Everything You Don’t Understand About Cannabis Concentrates

cannabis concentrates

We have talked a bit about hash, about cannabinoid oils, and about the process of cannabis extraction—but hardly have we touched on the issue of cannabis concentrates. When most people think of marijuana, they imagine the sticky green buds that get ground up and smoked or baked into delectable, sweet treats. However, more serious cannabis users—those who have a high tolerance for the drug, who need particularly high doses of cannabinoids, or who want an exceedingly intense high—almost always reach for cannabis concentrates. Here is an introductory lesson on what cannabis concentrates are, how to use them, and why they could be the next big thing in pot stocks.

What Concentrates Are

In one sense, cannabis concentrates are exactly what they sound like: a concentrated amount of the active ingredients within cannabis. Yet, many outsiders to cannabis culture—and even many of those within it—often wonder why users could want a more concentrated dose of THC or CBD when marijuana itself contains enough to produce a delightful high and practical health effects.

The truth is that concentrates offer many benefits that the raw cannabis plant cannot offer. For example, it tends to be much easier to manage precision in cannabinoid dosing while using concentrates, so medical users who require a certain dose on a regular schedule might find concentrates advantageous. For another thing, concentrates do away with the useless components of cannabis—the leaves, stems, and other bulky fibrous parts—which can negatively impact aroma, flavor, and texture. Concentrates tend to be more refined, which is why cannabis connoisseurs prefer them to raw bud.

There are different kinds of concentrates, which are produced through different processes and have different applications. The most distinguishing factor of a concentrate is its texture, which determines both its purity and its method of use. Some common textures include:

  • Shatter, which has a brittle, glass-like consistency
  • Budder, which is oily and soft, like cake batter or a stick of butter
  • Crumble, which is a drier version of budder, like bread dough
  • Sugar, which has a consistency like wet, crystallized honey
  • Sauce, which is wet but more viscous and uniform in texture than Sugar
  • Crystalline, which is a crystallized compound like a small rock

Typically, the name of a particular concentrate will include both the concentrate’s texture and the strain from which it derives, as well as other salient details about its production. For example, “Nug Run Blue Dream Shatter” tells buyers that this concentrate has a brittle, snapping texture and was produced from dried and cured nug of the Blue Dream strain.

Where Concentrates Come From

The best and safest way to buy concentrates is from a dispensary, which has quality control systems in place to ensure that the concentrates they sell are high-quality and safe to use. The various manufacturing processes for creating concentrates are complicated and dangerous; often, they require toxic substances and heavy machinery, and it is imperative that producers execute steps properly to eliminate any hazards for end users. 

Unfortunately, not all states allow all dispensaries to sell concentrates. In some progressive states like Oregon, any adult over 21 can find a variety of concentrates in any Portland dispensary; in more restrictive states, concentrates are only available to medical marijuana users. Thus, some users do turn to producing their own concentrates at home—but this is neither common nor generally advocated in the weed community.

How Concentrates Are Consumed

As mentioned above, different concentrates are used in different ways primarily because the consistencies of different concentrates lend themselves to different methods of consumption. Though the ingenuity of stoners is unbound, there are three normal ways to use concentrates:

  • Topping off flower. Dusting powdered kief onto a bowl, wrapping wax around a joint, and generally combining raw flower with concentrates is a good way to increase the potency of existing weed without devoting funds to more expensive and complicated uptake tools.
  • Dabbing. Dab rigs are contraptions for transforming small amounts of concentrates (dabs) into a vapor to be inhaled. This ensures that the concentrate remains pure, imparting a cleaner and often more enjoyable weed experience.
  • Vaping. Believe it or not, vape pens utilize cannabis concentrates. Pre-filled vape pens are filled with concentrated oils, but other handheld vaporizers can function with almost any type of concentrate.

As regular marijuana users grow bolder, they will undoubtedly turn to the vast and fascinating world of concentrates. Experimenting with concentrate production now could lead to new and exciting products that change the concentrate landscape for years to come.

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