Getting a Kick out of Cannabis Concentrates!
Looking for more kick from your cannabis? Concentrates might be the answer, and there are so many coming down the pipe right now they might make your head spin, puns intended!
A concentrate is just what the term implies, a pure concentrated form of cannabis created through an extraction process that separates the trichomes from the cannabis plant. Trichomes contain the cannabinoids you’ve grown to love including THC and CBD, as well as terpenes and flavonoids -- the whole plant experience in its purest form.
“Concentrates can provide a powerful full-bodied high,” said Daniel Bean, Delta 9 Customer Care and Sales Manager. “Because the whole plant is used in the extraction process you get all the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes. It’s certainly going to be a more rounded high as compared to something where you get pure THC and nothing else.”
Concentrates can be five to ten times more powerful than flower, so it’s more important than ever to start low and go slow, but they do have numerous advantages. They can be accurately measured and micro-dosed to produce a more consistent experience with lower waste and less odour, and their effects can be felt almost immediately.
The most popular concentrates on the market right now, aside from the distilled cannabis used in vape cartridges, include Rosin, Live Resin, Shatter, Kief and Hash. “People really like hash,” said Bean. “Especially the older group from the seventies. They loved smoking it back then and they’re excited to see it back again.”
Cannabis concentrate Live Resin with a dabbing tool
Other concentrates include Budder/Badder, Crumbles, Diamonds, Caviar and Crystals with their names being based on their physical forms.
Rosin is one of the more popular concentrates, as no solvents are used in the extraction process. It’s basically made by pressing cannabis on parchment paper between hot plates. Shatter is formed using solvents in the extraction process, typically butane, but the butane is later removed from the final product. The butane melts the trichomes into a honey-like substance, but when the butane is purged the result is a hard candy texture, hence the name Shatter.
Both Rosin and Shatter are created from properly cured and dried cannabis. Live Resin is created from fresh frozen cannabis. The whole plant is flash frozen immediately after it is harvested and later used in the extraction process. Live Resin can be a super flavourful option, due to its high terpene concentration and the fresh, frozen cannabis being used for extraction.
Concentrates are best used with a vaporizer or dab rig, due to the extreme high heat required for the decarboxylation process that activates the compounds found in cannabis, most importantly to produce THC. There’s nothing to stop you from placing concentrates such as Rosin on a joint or in a pipe bowl but vaporizers and dab rigs allow you to create a more pleasurable and personalized cannabis experience.
Portable vaporizers have temperature controls and include a chamber that connects to a battery. The battery powers a heating element that turns the concentrate into vapour for consumption. The more elaborate dab rigs are like a traditional bong but designed specifically for concentrates, waxes and oils and use a “banger” instead of a bowl as the platform for heating the concentrate product to produce vapour. A temperature between 315°F and 450 °F (157°C – 232°C) will vaporize terpenes without burning them and produce the best possible flavour profile.
Shatter has a glassy, brittle texture, similar to hard candy.
If you’re currently a casual smoker, one of the easiest ways of getting started with concentrates is through the use of a convenient, discreet and portable pocket-sized concentrate vaporizer. You simply scoop a small amount of your chosen concentrate into the chamber, put the cap back on, click the button and the coil heats up to produce the vapour. It doesn’t get any simpler, and it also allows you to set the temperature.
A dab rig is more involved and not portable. With a dab rig, you scoop your concentrate on to the “banger” or “nail” to heat it up. The temperature can be adjusted to produce your desired flavour and vapour cloud. A lower temperature will result in a more flavourful experience with a smaller vapour cloud. A higher temperature will produce a larger but less tasty vapour cloud.
The quality of the concentrate depends mainly on the quality of the cannabis that goes into the extraction process and the process itself, but vendors have this down to a precise science now, so it’s really all about the bud.
Flavourful, high-quality cannabis in, potent concentrate out! The latter is not to be confused with concentration, as you might be somewhat lacking in that when consuming concentrates.
Are you ready?