Concentrates let you experience cannabis in a multitude of ways; they come in a variety of textures and can be consumed using several different methods. (Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps) Concentrates let you experience cannabis in a multitude of ways; they come in a variety of textures and can be consumed using several different methods. The look and feel of a concentrate doesn’t necessarily indicate its level of quality (effects, flavor, potency); these are simply aesthetics that can help you keep track of your personal preferences.
One of the leading benefits of concentrates is the rapid onset time and the ability to yield a high more potent than consuming cannabis flower. Concentrates have a high bioavailability, meaning the effects you feel and experience, as well as the rate of absorption into your body, happen almost immediately. The effects of a cannabis concentrate can last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the person. Concentrates come in many forms and include the most desirable parts of something. For example, orange juice concentrate has the smell and taste of the orange fruit, but without the excess fluid, peel or pulp. The same is true for the cannabis plant: the aromas, flavors, and other desirable substances can be retained while removing the leaves, stems, and other unwanted materials. Extracts are a specific type of concentrate that use solvents to draw out the desired substances of a plant, seed or fruit. For example, vanilla extract is produced by using alcohol as a solvent to pull out the desired flavor component, vanillin, from vanilla bean pods. The cannabis plant has complex compounds, or chemical substances, that can be used in a multitude of products.
These compounds affect the look, smell, flavor, and texture, as well as physiological or psychoactive effects (if any) of cannabis products. The most desirable cannabis compounds are found throughout the cannabis plant in small, sparkling structures called trichomes. A cannabis concentrate refers to any product created by the accumulation of the trichomes from the plant. The most desirable cannabis compounds are found throughout the cannabis plant in small, sparkling structures called trichomes. (Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps) These frosty appendages coat the entire surface of the plant, especially the flower buds. Trichomes contain all the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.) and terpenes that give different cannabis cultivars, or strains, their unique aromas and physical effects. Compared to the raw plant form of marijuana , cannabis concentrates offer a more potent high, quicker onset of action, and a wider range of consumption methods. Depending on your consumption preferences and tolerance level, the ideal dose can vary widely from person to person and even product to product. Compared to the raw plant form of marijuana, cannabis concentrates offer a more potent high, quicker onset of action, and a wider range of consumption methods. (Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps) Cannabis concentrates are diverse and used in a wide range of products. With a selection of options, you can fine-tune your cannabis experience and find the ideal combination of cannabinoids and terpenes that appeals to your taste and provides the most benefit. Is there a difference between a concentrate and an extract? All extracts are concentrates, but not all concentrates are extracts. While those terms are used interchangeably, the primary difference between a concentrate and an extract is how trichomes are collected. Extracts are a type of concentrate created using solvents (alcohol, carbon dioxide, etc.) that essentially wash the trichomes off the cannabis plant. Concentrates made without the use of solvents are produced using mechanical or physical means to remove and gather trichomes. Butane Hash Oil (BHO), Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and CO2-extracted cannabis wax are examples of extracts; each of these comes in varying textures such as shatter, badder, budder, and crumble. Different extracts and the varying textures may yield different experiences from one product to another. Rosin, dry sift and kief are examples of concentrates that are made without using solvents. “Reduced Fat Homogenized Ultra-Pasteurized Milk” is also known as “2% milk,” but that may sound baffling until you’re familiar with the product and its name. Once you familiarize yourself with the terminology used with concentrates, the more comfortable you’ll feel when reviewing descriptions and labels. For example, a product named “Hardcore OG Nug Run Shatter” may sound confusing. Producers and manufacturers use specific words and phrases to help you identify key characteristics and qualities of cannabis concentrates. Certain terms may be used on labels and descriptions on concentrate products to identify: The type of cannabis plant materials used to make the concentrate The processing techniques The resulting textures The intended consumption methods. Everything starts off with cannabis plant material.
The cannabis plant’s flower buds, leaves, and stems are collectively referred to as the starting, or input material. The input material can alter the resulting cannabinoid and terpene profile of the cannabis concentrate. Additionally, the quality or grade of the input material also affects the potency and flavor of its resulting concentrates.
Cannabis concentrates are products created by the accumulation of trichomes (the gland that makes the cannabinoids and terpenes). There are a variety of ways to separate the trichomes from the starting material. Each of these processes needs its own specific materials and/or physical actions, or methods, in order to produce a concentrate.