Your Guide to Concentrates

July 8, 2021

Concentrates have become the hottest thing in cannabis lately and Quality Roots wants to be your guide for consumption, celebrating, and creating your own! Welcome to YOUR Guide to Concentrates.

What is 710?

Ever heard of 710 or wonder why July 10th is a holiday for some? You might just think it’s another average day but in the cannabis community, 7/10 is another stoner holiday besides the famous 4/20 that we’re ready to celebrate. Like 420, 710 also holds some importance in the cannabis world.710 looks like it spells out Oil when it is upside down and backward! Oil is another term for cannabis concentrates and can be used in many different ways. While the origins of where 7/10 originated are on the mysterious side, it has become an increasingly more popular holiday to celebrate! Have you ever wondered what concentrates are and what makes them different from other cannabis products? In this article, we’re here to help you get prepared for a day full of dabbing and concentrate knowledge! 

What are Concentrates? 

Cannabis concentrates or extracts are a cannabis oil product derived from cannabis flower using many different extraction methods and come in multiple forms and consistencies. Concentrates are a more concentrated form of THC and usually have a higher THC percentage roughly anywhere between 50%-90% THC. There are a variety of different ways to extract concentrates and each way creates a different consistency, taste, and THC percentage. 

Solvent-Based Extraction 

A solvent-based extraction method is any method that uses a volatile chemical to dissolve and strip the trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes from the plant material. There are a variety of different solvents that can be used and each one yields a different result. A few popular methods using solvents are butane, carbon dioxide, ethanol, or propane. Many different kinds of concentrates are made using solvent-based extraction methods such as shatter, live resin, budder, cured resin and crumble.

  • BHO (Butane Hash Oil) is one of the most popular extraction methods on the market. This process uses liquified hydrogen to strip away the trichomes and resin from the cannabis flower whether it has been flash-frozen or cured. 
  • Supercritical CO2 extraction is another popular method of extraction, it is a naturally occurring compound and one of the safest methods of extraction. This extraction process starts off by using a high temperature, pressure, and supercritical form of carbon dioxide for the solvent. Using a supercritical method of extraction means that when the cannabis flower is exposed to these temperatures and pressures they fluctuate between solid, liquid, and gas forms. When the flower is in this state it allows the structure to be broken down and separated, this allows the terpenes and cannabinoids to be separated from the plant material as well.

Solventless Extraction 

Solventless-based extraction methods are like the craft beer of the cannabis industry. As the name suggests, solventless-based concentrates use no solvents and are created using high temperatures, pressure, or filtration. A few different examples of solventless concentrates are rosin, water hash, and dry sift/kief. 

Solventless Concentrates 

  • Rosin: Rosin uses a technique of heat and pressure to extract the resin out of the cannabis plant almost instantaneously. Using no solvents, this is a popular method of extraction and it’s even possible to make your own rosin at home! You can take parchment paper, a straightening iron and press your cannabis flower between the iron. When the iron starts to get hot you can start to press the iron together, give it a good squeeze and you will start to see the rosin separating from the flower. 
  • Water Hash: Water Hash is a cannabis concentrate that is extracted when the trichomes and resin are separated from the plant material using ice water and agitation. The cannabis plant is frozen before extraction and it is important to keep the environment very cold as this helps the trichomes to break away from the buds. The plant material is placed into a large bucket and lined with filtration bags that help to sift the glands from the plant matter and produce the new hash material. 
  • Dry Sift/Kief: To produce dry sift/kief you start by removing the resin glands from the cannabis plant using a sieving process by rubbing the buds across a fine mesh screen. The buds are usually cold and this helps aid in the sifting process and helps break off the trichomes.

