a joint, vapes don’t smell anywhere near as much on your body or clothes. This is because there is no cloud of smoke. Vapour is far less obvious too. It’s less dense and does not linger anywhere near as much as a joint would. You can vape in peace, without the fear of being realised.
Vaping cannabis concentrates will change the way you think about cannabis. Not only does it allow you to experience the plant in its purest form – with its potency and flavours – but it also proves the immense power and benefits of vaporizers. They are discrete and far healthier than smoking. With these key steps and vital information, you will be able to vape cannabis concentrates easily. Enjoy.
When it comes to cannabis concentrates, stronger is not necessarily always better. Sure, you want your products to have the highest level of THC possible, but what truly makes a great concentrate would have to be terpene profiles. Not only do terps give cannabis products their distinctive aromas and flavors, but they also make a considerable difference in the type of high a person will experience. When creating concentrates, one of the primary objectives is to preserve as many of the natural plant compounds as possible, but do so in a way that is also cost effective for producers. Enter: Oleoresin.
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Cannabis Extracts and Concentrates Explained
When it comes to the higher potency cannabis products, there are two terms you’re likely to hear: extracts and concentrates. They’re often used interchangeably, and while this usually makes sense, it doesn’t always because the definitions do differ slightly.
“Extract” refers to anything pulled from cannabis flower. When you put raw plant matter into certain solvents like oil, ethanol, or water (alcohol is most common), you can draw out various compounds including THC, CBD, and various terpenes. The final solution you’re left with, is known as cannabis extract.
The word “concentrate” is somewhat self-explanatory – it’s a concentrated form of something extracted from another product. Cannabis concentrates come in many different forms. Some concentrates, like the sauces and badders, are waxy and not easily handled so they’re typically only used with some type of dab rig, nectar collector, or similar. With the more solid concentrates, you can dab them if you’d like but you can also put them on top of flower in your bowls, joints, and blunts, to make them burn slower, as well as boost the flavor and efficiency. Concentrates can be vaped as well.
So, all concentrates are extracts, but not all extracts are concentrates. To elaborate on that a little further, let’s take a closer look at how a basic extraction works. Take a strain that has 20% THC, for example. If you smoke the flower, you’ll get the effects of 20% THC; but if you extract the THC and isolate it from the rest of the plant matter, you’ll have a final product with well over 90% THC. With such high levels of THC, this extract would also be considered a concentrate.
If you do the same extraction focused on a minor cannabinoid, like CBN for instance, you’ll end up with a tincture, rather than a concentrate. This is because the percentage of CBN in most flower strains is very low – less than 1% – so the ratio of the CBN compared to other compounds in the plant will remain relatively the same once extracted. You can certainly make CBN concentrates if you want to, but that will require the extra step of separating it from the other compounds in the extraction.
What is Oleoresin?
Oleoresins are semi-solid extracts that are composed of plant resin and essential or fatty oils that are created when the extraction solvents are evaporated. Typical solvents used to create oleoresins include acetone, CO2, ethyl acetate, ethylene dichloride, methanol and methylene chloride, as well as application of heat and pressure.
In cannabis it’s considered a natural resin, and can be described as a sticky, semisolid mixture of all the very best compounds found in weed. In this industry, it’s a relatively new product, but oleoresins have been extracted from various spices for quite some time.
Oleoresins have some advantages over similar extraction processes. Less low taste notes are lost when oleoresins are extracted compared to essential oils that are steam distilled. Additionally, several significant flavor characteristics that are missing from volatile oils are present in the heavy oils of the oleoresins. Overall, some claim that oleoresin is basically a more flavorful form of live resin.
Live Resin VS. Oleoresin
Live resin is currently one of the most popular cannabis extracts on the market. The reason is simple: live resin tastes as close to real flower as you can get. It has a much more natural, weedy flavor than distillates, even those with terpenes added in later. Oleoresin is less known, but comparable to live resin in the sense that oleoresins preserve more of the natural plant compounds.
The main way in which they differ, is how they are extracted. Live resin is made from fresh, flash-frozen cannabis flowers that are put through a solvent extraction process; whereas oleoresin is made using a combination of solvent and heat/pressure for extraction. Both methods aim to retain the best terpene profiles possible. Live resin usually has slightly higher levels of THC, while oleoresin typically contains more terpenes. The process of making oleoresin is also less time-consuming than live resin.
