Q. Dr Mike, can you tell me what a concentrate is?
A. A concentrate is an extraction from cannabis, which sounds like it’s something pulled or removed from cannabis, and that is exactly what it is. But, that’s a simple answer to a complex question. Concentrates are a condensed form of cannabis — usually THC or CBD — with cannabinoid levels that range from 50-90 percent. Concentrates can be vaporized for a very strong effect or used to make infused products that are equally potent.
Q. How do you make concentrates?
A. Concentrates can be made several ways. A traditional concentrate is hashish. This extract can be made by physically separating the *trichomes from flower/bud and pressing into hashish.
Today, the most common ways that concentrates are made involve using solvents such as butane, carbon dioxide or alcohol. These dissolve and strip the cannabinoids from plant material. The solvent is then removed through evaporation, leaving behind a cannabis-rich extract with an extremely high percentage of THC.
Rosin is a newer form of concentrate that uses heat and pressure to remove cannabinoids. Rosin is gaining popularity for it’s raw/organic natural methods. It’s origins are less glamorous. Early rosin was made by using a hair curling or flat iron, some may allegedly have been borrowed from an unknowing sister or girlfriend, and pressing the plant material between wax paper. We don’t recommend using that technique if you value a relationship with the women in your life.
Q. Can you talk further about rosin?
A. Rosin is the hottest concentrate that’s been hitting dispensary shelves. It is made by pressing kief or flower under heat and pressure to remove the cannabis oil. The resulting concentrate is high quality and very close to the original flower profile. It’s also one of the reason’s rosin has become so popular. Purist’s prefer rosin because it’s like smoking a super bud!
Q. How many types of concentrates are there?
A. Really there are too many to keep track. It seems like every day a new extract artist is creating their own unique extraction. Common types include: hashish — dry sift, bubble, ice water, full melt; Shatter — BHO, CO2 oil (commonly used in vape pens); Distillate — (highly pure cannabis oil); Crumble, Wax, Rosin, nug run, Live Resin, Sap, Budder, and Rick Simpson Oil (R.S.O. or whole plant alcohol extraction). These are all concentrated forms of cannabis. Depending on the starting material, extraction method, and any other processing steps, concentrates vary in quality, flavor profile and consistency.
Q. Why use and/or make concentrates?
A. Concentrates can be a pleasurable experience when vaporized! The effects often feel more clear-headed when compared to smoking flower. Also, concentrates allow you to consume larger amounts of cannabinoids compared to smoking flower, which is often necessary for those with breathing issues or managing a chronic illness. Concentrates are also ideal starting materials for making infused products and edibles.
Q. How do you smoke concentrates?
A. One of the best ways to smoke concentrates is dabbing them on a *rig. It provides a great flavor profile and a large rip that is a very efficient way to medicate. The most convenient and discreet way is to buy a cartridge filled with concentrate and vape with a battery pen. You can also mix them with flower and smoke them the same way you usually enjoy flower. However, this is not very efficient and a fair amount of the concentrate will be wasted.
Q. How is the high from a concentrate different from flower or an edible?
A. For starters, the effect is much stronger from concentrates when compared to flower. A well-grown flower has the truest *entourage effect, but properly made concentrates exaggerate this effect. Simply stated, sativas feel more sativa and indicas more indica. My personal opinion is that the high is more clear-headed than smoking flower.
Q. Are concentrates safe?
A. From a biological perspective concentrates are safer than smoking flower because you aren’t burning and inhaling as much plant material, which can potentially cause health problems. As long as they are properly made from pesticide-free cannabis and all of the solvent has been completely removed, concentrates should be safe to consume. The danger in consuming concentrates has more to do with the user. You may have seen YouTube videos of people dabbing entire grams, coughing their brains out and then passing out….Please be responsible. Only take what you need and don’t do anything that you normally wouldn’t do intoxicated, such as advanced physics equations or driving a tractor to till the fields. For some people, I don’t even recommend driving while playing GTA Online. You’ll just embarrass yourself in front of the internet.
Q. What is the difference between THC and CBD concentrates?
A. The only real difference is the starting material. THC concentrates are made from plants that are high in THC. CBD concentrates are made from plants high in CBD.
Q. Do you use concentrates?
A. Yes, frequently! I love the experience of dabbing a fragrant well-made concentrate. The effect is often euphoric and I often use an indica to relax and wind down before bed. Since concentrates are more cost-effective than smoking flower, usually a tiny dab will get me where I need to be…It can take me a whole joint to feel the same effect.
Glossary of Terms:
*Trichomes: little bulbs of goodness that contain cannabinoids
*Rig: A bong like glass piece used to vaporize concentrates
*Entourage effect: Blend of cannabinoids and terpenes
Dr. Mike Wooly, MJWooly.com