Cannabis concentrates have become all the rage in recent years. More flavorful and potent than 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 extracts and 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 THC concentrates. Concentrates are extracted from the plant using a variety of different extraction methods resulting in a range of different types of THC concentrates.
Types of THC Cannabis Concentrates
Does the type of THC concentrate really matter? Sort of. There are definitely some differences between them and experienced cannabis lovers tend to have their favorites. With recent innovations in the concentrate space, there are many different types of dabs to choose from! Here are some of the most common types of cannabis extracts you will come across.
BHO: Shatter, Wax, Oil, and More
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 through 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. Generally, if you’re getting BHO from a dispensary, you can trust the extractors know what they’re doing.
Shatter, wax, oil, budder, badder… There are probably about a dozen different types of dabs made from BHO extracts on dispensary shelves today. All of these different concentrates come from the same place, though. The only difference between them is their consistency.
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. Dark shatter is considered to be of lower quality and might contain impurities leftover from the extraction process, like chlorophyll, for example.
Wax concentrates are less oily but instead waxier in texture. Like shatter, wax concentrates are made using a BHO extraction process. Also like shatter, wax concentrates contain a high THC content that can produce a powerful, long-lasting high. Apart from their look, texture, and consistency, these two concentrates are actually very similar.
Cannabis Rosin and Hash Rosin
Cannabis rosin, also called marijuana rosin, is a concentrate that is prized for its purity, potency, and flavor. Unlike other concentrates, rosin is not extracted using a solvent (such as butane). Instead, hash makers squeeze rosin meticulously out of plant materials like dried flower, kief, and trim using nothing but heat and pressure.
However, the highest-quality cannabis 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. The holes are so small, they only let trichomes pass through while holding plant matter back. Marijuana rosin makers need to agitate the bags (move them around) to separate these trichomes from plant matter.
Countless agitation techniques exist, ranging from high-tech to super simple. One popular technique even involves tossing these bags into your washing machine on a short, cold water cycle to make marijuana rosin. Regardless of how an extractor gets there, the end result is a thick, viscous or grainy goo.
Next, 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. Extractors don’t just apply the press directly to bubble hash, though. Instead, they use some kind of medium to separate them, like wax paper. Otherwise, the resulting marijuana rosin would stick to the surface of the press. The end result, known as “cannabis 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. Hot dabs can also be rough on your throat and lungs, triggering coughing fits. It’s much more pleasant to take dabs at a cooler
CO2 oils are produced through an extraction process that uses carbon dioxide gas. Essentially, extractors shoot supercritical CO2 into a tube filled with cannabis flower. Like other types of concentrates (including BHO), CO2 removes goodies like cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter. After the extractor separates these two substances, they purge away the remaining CO2, 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 and quality of the final product.
A distillate is a concentrated oil that is refined using a distillation process. Distillates are typically made using some kind of solvent, in contrast to solventless marijuana rosin, for example. Then, extractors manipulate temperature and pressure to produce the desired profile of the cannabinoids and other phytochemicals desired.
Depending on the distillation process used and the level of refinement desired, distillates may contain cannabinoids along with other compounds found in the cannabis plant, such as terpenes or flavonoids. The end result is a potent extract that has been systematically distilled to include only the compounds the extractor wants to include in the final product. This extract can take many forms. Sometimes, distillite appears as an oil. You can also find crystal distillate products, as well.
Alternatively, a distillate may be stripped down to a single cannabinoid to reach near 100% purity. These single-component concentrates are often referred to as isolates. THC is the most common target of isolate makers, although CBD isolate products are becoming increasingly popular.
Distillate can provide a consumption experience that is distinctly different from other concentrates, particularly when it contains no minor cannabinoids or terpenes. Distillates often produce a very narrow scope of effects.
That’s because THC and CBD aren’t the only compounds in cannabis that determine how a concentrate makes you feel. When consuming an isolate, the body doesn’t benefit from the entourage effect. Thus, it can sometimes feel underwhelming to experienced users. Still, distillates and isolates have their place in delivering very targeted effects for very specific symptom relief or desired recreational experiences.
You can generally find distillate in cartridges, although some extractors make distillate that’s specially-designed for dabbing.
Greenside Recreational: Where to Buy Cannabis Concentrates Online
Explore the many types of THC concentrates even further when you check out the online menus for our Des Moines or Seattle dispensaries to see what’s in stock. Each concentrate type provides an opportunity to further explore the world of cannabis and an opportunity to discover what products best suit your needs. We hope to see you soon!