So, let’s quickly summarize, since it can certainly get confusing trying to differentiate between all the different concentrates. Live resin comes from frozen flowers put through a solvent extraction, live rosin is a solventless extraction product using heat and pressure, and oleoresin requires both solvent and heat/pressure to extract.
A Bit More About Terpenes
The whole point of extracting cannabis this way is to get plant terpenes in the final product. Terpenes are a very large and diverse class of organic compounds that are produced by a wide variety of plants including herbs, trees, flowers, and fruit. In cannabis, they are secreted by the same glands that produce some of the most prominent cannabinoids including THC and CBD; but their role and effects are vastly different. Terpenes are aromatic plant oils that, when combined with other plant compounds, create a limitless palate of scents and flavors. In nature, terps serve as a defense mechanism by deterring herbivores who are turned away by the smells, and by attracting predators and parasites that attack herbivores.
Chemically, terpenes are hydrocarbons and they are the major component of rosin, a waxy type of sap that is produced and developed throughout the life cycle of the cannabis plant. There are curing processes that can improve the final quality and content of the terpenes, but other factors that impact their development are climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil type, and light cycles.
As far as cannabis goes, terpenes – not classification (sativa/indica) – are the key to differentiating between effects and flavors of a strain. Some terpenes are relaxing, like those found in lavender, while others are energizing, like the terps abundant in citrus fruit. Some smell fruity, some are piney, and others are musky. The possible variations are endless. So far, over 100 different terpenes have been discovered in cannabis plants alone, and each strain typically has its own unique blend and composition.
Terpenes have long been known to hold great therapeutic value, and some of the more common ones – like limonene, pinene, and caryophyllene – have been studied more extensively since they’re found in many different types of legal plants. More research is needed to determine the extent of their medicinal effects when combined with other cannabis plant compounds.
Simply put, Oleoresin is a product that is new in the world of cannabis but not so new when it comes to general essential oils. Oleoresins are created by many plants and can be produced by doing a solvent extraction combined with heat and pressure. The point of Oleoresin is to offer a concentrate that retains the highest level of terpenes possible, and thus, will have some of the best flavors you can get on the market. There are very few cannabis oleoresin products for sale currently, but what is available you can find in our newsletter (sign up box at the top of the page).
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Vermont lawmakers are at loggerheads over a measure that would establish a cap on the level of THC in solid cannabis concentrates sold at the state’s regulated cannabis retailers.
Local publication VTDigger has the background, reporting that members of the Vermont state Senate “bristled Friday at a last-minute change to a key cannabis bill during a House vote Thursday—and speculated as to why the Vermont Department of Health abruptly reversed its recommendation to lawmakers on the measure last week.”
Members of the House “on Thursday imposed a 60% cap on the level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in solid cannabis concentrates to be sold at retail establishments when they open in October,” according to VTDigger.
“They held the damn thing for over a week and a half and then come up with this,” said Democratic state Senator Dick Sears, as quoted by VTDigger. “There isn’t much time to call for a conference committee.”
Sears said he was “frustrated” with Democratic state House Representative John Gannon, who proposed the amendment imposing a 60% cap.
Sears and other lawmakers contend that caps are counterproductive and will only prompt customers to seek products elsewhere––be it on the illicit market or in neighboring states with adult-use cannabis sales.
Calling the measure passed by the House a “stupid decision,” Sears said that Vermont continues “to invite people to go out of state.”
“It gives the illicit market a monopoly on supplying the demand for these products,” Vermont Cannabis Control Board chair James Pepper told a state House committee during a hearing, as quoted by VTDigger.
“There is a very broad consensus among regulators that caps are a bad idea,” Pepper told the publication. “A black market will fill this gap. They’ll do so using very dangerous products.”
Amid the back-and-forth among lawmakers has been a series of inconsistent guidance on the issue from Vermont’s Department of Health.
