In recent years, the cannabis industry has come up with new exciting delivery methods, most of which have acquired great popularity. However, there is one in particular that has proven quite successful: cannabis concentrates. This format has risen to popularity thanks to how easy it is to consume. Inexperienced or casual users, however, could find that concentrates are a bit intimidating.
When it comes to choosing the familiar sweet-tasting flower, or trying concentrates for the first time, most people wouldn’t risk it. However, they might be missing out on something big. Studies show that cannabis concentrates are filled with plenty of benefits that flower usually doesn’t offer. You can consume concentrates from a portable vaporizer, which is a plus. On a side note, you can also experience hits which are smoother and cleaner compared to what flower can give you.
Let’s examine for ourselves what the main differences between these two delivery methods are, and how they are defining key aspects of the cannabis industry.
Concentrates Have Many Designations
For users who tend to prefer flower, the wide variety of strains available can be confusing sometimes. However, eventually most people find their way around the many combinations and formulas available for smoking, whether you know them by name or not. The same thing doesn’t necessarily happen to concentrates.
What we call “concentrates” is in fact a very large group of extracts and formulas. When compared to flower strains, all the many designations that fall under the concentrates label can be very confusing.
And yet, an experienced user will tell you that most concentrates are different in name only. Their overall taste, effect, and quality might be very similar, which is why it is important to get a sense of their properties. The general consensus is that the solvent used in the concentrate must be of good quality, just as the extract must be consistent on itself. Ensuring that the extract is compatible with the consumption method is also very important. If you’re looking for a great experience, make sure to ask for advice from your budtender or a cannabis professional. Simply selecting the highest THC dose in the mix doesn’t guarantee that the concentrate you pick will be the best.
Concentrates are usually extracted using a wide variety of resources, such as water, alcohol, heat, CO2, and hydrocarbons. Keep in mind that consuming solvents could be potentially distressing for you, so the best choice would probably be selecting solventless extracts where mostly water is employed. Hash is a good example of a solventless extract made out of water. On the other hand, rosin can be well regarded due to being mostly made out of heat.
Not all oils work with the delivery method you choose. Because of that, you should discuss any potential selections with your budtender. If you feel like going for a vape pen, you need to try out a cartridge that matches your battery. However, if you do happen to be into concentrates, then ask your budtender about oil capsules and dosing tinctures.
Concentrates Strip Out The Plant Material
When an extraction is processed, the compounds from the cannabis plant, such as THC and CBD, are separated from the plant material. This process also prevents unwanted chemicals from reaching the final version of the method, such as pesticides, leftovers, or any other contamining agents. By ensuring that the product of your choosing has already been tested, you will be benefitting from concentrates, since they separate the compounds from the potentially damaging solvents.
In contrast, users who only smoke flower usually inhale all the plant material that gets stripped out in concentrates. As such, their lungs will be potentially at risk. Dabbing oils is a good alternative, in the sense that both the water and the glass stay clean. Another alternative that is certainly worth mentioning is vaporizers. These tend to heat cannabis just below the temperature of combustion. However, the substance remains hot enough so that the THC and CBD, among other important compounds, can be extracted. Thanks to this advantage, most consumers who are concerned about their health tend to prefer vaporizers over any other delivery method.
Flowers Are Usually Tastier, Although This May Vary
Although concentrates have many solid traits, one big downer they have is that flavors and scents are usually lost during the extraction process. This is particularly important for consumers who care deeply about flavor and what makes each delivery method special.
Heat sensitivity is what makes flavor so hard to preserve in the extraction process that gives birth to concentrates. In cannabis, flavor comes from terpenes, which are the aromatic oils that can be found within the cannabis plant. These are usually fragile, and are very sensitive to heat. Without terpenes, flowers wouldn’t have such distinguished scents, such as fruity, floral, or sweet aroma. If a flower’s taste is closer to more natural fragrances, such as pine and musk, this is due to the terpenes as well. Concentrates have a hard time maintaining terpenes thanks to the heat exposure that takes place during the process.
However, not all is lost for concentrates fans. Nowadays, producers tend to insert the aromatic compounds after the extraction process has been completed. Many consumers find that this actually increases the flavor significantly when compared to flower. There are notable exceptions, such as live resin, where it is not necessary to reintroduce terpenes after the extraction process. For consumers all across America, this format has a better and cleaner taste than the flower from where it was extracted.
In the end, both flower and concentrates have their strengths. To determine which method is better, you need to make up your mind as to what effects or aspects are more important to you. Flavor preservation can be a strong case for choosing flower over concentrates. However, health risk is an important incentive for consumers who would rather avoid smoked cannabis. If you’re undecided, then experimenting by yourself is key. Try and test each method separately and see what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t forget to ask your budtender for help. Part of being a cannabis consumer is being curious enough to experiment between methods.