Picture a cup of drip coffee, versus a shot of espresso. That’s basically what we’re getting at when it comes to traditional marijuana flower versus cannabis concentrates. While their unfamiliar form can seem confusing at first, these products bring plenty of unique benefits to the table.
Cannabis concentrates are more potent.
The most notable difference between concentrates and their flower counterparts is potency. While cannabis flower tends to run between 10-25% THC, concentrates usually fall between 50-80%. This is the biggest source of intimidation: as potency goes up, it can become more difficult to find the correct dose.
Cannabis concentrates provide a cleaner smoking experience.
Cannabis concentrates are produced by extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis flower in a process that typically uses a solvent, like carbon dioxide (CO2) or butane hash oil (BHO). During this extraction process, plant material is removed, and the desired THC and CBD compounds are isolated. Since smoking plant material is not ideal for our lungs, this provides us with a much cleaner smoking experience. On the other side of this, some concentrates can contain residual solvents, so make sure the products you purchase are tested like LivWell’s.
Concentrates have lots of different names.
In addition to potency, another reason that cannabis concentrates can be intimidating is the sheer number of options that exist. Because “concentrate” has become the broad term for a variety of extracts, things can get confusing. Let’s lay it all out.
Wax, crumble, shatter, sugar, and oil typically refer to a concentrate’s texture. These textures are usually chosen based on individual preferences and method of use (we’ll explain this in a hot minute). Here are the common types of cannabis concentrates:
Wax concentrates resemble the texture of candle wax. It’s often separated into other names, like sugar, budder, or crumble, depending on the consistency.
Shatter is a solid material resembling a thin, honey-colored shard of glass. When touched, shatter easily breaks into pieces, hence the name.
Distillates are a refined version of cannabis extract. These have a much more liquid-like consistency compared to wax or shatter, and are most often used in vaporizer pens.
Live Resin resembles the texture of wax or shatter. It’s a special type of concentrate created by freezing just-harvested cannabis before starting the extraction process. This allows the plant to retain far more terpenes. With more terpenes present, not only is the flavor and aroma profile significantly greater, but users also achieve a fuller psychoactive experience as terpenes interact with cannabinoids like THC and CBD in the body.
How cannabis concentrates are consumed.
The process of applying a cannabis concentrate to a heated nail (it looks like a nail, hence the name) and inhaling through a glass piece, similar to a bong. This method has quickly gained traction among more experienced cannabis users. While the unique equipment makes for a slightly less accessible option, dabbing is one of the more efficient ways of receiving a potent hit of cannabinoids.
One of the most popular methods for consuming marijuana concentrates is with a vaporizer pen. There are two main options when it comes to vape pens: distillate cartridges, which are individually packaged and generally less potent than wax or shatter, and concentrate pens, which are compatible with any wax, shatter, live resin, etc. Regardless of which option you choose, vaporizer pens provide one of the more convenient methods for concentrate use.
Now that you know all the ins-and-outs of the marijuana concentrate world, it’s time to go forth and prosper! Don’t be afraid to test out different textures, strains, and brands; like a fingerprint, no two people have the same experience with cannabis. Self-exploration is an important aspect of successful cannabis use, and concentrates are certainly no exception.