“The primary reason is that there is a likely significant market for high THC concentrates, and it is more dangerous for people to buy unregulated versions of these products as opposed to buying products that are regulated and tested in accordance with Board rules. Regulating instead of banning THC substances is in line with one of the purposes of creating a regulated market as envisioned by the General Assembly,” Englander said in a letter to the committee.
“In addition, a complete ban on concentrates above 60% requires manufacturers to keep products below that limit at all times during the manufacturing process. Doing so will require the addition of additives to dilute the product down to a 60% concentrate or below. You may recall that there were recent illnesses and deaths that appeared to be associated with the ingestion of such additives.”
But the very next day, Englander pulled a 180, telling lawmakers that, upon “further consideration, with the lens of prevention and safety as the cornerstone for the coming adult use market in Vermont, the Department does not concur with the lifting of the THC limit and maintains that a foundational component of the original legislation remain in place.”
“The risk to users of high levels of THC are significant and we should not risk contributing to the known risks to consumers physical and mental health,” Englander said. “My communication of yesterday to you was based on incomplete information. All errors are mine, and please accept my apologies to you and the committee.”
Producing profoundly good concentrates that are promoted with fun, engaging branding is the telltale mark of having made it in the cannabis industry. But behind that forward-facing magic is another important component at play that needs to be considered: company culture. For 710 Labs, exceptional products and the best vibes go hand-in-hand.
“It’s important to us that we hire people that really want to be at 710 and know who we are and what we stand for,” said 710’s CEO and Founder Brad Melshenker. “I think that’s been our philosophy from the start; we want people that want to learn, want to grow with the company and want to be there and not just clock in for a paycheck. It takes time to build that culture and find those people.”
Coming into the company from humble beginnings, Melshenker was determined to do something with cannabis, even if he admittedly got off to a rocky start.
“I connected with cannabis at 16 years old and never looked back,” he explains. “Twenty-three years later, I still love this plant more and more each day. I sold my first eighth of what we called ‘Kind Bud’ when I was 16 years old, so that I could smoke for free. Fast-forward to 2005 when I moved out to LA to get into the fashion industry; that’s when I began to learn the ins and outs of the Prop. 215 model and the business side of the industry. I thought if I could take what I did for the previous eight years while in college and afterwards and do it legally, it would be a dream come true.
“I was acting as a broker between some of the top growers and the best dispensaries in the state, soaking in both worlds as much as I could. Once Obama took office, and Eric Holder announced he was going to leave it to the states to regulate, I knew it was a sign to leave the fashion industry and go all-in. I raised friends and family money in 2008 and built my first grow house in Encino, California. That was a total failure, with me using LEDs before LED technology was sufficient to grow cannabis indoors. But, like all mistakes that are really the path to success, that failure led to the next chapter of our moving to Colorado, where you could be a for-profit LLc as opposed to California, where you had to hide behind the non-profit model to be in compliance at the time.”
With headquarters in both Colorado and California, it’s important to Melshenker that each employee, no matter how recently hired, feels a personal connection to the brand and wants to grow with the company. In an industry that sometimes puts profits over people, this is huge.
“I want to make sure that I build a relationship with everybody in the company; that’s really important to me,” Melshenker said. “I want to get to know them; I want them to understand this is, in a sense, a family. I think it’s important to grow that way with people that you care about and are invested in the company and its success and each other.”
With an early interest in cannabis paired with an entrepreneurial spirit, Melshenker knew he was destined to work with cannabis, but he had aspirations beyond small-time selling and smoking. Once he realized that some states were going to start legalizing the plant, he got into growing and then extraction, and the rest is history.
“Our commitment is to only sell products that 1 would consume,” Melshenker said about the pride and care that goes into 710’s offerings. “Quality over everything is our ethos. Even over making money. And I know every company says that, but we live it. First-rate hash over self-interest is the formula. We throw batches out in the trash if they don’t meet the quality-control standards, literally. There is a lot of creative branding and packaging out there, a lot of mid-grade product, but I learned early in my career [that] high-quality product always sells the fastest and breeds loyalty. Our fans know they can count on us for consistency as well.”
Known for unique products like water hash and Noodle Doinks (a.k.a. hand-rolled joints), 710 Labs has set itself apart from others in the concentrates industry and stands out from the crowd due to the consistent quality of its offerings.
