The basic definition of a cannabis concentrate is simply any product that is created using an extraction process. This is a pretty broad area because there are numerous types of cannabis concentrates available.
Currently, the sky appears to be the limit when it comes to new and innovative concentrates. The art of concentrate and oil extraction is as refined as the cultivation of the marijuana plant itself. Great thought and scientific knowledge go into the concoction's creation.
Factors such as plant parts, grade of plants, the extraction process, the purging, and finally the storage of the concentrate all have a significant effect on the product's purity and concentration levels.
The creation of all cannabis concentrates generally has one basic goal, to extract as many cannabinoids from the plant’s material as possible through a wide array of extraction processes. Ideally, the extraction process also helps to heighten the potency of the concentrate.
Generally, most concentrates contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels that are 60 to 70 per cent greater than the raw marijuana plant material, which is usually only hovering around 25 per cent or less. Some modern cannabis extracts that are available even test at an 80 per cent or greater level of THC.
However, cannabis concentrates are not all about the ultimate ‘high’. They are also about extracting abundant cannabinoids from the plant such as non-psychoactive compounds like cannabidiol (CBD), which is believed to be medicinally beneficial for many medical conditions.
CBD has been found to provide exceptional analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety benefits to the user. Medical researchers are studying CBD’s ability to treat and alleviate the symptoms of Crohn's Disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Cannabis concentrates for vaporizing or as an addition to edibles have also proven highly effective at reducing the unpleasant side effects of cancer and chemotherapy.
Here are just a few of the cannabis concentrate options available to users.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
Some people hesitate when they hear the term butane hash oil because it sounds harsh, unpleasant, and perhaps unhealthy. However, BHO concentrates simply contain the moniker ‘butane’ as a way to distinguish the highly successful extraction process used to obtain the cannabis concentrate.
The finished product is generally pure and contains no butane residue when properly purged. After all the butane has been cleaned from the product very little clue to the extraction steps used to purify the oil remain. In order to obtain the concentrate, the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and THC are filtered out of the plant using butane. What remains is a sticky pure residue concentrate.
BHO concentrates are highly potent; in some cases, the THC level hovers at 80 percent. It is a widely popular concentrate for pain relief.
Butane hash oil is commonly referred to as shatter, glass, nug run, trim run, or honey oil. Each type has varying levels of purity.
Trim run typically has no smell and contains far lower levels of cannabinoids and THC than other BHO products. It is manufactured using all parts of the plant that remain after cultivation.
In recent years, honey oil has become popular for use in vape pens. An amber liquid cannabis concentrate, it is widely available at most dispensaries.
Traditional Hash and Kief
Hash and kief have been around for decades in one form or another. However, today’s hash concentrate products have been refined and are now manufactured from premium plant products instead of the leftover cuttings that were used in bygone days. Hash is normally sold in a block form and kief is available as a fine powder.
On occasion, consumers might encounter a hash product called “bubble hash” or "full melt". Bubble hash is considered a high-quality concentrate. The extraction process to create bubble hash involves utilizing ice cold water to agitate silk bags of the cannabis plant and break the resin glands away from the plant's material.
The cannabis is placed into various silk bags as the process is repeated several times. The ice water is then separated from the resin. The remaining potent resin concentrate is referred to as either bubble hash or full melt.
Wax is basically just whipped honey oil but is easier to handle and less messy than oil. If the wax has a consistency of runny butter it is often referred to as "budder". Soft and slightly brittle wax is commonly called “honeycomb” or “crumble”.
Shatter or Nug Run
Shatter is refined BHO that has undergone additional processes to increase its THC content. It is not uncommon for shatter to contain a 90 percent or greater percentage of THC. Shatter is frequently called nug run.
The substance is made from only the highest grade cannabis buds and flowers. It generally carries a top shelf price tag and is considered an elite concentrate product by cannabis connoisseurs. Due to its high THC levels, nug run is normally not considered a suitable product for anyone who is new to cannabis dabbing.
The cannabis user’s demand for purity is undeniable. In an effort to meet and exceed those expectations of pureness, the process of CO2 extraction has risen in popularity. With CO2 extraction, there is no need for butane so there is no fear of any chemical solvent residue being leftover in the concentrate.
The CO2 safely pulls out the cannabinoid and terpene-rich resin from the plant’s trichomes and leaves behind no trace. After use, the CO2 can either be cleanly released into the atmosphere or recycled for future use.
Unlike other BHO products, CO2 concentrates tend to carry a higher price tag to offset the high cost of manufacture that is incurred through the use of carbon dioxide, pressure, and supercritical fluid extraction.
However, if the user is seeking a chemical-free concentrate that is considered eco-friendly and green then they should look no further than CO2 extracted cannabis concentrates.
Tinctures have been around for decades. They are an ideal way for an individual to self-medicate using a few drops of cannabis concentrate under the tongue as needed without having to inhale any vapors or smoke.
Tinctures come in many flavors and strengths. Some contain high levels of THC and others have no discernible THC and are often used to treat medical disorders in children.
Cannabis concentrate manufacturers have their hands full refining their craft with the cutting edge science and research that is currently be unveiled on a weekly basis. There is very little doubt that new and exciting concentrates are on the horizon that hold the promise of medical breakthroughs and also heightening the cannabis aficionado's love of the miracles of the truly magical weed plant.