Cannabis Concentrates: An Overview
Cannabis concentrates take a lot of forms, which can make them confusing for experienced and new cannabis consumers alike. Concentrates describe a broad category of, well, concentrated cannabis. Concentrates are made by extracting the potent components of cannabis, which are cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as THC and CBD, respectively. Terpenes are the accessory organic compounds found in cannabis, which differ based on strain. They affect the highs that THC give you, and are responsible for the aromatics of a given strain. By extracting solely these compounds, cannabis concentrates deliver all the effects of marijuana without the plant matter.
You’ve smoked kief before, whether you know it or not! Kief refers to the cannabis crystals found on flower, produced by resin glands. Resin glands contain the terpenes and cannabinoids that give marijuana its distinct qualities. Kief is typically lost during the handling process of weed, due to its sticky nature. At FireHaus, we recommend using a multi-chamber grinder, which collects the fine kief particles that fall off of flower in the bottom. As kief collects, you can sprinkle it onto a bowl or into a joint.
Powdered hash is kief taken to the next level. The first step in creating hash is creating kief. At an industrial level, this is done by rubbing cannabis plant matter against a thin metal screen, or putting the flower in a machine that shakes it. Both methods result in trichomes that fall off the leaves and are collected. Once there’s a substantial amount, the kief is heated and pressurized to form a brick. Powdered hash sticks to itself but is also crumbly and loose, and can be a tad harder to handle than less malleable concentrates, like shatter.
If you’ve heard of “dabbing,” the concentrate in question was hash oil. Hash oil is any concentrate or extract that comes in a non-solid form, either as a viscous or free-flowing liquid substance. Hash oil is made through extraction processes that use alcohol, CO2, or a combination of butane and propane as a solvent. The solvent absorbs the terpenes and cannabinoids, is filtered, and then later evaporated off, leaving behind pure oil. Depending on the method used, hash oil has the potential to become a tincture, oil, shatter, and more.
Wax is referred to often as a singular product, but it’s actually a larger category of concentrates with a wax-like appearance. Within this umbrella term are shatter or crystalline, crumble or honeycomb, trim run, badder/budder, distillate, sugar wax, live rosin, and more.
Shatter is a form of wax, and its name quite accurately describes its appearance. This honey-colored concentrate looks like thin shards of glass. Shatter is made by extracting cannabinoids through heat, compression, and the use of solvents, much like other concentrates. After extraction, shatter undergoes purification and degasification, which removes any residual plant matter or hydrocarbons. Because shatter is more solid and breakable than other concentrates, it’s easier to handle and definitely less messy. It’s easiest to consume shatter with a dab rig, or a piece meant specifically for concentrates, but breaking off a small piece for a joint is just as acceptable.
When both heat and pressure are simultaneously applied to flower, rosin is produced. Don’t be fooled by its similar-sounding name to live resin; rosin is the solid form of concentrate, while resin is a viscous substance. Plus, rosin is entirely organic and made without solvents, unlike live resin. Much like shatter, rosin’s solid nature tends to call for dab rigs. However, it’s also often dripped into joints, onto bowls, and added to homemade edibles.
When it comes to selecting the right concentrate for you, FireHaus is here to help. Even with all this information, entering a dispensary can be overwhelming due to the wide variety. FireHaus certainly has every concentrate you can imagine, but our budtenders are here to guide you through your selection process! Stop by today, or order online for delivery if you already know what you love!