Cannabis concentrates appear in a variety of forms. Sometimes they’re on full display, like weed oil in vaporizer cartridges, and other times they fly under the radar in medicated balms and edibles.
Those looking to fully appreciate the diverse world of cannabis concentrates have come to the right place. Here, we’ll go over common types of cannabis concentrates and the different ways you can consume them as well as how to find the right product for your purposes.
Dabs are concentrated doses of cannabis that are made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids using a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide, resulting in sticky oils. Depending on their consistency, these marijuana concentrates are also commonly referred to as wax, shatter, budder, and butane hash oil (BHO). Marijuana wax and other dabs are typically heated on a hot surface, usually a nail, and then inhaled through a dab rig. Smoking dabs as a method of consumption has been around for at least a decade, but the advent of more advanced extraction methods have led to a flood of cannabis concentrates that have boosted dabbing’s popularity.
While it’s possible to extract non-intoxicating compounds like CBD, THC is what’s behind the potent effects of marijuana wax and other forms of dabs, making them the fastest and most efficient way to get really, really stoned. Terpenes, or the aromatic oils that give cannabis flavor, can also be extracted, although it can be difficult to preserve these volatile compounds in the extraction process.
What are concentrates and extracts?
Similar to that orange juice concentrate in the back of your freezer, cannabis concentrates are the product of distilling down the most desirable parts of the plant. They contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes of cannabis flowers and none of the excess plant material. Ounce for ounce, marijuana concentrates have a far greater proportion of cannabinoids and terpenes than raw cannabis flowers.
Cannabinoids and terpenes are responsible for the effects, aroma, and flavors you might experience with any cannabis product. They are found throughout the cannabis plant in small, sparkling structures called trichomes. A cannabis concentrate is simply a condensed accumulation of these trichomes. Grab any high-quality cannabis flower and you can see them for yourself. These frosty appendages coat the entire surface of the plant, but they’re particularly noticeable on the flower buds.
Concentrates let you experience the best parts of cannabis in a multitude of ways and they come in a variety of textures that can be consumed using several different methods. Depending on the final form they take, cannabis concentrates and extracts can be consumed on their own, sprinkled in a joint to increase the potency, or precisely incorporated in a batch of edibles.
Effects of BHO
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Butane hash oil affects every individual differently. Even the same person may have a different experience on separate occasions or over the course of their life. Some of the factors that influence these differences appear to be:
- size, weight and health
- whether the person is used to taking it
- whether other drugs are taken around the same time
- the amount taken
- the strength of the drug
- expectations of consuming cannabis
- the environment of the individual
- the individual’s personality.
Low to moderate use of cannabis may produce the following effects:
- feelings of relaxation and euphoria
- spontaneous laughter and excitement
- increased sociability
- increased appetite
- dry mouth.
High strength cannabis in the form of butane hash oil may produce the following effects:
- reduced nausea
- changes to heart rate and blood pressure
- Pain relief
- excitement and restlessness
- confusion and paranoia
- anxiety and panic
- reduced attention rate
- decreased reaction times
- detachment from reality
Is there a difference between a concentrate and an extract?
You may have heard the terms concentrate and extract used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Extracts are a specific type of concentrate made using a solvent. So, while all extracts are concentrates, not all concentrates are extracts.
For example, vanilla extract is produced by using alcohol as a solvent to pull out the desired flavor component, vanillin, from vanilla bean pods. Alcohol may also be used to make a cannabis extract, as is in the case with Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). But other solvents may be deployed as well, like butane for Butane Hash Oil (BHO) and supercritical CO2 for cannabis wax extracts.
Concentrates made without the use of solvents are produced using mechanical or physical means to remove and gather trichomes. Rosin, dry sift, and kief are all examples of concentrates made without the use of solvents.
Since extracts and concentrates come in a variety of textures, you always can’t tell them apart just by looking at them.