Colorado sold $27 Million worth of cannabis concentrates in April 2016 alone. So what are concentrates and why is everyone buying them?
What are concentrates? Concentrates are the result of separating the cannabinoids from plant matter, increasing their density and potency using many types of extraction methods. This includes things like dabs, oils, tinctures and topicals.
Why would someone choose a concentrate over flower? Concentrates offer a higher percentage of active chemicals than raw flowers. Cannabis customers are used to seeing THC levels at 10-25% in raw flower compared to 80% in concentrates. When it comes to cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBG, patients want as much potency as they can get.
There is debate over certain extraction methods as many health-conscientious consumers point out that along with inhaling choice active chemicals you are also inhaling residual petroleum particles into your lungs from butane hash oil.
Remember to be a thoughtful consumer and inquire from your budtender about the starting material and extraction process used in the concentrate you are looking to purchase.
But I digress, we will attempt to simplify the processes and explain the terminology to everyone reading this who doesn’t have an industrial chemist degree.
Types of Concentrates
There are two types of extracts. Solvent based and Non-Solvent based.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO): Extremely potent concentrate. Different types include:
Hash Oil – Found in vape cartridges or syringes
Shatter – Clear like substance that breaks into pieces easily
Wax, Budder – Extracts with a creamy, buttery consistency
Crumble – A flakey like substance, that is used more for bowl topping than dapping.
Sugar – Sugary live resin consistencies are visually appealing, easy to work with, and contain high levels of terpenes.
CO2 Oil: Amber oil it can be vaporized in a variety of ways, one of the most popular being portable vaporizer pens.
Oil – Found in vape cartridges or syringes
Wax, Budder – Extracts with a creamy, buttery consistency
Ethanol / Alcohol: This type of concentrate, also known as Rick Simpson Oil, is typically consumed orally. This type of concentrate is generally purchased for medical application due to its potent cancer fighting properties and for recreational use to be added to edibles.
aslo known as:
Hash: Not as potent as BHO and other cannabis concentrates, hash remains a staple of cannabis culture around the world.
Kief: Arguably the most flavorful concentrate because it retains the most volatile terpenes and preserves the richest aromas.
Rosin: Easily crafted and incredibly potent it results in a golden shatter or oil-like extract that is similar in appearance to high-grade BHO. Can be made easily at home.
Ice Water: Water extraction can be done with some really dry pot and a jar full of ice water. Don’t fill the jar more than 1/5 full of material, throw in some ice cubes and cold water, shake, and voila! The resin tends to sink to the bottom while the leaf matter floats.
The solution containing both butane and beneficial cannabis compounds is then placed in a vacuum oven in order to evaporate, or purge, the BHO of its butane and any other foreign contaminants. There is almost always trace amounts of butane in the oil produced by these extractions, so try to minimize your risk by purchasing lab-tested BHO.
CO2: CO2 oil is substantially safer than butane-derived extracts. CO2 oil is a clean, dab-able product once removed from the extraction machine with no harmful residuals or risk of toxicity. Another upside to CO2 extractions is that it kills any mold or bacteria present in the plant material.
Supercritical or subcritical carbon dioxide extractions involve holding the CO2 at high or low pressures, respectively; the process involves extremely expensive extraction machines. The CO2 passes through the cannabis material and strips the plant of its oils, waxes and other matter. By adjusting certain parameters, the extractor can save more cannabinoids and terpenes in order to preserve purity or strip more unessential material like chlorophylls to increase yield.
Alcohol: A process done by soaking ground cannabis in alcohol (either isopropyl or Everclear). A short soak is all that is needed to isolate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the starting material. These concentrates are safe to make at home and consume once the solution is fully evaporated. This is done by heating the material for a long period of time at a precise low temperature using proper ventilation.
