In recent past, medical cannabis concentrates have boomed in popularity and demand has increased exponentially. It is not surprising that some patients feel they have seemed to miss this shift and are somewhat naive regarding the subject. For this reason, we have put together this informative page to explain the logic behind their existence, different consistencies, and basic consumption techniques.
Why alter nature and extract compounds from cannabis buds?
The basic concept behind cannabis extractions of any kind is to separate as many of the medicinal compounds (THC, CBD, Terpenes, etc) from the plant matter of the bud itself. It is similar to the practice of vaporizing in the sense that vaporizing only heats the resin glands (which contain much of the medicinal properties) to the point of vaporization while avoiding heating to the point of plant matter combustion. Concentrates are only different in that the resin glands or “trichomes” are completely removed and separated form the plant matter prior to vaporization. By separating out the plant matter, patients are able to medicate more efficiently and more effectively all while reducing health risks associated with inhaling smoke.
For example, when the lab test of a strain such as “OG Kush” reports compound percentages at: 26% THC & 0.3% CBD. the test is reporting that 26% of the bud (by weight) is the compound THC and 0.3% of the bud (by weight) is the compound CBD. Therefore, if a patient were to smoke 1 gram of OG Kush, just over 70% of the smoke is combusted plant matter and needless be consumed. Furthermore, that 70% would be eliminated if the patient were to instead smoke about 0.3 grams (30% of 1 gram) OG Kush concentrate.
The product of either butane hash oil (BHO) or CO2 extraction, wax or crumble is achieved through application of particular extraction techniques such as whipping during the extraction process. These techniques render the oil more workable with a more stable consistency.
Shatter or amber glass can only be produced through a BHO extraction, which, along with artful extraction and purging techniques, yields glass like translucent shards of medical cannabis. The end product is often a yellow/brown/orange hue but can also be seen almost completely colorless. Shatter gets its name from how the end product has characteristics similar to glass and with this type of concentrate the “shards” often shatter when worked with.
The product of an ice water extraction, bubble hash is one of the cleanest forms of cannabis concentrates. Since the resin trichomes aren’t absorbed by water as they are oil based, the cold temperatures simply cause the trichomes to fall break away from the plant matter. The product is a stable, grainy, bubble like texture.
The most popular concentrate consumption technique is vaporization with either a titanium, ceramic or glass nails. In this method, a nail is heated with either a blow torch or a electronic heating system until the nail is hot enough to vaporize the wax or shatter on contact. The typical “bowl piece” used with water-pipes is replaced with an adapter which holds the nail for heating and vaporizing. Typically a metal or glass tool called a “dabber” is used to gather the concentrate and subsequently place it on the hot nail.
Along with the recent invent of personal flavored vaporizers has come the innovation of personal dab pens. Using the same technology as the vaporizer pens to be used with “vape juice”, dab pens utilize a metal coil to heat up and vaporize cannabis concentrates located within the heating chamber. Dab pens can be used with any form of concentrate that can be used with titanium/ceramic/glass nails & offer a discrete option for medicating in not so discrete places.
Not all forms of concentrates maintain the ability to vaporized on a nail or coil due to their structure. For example bubble hash or ice water extracted concentrates more often than not will not be nail vaporizable and instead can be combusted over a screen or a health stone. Furthermore, any type of concentrate can be smoked along with flower (on top of a bowl or in a joint) to achieve less plant matter consumption necessary for medication.