“Quality over everything is our ethos. Even over making money. And I know every company says that, but we live it.” —Brad Melshenker
“This is the product I am currently most proud of,” said Melshenker of 710 Labs’ pre-rolls. “There wasn’t a pre-roll on the market in either California or Colorado that I would want to go buy. I’m not the best joint-roller in the world, although it is meditative for me. I wanted to develop the ultimate joint with the highest-quality flower inside it. No smalls, no trim, no shake, no ground-up, powdery, dry nugs.
“I wanted to develop something that my weed-snob mind would buy. We cut off excess paper for the perfect bud-to-paper ratio. We added in the gluten-free rotini noodle as the crutch/ filter for airflow and stability, and boom, our Noodle Doinks arrived on the market, and we can’t keep them on shelves. Tensecond Tom, who runs this department and helped set up the process since it’s very laborious, is credited for making my vision become a reality in terms of producing these at scale.”
In addition to the company’s focus on creating some of the best products out there, the 710 crew also has an eye on social equity. Specifically, with a location in Oakland, they try to make sure that the underserved community has access to resources.
“We embrace social-equity programs, as we understand and empathize with the injustice that has occurred due to the government’s previous War on Drugs,” Melshenker said. “Specifically in the city of Oakland, where our California facility is, we have two social-equity partners in two of our cannabis licenses, and, in addition, our company also supports the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which helps find jobs and offers community and support for formerly incarcerated individuals.”
710 Labs has also worked with a transitional program for foster youth to help them get real-world work experience. The company has interviewed and hired some folks from this program who have gone on to be huge assets to the team. Unlike other brands that only talk the talk, 710 Labs makes sure to walk the walk when it comes to actual inclusion.
In terms of what’s coming up next for the brand, Melshenker has lots of exciting plans in the works. “We have many announcements in terms of new product lines, like our Rosin Pods, which are dropping in a few months, as well as our Persy Doinks (three grams of flower, one gram of hash rosin),” he said. “Also, we are adding new flavors to our genetic library from the extensive pheno hunting we do for new cultivars.”
Finally, consumers can anticipate future collaborations that have leading creators partnering with 710 Labs. “We will continue to release limited-edition artist drops and collabs, similar to our notable ones with Richard Prince, Camp High and Joe Roberts (LSD World Peace),” Melshenker shared. “I’m very excited about our upcoming collabs with the Elder Statesman and our new line called itsPurpL with Jaleel White that was recently launched. Finally, our seed company, Green Beans, will hit the market in 2022. We are definitely in expansion mode on all fronts, including new states and markets.”
The method you select while curing your rosin can have a vast effect on the flavor and consistency of your final product.
While warm curing is usually done at temperatures ranging from anywhere between 90 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit, cold curing is usually done in a sealed jar between the temperature of 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The jar is left sealed for anywhere between 24 and 72 hours.
Warm curing involves either putting rosin that has been heated into a glass jar after extraction, and then sealing, or heating the rosin after it has been placed into a sealed glass jar. This resting process allows the terpenes to begin to separate and even pool on the surface of the rosin. Those terpenes are then whipped back into the rosin, creating a badder-like consistency. The end product is the ideal consistency for dabbing or twisting up in a joint.
One of the advantages of the cold cure process is that it minimizes the amount of terpenes that are lost through evaporation. Because of this, this process is commonly used to preserve the flavor and smell of the terpenes. Rosin has seen a noticeable increase in popularity in the last year. As the market matures and more education is being done around extracts, it seems more and more brands are trying their hand.
Today, I had the opportunity to try two Cold Cure Rosin strains from Kaizen Extracts. Kaizen’s Cold Cure Rosins are manufactured in Monterey County, California by Cypress Manufacturing and can be found in dispensaries across the state.
Kaizen is a legacy brand in California; the brand has been processing some of the best material in California since the medical days and has always put out clean, quality extracts. Since his entry into the industry, Kaizen’s Founder Dan Yoo saw a need for clean cannabis for patients, and he has since been committed to manufacturing only the highest quality concentrates.
Kaizen has won multiple awards for its extracts and is considered to be among the finest extraction companies for those who appreciate high quality extracts. Visit the Kaizen Extracts website to access the store locator to find them at a dispensary in your area.
