There are many forms of cannabis concentrates. Some extraction processes use solvents such as butane or C02, while other forms are completely solventless. All forms of cannabis concentrates are very potent. The reasons for using concentrated forms of cannabis include: having a high tolerance, management of severe chronic pain, or as a supplement for reducing opiate use. CBD concentrates do not produce the heavy psychoactive effect so are often used to manage inflammatory conditions or cancer side effects along with many other conditions.
Butane Hash Oil
Butane Hash Oil or BHO is hash oil that was extracted from cannabis using butane. Butane extracts the concrete oils, waxes, cannabinoids, terpenoids, and sometimes chlorophyll from cannabis plants. After extraction the butane is purged from the solution because it is a harmful compound to inhale. A majority of concentrates that are currently popular are made using butane.
Butane concentrates can be made into a range of consistencies such as:
CRUMBLE / WAX
Wax is somewhere between a solid and a liquid. It isn’t runny like a liquid nor is it hard like a more stable form of cannabis concentrate. Crumble is a popular because it is one of the easiest forms of concentrate to deal with. Shatter can easily break into many little pieces and oils tend to be very runny and difficult to handle. Crumble or wax can be picked up without sticking to fingers or tools.
Shatter is the most stable form of cannabis concentrate. It is often stored in parchment paper and can easily break into small pieces if pressure is applied. If exposed to heat shatter can easily melt into oil; keeping this concentrate in the freezer can help keep it at a solid consistency. Most shatter is transparent, in shatter the cannabinoids, terpenes, and waxes mix in one phase that allows light to pass through the final product. Depending on the strain used it can be anywhere from a dark brown tint to a light golden tint.
Sap is a sticky but manageable concentrate consistency. It is thicker and more solid than oil and stays together as one piece unlike shatter, crumble or wax. Sap does require a special tool, resembling a small metal stick, to take off pieces and can be very sticky. Silicon cases help to keep stickier concentrates from getting stuck inside the container, and can be easily scraped with the tool to make use of all of the product.
Butane Hash Oil in the oil form is one of the stickies and most difficult to work with forms of concentrate. Even with a tool cannabis oil can easily stick to everything and drip down the tool. It is extremely difficult to remove cannabis oil stains. Because of the consistency cannabis oil is often used to fill vape cartridges, or to create other products such as edibles or topical products. CBD oil has been used as an edible by individuals with serious medical conditions such as cancer to obtain high doses.
The method utilizes freshly frozen cannabis over cured material. The advantage to this process is that it preserves THC and terpenes that are lost during the curing process. As a result, live resin has a much stronger aroma and flavor than BHO made with dried cannabis material.
Budder refers to a consistency of crumble that is less “wet” and sticky, similar to frozen butter crumbles. The nice part about budder is that it is already broken into small pieces but the pieces don’t stick together. It is especially easy to use this concentrate when loading a vape pen bowl.
Propane Hash Oil
Propane Hash Oil is very similar to Butane Hash Oil. One reason this method is preferred is that the consistency is always typically budder, rather than the wide range of consistencies listed above. This happens because propane extractions require higher pressures which strip different ratios of plant waxes and oils than butane. Depending on the strain used, PHO can save more terpenes and filter out residuals. Propane also has a lower boiling point than butane and apparently the lower purging temperature results in the budder consistency.
CO2 extractions result in a liquid gold concentrate that can usually be found in a pre-filled cartridge for a vaporizer pen. The advantage to this method is that it is safer than butane and propane-based extractions. CO2 oil comes out of the extraction machine with no harmful residuals or risk of toxicity. This is because CO2 extractions kill any mold or bacteria present in the plant material. CO2 extracts are very viscous oils that are put in syringes to avoid messes. One downside to CO2 extracts is that BHO and PHO have a stronger terpene content giving them better flavor profiles.
Solventless / Natural
Solventless cannabis extracts are made without the use of any chemical compounds. Many forms of solventless extract are not potent in THC content, but retain all of the plant’s natural profile. Some forms of solventless extracts include:
This form of concentrate is entirely solventless free. It is made by compressing and heating the cannabis nugs inside wax paper to squeeze out the natural compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes. Some users make their own rosin at home by placing the cannabis nug inside wax paper and applying heat and compression using a hair straightener on low setting. The yield is very low for this extraction processes and it can become a very messy ordeal. There are now professionally designed rosin presses used by concentrate companies to produce this natural concentrate.
One of the finest forms of cannabis concentrates out there is dry sift. Dry sift is made using different sized silk screens with varying microns to separate trichome heads from the rest of the bud. A micron is a microscopic unit of measurement. Therefore, only the finest material makes its way into the final product of dry sift. It is a meticulous process that results in small yields making it highly sought after and hard to find.
Kief refers to the individual trichomes that fall off of the cured cannabis buds. Nothing at all is used to extract kief, not even water. It can be made by using a fine screen and dried cannabis, and has also been made using dry ice.
ICE WATER HASH / BUBBLE HASH
Similar to dry sift, ice water extraction is a different method of getting the same result. Both methods aim to get the trichome heads off of the plant material. However, ice water hash uses ice and water to agitate the trichome heads off of the plant. Bubble hash is also made using bags with different sized silk screens with varying microns to separate trichome heads from the rest of the bud.
Full melt can be made using the ice water hash method or the dry sift method. However, no stalks or plant material can be in the final product. True full melt is isolated trichome heads with no residuals. Full melt is essentially the highest quality bubble hash or dry sift you can get. The name full melt comes from the fact that it melts at the slightest touch of heat. When dabbed no residuals are left behind.