- Due to their high potency, cannabis concentrates are getting more and more popular.
- Learn what they are, how they work, and which ones might be right for you!
Why Cannabis Concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are big these days. We know from experience that their high potency can be especially good for managing chronic pain. But they can also be intimidating compared to familiar flower or easy edibles. Not that cannabis concentrates are hard to use. Most of us are just less comfortable with them. Regardless, we should all be able to access every benefit the cannabis plant can offer us. So we asked Hala Laurette Elkhoury of The Good Strain to break down the different options for us. Here’s everything you need to know to try them out.
How can you know whether a cannabis concentrate is right for you?
When it comes to concentrates, there’s no one right formula for everyone. As a general rule, they’re much more potent than flower. So, I’d suggest trying out different types of concentrates via your preferred method of consumption (vaping, dabbing, smoking, edibles, etc.). Start with a low dose and gradually work your way up.
Walk us through the different kinds of cannabis concentrates
Cannabis concentrates have exceptionally high potencies. In general, they’re made by extracting THC, CBD, and other compounds from the plant. And they’re most commonly consumed by dabbing or vaping. Here are some of the most popular kinds.
1. Shatter—the Easiest to Find Cannabis Concentrates
What is shatter?
Shatter is one of the most common cannabis concentrates and the easiest to find. Shatter is popular because it has extremely high THC levels—upwards of 80%. Concentrates typically get their names from their final forms. And this one is no different. Shatter has a hard, glass-like consistency. So, it shatters when you break it apart. As with all concentrates, it varies in color and texture by strain. Usually, though, shatter is translucent, solid, and a shade of amber. Although, many people think shatter is the most potent and pure concentrate, that’s not always true.
How do they make shatter?
Processors use solvents (like butane or hydrocarbons) to extract the cannabinoids from the plant. Those processes produce a concentrated oil. Then, they collect that oil and might even refine it further. After that, they vacuum-oven purge it to evaporate any remaining solvents and liquids. That leaves you with a hard, brittle texture. Generally, shatter contains lower levels of moisture and terpenes than other concentrates.
How do you consume shatter?
Normally, you dab or vape shatter.
2. Crumble—the Versatile Cannabis Concentrates
What is crumble?
Just like shatter, crumble (aka honeycomb wax) gets its name from its texture. It falls apart, or crumbles, when you handle it. Crumble has a soft, dry texture and should be mustard yellow. For this concentrate, both the texture and color are important. That’s because, if it’s stored incorrectly, crumble can harden or darken over time. So, watch out for that. Crumble is more versatile than other concentrates because it can be consumed almost any way. Its versatility, coupled with its high potency, make it one of the most popular extracts.
How do they make crumble?
Processors can add almost any solvent to fresh or cured flower to make crumble. But the most common technique involves butane. The extraction process is generally the same as other concentrates. What changes here is the post-extraction process. Processors transform the texture of fresh shatter into crumble by either using higher temperatures during vacuum-purging or by whipping it on a hot plate before they purge it.
How do you consume crumble?
You can either dab crumble or sprinkle it over joints, bowls, or blunts. Like most concentrates, you just need to activate crumble with heat to maximize the cannabinoids. Or you can even use it to make cannabis edibles, like our cannabis brownies.
3. Budder, Badder, and Batter—the Creamy Cannabis Concentrates
What is budder, badder, and batter?
Budder, badder, and batter have a more malleable texture than shatter or crumble. They’re more like butter, cake batter, or frosting. Hence, the names. Note that the color and texture of these concentrates varies, depending on the starting materials and the extraction process. Some badders have a stickier texture. Others have a drier consistency. The color of these cannabis concentrates also varies from olive-green to buttery gold. Pro tip: the closer the color is to bright yellow, the higher the quality.
How do they make budder, badder, and batter?
Like other concentrates, processors use butane as the solvent to make budder, badder, and batter. But their unique textures come from the post-extraction processes. Processors achieve their creamy consistency by whipping the rosin on a hot plate before placing it in a vacuum oven. And, if you’re looking for a chemical-free concentrate, some processors make these cannabis concentrates from solventless rosin.
How do you consume budder, badder, and batter?
Most commonly, people dab these extracts. Dabbing brings out the terpenes and strengthens the potency. But you can also vape them or sprinkle them on top of a joint, bowl, or blunt.
