If you have been a regular imbiber of cannabis or are interested in imbibing cannabis, you might have heard the word ‘concentrates’ being thrown about by the connoisseurs of marijuana.
What are Concentrates?
Without leading you down an unknowable path replete with the incomprehensible complexity of biochemistry, the simplest way of putting it is – concentrates are the distilled and, as its name suggests, concentrated form of God’s/nature’s (depending upon your theistic leanings) gift to humanity.
It allows one to enjoy a more potent high while consuming less material. Concentrates largely eliminate the need to smoke.
That is another reason they are increasingly becoming popular among habitual consumers and dabblers, who are also rightfully wary of the ill effects of smoking. The chemicals in marijuana responsible for making you high are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).
Typically, the traditional form of weed has anywhere between 10-25% THC, while the rest consists of inactive bio-matter and assorted cannabinoids. Concentrates, however, can contain anywhere from 50-90% THC.
Concentrates don’t just get you high. Some of them can take you to the stratosphere.
The basis of classification
Extracting concentrates by applying biochemical processes to make marijuana even more awesome is not a new endeavor. Folks have been at it since the 1940s. The basic chemical components in these concentrates are mostly the same.
It’s not a surprising revelation since they are all distillates of different strains of the same herb. However, the difference in the various processes of extraction results in a wide variety of concentrates, both in composition and consistency.
The composition of a concentrate determines how it affects you. The variety in the composition is regarding the percentage content of THC, CBD, Cannabinoids, and Terpenes.
This variance in composition imbues each type of concentrate with a set of psychoactive effects unique to it. The consistency of a concentrate determines its texture and physical properties, which in turn determines its mode of consumption.
Types of Concentrates you can choose from and how to consume
Now after knowing what are concentrates, which one is most suited for you? It entirely depends upon what you want your cannabis experience to be, a.k.a; how you want it to feel. Once you have determined the high or medical benefit you are after, you can decide how to consume the concentrate.
As mentioned before, the consistency of the concentrate is the prime determinant of its mode of consumption. With that in mind, here are the most common types of concentrates, classified based on consistency, that you can choose from based on your preferences for the mode of consumption.
Remember that the terminology, though descriptive, is largely informal, and many people will have further sub-classifications to the types discussed in this article.
- Shatter: As the name suggests, this concentrate is brittle, which enables it to be crushed. It is a concentration rich in terpenes, the substance that gives marijuana its characteristic aroma, and cannabinoids. It looks like amber-colored glass and is slightly sticky to the touch. The texture of this concentrate is loose and taffy-like, which allows you to pull it apart. Shatter is best enjoyed with a vape pen or dab rig.
- Batter: This is a creamy, soft concentrate with potency and excellent terpene content, giving it an excellent flavor profile. This is a versatile concentrate that is extracted through hydrocarbon processing. The versatility of the concentrate means that it can either be dabbed, vaped, or sprinkled on the top of your bowl to enhance flavor and for that extra kick.
- Crumble: Created with the same process used for batter and shatter, its name betrays its texture. It is also christened ‘honeycomb’ by some people due to its texture and appearance. It falls apart or crumbles fairly easily because of its characteristic dryness. Crumble is optimal for dabbing or adding to your joint or blunt.
- Sauce: If marijuana aroma is something you swear by, this concentrate with a high terpene constituent should be your go-to choice. It has the consistency of thick, sticky sugar syrup with a visibly crystalline structure. Its ideal form of consumption is dabbing, making it a favorite amongst non-smokers.
- Wax: This concentrate, as its name suggests, has a waxy consistency, not unlike candle wax, just stickier. It has a similar extraction process to shatter and is rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. The stickiness of this concentrate makes it ideal for vaping or dabbing. You have to use a dabbing tool for application because it tends to be wasted on the fingers.
- Dough: The convenience of descriptive concentrate nomenclature might have already clued you into this texture. The process used to create it is CO2 extraction, and it is pliable and oily to the touch. The best mode of consumption for this concentrate is either vaping or dabbing.
- Dry-Sift Kief: When resin glands are removed from the cannabis, and the remaining material is sifted through multiple fine mesh screens, you are left with kief. Kief eliminates the possibility of chemical solvents or other additives yet gives you terpenes and all the cannabinoids. Ideally added to a blunt or a joint or sprinkled on top of a bowl.
- Rosin: Created entirely without chemical solvents, this concentrate uses pressure and heat. The same process was utilized originally in manufacturing rosin for a violin’s bow, hence the name. Rosin has more flavor than other types of concentrates due to the lack of chemical solvents in its creation. The downside is that the process makes this concentrate comparatively more expensive than other types. It is generally dabbed but can also be vaped inside a cartridge.
Now that you know what are concentrates, always try to factor in the most convenient method when you make your choice. And remember to imbibe responsibly.