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Marijuana concentrates allow you to level up your experience with cannabis, as they offer much higher concentrations of cannabinoids (marijuana’s active compounds) than flowers, edibles, and other forms of consumption. Concentrates can contain anywhere from 60% to 90% of the active ingredient (CBD or THC). They typically come in the form of oil, crumble, shatter, budder, or wax. There are plenty of ways to use marijuana concentrates, but most users consume it through dabbing, which means flash-vaporizing a small portion of the concentrate in a special rig. Alternatively, you can use a vaporizer with a concentrate-dedicated chamber to enjoy their potency, therapeutic effects, and an incredibly pleasant aroma and flavor.
Concentrates are often referred to as the “future of cannabis”. This is interesting and ironic because concentrates have actually been in use for over 12000 years! Not the kind that we have today of course.
A common trait among concentrates is that they carry extremely high levels of THC and are far more potent than regular weed. They retain anywhere between 70% to 90% of the total THC content present in cannabis flowers.
But what does the word “concentrate” mean in this context?
As the name suggests, cannabis concentrate is a smokable/vapable substance made from cannabis plants that have been processed to retain only their most desirable parts — primarily trichomes.
Trichomes are tiny crystals that contain all the cannabinoids that get you high (THC and CBD) and the stuff that gives every strain its unique flavor (terpenes). Basically concentrates refer to any product created by accumulating trichomes. This is done by removing the excess plant material and other impurities through an extraction process.
Compared to the raw plant form of marijuana, concentrates offer a more potent high and a quicker onset of effects along with a range of consumption methods (dabbing, vaping etc). They were originally developed to give people a faster, stronger, high that required less smoke inhalation while still getting benefits from the plant.
Before we even begin going into detail, you should know one simple thing. All extracts are essentially concentrates. However, not all concentrates are extracts. Of course, this hasn’t stopped people from using the term interchangeably. But, this doesn’t change the fact that concentrates and extracts have their differences.
The major difference that exists between them is the method with which producers of cannabis concentrates collect trichomes.
In the world of concentrates, no two products are identical unless they are from the same batch. How a certain concentrate would affect you highly depends on the type of marijuana strain it was extracted from.
For example, sativa based concentrates typically provide more of an uplifting and stimulating high that is suitable for daytime use, and indica dominant concentrates provide more of a relaxed, euphoric and body numbing experience.
Medical cannabis patients can use concentrates to treat the same conditions that regular cannabis can. Often, it depends what buds were used to make the particular concentrate as indica and sativa strains provide differing effects.
Sativa dominant concentrates are typically used for daytime use and are great at treating stress, anxiety, depression, pain, lethargy and ADD/ADHD. Indica dominant strains are typically used during the nighttime for conditions such as stress, pain, insomnia and other relaxation and euphoria related issues.
With THC concentrations of up to 90%, concentrates are not to be taken lightly as they can pack a punch with a very small amount of product. Even 60% THC levels are 3 times as potent as a normal bud. It is therefore important that you take concentrates with caution and in moderation.
If taken in excess, it is possible that you could experience dizziness, paranoia, anxiety, nausea and/or headaches. It is for this reason that newcomers to weed should start off with regular cannabis flowers first, and then work their way up to concentrates when their tolerance levels increase.
For people who have recently started dabbling in the world of cannabis concentrates, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the variety of products and the fancy names for each of them. Truth be told, they’re all almost the same; the main differentiating factor is the extraction process.
There are two main types of extraction processes for making cannabis concentrates: solvent based and solventless.
Solvent based extraction involves the use of catalysts such as butane, ethanol or propane to strip the plant of its cannabinoids efficiently and quickly.
All solvent based concentrates are extracted in a similar way — in principle at least. The only thing that really changes is the appearance, texture, taste and aroma of the final product.
How a concentrate is stored, treated and what it’s exposed to after the extraction process determines what type of extract it gets labelled as (wax, budder, shatter etc).
The potency of solvent-based concentrates depends on what part of the plant gets used during the extraction process. If the leftover trimmings are used, it’s called a trim run; high on taste, low on potency. If the flowers/nugs are used, it’s called a nug run; ultra high quality and potency. Best of the best.
Common solvent based extracts include:
Wax is an umbrella term used to describe the entire family of concentrates that are given the butane hash oil (BHO) treatment. This extract can be found in a variety of textures such as budder, crumble, shatter, sap, sugar etc.
Budder is the cream of the crop when it comes to BHO/wax concentrates. If it’s your first time trying concentrates and you’re looking for the most delicious option out there, we’d highly recommend trying budder. It is the smoothest and creamiest of the wax family.
Budder sits a while longer and allows terpenes to steep and develop properly making it the tastiest solvent based concentrate in our list.
Crumble is just like wax but it’s firmer and has a slightly creamy texture.
Shatter is basically a type of wax that goes through extra steps during extraction. This gets rid of more impurities like fats and lipids, giving it a clear, glass-like appearance. Shatter is definitely one of the purest, most potent marijuana concentrates.
They call it terp sauce because it is loaded with terpenes — the stuff that gives different cannabis strains their unique aroma and flavour.
Terp sauce is a full spectrum extract made from really high quality cannabis flowers. It goes through a process called “long, slow and low vacuum purge” which takes several weeks. When the process is done, a liquid layer with honey-like consistency starts to float at the top (sauce) and the THC-A crystallizes at the bottom (diamonds).
Rick Simpson oil is named after the man who pioneered the medicinal use of cannabis oil. It is basically a full extract Cannabis Oil meant to be taken orally or applied topically.
Distillate is a thin, transparent or sometimes amber colored oil that maintains the marijuana plant’s natural terpene profile and contains a whopping 90%+ THC. You can vape it, dab it, add it to your joints or mix it with your food.
All of the above mentioned concentrates can be purchased in a live resin form. The difference lies in the kind of weed used for preparing the base concentrate. With live resin, the weed that’s used is intentionally not cured, not dried and it doesn’t go through any “process” except trimming. The plant is immediately frozen immediately after it matures. This enables a full spectrum extract. The whole plant is used and not just the flower. This way it’s a lot tastier and gives a more clear flavor profile of the source cannabis. However, this does not mean it’s more potent.
Solventless extraction is more natural and involves processes like ice-water baths, heat presses or dry sifting. This process requires more time and effort but it yields a natural and chemically unaltered product that tastes delicious.
Popular solventless concentrates include:
Hash is the holy grail of solventless concentrates and its use dates back to over 12000 years. If you want to try concentrates but want to start off easy, we recommend starting with hash. It’s definitely more potent than regular buds but it’s also a lot milder and forgiving compared to something like distillates or shatter.
It is made from compressed trichomes and the extraction process is 100% mechanical and chemical free.
The newest method of solventless extraction; rosin involves extracting an oil of high purity from flowers or hash using only heat and pressure.
Due to their unique properties, there are different ways to take each weed concentrate. For instance, budder, crumble, shatter and other wax products are normally smoked using a dab rig, whereas oils are usually taken by placing a few drops beneath the users tongue. However, there are many different methods to take each concentrate. Some of the other more common ways include smoking it in a bong or pipe, vaping, or even just adding a little to a joint.
In addition, it is important to take cannabis concentrates with caution. They typically have much higher concentrations of THC, making some of the stronger ones up to 5 times as potent as regular marijuana. Therefore, being responsible when taking these drugs is paramount.
At Weed Smart we offer a large selection of top grade concentrates that have been hand selected from the professionals who care just as much about quality as we do. On top of that, we strive to offer a wide selection of products, so you are certain to find what you are looking for.