Live Resin VS Cured Resin 

  • A live resin concentrate is extracted after the cannabis plant has been immediately flash-frozen after harvest. This process of keeping the plant at subcritical temperatures helps preserve the cannabinoids, trichomes, and natural terpene profiles in the plant so they don’t face any degradation after being exposed to oxidation or light exposure for longer periods of time. Terpenes are what give cannabis its distinct flavors and aromas so when consuming live resin you may find the flavor and smell are more potent. 
  • A cured resin concentrate is extracted from the cannabis plant after the plant has been dried and cured. After harvest, the cannabis plants are left in a dark room at temperatures ranging from 60-70 degrees. During the curing process, the buds are separated from the branches and are left in airtight containers and kept in a cool dry place. 

Different Types of Concentrates

When talking about concentrates you may hear different types of lingo used to describe what the product is or in what ways to consume it. Concentrates are also commonly referred to as wax, shatter, budder, badder, sugar, etc. Different terms usually have different results and consistencies but are all concentrated forms of cannabis. Some different kinds of concentrates you might encounter when shopping at a dispensary are listed below:

  • Shatter has a more glossy and glass-like consistency. It can be easily stretched when slightly warmer but will snap and break off or “shatter” into smaller pieces if it is pulled quickly with enough force. 
  • Budder/Badder is more of a whipped butter-like consistency and has a more soft wax-like texture to it. It is made at a higher temperature and achieves its consistency after being whipped during the extraction process. 
  • Crumble is going to be more of a brittle version of budder/badder and has a more crumbly consistency, making it a good option for those looking to sprinkle some wax in a joint, blunt, or bowl.  
  • Distillate is going to have a more runny and honey-like consistency and will usually be lighter in color. The distillate is created through a distilling process that separates the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant matter to leave behind an isolated form of THC. It is a highly sought-after form of concentrate because the end result can test out at higher percentages. It is commonly used to make vape cartridges and edibles.
  • Rosin is extracted using mechanical heat and pressure, it can have a similar consistency to budder or badder and can be slightly darker in color. 
  • Sugar is going to have a similar texture and consistency to sappy raw sugar granules but has a more crystalline structure. It can vary in color from lighter yellow colors to darker amber or yellow/orange. 

How to Use Concentrates

  • There are many different ways you can utilize concentrates, you may have heard the term “dabbing” and wondered what it means. Dabbing is the act of heating a cannabis concentrate to the point of vaporization and then inhaling the vapor it produces.
  •  Dabbing is the most common way to consume concentrates and is only one of the various ways to use concentrates. Other methods include sprinkling or spreading your wax over a joint, blunt, or bowl so that you can smoke it with your flower as well. A fun way to use concentrates is by spreading a thin (or thick) layer of concentrate over a joint, then roll it in your kief so that you now have your very own moonrock joint! 
  • If you prefer to use your concentrates as they are, you can use what is known as a dab rig. A dab rig is similar to a bong in the sense that it has water filtration and you are inhaling through a glass piece. With a glass rig, it has a slightly different consumption method, to use it you will start by heating up what is called a “nail” or a “banger” with a torch. Once hot you can drop your concentrate into the bottom of the nail and you will see it start to vaporize and produce smoke. At this point, you can start inhaling the concentrate vapor until there is none left. 
  • Vaporizer or dab pens are another popular method for using dabs and can be more discreet! You load the concentrate into the chamber and attach the chamber back onto your pen. Many dab pens will have different temperature settings and modes that go along with them, this allows you to set it to your preferred temperature and make the most of your concentrates! 
  • Nectar collectors are straw-like devices and with a traditional nectar collector, you heat up the metal tip with a torch and place it directly onto your concentrate and start inhaling through the mouthpiece like a straw. Nectar collectors can be made from glass or silicone and in some areas you can find electronic versions of nectar collectors that require no torch! 

No matter what your preferred method of dabbing is, or if you’re just learning about what concentrates are, there are a variety of ways to spend the 7/10 holiday (and any other day). Stop by any Quality Roots location if you have any questions about concentrates or to find some amazing products and get hooked up for the holiday weekend and every day before and after! 

Your Guide to Concentrates was brought to you by our resident Contributing Collaborator, Rachel, be sure to pick her expert knowledge any time you’re in Battle Creek.