MORE on cannabis concentrates for beginners
To learn more, check out our video on cannabis concentrates for beginners!
4. Rosin—the Chemical-Free Cannabis Concentrates
What is rosin?
The term “rosin” doesn’t refer to a finished product. It actually refers to the extraction process. Instead of using solvents, rosin is made by using heat and pressure to squeeze the resin out of flower, hash, or kief. That produces a translucent, sappy, almost shatter-like product. Correctly processed rosin can rival the flavor, potency, and high of solvent-based products. Not only that, but rosin is one of the few full-spectrum cannabis concentrates. Rosin retains the plant’s full profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds to give you the healing power of the entourage effect.
How do they make rosin?
The rosin process doesn’t require any chemicals, like butane. Because of that, it’s getting more and more popular. Since rosin is made only using heat and pressure, it also doesn’t require additional purification. The final product is clean and ready in just a few minutes. With no background in chemistry or extraction, you can even try making it at home. Rosin is a groundbreakingly versatile, efficient, and safe method for achieving high-grade, solventless hash oil.
How do you consume rosin?
Just like many other cannabis concentrates, dabbing is the most common way to consume rosin. But it can also be vaped or sprinkled on top of a bowl, joint, or blunt. And you can also use it to make edibles.
5. Distillate Oils—the Most Potent Cannabis Concentrates
What are Distillate Oils?
Distillate oils are highly potent products that can be consumed many different ways. While these cannabis concentrates forego the entourage effect, they give you cannabinoids with little-to-no residual flavors or aromas.
How do they make distillate oils?
The process for making distillate oils is complex and takes a long time. A mature cannabis plant contains hundreds of compounds that interact with our bodies. Using alcohol and controlled temperatures, this process separates those compounds. So, it’s ideal for creating very high potency concentrates of specific cannabinoids.
How do you consume distillate oils?
You can vape or dab distillates. Or you can take them orally, under your tongue (sublingually), or transdermally, through your skin.
6. Live Resin—the Most Flavorful Cannabis Concentrates
What is live resin?
Live resin stands out among the concentrates because of its unique ability to capture the plant’s flavors and aromas. It typically has the most complex terpene profile. So, it delivers the most flavorful cannabis experience. Live resin’s texture ranges from a sappy, jelly-like substance to a more shatter-like solid. The variations in potency, consistency, and flavor-profile all depend on the strain used to make it. Typically, live resin is a dark yellow, malleable concentrate somewhere between the texture of oil and taffy.
How do they make live resin?
The process for making live resin is unique. To preserve the plant’s terpenes, processors skip the drying and curing phases. Instead, they flash-freeze freshly harvested cannabis. After that, they extract the plant’s active compounds using chemical solvents.
How do you consume live resin?
Most people dab or vape live resin. But, it can also be added to a joint, bowl, or blunt for an extra kick.
7. Crystalline—the Isolate of Cannabis Concentrates
What is crystalline?
Crystalline (aka crystals) is the simplest of cannabis concentrates. It consists of just one type of cannabinoid (e.g., THC, THCA, CBD, etc.). That means crystals are free of all plant matter and terpenes. When exposed to heat, crystalline is quite potent. But you might not experience the full effect of this extract precisely because it does lack terpenes. Also, without terpenes, crystalline isn’t able to provide the same health benefits that are often attributed to the entourage effect. It comes in a solid state and looks like granules of sugar.
How do they make crystalline?
Crystalline can be made in a number of ways. One way is similar to making rock candy. To do that, you saturate hot water with sugar. As the water cools down, sugar crystals start to form. Crystalline works the same way. You mix refined cannabis concentrates with a solvent and then heat it. After you remove it from the heat, THC crystals form over time as the solvent evaporates.
How do you consume crystalline?
You can ingest crystalline orally, either in an edible or dissolved in oil. You can also smoke or dab these cannabis concentrates.
How should we store cannabis concentrates?
When it comes to extending the shelf life of your concentrates, it’s all about proper storage! Store them in air-tight, light-proof containers in a cool temperature. If they’re exposed to moisture, oxygen, light, or warm temperatures, the concentrates’ colors and textures might begin to change. They could also lose some of their potency.