The cannabis industry is evolving all the time, with more and more different types of cannabis products arriving in stores and an ever-expanding range of methods for people who want to use cannabis and enjoy its benefits in their own lives.
Marijuana concentrates, for example, can be found in many forms and used in a lot of ways, but those who are inexperienced with cannabis or new to the cannabis world can struggle to understand what marijuana concentrates are and how they should be consumed.
This guide will aim to answer all of the most common questions regarding concentrates, including “What are cannabis concentrates?” and “What are the types of cannabis concentrate?” as well as looking at how to use the concentrate you buy in order to get the effects you desire.
What Are Cannabis Concentrates and Extracts?
Let’s begin with a simple definition of what is marijuana concentrate and what makes it different from other marijuana-based products. In simple terms, concentrates contain all the most important parts of the cannabis plant, concentrated together in one simple substance, without any excess material.
They contain all of the cannabinoids (like CBD and THC), along with the terpenes from the cannabis flowers, without any of the extra, unnecessary parts of the plant itself. This means that pound for pound, concentrates have the highest proportion of cannabinoids of any cannabis product.
But what exactly are terpenes and cannabinoids? Well, these are the parts of the cannabis plant that are actually able to interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system in order to produce different effects, as well as being responsible for the unique flavors and smells associated with cannabis products.
If you were to look at a cannabis plant under an extremely high-powered microscope on a molecular level, you would find these cannabinoids and terpenes bound together in structures known as trichomes. Concentrates are basically just collections of trichomes.
Because they’re so highly concentrated, with all the best bits of the cannabis plant together as one, pot concentrates can allow users to experience a wide range of effects, and they can be consumed in a lot of different ways. You can dab them, mix them in with edible recipes, or even add them to a regular cannabis joint, for instance.
What is the Difference Between a Concentrate and an Extract?
As well as wondering what are cannabis concentrates, you might also have heard the term “cannabis extracts” and asked yourself what it means and if concentrates and extracts are the same things or separate products.
Well, it’s a little complicated. Extracts are basically one of the types of cannabis concentrate. So extracts are classed in the “concentrate” category, but concentrates aren’t all necessarily extracts.
Extracts are made in a specific way, with the aid of a solvent, like alcohol. The solvent helps to extract the desired element from the cannabis plant, but there are other ways in which marijuana concentrates can be made, such as using mechanical or manual methods, without the need for any solvents at all.
At first glance, it can be hard to tell extracts apart from other types of cannabis concentrate, which is why it’s important to carry out your research, read labels, and inspect product descriptions to always be sure of what you’re buying from your nearest marijuana shop.
How To Consume Marijuana Concentrates
We’ve seen what is marijuana concentrate and how extracts and concentrates may differ, but how do you actually consume these substances? Well, when it comes to how to use the concentrate you buy, there are actually quite a few different methods to choose between:
Sprinkle Over Flower for a Quick and Easy Boost
One of the simplest ways in which you can use cannabis concentrates is to roll up a regular joint or prepare a pipe with some flower, just like normal, and then simply sprinkle over a little bit of concentrate on the top.
You can add the concentrate to the bowl of your pipe or the wrapped wax of a joint, and this quick and easy process can massively enhance the effectiveness, aroma, and flavor of your smoking experiences. Plus, another benefit is that you don’t need to invest in any extra materials, tools, or accessories.
Make Use of a Dab Rig for an Intense Effect
One of the most common ways of smoking concentrates is with the aid of a dab rig. Dabbing is becoming increasingly popular with cannabis users and enthusiasts, and it can lead to very intense, fast-acting effects when done correctly, but you’ll need to invest in a rig to get started and learn the technique to carry it out correctly.
Basically, to dab, you need to heat a nail to a very high temperature. On a typical rig, this is usually done with a butane torch. Once the nail is hot, you apply the concentrate. The heat turns the concentrate into vapor on contact, and this vapor can then be inhaled.
Try a Vape Pen for Concentrate Usage On-The-Go
Portable devices like vape pens and e-cigarettes are becoming more and more popular in the modern era, beloved by many for their discrete nature and ease of use, and while vape pens are usually associated with e-liquids, some models can be used with concentrates like waxes and oils as well.
You can find pre-filled cartridges with concentrates that are compatible with your vape pen or insert the concentrates directly into a chamber, depending on the model of pen you have. This can produce a more mild effect than a dab rig and is great for using concentrates wherever you go.
Cooking with marijuana is becoming an increasingly popular pastime among cannabis enthusiasts, and we’re seeing all kinds of exciting edible recipes arriving online and in books that people can try out at home.
Well, concentrates can be used in many of those recipes to prepare tasty edibles like gummies, brownies, cookies, and more. The advantage of edibles is that they can produce very long-lasting effects, but they do take a little longer to start working in the first place.
You may have noticed cannabis topicals appearing more frequently on lists of skincare tips and guides for how to get flawless skin. These products, including cannabis creams, lotions, sunscreens, serums, oils, balms, and salves, can be applied straight to the skin, and many are made with concentrates.
Topicals don’t penetrate beyond the dermal layer, so they won’t usually enter the bloodstream or produce any kind of high. Instead, they can provide targeted relief to areas of your skin, alleviating pain, moisturizing dry areas, and soothing symptoms of skin conditions like acne and psoriasis.
How to Read Labels
Knowing what is marijuana concentrate isn’t always enough to help you find the product you’re looking for, as cannabis concentrate labels and product names can be really confusing for beginners, so here are some simple tips to help you decode those labels and understand what product names really mean when shopping for concentrates to make your own edibles, test out a CBD bath bomb recipe, or sprinkle over your joints:
- Material – Many cannabis concentrate names will contain a reference to the starting material used to make them, with common terms including nug run, trim run, whole plant, and live resin. Nug run is a dried and cured flower. Trim run is dried leaves. Whole plant is dried. Live resin refers to fresh, rather than dried, cannabis.
- Method – Different methods can be used to make concentrates and the product name may mention either “solvent” or “solvent-free”. This refers to whether or not a solvent was used in the production process.
- Texture – Concentrates can have lots of different textures, from sticky, soft materials to crumble, dry materials. Different terms can be used to describe these textures. Shatter has a very brittle texture. Badder and badder are softer and oilier. Crumble is very crumbly, breaking into little pieces with ease. Sugar is wet and syrupy, while sauce is thick and sticky. Finally, there’s crystalline, which looks like a single piece of crystal.