What is the best strain for making extracts?

Q:

What is the best strain for making extracts?

—Robert M.

A:

Thank you for your question. Generally, the strains most suitable for making extracts contain a high ratio of cannabinoids/terpenes/flavonoids to plant material.

In other words, cannabis strains that are the best for extraction may or may not produce what would be considered “marketable” flowers. As with produce in a grocery store, the cannabis plants favored for flower production are those that not only produce potent flowers, but also produce symmetric, dense, and aesthetically pleasing flowers. Although some of these “flower production” strains can also be used to make high-quality extracts, they tend to be favored by growers for weight and marketability rather than their use for extraction. As extracts continue growing in popularity, an increasing number of gardeners are growing strains with a high ratio of the sought-after cannabinoids/terpenes/flavonoids to plant material. These strains may even produce spindly or wispy flowers, but the high ratio of cannabinoids/terpenes/flavonoids makes them ideal for increased efficiency in the extraction process.

Some of the most popular strains for hash and extracts include Gorilla Glue, Critical +, Hash Plant, Blue Cheese, Remo Chemo, and Strawberry Amnesia. Truth be told, there is an abundance of great strains that can produce high-quality extracts. It all comes down to what attributes you wish the extract to contain.

The biggest factors making up a cannabis extract’s profile are cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The cannabinoids are the main components that react with receptors in the nervous system, resulting in various effects. The cannabinoids targeted by extraction techniques include THC, CBD, CBC, CBL, CBN, and more.

Terpenes are synergistically responsible for the unique flavors and aromas within each cannabis strain. Terpenes singled out for extraction include pinene, limonene, terpineol, pulegone, B-caryophyllene, and myrcene. In most cases, it’s not a single terpene, but a combination of terpenes that creates a cannabis flower’s unique odors and flavors. Many extraction techniques aim to preserve the natural flavor and odors of a strain and do so by preserving the terpene profile in the extract.

Terpenes and cannabinoids get most of the spotlight when it comes to extractions and a strain’s unique profile. However, flavonoids (specifically flavonoids found in cannabis) work synergistically with terpenes to produce the specific odors and flavors possessed by a cannabis strain. Pharmacologically active flavonoids found in cannabis include cannaflavin (A, B, and C), orientin, quercetin, silymarin, and kaempferol.

As more is discovered about cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, we will begin to get a better understanding of how they interact to create a strain’s unique profile. The phenomenon known as the “entourage effect” essentially states that the various cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids contained in a cannabis strain act synergistically to produce the unique “high”, flavors, and odors of each strain.

The “entourage effect” concept has evolved to describe the polypharmacy effects of combined cannabis phytochemicals or whole-plant extracts. Put another way, instead of isolating a single compound, many extraction techniques retain as many cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids as possible. This, in turn, preserves and concentrates a particular strain’s original traits, which may include medicinal qualities or a sought-after “high”. With all this in mind, the best strain for making extracts is the one that possesses the desired medicinal or recreational qualities. As for the efficiency of the extraction process, choosing a strain with a high ratio of cannabinoids/terpenes/flavonoids to plant material will get you the most bang for your buck.

I hope this answers your question.

Keep on Growing,
Lee G. Lyzit

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Written by Lee G Lyzit
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Lee G. Lyzit has been involved in the medical cannabis industry for nearly 15 years. His passion for natural healing drives him to learn as much as he can about the miraculous cannabis plant. Lee breeds his own strains of cannabis to create concentrated glycerine and coconut oil extracts. Aside from cannabis education and consumption, Lee enjoys playing music, gardening, hiking, and cross-country skiing.  Full Bio