If you didn’t already know, cannabis can be consumed in a wide variety of ways. Fortunately for us, the cannabis plant is one of the most versatile plants in the world, and there are a whole host of unique products that can be produced from extracting its valuable compounds.
If you’re the kind of person that just smokes their weed in a joint, there is a whole new world of products waiting to be discovered that sit under the umbrella term of concentrates, oils, and extracts. This is the blanket categorization we give to the wide variety of products that can be extracted from cannabis typically using a solvent or solvent-less technique.
This article will provide a brief introduction to the most popular products that are derived from these methods and what they’re most commonly used. Let’s jump into it.
What is cannabis, concentrates, oils, and extracts?
Concentrates, oils, and cannabis extracts are all products made from the cannabis plant that have been processed in a particular way to isolate one specific compound, such as the cannabinoids and terpenes. This process removes all of the other plant material, which, in turn, accumulates the isolated compound, creating a powerful, potent, and flavourful product.
As the name suggests, these products have a much higher concentration of the isolated compound, which can lead to stronger psychoactive effects, or medicinal benefits if that’s what you’re using it for.
Why would people use these products?
You may be wondering why people would choose to consume cannabis concentrate rather than just smoking the whole bud itself. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using these products:
- Some people may have sensitive lungs or simply do not enjoy the sensation of smoking. Many people find cannabis harsh on their lungs and could even be put off by the taste that it leaves behind.
- For people who are seeking the medicinal benefits of certain cannabis compounds, they are unlikely to benefit from the psychoactive experience that users feel as a result of the THC compound. CBD oil is one of the most popular medicinal oils that is non-intoxicating and has wide-ranging health benefits, such as its impressive anti-inflammatory properties.
- High levels of potency in certain extracted products.
- Concentrates usually have a much stronger flavor.
- Cannabis oils and extracts are efficient at their job. If you are looking for the psychoactive experience from THC, then it will take you much less extract to get high than it would from pure smoking bud.
As mentioned, there are two processes for extracting the compounds from the cannabis plant. These are the solvent extraction and solventless extraction. Firstly let’s take a look at the solvent process and what that involves.
The solvent process and products
The solvent-based process uses strong chemical solvents to extract the compound from the cannabis plant. This is usually complicated and sometimes dangerous which is why the vast majority of these extractions are done in a lab setting by experts.
The resulting product is largely dependent upon the chemical solvent that is used. The most popular solvents include ethanol, carbon dioxide, butane, and propane. These highly flammable extractors are used to separate the cannabis flower of its cannabinoids and terpenes.
Once this is done, careful measures need to be taken to ensure that no solvent remains in the final product as they can be toxic and harmful to digest. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular products found when using a solvent extraction:
- Wax and budder
This is the most common type of concentrate that is derived from the solvent-based extraction process. Budder is waxy in texture while the wax is dry and generally quite crumbly to the touch.
Diamond gets its name from the appearance that it takes after the extraction. Diamond is a pure THCA crystalline, which provides a very strong psychoactive experience.
Shatter is a resin that is cooled into a glassy sheet that looks similar to caramel in its color. The sheet is extremely fragile hence the name shatter. This is a relatively expensive product and is extremely potent.
Honeycomb is produced in a very similar process to shatter and the final result is also alike. It has an orange to amber appearance and becomes very crumbly once it is shuttered.
The solventless process and products
As you may already have guessed, a solventless as extraction is the process of isolating the compounds from a cannabis plant without the use of a chemical solvent. The methods for solving this extraction vary but generally involve either freezing the cannabis to detach the compounds from the plant or through a process of intense heat and pressure.
Over the last few years, solventless concentrates have been on the rise as people become more health-conscious with the products that they are consuming. As these types of concentrate have not been exposed to any strong and toxic chemicals, they are considered to be healthier options over the concentrates derived from solvent extractions. Solventless concentrates also have a higher potency and generally taste better as the cannabis plant's chemical structure remains intact.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular products:
Kief is probably one of the easiest and most popular concentrates to extract. The process simply involves rubbing or grinding the flower against a screen to separate the trichomes from the plant. Kief is usually a powdered form and is extremely potent.
Hash uses subzero temperatures to agitate and remove the trichomes from the cannabis plant. The resulting product can be vaporized, used for dabbing, or smoked.
Rosin uses high temperatures coupled with high pressure to separate the trichomes from the bud. The result is a thick golden resin that contains many valuable terpenes and has a great aroma and flavor.
Once you have purchased or produced your cannabis concentrate is important to keep your concentrates fresh. This means putting in a specific concentrate packaging such as dab containers, that provide a great way to store your weed extracts.
Most of these products will degrade if they are exposed to oxygen, so it is important to keep them in an airtight container to keep them potent and flavorful for longer.
Thanks for reading.
About the Author:
Vlad Hughes is a business development manager and digital marketer at CannabizSucpply.com. He has over 5 years of experience in the cannabis industry, specialized in writing different educational guides on Marijuana packaging topics, canna-business digital strategies, laws etc.
Thanks so much to Kimzy Nanney for the cover blog photo