Cannabis concentrates are known for their strength, purity, and variety of textures. Also known as extracts, all cannabis concentrates are produced from cannabis trichomes, the resinous glands found on the plant that contain cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds that produce the recreational and medicinal effects of cannabis use.
The trichomes are extracted from the cannabis plant chemically with a solvent or with heat and pressure to create a concentrated cannabis extract. The main difference between all the different concentrates out there is how they are made and the many forms are determined by the type of extraction and refinement processes used.
Because you are now dealing with cannabis in a concentrated form, the effects are much stronger than smoking cannabis flower, so extra caution should be taken if you are a new user. Most concentrates are vaporized in a glass dab rig or flash-vaporized in an electronic vaporizer. Some can even be sprinkled on top of the dried flowers to spice up a joint or bowl.
Concentrates are also readily available in prefilled cartridges that can be attached to a battery for discreet and portable consumption.
THC-A, short for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a non-intoxicating compound produced by the cannabis plant. THC-A turns into THC in the presence of heat (a process called decarboxylation.) Crystalline THC-A is often called ‘diamonds’ or ‘sugar’ because of the crystals formed by the high degree of purity in the isolated THC-A.
These concentrates tend to be more expensive because of the amount of labour needed to refine them to their extremely high level of purity. Since this concentrate has little to no taste, it is often combined with a ‘sauce’ or ‘juice’, a concentrated cannabis terpene product that enhances the flavour, aroma, and entourage effect.
Budder (also sometimes badder/batter/wax) is a creamy looking concentrate that is whipped to create a smooth product that resembles butter or thick cake batter. Depending on the nuances of the extraction process, such as which stage the product is whipped and whether or not terpene oils have been added, the end product can vary slightly in consistency but is usually a golden blond colour with a frosting-like texture. This product is much easier to dose and handle than more solid concentrates like shatter because it is soft and easy to pick up with dab tools.
Shatter is a cannabis concentrate that has a transparent honey/amber color and a brittle, glass-like appearance. Shatter comes in a solid-state unlike its softer and more malleable cousins, and tends to crack or “shatter” into uneven pieces when broken apart.
The unique consistency and appearance of shatter is achieved by a butane or CO2 extraction process. Concentrates made with a butane extraction are also called BHO (butane hash oil.) Trichomes and desirable compounds like THC are stripped from the plant material by pushing the solvent through a container filled with cannabis.
The resulting oil is then further refined using processes called “purging” (the removal of residual solvents in a vacuum) and “winterization” (the separation of fats and lipids from the oil.) The hard, glassy look of shatter happens when the molecules are left undisturbed during processing, while the opaque and softer appearance of waxes occurs when the molecules are agitated during processing (like how budder is whipped.)
This concentrate is made from extracting the sticky resin off the trichomes of the cannabis plant using a solvent. Trichomes are the glands of the cannabis plant that produce cannabinoids and terpenes in a sticky substance the plant uses to protect itself from UV rays and deter pests.
Resin is flavourful, full-spectrum extract that has all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids of the source cannabis plant. It can be made from dried, cured cannabis, or from freshly harvested flash-frozen cannabis plants (this produces a product called ‘live’ resin.) Resin is a popular choice for users who want to enhance the entourage effect and experience a ‘true to flower’ flavour from their concentrates. The consistency of resin is often thinner than wax or budder, making it a good option for 510 cartridges.
Known for its resemblance to actual honey, honey oil (or hash oil) is a concentrate that has been around for decades. It is made by using butane or CO2 to extract a thick, sap-like oil from the cannabis plant that can be enjoyed by dabbing or spreading on a joint. The colour of honey oil can vary from a pale gold to a deep amber depending on the extraction method and is usually sold in glass or plastic syringes for easier handling of this sticky extract.
Most of the concentrates on the market are extracted chemically with solvents like CO2 and butane, which are then purged out of the finished product during processing to ensure that the concentrate is safe for consumption. Solventless extracts however, are products that are made without chemical solvents and are created with either heat, pressure, or a combination of the two.
Hash (or hashish) is the oldest and most familiar cannabis concentrate and its use dates back hundreds of years. It has a long history in countries like Nepal, India, Afghanistan, Morocco and Jamaica. This concentrate is made by collecting the trichomes or ‘kief’ off of dried cannabis plants and then compacting them under high pressure to create a dark, solid chunk.
Kief can be collected and pressed in a variety of different ways to produce different types of hash, such as bubble hash (which uses a series of bags and ice water) or dry-sift hash (which agitates dried flower through screens and then presses the kief mechanically.) Hash is an enjoyable and easy to handle concentrate that can be smoked on its own in a pipe, or sprinkled into dried flower in a joint or bowl.
Like all concentrates, rosin is created by separating the trichomes for the cannabis plant matter. To make rosin, cannabis plants are placed in a mesh filter bag and pressed in heated hydraulic plates. The oil that seeps out is a solventless rosin (if freshly harvested, flash-frozen cannabis is used, the product is called ‘live’ rosin.)
The highest quality rosin is hash rosin, where the starting material is dry-sift or water hash instead of cannabis flower. Since the hash is already refined of plant matter, the resulting rosin is also purer. Rosin is usually enjoyed by dabbing or in a vaporizer and can come in a dry, crumbled texture, or a softer soap-like texture.
With so many concentrates to pick from and so many different ways to enjoy them, you’re sure to find a concentrates that best suits you. Concentrates are a great way to experience cannabis in a whole new way with extracts like resin and diamonds, or in an approachable and familiar way like hash and honey oil. Check out our current selection of cannabis concentrates here, or come in and visit our helpful budtenders to learn more about what’s available.
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