Cannabis is used for a variety of medicinal and recreational purposes. It helps to alleviate pain, lessen anxiety, improve sleep, and more. In addition, the plant is incredibly versatile. There are numerous strains each with their own benefits. Smoking is one of the most well-known consumption methods. Cannabis concentrates, however, are growing in popularity and adding even more versatility for users.
What Cannabis Concentrates Are
Cannabis concentrates are concentrated substances that are extracted from cannabis plant matter. The process involves removing the desired compounds including cannabinoids (particularly THC and CBD), terpenes, and flavonoids.
Benefits of concentrates include:
- They’re much more potent, ranging between 50% to 90% THC
- Smaller amounts are needed to achieve the desired effects
- They smell less than smoking cannabis flowers
How Concentrates Are Extracted
Most concentrates on the market today are extracted using some type of solvent. Butane is one of the most common solvents and is used to produce butane hash oil (BHO). Other solvents include:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
- Isopropyl alcohol
Furthermore, many of the solvents used for cannabis concentrates have health risks. Once the extracts are made, the solvents need to be removed from the final product. California regulations require testing for solvents to ensure products are safe to sell in licensed dispensaries.
Some extracts are made without the use of solvents. These methods use pressure, heat, and water to remove the desired compounds. Without solvents, you don’t have to worry about residual chemicals in the concentrates. One of the biggest issues, however, is that applying heat can destroy delicate terpenes. Whereas, this can affect the flavor and aroma of the final product.
Types of Cannabis Concentrates
There are a variety of cannabis concentrates, including:
Ways to Use Cannabis Concentrates
Concentrates can be added to dry herb and smoked in a joint or pipe. They can also be smoked on their own. While the concentrates add extra potency, smoking can be wasteful.
Dabbing involves heating a small dish called a “nail” with a blowtorch. A small amount of concentrate is then placed onto the nail where it turns into a vapor and inhaled through a piece of equipment called an oil rig.
Vaping is becoming a more popular alternative to smoking. Vape pens are either electronic or battery-operated. They heat the concentrate so that it vaporizes but doesn’t combust.
Vaporizers are refillable, meaning you can add more concentrate when your device runs out. You can also purchase pre-filled vaporizer pens and cartridges. With the push of a button, you can heat the pen and inhale the vapor.
A tincture is a liquid concentrate made using an alcohol such as grain alcohol or vodka. They can be taken sublingually, which involves placing a few drops under your tongue. Here, they’re absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Tinctures can also be added to food or drinks.
Edibles are foods, snacks, or drinks that are infused with cannabis. You can use cannabis concentrates to create your own cannabutter or canna-oil, which can then be used to create baked goods (such as brownies, cookies, or cakes), sauces, dressings, frosting, and more.
Cannabis concentrates can be used in a variety of ways. Since they’re concentrated, they’re much more potent, allowing you to use less to achieve the desired results. They’re more discreet than smoking cannabis flowers and (except for edibles) provide fast-acting relief. No matter how you choose to use your concentrates, be sure to start with a small dose and work your way up to the dosage that is most effective for you.