The first Kaizen product that I sampled was the White Tahoe Gelato Cold Cure. This rosin is a beautiful combination of White Tahoe Cookies crossed with Gelato. As I cracked the fresh jar, I was immediately welcomed by the pungent aroma of sweet pine with a menthol-like finish. Even after I put the jar down, the stench lingered in my nose, and I could feel it begin to make my nose hairs tingle.
Taking my first look into the jar, I noticed a beautiful, champagne-blonde rosin that had a consistency of smooth badder. As the smooth, thick smoke began to fill my lungs and mouth, I immediately tasted the creamy funk of the gelato. The flavor continued and then evolved, as notes of pine coated the top of my mouth as I exhaled.
The effect set in almost immediately. The strain is relaxing and sedative; I first noticed my shoulders and face muscles start to retract and relax. Any anxieties I had started to slowly melt away as I, too, started to melt into the couch. So physically relaxing and mentally calming, this would be a great strain to smoke before heading off to bed.
The next extract on the table was Kaizen’s Banana Royale, which was a delightful smoke. Banana Royale is a mouthwatering cross of Banana OG and Dairy Queen. The rosin has a very similar look to the While Tahoe Gelato, with a vibrant blonde color and a similarly badder-like consistency. On first smell, I picked up notes of ripe and candied bananas from the Banana OG.
The sweet banana smell was followed up by a creamy and almost nutty aroma, which added a delightful savory note to the finish. The candied-banana terps transferred directly into the flavor as the sweet, creamy Banana OG hit my tastebuds. The Dairy Queen (being a cross of Cheese and Space Queen) then added a fatty, peanut-like taste to the exhale.
This strain is uplifting and euphoric without being racey or overly stimulating. The effects then slowly shift to a sedative and cozy feeling. This strain pairs well with your end of day activities helping you unwind while reading a book or binging your favorite series.
After taking the time to smoke and enjoy these products, I can confidently say that if you enjoy high quality and tasty cannabis extracts, you should check out Kaizen’s Cold Cured Hash Rosin. Dan and the team have stayed true to their word and continued to put out only the highest quality extracts. I look forward to seeing (and smoking!) what other interesting rosins the team from Monterey comes out with in the coming months and years.
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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Smoking, dabbing, and vaping concentrates has become a main way of consuming cannabis. But what are these different concentrates on the market, like shatter, wax, butter, and resin, and how are they different from each other?
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!
Extracts vs concentrates?
A concentrate is sort of what it sounds like, a concentrated form of something. Before getting further into it, though, it’s best to do some quick definitions in order to understand what we’re speaking of. The terms ‘concentrates’ and ‘extracts’ are used almost synonymously, and though sometimes this makes sense, sometimes it does not. So, for the sake of clarity, here are the two basic definitions.
Extract: This is anything that has been taken out of the cannabis plant. A cannabis flower is a flower, not an extract, but when the plant is put in alcohol to leach out the THC or CBD, those compounds that get taken out, are extracts of the plant.
Concentrate: This is an extract that has been put in concentrated form. So let’s say a plant naturally has about 20% THC. If you smoke the plant you’ll get that 20%. However, if you extract the THC out into a product that now doesn’t have the rest of the plant, the THC is concentrated to account for maybe as high as 90%+, making it a concentrate. You can kind of look at it like this, all concentrates are extracts, but not all extracts are concentrates.
Taking a minor cannabinoid like CBN is a good example. You can do an extraction, like a tincture, where different compounds from the plant are leached out into the alcohol. If it’s just a regular extraction, the amount of CBN will be low, since it doesn’t exist in large quantities in the plant. If it’s <1% of the plant, the ratio of it to other compounds will remain the same in the tincture. However, if you’re looking specifically for a CBN product, you might want to find a concentrated form, where the CBN has been leached out, and then separated from the rest of the compounds, making for a concentrated version of just that cannabinoid.
Sometimes this means taking the CBN from several plants to put together as one concentrate. This is also why synthetization occurs frequently when making cannabis products. CBN doesn’t exist in large amounts, so if enough is wanted to produce a product, it often has to be synthesized in a laboratory to make enough for production. There is currently argument over whether something should be considered a synthetic under this condition.
