There are many methods to obtain cannabis concentrates. Most people choose to smoke cannabis in a process where the cannabis buds are ground and sometimes mixed with tobacco. However, there are many other methods of consuming THC. For instance, we have many cannabis oils and many extraction methods (some of them even using dry ice).
Hash oil, also known as honeycomb oil, because of its golden-brown color, is known to be much more psychoactive because it’s a more concentrated form of cannabis oil. Small amounts of hash oil will get you high because hash oil contains higher concentrations of THC. However, as always, it depends on the plant and its THC concentration.
There are two forms of cannabis concentrates: solvent-based ones and cannabis concentrates where solvents aren’t used in the process.
Solvent Based Concentrates
This is the process of extracting the THC (or CBD) from the trichomes (where most of the THC is concentrated). There are many solvents, such as CO2, butane, propane, and ethanol. However, it’s perhaps the latter one that is the most commonly used solvent of all. These forms of cannabis concentrates contain very high levels of active cannabinoid content.
THC oils are the most common solvent-based cannabis concentrates. Basically, we need to extract the THC from the trichomes. A solvent is used to extract the cannabinoids from the trichomes.
The alcohol and the cannabis buds are mixed and stirred for about 3 to 4 minutes. The next step consists of filtering out the excess plant material (small plant particles). After this filtering process is made, the solution needs to be heated to concentrate it and get rid of the ethanol. Finally, the cannabis oil needs to be heated again to activate it (the decarboxylation process) and transform the THCA (the acidic form of THC) into THC.
The decarboxylation process could be done by curing the cannabis buds for a while, but, in this case, we need to heat up the cannabis oil to activate it. When we smoke cannabis, the cannabis buds undergo a process of decarboxylation. In other words, heating it or burning it transforms the acidic form into THC.
Non-Solvent Cannabis Concentrates
This type of cannabis concentrate comes straight from the cannabis plants. Examples of cannabis concentrates are hash, kief, or rosin. The process is simple and beautiful. This video from Leafy explains how to make hash using two methods: dry sifting and dry ice to separate the trichomes from the buds:
No solvents are required in this process; just filter and compress the trichomes to make the hashish.
Solvent-Based Cannabis Concentrates vs Solventless Cannabis Concentrates
Some users prefer solventless cannabis oil concentrates as they think it’s more natural than using solvents. However, to make cannabis oil or hash oil, solvents are necessary. Moreover, the remnant solution does not contain the solvent. For example, if we use ethanol, the process involves heating up the solution in order to evaporate the solvent (ethanol).
Concentrated Cannabis for Vaping
Most cannabis oils for vaping are solvent-based cannabis concentrates. The process of making it is very simple. However, it requires certain equipment, which makes it a more difficult option than solventless cannabis concentrates. Cannabis oil, or hash oil, is made with the extraction of the trichomes that are dissolved in the solvent (alcohol, butane, propane…). It’s better to use a water distiller as it has some advantages over coffee machines or rice cookers. For instance, you don’t need ventilation, and you can also reuse the ethanol with a water distiller.
The process of vaping concentrated cannabis is the same as vaping any other product. However, if you vape THC and you don’t have that much experience with THC usage, you’d better start with low doses.
There are many different types of cannabis concentrates, some of which are more difficult to extract, and the prices vary depending on the cannabis product.
Types of Cannabis Concentrates
There are the purest forms of cannabis concentrates, such as crystallines and isolates. These forms contain very high concentrations of cannabinoids, 99%. To obtain a very pure form of THC or CBD isolate, either THC or CBD has to be extracted and isolated from all other cannabinoids. After the extraction process, the result is pure isolate crystals. However, this form doesn’t have any flavor, aroma, or color.
There are many different types of cannabis concentrates. Isolates are the purest forms on the market. However, isolates don’t contain terpenes, which are also an important part of cannabis. In other words, it depends on what you need and your preferences.
Cannabis concentrates: Conclusion
There are so many cannabis byproducts that sometimes it’s overwhelming. The different types of concentrates have different colors, textures, and THC or CBD concentrations.
There are two kinds of cannabis concentrates: solvent-based cannabis and non-solvent cannabis concentrates. Nonsolvent cannabis byproducts are easier to obtain than solvent-based ones. For instance, hashish is the result of the separation of trichomes from the cannabis plant, and then the trichomes (the kief) are compressed.
Cannabis oils for vaping are usually made with a solvent such as ethanol. The process is a bit more complicated because it requires some more equipment. However, it’s not a very complicated process.
Finally, there are other forms, such as isolates, that are the purest forms of cannabis byproducts. These forms are very pure but odorless, flavorless, and colorless.
There are so many different types of cannabis concentrates that sometimes it seems difficult to choose one over the other. However, it is not necessary to choose one; there are times and uses for each of the cannabis byproducts.
This post was originally published on November 4, 2019. It was most recently updated on February 9, 2022.