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The Comprehensive Guide to Cannabis Concentrates: Types, Uses, and How to Choose

When it comes to health and wellness, cannabis concentrates have become a game-changer. While cannabis consumption for relief is not new, the use of concentrates has allowed non-smokers in general to get a dose of this form of medicine, which opened the doors to other treatment methods. 

But the whole cannabis concentrates topic tends to be broad, and this article will help you understand what they are and how they can be maximized. 


What are Cannabis Concentrates? 

Cannabis Concentrates

Photo courtesy of grantpharms.com

Cannabis concentrates are the very essence of the plant. If fruits like oranges have their pulp and juice, cannabis has oils that you can extract from the buds harvested by growers. But unlike fruits, which only entail using a juicer, extracting the concentrates from cannabis requires a different and meticulous process so that you get the purest form possible. 

Extracting these concentrates needs the utmost care. You want to preserve the cannabinoids and terpenes, which deliver the flavor and benefits of the buds. With the proper equipment and techniques, you can get these concentrates with minimal loss in terpenes and cannabinoids. 


Are Concentrates the Same as Extracts?

Concentrates and extracts are often interchanged. But truth be told, there is some distinction between the pure forms. Nonetheless, in the context of cannabis, they are both designed to create products that provide alternatives to consumption without smoking. 

Concentrates are more of an umbrella term that defines the product from the cannabis plant—making concentrates may involve different techniques or tools to derive. For instance, getting concentrates can entail using a rosin pressdry sifter, or solvents like alcohol or butane. The result may vary depending on the technique, as you can get rosin, kief, or oil. 

Extracts, meanwhile, refer to a specific form of concentrate. Extracts are made when alcohol is used as a solvent to extract the flavor, as seen in the Rick Simpson Oil. Extracts come out as oil, which you can use for different applications, including culinary and health. 


How Concentrates are Derived

Concentrates are taken from the plant material differently, depending on the desired output. But the basic method of getting them can be solvent and solventless. 

Using solvents, such as butane or ethyl alcohol, is one way. In this method, the base material is soaked in the chosen solvent and processed to separate the concentrate from the soaking liquid. While not necessarily the purest concentrate, solvents tend to produce more yields, although this largely depends on the technique used. 

Solventless concentrates, such as rosin, don’t imbue chemicals, although they don’t yield as much as using solvents to make concentrates. They are often safer but take time to derive since you can only process less base material in every run. Likewise, not all plant material can be used for solventless concentrates. 

Between the two, using solvent is a practical choice if you’re looking to produce more concentrates in one sitting, while solventless is for those who want purity or are processing small quantities of plant material. 


Exploring the Diverse Textures of Cannabis Concentrates

Types of Cannabis Concentrates

Concentrates are called by different names, such as sauce, crumble, and shatter, to name a few. These terms describe their texture. Now, texture doesn’t say much about the potency of a product. However, it does suggest ways you can use them. 

Shatter: Shatter concentrates are known for being brittle and translucent. They sometimes break easily, hence the name shatter. Often, you can find shatter in yellow or amber colors. 

Budder or Badder: These concentrates lean towards the softer side, often resembling cake batter. They are moldable and come in yellow or bright orange colors. Because of their buttery texture, they are great for use with blunts or dab rigs. 

Crumble: Crumble is like a combination of budder and shatter. They have this crumbly texture, which makes them almost as fragile as shatter, but their color is similar to budder but with a matte appearance. 


Best Methods for Consuming Cannabis Concentrates

The typical way to consume cannabis concentrates is through dabbing, although not everyone prefers smoking or inhaling these fumes. The good news is concentrates allow for different consumption methods, making it flexible based on user preferences. 

The best way to consume concentrates depends on one’s preference. Each consumption method has its strengths and weaknesses but still delivers the effects. 

  1. Dabbing: This method works best for anyone looking for a fast-acting high with full potency. Dabbing concentrates entail using a dab rig, which involves heating a nail with a butane torch and putting the concentrate into the nail’s hot surface, which vaporizes it instantaneously for inhalation. Technological advancements offer safe alternatives to torches, such as e-nails, which heat the metal element using electricity. While dabbing is preferred for getting that high, you can also use concentrates with high levels of CBD. 
  2. Vape Pens: Vape Pens are perfect for anyone looking for a discreet or convenient way to get that hit without being too conspicuous. These require a pre-filled cartridge with the chosen concentrate and a compatible vape pen. The vape pen uses a battery to heat the concentrate inside and turn it into vapor for inhalation. While the cartridge and pen are disposable, you can save the battery for use with other vape pens. 
  3. Dab Pens: Dab pens combine vape pens' convenience and dab rigs' power. The nice thing about this method is that it is portable, but you can have the potency of a dab rig, which allows you to fill the dab pen’s chamber with the concentrate of your choice. 
  4. Flower Topping: Topping your buds with concentrates is best for people who want to supplement them with more flavor and hits. For this method, concentrates are added to the bowl with buds or adding wax to the outside of a joint before smoking it. It’s almost foolproof, yet it can be a little messy when careless. But just the same, it gives a boost in hit and flavor. 
  5. Edibles: Adding concentrates to food is an excellent way to consume cannabis without smoking it. This consumption is best for newbies or people who don’t want to smoke or inhale vapor from concentrates. Many of these concentrates are available ready to eat in specialty stores. However, the effects of this form take longer to kick in. Smoking or inhaling provides an almost instantaneous high, while edibles can take an hour or two to take effect. 
  6. Topicals or Tinctures: Topicals or tinctures are an excellent way to consume cannabis concentrates without getting high. These often have low levels of THC and instead have higher CBD content. More often, topicals and tinctures are used for medicinal purposes, especially when finding pain relief. 

Selecting the Perfect Cannabis Concentrate for Your Needs

Cannabis concentrate products in the market often have different product descriptions, which reflects the diversity of options. But to help you understand the concentrates in the market, let’s take a look at how they are labeled: 

  1. Input Material: To derive concentrates, you need an input material. These are often categorized into three:
    • Nug Run: Made from dried and cured buds.
    • Trim Run: Produced using dried leaves from the plant.
    • Whole Plant: Derived from the entire dried cannabis plant. 
  2. Extraction Method: This describes how the concentrate was derived from the cannabis plant. This can be rosin, extract, or wax, among other methods. 
  3. Consistency:This describes the appearance of the concentrate. This can be anywhere from wax to brittle or even oil. 
For instance, if you come across a concentrate labeled as 'Whole Plant Train Wreck Crumble,' it signifies that this concentrate was made from the entire Train Wreck cannabis plant and has a crumbly texture."

Final Thoughts 

If you are a beginner who wants to explore concentrates, the good news is that with the options available, you can find a way to enjoy it. With the inputs in this article, you can make an informed decision on what concentrates work best for you. 

Each form was made for particular users. Choosing which concentrate you should try will always depend on your personal preferences. Always consume concentrates in the most comfortable way because that’s the best way.

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