101 on Cannabis Concentrates
The first few millennia or so of cannabis consumption consisted primarily of smoking flower and making cannabis teas, but in recent years, the number of options for communing with your cannabinoids has been growing fast enough to make a traditional pot smoker’s head spin.
If you’re a strict flower in a bong or bowl type of smoker but you’re curious about branching out, cannabis concentrates will undoubtedly be of interest to you. But before you jump into these extra potent extracts from your favorite plant, you’ll need a crash course on what they’re all about.
What Are Concentrates?
Concentrates are a condensed collection of cannabinoids created through one of several different extraction processes. In other words, they’re all the most desirable parts of the cannabis plant — THC, CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes — collected into one potent product.
Where Did They Come from?
While the world of concentrates has expanded considerably in recent years, they actually have a history that extends back nearly as far as cannabis consumption itself.
The original concentrate, hashish, has been part of cannabis culture for thousands of years. It’s created by pressing together trichomes (the part of the plant that contains the cannabinoids and terpenes) in order to provide a more potent high.
This method of creating concentrates looks pretty primitive compared to the techniques employed today, but it was the first instance of condensing the desirable components of cannabis into a more potent form, and it laid the groundwork for today’s wide world of super potent extracts.
What Are They Used for?
So if they’re essentially just cannabis without the flower, what are concentrate drugs used for?
The whole point of cannabis concentrates is to get all of the best parts of cannabis and condense them into what is essentially super cannabis. Concentrates are far more potent and have a higher concentration of terpenes, which means that the high, the medicinal benefits, and the flavors are all going to be turned up several notches.
To give you an idea of the difference in potency, the strongest cannabis flower strains can get up around the area of 30% THC, while the strongest cannabis concentrates are in the area of 90% THC and can be up to 99%.
What’s the Best Form of Cannabis Concentrate?
There are many types of concentrates out there, and people are working to create even more all the time, which can make choosing one to try a bit overwhelming. But the truth is that they’re all great for different reasons, and what you consider the best form of cannabis concentrate will depend on what you’re looking for.
The main differences between concentrates are the process used to create them, their consistency, their potency, and their flavor profile. Below are some of the most popular types of concentrates and the characteristics that differentiate them from others.
Budder or Wax
Budder and wax are created using either rosin or resin and a solvent. To remove the solvent from the extract, the budder or wax is whipped, which gives it a creamy consistency. This consistency makes the product easy to handle and, therefore, a favorite for use in dabbing.
Terpene sauce, often referred to as terp sauce, is created using live resin and a solvent. Live resin comes from freshly harvested cannabis that has been flash-frozen in order to preserve some of the more sensitive terpenes.
This means that terp sauce (as well as diamonds, which are products of the same exact process) contains an incredible flavor profile that you won’t find in any other concentrate.
Distillates are liquid concentrates made through the distillation process. They are separated versions of the cannabinoid components of cannabis. THC distillates are the most potent concentrates available, but they do not have any terpenes, which means you’re sacrificing flavor for strength.
Shatter is made the same way as budder and wax, only it comes in a glassy form that has an amber color to it. This type of concentrate is particularly potent, which makes it a fan favorite, but it is also a little more unwieldy to use because of its consistency.
Best Way to Consume Cannabis Concentrates
The best way to consume cannabis concentrates is a matter of opinion. If you want the hardest-hitting high, go for a dab rig. If you want convenience and discretion, go for vapes. If you want a traditional experience only stronger, add some concentrate to your bowl pack or wrap it around a joint. If you don’t want to smoke or vape, consider topicals.