Another good example is hemp oil vs CBD oil. Hemp oil is made as an extraction of the compounds in a hemp plant. CBD oil is a hemp extraction where the CBD has been concentrated to be above the amount found in the plant in nature.
How are extractions done?
Extractions can be done in different ways. The tincture method, mentioned above, is done with ethanol alcohol usually, although tinctures can also be made with vinegar, oil, glycerin, or even water. Alcohol does the best job of breaking down plant material to release compounds, so it’s often used most for this purpose.
For the kind of extracts we’re talking about in this article, they are usually extracted using a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide. Usually butane, though. The plant material is put in the solvent, which breaks down the trichomes which house the cannabinoids inside. The cannabinoids bind directly to the solvent, and by the end of the process, the solvent is burned off with heat, leaving behind a concentrated extraction of cannabinoids. This is often done in a closed loop system:
A closed-loop system is a process that involves devices that can operate automatically to control a process in order to reach a specific result. In an open-loop system, human help is required, closed-loop does not have such a requirement. As per the name, the process involves a circular motion and ends in the same place it begins. For a closed-loop, the plant material starts in one place, goes to another where its soaked with a solvent like butane. Then to another chamber where compounds get released, and then to another chamber where the solvent is heated to burn it off. The remaining solvent filters back to the place it started, ending the loop.
More and more, this is being done as a cold process in order to preserve cannabinoids and terpenes. When done as a cold extraction, the plant material and solvent are both cooled first – sometimes down to cryogenic temperatures in the case of something like live resin. The cooling becomes a part of the closed-loop cycle. In a closed-loop system, the solvent never makes contact with the outside, and this creates a generally safer situation when dealing with flammable solvents. Anytime a solvent like butane or propane is used, it’s a hydrocarbon extraction.
Main concentrates of interest: shatter, wax, BHO, butter, resin…
There are a lot of different names these days to define concentrates. Concentrates have names like shatter, butane hash oil, butter, wax, resin, rosin… So what’s the difference? Sometimes not much at all. In fact, sometimes the difference has more to do with the consistency of the final product than anything else. Here’s a basic breakdown of some of the more popular concentrates currently on dispensary shelves:
Shatter: This concentrate actually looks a bit like glass, which makes the name understandable. It’s generally yellow in color with air bubbles throughout, and a slick, hard texture. It has the appearance that it would literally shatter if you banged it against a hard object. It’s stiffness and shininess are what defines it. Shatter gets its appearance because of the cooling process it goes through. It is purged, heated, and cooled on repeat for no less than 48 hours, which turns the otherwise sticky oil, into a glass-like structure. This can allow for very high THC levels of close to 99%, so the end product is nearly pure cannabinoid.
Wax and butter are the same thing, and can also go by the name batter. Much like the name again, the consistency is creamy-looking, like butter, with a thicker, wetter consistency than shatter. This is a result of actually being whipped, much like butter. The whipping process evaporates out solvents left over, while incorporating in air to give it its nice buttery texture. Depending on how intensely its whipped, the final product can be more dry and crumbly – resembling wax, or less intense which leaves it creamier like butter. Waxes and butters melt very quickly, and are great for dab tools.
Honeycomb is another kind of concentrate, generally made using hydrocarbons as solvents. The only real difference between how shatter and honeycomb are made, is in the purging phase (which is how most of these concentrates get their individual textures). Unlike shatter which is purged, heated, and cooled on repeat, or butter, which is whipped during purging, honeycomb is created by putting the concentrate on a pan in a vacuum, and purged only at low temperature for a long time, allowing it to dry out. This creates a concentrate that can look like a honeycomb, or simply just be dry and crumbly, making it different then concentrates that are wetter and stickier. This is also called crumble, because it can crumble in your hand due to its brittle nature.
Live resin: This one relies on not only using cold temperatures, but using cryogenic temperatures, although the rest of the extraction is similar to the others mentioned, using a closed loop, and a hydrocarbon solvent like propane or butane (or carbon dioxide). The plant material is frozen immediately after harvest, and the solvent is also cooled down to cryogenic temperatures before being put over the cannabis. In this process the matter is still being heated at a point to burn off the solvent, but the rest of the process is done at -292 F. The last step for live resin involves vaporizing out CO2 molecules to lower volatility, which leaves the pure live resin at the end. The end result is a yellow concentrate with a consistency somewhere between liquid oils, and more firm waxes.
