Extracts are the active chemical components of cannabis that have been separated from the plant material via a chemical process.
The cannabis extraction process generally utilizes a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) to separate the target chemical components (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds) from the plant material, ideally (but not always) comprising the full spectrum of cannabis’s chemical content.
The most common extract product is referred to as Butane Hash Oil (BHO) and it is the basis of an entire class of extract. Butane, hexane, or propane can be washed over cannabis. The solvent then takes the active chemical components with it, away from the plant material. The solvent is then safely evaporated away, and the resulting extract emerges as solvent-free. This BHO consists entirely of the target components and contains zero plant material.
Extracts can include:
These terms are generally used to describe an extract’s outer appearance: its color, texture, malleability, and density.
Often, a particular extract “type” is really just a different form of the same BHO extract. However, although these are often different forms of the same chemical compounds, these different forms can offer vastly differing levels of convenience, taste, potency, and overall experience. BHO can be further distilled and its constituent chemical components separated through the use of precise heat. These components can be remixed together to highlight the sought after features and known effects.
Cannabis can also be commonly extracted with alcohol or CO2, as well as fats such as butter or olive oil. Alcohol extracts can have the alcohol evaporated away to create cannabis oil or can let the alcohol remain for a tincture. Butter and olive oil extracts create edible products.