The 5 Most Common Types of Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates have become all the rage in recent years. More flavorful and potent than regular old cannabis buds, concentrates get the job done and then some. But not all concentrates are created equal. Keep reading to find out more about different types of cannabis concentrates!

What Are Cannabis Concentrates?

Cannabis concentrates are exactly what they sound like… super concentrated cannabis extracts. Just like there are different types of dried flower, there are also different types of concentrates. Concentrates are extracted from the plant using a variety of different extraction methods resulting in a range of different concentrates.

Types of Cannabis Concentrates

Does the type of concentrate really matter? Sort of. There are definitely some differences between them and experienced stoners tend to have their favorites. Here are some of the most common types of cannabis concentrates you will come across.

BHO: Shatter, Wax, Oil, and More

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BHO is likely to be the most popular cannabis concentrate around. A subtype of BHO, shatter, was one of the first concentrates on the market. As a result, BHO has established a following of dedicated dabbers.

BHO is made using BHO (butane) extraction before going through a filtration process designed to strip it of any remaining impurities. This process, known as “purging,” usually results in an extract completely free of any solvent, making it safe to consume.

However, inexperienced extractors may leave some traces of butane in their final product. Since butane is potentially harmful when ingested, it’s important to buy shatter from trusted brands that produce pure and clean shatter.

Shatter, wax, oil, budder, badder… There are probably about a dozen different types of BHO on dispensary shelves today. All of these different extracts come from the same place, though. The only difference between them is their consistency.

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For example, shatter gets its name from its thin, brittle consistency that often results in it shattering into lots of little pieces. Shatter is a thin sheet of extract that is usually clear or amber in color. Shatter that is dark is considered to be of lower quality and to possibly contain impurities leftover from the extraction process.

Wax concentrates are less oily and waxier in texture. Like shatter, wax concentrates like crumble are made using a BHO extraction process. Also like shatter, wax concentrates contain a high THC content and produce a powerful, long-lasting high. Apart from their look, texture, and consistency, these two concentrates are actually very similar.

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Rosin and Hash Rosin

Rosin is a concentrate that is prized for its purity, potency, and flavor. Unlike other concentrates, it is not extracted using a solvent (like butane). Instead, hash makers squeeze rosin meticulously squeezed out of plant materials like dried flower, kief, and trim using nothing heat and pressure.

However, the highest-quality rosin today comes from bubble hash. How does the process work? First, extractors create bubble hash by sifting cannabis flower through layer after layer of plastic “bubble bags.”

These plastic bags have tiny holes in them similar in diameter to a strand of hair. These holes are so small, they only let trichomes pass through while holding plant matter back. The end result is a thick, viscous or grainy goo.

Then, extractors apply heat and pressure to the bubble hash with a device called a “rosin press.” Think of them as superheated panini machines for cannabis. The two sides of the rosin press squish together, further separating cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter. The end result, known as “hash rosin,” boasts incredible flavor, broad terpene and cannabinoid profiles, and potent effects.

Because no solvents are involved, rosin also tends to retain more of the natural terpenes and flavonoids found in the cannabis plant. Because of this, it is more flavorful than other concentrates and many people find it more enjoyable to dab. If purity and flavor are priorities, you can’t go wrong with rosin. Just remember to keep your dabs between 500 and 600 degrees. If your dabs are too hot, you may destroy the very terpenes and cannabinoids you’re trying to experience.

CO2 Oil

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CO2 oils are produced through an extraction process that uses CO2 gas. Essentially, extractors shoot supercritical CO2 into a tube filled with cannabis buds. Like BHO, CO2 removes goodies like cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter, leaving a golden-hued concentrate behind.

CO2 oils are commonly found in the pre-filled vape cartridges and vape pens sold in dispensaries across the country. Because the CO2 extraction process takes place at a lower temperature, more of the plant’s natural terpenes and flavors are preserved.

Like rosin, some cannabis connoisseurs consider CO2 oils to be more pure and flavorful than most other concentrates. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Both CO2 oil and BHO fill different niches, and neither one is really “better” than the other. It’s more a matter of personal preference.


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Distillate is a concentrated oil that is completely devoid of any waxes, terpenes, flavonoids, or other compounds found in the cannabis plant. Instead, it contains only a specific cannabinoid. THC is the most common target of distillate makers, although CBD distillate is also common. 

Distillate undergoes a complex extraction, separation, and purification process. First, extractors remove cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter, just like they would with any other extract. Then, extractors use a variety of factors like temperature and pressure to remove everything from the concentrate except for the specific ingredient they’re looking for. 

The end result is a unique and potent oil that has been systematically stripped of everything but the target compound. As a result, distillate has incredibly high purity, usually around 99 percent. 

Distillate has a distinctly different “high” than other concentrates since it contains no minor cannabinoids or terpenes. That’s because THC or CBD content isn’t the only thing that determines how a concentrate makes you feel. Since distillate doesn’t benefit from the entourage effect, it can sometimes feel underwhelming to experienced users.

You can explore concentrates even further—stop by our Des Moines dispensary or check out our online menu to see what’s in stock.

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