Concentrates, also known as extracts, are produced from cannabis trichomes, which contain the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds which give cannabis its recreational and medical effects. There are a variety of methods to create and process concentrates, and they can generally be lumped into two categories: full-spectrum concentrates and isolates.
“There are enough types of concentrates out there to make your head spin!”
What are concentrates?
The cannabis plant is covered in trichomes, resinous glands that contain cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds. Trichomes can be extracted from the cannabis plant, creating a concentrated form of cannabis. These concentrates can take on numerous forms, largely depending on the method used to create them.
Some common methods include: water extraction (ice water hash or bubble hash), heat and pressure extraction (rosin and hand hash), chemical extraction (CO2, butane, pentane, hexane), and dry sieve hash/kief. Chemical extraction in particular produces a wide variety of consistencies, with concentrates coming in forms such as glass, shatter, budder, taffy, and oils.
Some concentrates include all cannabinoids and terpenes found in a cannabis plant, and those are known as full-spectrum concentrates. Other extractions purify and concentrate a single compound, to the point of isolating it to a potency near 100%—these are called isolates.
The advantage of using a full-spectrum concentrate is that all active chemicals have a synergistic effect when combined—this is referred to as the entourage effect. Most believe using a full-spectrum concentrate will have a stronger medical impact than using an isolate.
How to consume concentrates
Most concentrates are dabbed, or flash vaporized, through a dab rig, but some concentrates can also be added to the top of a bowl of flower, or used to make edibles. Concentrates also commonly come as an oil in a pre-filled cartridge that can be attached to a battery for easy and discreet consumption.