Posted by je ss on 12.05.19
Cannabis concentrates like shatter, crumble, and wax are on the rise in popularity. And, for good reason. Their final end product not only boosts potency, but flavor and convenience too. So, what exactly are concentrates and what’s the true difference behind the particular products? Let’s start with how the extracts are processed from the plants, for your purest pot pleasure.
We all know by now, that THC and CBD provide therapeutic or psychoactive effects. And cannabis terpenes provide the unique scents for flowered strains. And you may even know these compounds are found in the trichomes of the plant, hence why ‘iced out’ nugs usually pack a bigger punch in potency or flavor.
But did you know, concentrates isolate these beneficial compounds from the trichomes of the bud? Through varied methods, cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted and transformed into a refined consistency. Hence, why products like shatter, crumbles or wax may be ‘sticky-icky’, like the resin from crystal coated buds.
This also means that better grown or ‘icy’ marijuana plants produce higher quality or more potent oils or concentrates.
From here, is where the true difference lies in concentrate products. Meaning, the type of extraction process used will ultimately determine the end consistency of the shatter, wax or crumble namesakes.
The most commonly used methods to isolate the beneficial trichomes, are alcohol, Co2 and butane/propane extraction processes. When these solvents are mixed with the plant material, the essential compounds are stripped and then separated or clarified.
Variations in the next steps of processing creates the final texture for the confined compounds. While shatter is left to ‘cool’ to deliver a glass-like and crisp consistency, wax is agitated or heated, then whipped creating a ‘batter’ or churned like texture. Crumble concentrates, on the other hand are whipped at a lower heat and then dried for a soft yet brittle or ‘honeycomb’ end product.
The strain of the original plant can affect a concentrate’s texture too. Depending on the physical properties of the flower you’re processing, the consistency of oil may differ. For instance, size, weight, terpene or cannabinoid counts, can all affect whether the concentrate is hard, clear, thick or thin. So you may see a strain like Gorilla Glue, in more wax or crumble products, but Sour Diesel best apt for shatter.
Best use practices
Concentrates boost THC levels of nearly 80 – 90%, in comparison to regular flower hovering around 15-20% THC. Which is why ‘dabbing’ is aptly named, as in, a ‘dab’ will do you good.
Not only can concentrates be dabbed, but also vaped in portable pens for convenient or discreet use. Since you’re getting the concentrated terpenes from the plant – you’re puffing the pure aromas, with little aroma lingering like a joint would normally produce. So, if you’ve ever wanted to ‘taste’ the weed you’re smoking – a concentrated version of the strain would be for you.
And to double potency, or your overall high, many have turned to combining the two. You can do so by simple adding or sprinkling, concentrates in blunts, joints or packed bowls.