Remember when you could only pick between flower and edibles? Now, with more options than ever, many seasoned smokers have started taking their first dabs of cannabis concentrate.
You may be thinking of doing the same, but understandably have no idea what concentrates are, let alone how they work. We’ve all been there, and we’re here to take a closer look at wax, shatter, oil, and other THC/CBD-loaded concentrates.
The secret of cannabis concentrates lies in a weed nug’s trichomes.
Trichomes are the main source of the cannabinoids (like THC, CBD, etc.) and terpenes (limonene, pinene, etc.) that give each strain its respective properties. In short, concentrates are made of trichomes separated from the rest of the plant.
So, while a nug of flower will have around 20-30% THC, a concentrate made from that same flower could have anywhere from 60-90% THC. Terpene levels rise hand in hand.
Many concentrates have the same basic components, but they can take on many different forms as a result of different processing methods.
Most concentrates you’ll see are made using a solvent – either alcohol, butane, or supercritical CO2, that separates plant matter from trichomes. These are known as solvent-based concentrates and can take the form of wax, shatter, live resin, and more.
Solventless concentrates involve different production methods that, while more time-consuming and expensive, lead to a more pure and potent product.
Most solventless concentrates are either made with a series of filters, a hydraulic press, or an alternative pressure & heating system. Some of the more popular types include ice water hash, rosin, and dry sift hash.
There are also cannabinoid oils and tinctures, which are concentrates as well, but we won’t be discussing those here.
Wax, to start, is one of the most common forms of solvent-based concentrates with a texture somewhere between cake batter and butter. Wax is one of the industries leading concentrate types due to it being one of the most cost effective concentrates on the market.
Shatter is similar, but it’s spread thin and has a more solid texture. This causes it to, well, shatter, when you break pieces off, making it easy to take as little or as much as you want.
Live resin, unlike the other concentrates, is made with frozen plant material. Freezing the cannabis keeps almost all terpenes preserved, and the resultant concentrate is more aromatic, flavorful, and sometimes more potent.
Live rosin, like live resin, is made with frozen plant material. However, unlike live resin, manufacturers don’t use the fresh frozen buds to extract the rosin. Instead, they use live water hash, which is made using flower, ice water, and several tiers of filters.
Hash makers will place the flower into the first filter level and cover it with ice water. This allows the trichomes to freeze, sink to the bottom, and pass through the filter. The process is repeated several times with increasingly strict filters, thus making sure all plant matter is removed.
To make rosin, manufacturers will place either cured buds, kief, or filtered live hash into a heated pressure system. As the cannabis is pressed and heated, the resin inside the trichomes is released and spreads out onto a surface.
Using dried and cured buds or kief results in standard rosin, while using filtered live hash allows for the creation of live rosin.
To use concentrates, you’ll need a dab tool (a small metal or glass stick with a flattened head) to handle them. From there, you can either load the concentrate into a refillable vape pen (made for concentrates), or drop it into the nail of your dab rig after heating it with a butane/propane torch.
To clarify, a dab rig is a bong-like piece of glassware designed for using concentrates. The nail is the “bowl,” a small cylinder with an open top and a tube on the side that connects to the rest of the rig.
If you don’t have a rig, you can also portion bits of concentrate onto flower and put it in a joint or bowl.
If you’re in Denver and feeling ready to try a concentrate, check out our dispensary menu.
Whether you want some quality shatter that won’t dent your wallet, a live resin that’ll woo your senses, or a rosin that’ll send you to the moon, we can help you out. Stop by any day from 8 AM to 10 PM or contact us if you have questions before coming in.