One concentrate that does not fit in with the rest, is live rosin. What makes rosin stand out (and it should never be confused with resin – which is a different thing), is that it doesn’t require a solvent, instead using cold and pressure. The term ‘live’ that’s used for both resin and rosin, comes from the idea that both concentrates are made from fresh frozen cannabis, and the processes are done in cold temperatures. This is to preserve as much of the plant material as possible. Some people make rosin in a cheaper way using a hair straightener to smash it together, but the heat in this can ruin plant constituents.
Instead, the real way to make it is to make bubble hash (water hash), which involves an entire process of putting the plant material in successive bags of ice water and using agitation in the cold to remove the plant constituents from the plant. After agitation, there is a layer of golden trichomes that have come off the plant. These are washed off at the end to cleanse away impurities, left to dry on a filter screen, and then scraped off with something like a butter knife. This ice wax is then smashed through a filter in low temperatures, and the result, which is pushed through the filter, is a nearly pure concentrate. Rosin comes out looking smooth and oily, kind of like honey. One gram of good quality rosin can go for over $100.
One name that should be very well known, is BHO, or butane hash oil. This is not a specific type of concentrate, but rather refers to all the concentrates that can be made using butane as a solvent. This term often gets used in place of the more specific concentrate names, but is not specific to anything else, other than the processing solvent. Similarly, when the term ‘CO2 oil’ is used, it refers to concentrates made using carbon dioxide as a solvent. The same concentrates can be made by using either butane or carbon dioxide, so if you want shatter, wax, resin, or whatever else, it doesn’t have to be made with a hydrocarbon.
A supercritical CO2 extraction is when carbon dioxide is compressed beyond its ‘critical point’. A critical point is a term used in thermodynamics to describe, in the case of CO2, when its being held at, or above, its critical temperature and pressure point, which allows it to stay somewhere in between a liquid and a gas. At natural temperature and pressure, CO2 is a gas, and when frozen, its dry ice. In its supercritical state it has properties of both a gas and a liquid.
For a CO2 supercritical extraction, the CO2 is compressed to its supercritical liquid form, which is put on cannabis to strip away the cannabinoids and terpenes. The CO2 is then re-pressurized to turn back into a gas, at which point everything it stripped from the plant is left and the CO2 is gone. It’s like if there was stuff stuck in ice, and then the ice melted completed, leaving only what it had been holding onto. This kind of extraction has a couple benefits. The CO2 can be pressurized at temperatures that don’t ruin plant material, and when it reverts back to a gas, it does so without leaving any kind of contamination on the product, making for a cleaner extraction process than using hydrocarbons like butane. It also will not decarboxylate material in the process of extraction.
One of the great uses of a CO2 supercritical extraction is to make an isolate. An isolate is one of the purer forms of concentrate because in the process of making it, all the other plant materials are burned out, which means isolates actually have no smell, color, or flavor. Isolates can be made in several ways, the best of which is with a CO2 supercritical extraction. A less expensive way to make an isolate is with ethanol. Ethanol works well and is safe, but will also pull out more from the plant than just cannabinoids, requiring other techniques to clean out the rest. Yet another way is to use a solvent like pentane. Regardless of how it’s done, the final product is a crystalline powder, which is about the most pure form of CBD or THC possible to get, with no other plant material there.
If necessary, after the initial extraction, the extracted material is winterized – or soaked in alcohol and frozen to separate out cannabinoids from other residual plant matter. This is necessary after an ethanol extraction since plant materials are included in the extracted material. The idea of an isolate is that it will be just one cannabinoid in crystalized form. This is separate from a distillate, which is rich in one specific cannabinoid, but which contains other cannabinoids to include the entourage effect.
There are a ton of different cannabis concentrates on the market that include names like shatter, butter, wax, resin and so on. Depending on what’s important to you, and what you’re looking for, there is sure to be a concentrate that meets your needs.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.