Describe what cannabis concentrates are, where they come from, how they differ, and how to choose one for yourself.
Sugar, wax, rosin, the list of names goes on. Welcome to the exciting world of cannabis concentrates. What are concentrates, and why do they have so many names? We’ll get to that in a moment. For now, let’s start with what a cannabis concentrates are, and where they come from.
A cannabis concentrate is an extract of pure cannabinoids and terpenes. This makes for very potent, highly concentrated products. They are typically favored by patients looking for high doses of specific strains, or specific cannabinoids, and are also popular for how fast the effects kick in. The cannabinoids and terpenes can be extracted using a variety of methods. They can then be further refined using different processes, all of which result in similar yet different forms of product. This is why cannabis concentrates have so many names.
Hash, or hashish, was the first form of cannabis concentrate. Used as a medicine, and originating from Eastern Asia, hash is simply compressed trichomes from the cannabis flower that have been pressed together into different shapes. Extraction methods for cannabis have come a long way since the days of hand pressing bricks of hash.
There are two main kinds of extraction methods. First there is solventless extraction, where there is no use of a solvent, like when hash is made. Then there are solvent based extraction methods using different solvents to harvest the trichomes and terpenes. The most commonly used solvents in cannabis extraction are butane, C02, propane, and alcohol. We could go into how each of these extraction processes works, but let’s save that for another day.
Both solventless extraction methods and ones that use solvents produce the same product a form of cannabis concentrate. Their appearance, texture, and how they smell or taste are the main differentiating factors, which brings us to what all these different concentrates are.
Shatter is a butane extract. It looks like glass and kind of shatters when you break it. Waxes and budders have a waxy and butter like texture, caused by a process of whipping air while solvent evaporates. Sugar, you guessed it, looks a lot sugar, a gooey sugar. Sugaring is actually a process where strains with high fat content try to separate during the extraction process, causing the gooey sugar look. Rosin, or live resin, is a solventless method of extraction using only heat and pressure to produce a potent and gluey like product.
When it comes to choosing the right concentrate, start with one that looks the best to you. Try different types of concentrates to experiment with how you like working with them, and how they make you feel. They’re mostly the exact same product, just with a different look and feel, so people tend to choose the ones they find most visually appealing, the easiest work with, and produce the best medical effects.
No matter which type of cannabis concentrate you choose, remember that they will be very strong, because they are highly concentrated. Concentrates are not recommended for first time consumers and should be introduced in low dosages when first trying them out.