Hair Straightener: Completely free of the residual solvents often left behind by hydrocarbon extraction processes. You can also make rosin at home in minutes without the dangers associated with using butane by putting dry flower between folded parchment paper and applying a very firm pressure with a hair straightener at the lowest setting (280-330F) for about 3-7 seconds. Use a clean tool to pick out any plant particulates. You may place the substance on a cold surface for a few seconds if you desire a more stable material to work with.
Dry sift: Involves using a series of taut silk screens with varying microns to separate the trichome heads from the stalk and plant matter. A micron is a microscopic unit of measurement used to identify the size of the holes in a sifting screen.
How to consume concentrates
Hash Pipe: Pipes intended for the consumption of non-solvent extracts like hash or kief. They require nothing more than a lighter and replacement screens, and allow the user to experience the hash on its own without the flavor and smoke of flowers.
Vaporizers: A user experiences the pure flavor of the concentrate while avoiding any actual combustion of the material, which generally makes it an easier experience on the lungs and results in less carcinogens and tar than smoking.
Portable Vape Pens: You can purchase re-fillable pens that come with chargers and the hand held heating unit which are used with solvent based extracts or the very popular pre-filled disposable vape pens. The second option looks like an e-cigarette, comes in all different strains including CBD and is discrete with no fuss. They last for 200 hits on average.
Dabbing: This process involves vaporizing concentrates on a hot surface (the “nail,” generally made of titanium, quartz or ceramic) and then inhaling them though an “oil rig,” which is a specialized pipe meant for this use.
The user heats up the nail, places their concentrate on a “dabber” that allows them to dab the concentrate onto the hot surface. The temperature of the surface should be between 550 and 750 degrees Fahrenheit, the higher the temp. causes a more thorough vaporization and the lower the temp preserves more flavor.
Edibles and Tinctures: This category is broad because it includes both recreational and medical products.
Store bought edibles: There are many edibles on the market and it is important to know that consuming cannabis in edible form is not the same as smoking. You have to first take into account your experience with cannabis, then your body weight. Start off slow and never consume on an empty stomach. Most edibles you purchase at a dispensary will start in the 5mg range and go up from there with 10mg being a starting unit for one dose. Always consume a small amount and wait about 45min to feel the effects before consuming any more. Marijuana infused products can take 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect.
Syringe or capsule: Used for treating numerous medical issues such as cancer, epilepsy, auto-immune illnesses and MS.
The dosing varies for each person but it is said that it takes about 60 grams/ml of cannabis oil to kill most cancers. For the average person it will take about 90 days to ingest the full 60 gram/ml treatment of cannabis oil. People should start by orally ingesting three doses of cannabis oil per day. For the first week each dose should be the size of a half grain of white rice. After the oil has been taken for a week, start to double the dose. The dose should be doubled every four days until 1 gram/ml per day is ingested. Most people to get to the point where they can ingest 1 gram/ml per day in about 30-35 days. Once ingesting one gram/ml of oil per day is achieved, dosage should continue at that rate until the cancer is gone. Some people have however increased each of their daily doses to 2grams/ml or more.
Suppositories: Used for many patients, such as chemotherapy patients who experience severe nausea and can’t keep oral cannabis down, elderly and babies who can’t smoke or swallow pills, surgery patients who are not allowed to ingest anything immediately before or after a procedure, and patients in severe distress who can’t wait for oral cannabis to take effect also used by women for menstrual cramp relief with no psychoactive effects. With suppositories, most people will begin to notice initial effects within the first 10 – 15 minutes after insertion. These effects usually last for between 4 – 8 hours, depending on the individual’s physiology and tolerance to cannabis.
Tinctures: While edibles require between 45 minutes and two hours to even begin taking effect, tinctures go to work after as little as 15 minutes. Typically a full dropper delivers about 10 mg of THC, and a half dropper about 5 mg – although you’ll want to check the bottle for instructions. For patients trying to treat severe pain or avoid the nausea of chemotherapy, waiting one to two hours for their medicine to begin taking effect is simply not practical. For young children, smoking and vaping typically isn’t a viable option.
Original Article by – The Travel Joint and used with expressed permission. Thank you.
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