Cannabis concentrates are sweeping the cannabis industry. Concentrates are a hard-hitting treat that has become the go-to cannabis product of so many cannabis lovers.
What are concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are the product of distilling down the most desirable parts of the plant. They contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes of cannabis flowers and none of the excess plant material. Because of this, concentrates have a far greater proportion of cannabinoids and terpenes than raw cannabis flowers.
How are concentrates made?
There are three top methods for extracting cannabis concentrates. Knowing the different extraction methods is important because the results can change the concentrate’s color, consistency, and even the type it’s categorized under.
Top 3 Extraction Methods
- Solvent-Based extraction utilizes “different types of alcohol and petroleum derivatives such as butane and propane,” according to CannaSafe. In this process, the solvent pulls cannabinoids out from the buds. The solvent then evaporates, leaving the cannabis concentrate product behind. This volatile process, which should only be conducted in professional lab settings, results in products such as shatter; one of the most common types of cannabis concentrates.
- CO2 (carbon dioxide) extraction can lead to higher-quality products, according to Leafly, because the method does not use high temperatures or solvents. The lower temperatures for the separation processing protect more of the oils and terpenes. For extraction, this method focuses on pressure, inducing gas, solid, or liquid forms of CO2. This results in products such as distillate, live resin, and diamonds.
- Solventless extraction means there are no solvents or chemicals used in the process. There are several methods for this natural process, including using heat, pressure, ice water, dry sifting, or other forces to produce concentrates. This results in products such as hash and rosin.
With so many different textures and ways to consume them, the world of concentrates can become confusing. We have put together a list of different types of concentrates on the market today.
Types of Cannabis Concentrates
BHO stands for Butane Hash Oil. It is a potent form of cannabis concentrates that comes in various consistencies including budder, shatter, wax, and more. The name comes from the fact that butane is the solvent used to extract the oils from cannabis.
Shatter is achieved through skillful purging of the butane and plant matter, often employing the use of a vacuum. This product is clear, often with a yellow or orange hue. Shatter is usually very brittle, hence the name “shatter”, however it can also become very malleable when warmed up in your hand, almost like taffy.
Unlike most other concentrate types, live resin is made using plant matter than has not yet been dried and cured. This gives the product heightened freshness that helps to preserve maximum cannabinoids and terpenes from the original plant.
To get a smooth, butter-like consistency, the concentrate is whipped and heated after extraction. This excess heat may cause some of the aromatic terpenes in the product to evaporate. However, the whipping process also makes for an easy-to-consume end product that is well mixed and highly potent. Tend to take on a butter-like consistency.
Crumble is another type of cannabis concentrate that’s made from butane hash oil. It’s made by purging the oil in a vacuum oven for quite some time (at lower temperatures for the best results). During that process, crumble develops a soft consistency (much softer than shatter). It is rigid when in place, yet still brittle enough that it will crumble when handled.
Bubble hash is made using nothing more than ice, water, a bucket, and some filtering equipment. Dried cannabis flowers are mixed with ice, which causes trichome glands to freeze. As they freeze, they become brittle and break off the plant. The broken trichome glands are filtered away from the plant material and collected, creating a crude cannabis extract.
Rosin is a simple, solventless way to extract cannabis compounds. Instead of relying on butane, CO2, or alcohol, rosin separates oils from plant material using heat and pressure. The result is an amber-colored concentrate with a semi-translucent appearance. Somewhat akin to a sticky pancake, rosin is softer than shatter and easy to manipulate.
Full Plant Extract/RSO (Rick Simpson Oil)
Full plant extracts were originally created by the pioneer Rick Simpson. This process was done by simply soaking cannabis for long periods in hexane or ethanol. Once this process is completed, the hexane or ethanol is removed with heat or evaporation, leaving a full spectrum product containing many more cannabinoids than traditional concentrates. Innovators have since created a new version of FECO, utilizing advanced CO2 extraction equipment.
Cannabis distillate is created by using a combination of extraction processes. All distillate starts as final processed terpenes and THC. Different extract artists have their unique approaches, but most utilize a sequence of steam, pressure, and heat, further refining the extract by removing any last impurities. This process is usually repeated until the final product is a light golden color. Ordinarily, distillate ends up making its way into edible products and cartridges.
Diamonds, also known as THCa diamonds, are a unique concentrate made from the crystalline diamonds left over after the terpy sauce has been removed. This type of concentrate may have less flavor, but a higher potency.
Sugar wax, has a consistency of wet sugar that hasn’t dissolved. It’s semi-crystalline and is slightly looser and wetter than badder. Sugar was originally created by accident, as other extracts turned into sugar over time with the aid of condensation.
Hash, or hashish, is cannabis resin or kief that is packed or pressed together. Trichomes can be frozen off with dry ice and pressed together, or resin simply collected and rolled into a ball, as with charas. This solventless concentrate is brown in color and more potent than flower.