If the topic of cannabis concentrates leaves you drawing a blank, you’re not alone. Concentrates first took the cannabis-loving world by storm in the late 1990s. While they were, without doubt, a game-changer, they take some consideration, education, and experience.
They’re almost shockingly flavorful—a wonderful treat for the palate—but cannabis concentrates are also extremely potent, making them a big leap for those who are new to cannabis. However, if you’re someone who has found what works for you with cannabis consumption, you might be ready to take the cannabis flavor profile and overall experience to new heights.
Is there a “best” cannabis concentrate? If you’re just starting to investigate the benefits of cannabis concentrates, this quick guide will introduce the major types, and offer some insights as to where you can begin your journey!
Cannabis Concentrates: An Introduction
Compared to flower, cannabis concentrates are much more powerful. The most potent flower typically tops out in the high 20% range (or, in rare cases, the low 30% range) in terms of THC content. By comparison, it’s not unusual to find concentrates that reach the 90% range. A tiny amount goes a long way. The effects of cannabis concentrates can be surprisingly intense and long-lasting.
With that said, cannabis concentrates are also an easy-to-use, shelf-stable, and effective way to access all the cannabis plant’s medical benefits. Though typically consumed via a specialized pipe called a “dab rig,” some forms of cannabis concentrates—such as hash or CBD oil—don’t require any specialized equipment at all.
Let’s break down the top considerations for cannabis concentrate consumption.
Cannabis Concentrates: Solvent or Solventless?
When it comes to understanding concentrates, it’s important to know if they’re produced using solvents or not. In the cannabis world, “solvents” are products that separate the “active ingredients” in cannabis—the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other components—from the flower.
Some fans believe that—because they don’t require the use of chemicals—solventless concentrates such as hash or rosin are superior to solvent-based options. This is not necessarily the case. A high-quality extract created using a solvent can deliver best-in-class flavor and aroma (and, of course, high potency).
It’s also important to note that even when cannabis concentrates are made with solvents such as ethanol, butane, or carbon dioxide, these additives are carefully removed in the refining process before packaging and sale. You’ll want to trust the manufacturer is validating their best practices—perhaps by trusting that your favorite dispensary has done their due diligence and is only carrying trustworthy brands. So, when deciding between top-quality solvent and solventless concentrates, it comes down to preference.
Marijuana Concentrates: Solventless Products
Let’s begin our tour with a few of the most popular solventless concentrates: kief, hash, and rosin.
Kief: While not a true concentrate in the modern sense, kief is an important product (and the essential building block for hash). It’s made by mechanically separating and concentrating the gooey trichomes that coat the cannabis flower. A fine, light-colored powder, kief can be consumed on its own or added to cannabis flower in pipes, bowls, or joints.
Hash: The first known cannabis concentrate, hash—or hashish—is made of kief pressed into dense and sticky blocks. While hash’s popularity has faded a bit, it’s still a fairly potent—and very flavorful—way to dip your toe into the world of concentrates.
Rosin: The simplest of concentrates, rosin is produced by applying mild heat and pressure to cured cannabis flower. Because it requires little in terms of equipment, rosin is the most popular—and safest—type of concentrate to make at home.
Marijuana Concentrates: Solvent-Based Products
Bak to solvent-based concentrates. Because they involve the use of flammable compounds, they’re made using laboratory-grade equipment and techniques. In exchange, they offer a wide range of textures, consistencies, flavors, and potencies. Some of the most common concentrates in this category include BHO, live resin, CO2 extracts, batter, budder, and wax. Here are a couple of our favorites and why they might be worth trying.
BHO: Short for “butane hash oil,” BHO is considered by many to be the first modern concentrate. Popular because it tends to preserve more of the flavorful terpenes and potent cannabinoids than other solvent-based concentrates, BHO is often made into “shatter”—dried, candy-like shards, usually consumed via a dabbing rig.
Live Resin: Relatively new, these concentrates are made from a flash-frozen flower. Because this preserves an extremely high proportion of terpenes, some people describe the flavor of live resins as “hyperrealistic.”
There’s much more to the story of cannabis concentrates, of course. Check out our menu to dig into the available options. If you have more questions about these products, just ask! We’re always here to help.