There are countless ways to enjoy cannabis. Enthusiasts who like a stronger effect often choose cannabis concentrates. As the name suggests, concentrates are super potent, so they’re not ideal for those who are brand new to the world of cannabis.
Concentrates typically contain a high amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the intoxicating chemical found in cannabis. They’re usually also high in terpenes, which produce the aroma and can have health benefits too.
Curious where to start on your own concentrate journey? Here’s a quick guide to the most popular types of cannabis concentrates.
Hash, also known as hashish, is probably the oldest type of cannabis concentrate. Originating in Central and South Asia, hash dates back to around 900 AD. In the last century or so, it’s become more and more popular in Western countries.
Hashish is made by compressing the trichomes of the cannabis plant. The trichomes are tiny, hair-like parts on the surface of the plant. They produce the resin that contains the cannabinoids and terpenes that give cannabis its effects.
There are a few ways to use hash. Traditionally, it was eaten directly or added to a beverage such as bhang, a traditional Indian drink. A few crumbs of hash can be added to a joint, or it can be smoked on its own. It can also be melted on a hot surface and vaporized, known as dabbing.
Another ancient form of cannabis concentrate, kief is probably the best concentrate for beginners to try. This is because it’s easy to make, doesn’t involve solvents, and has a variety of uses.
Each tiny trichome has a small crystal at the tip. This is called the kief. As with the rest of the trichome, it contains a potent amount of cannabinoids and terpenes.
If you use a three-chamber grinder to grind cannabis flowers, one chamber will collect kief. It’ll look like green dust but will be sticky to the touch. Very pure kief contains no plant material and is white in color. Commercial kief is usually made by sifting cannabis using screens.
Kief can be compressed and turned into hash, but it can also be sprinkled into a joint or pipe for a powerful smoke. Adding kief to a bowl is called “crowning a bowl.” It can also be used to make moonrocks, which are cannabis nugs covered in oil and dusted with kief.
What’s great about kief is that it doesn’t involve any solvents; it’s just plant matter. It’s also super easy to make at home, although it requires a great deal of cannabis (and patience) to produce a small amount.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
BHO is quite common. As the name suggests, butane is used as a solvent to extract the cannabis concentrate.
BHO comes in a variety of forms, each of which is defined by its appearance and consistency. This includes:
- Shatter, which has a glass-like consistency
- Crumble, which looks a bit like honeycomb and crumbles easily
- Budder (or badder, batter), which is soft like butter or cake frosting
- Sauce, which is very sticky
BHO is often smoked using a dab rig. It typically has a THC concentration of 60 to 90 percent, which varies based on the plant and the extraction process.
Although it might be tempting to make BHO at home, it’s best to leave that to the professionals. The butane needs to evaporate entirely, or you’ll end up inhaling it when you smoke. This can cause health problems.
Rosin is quite a common kind of cannabis concentrate, partly because it can be made at home with a hair straightener and parchment paper. It’s typically extracted from dried flower, trim, or kief. Heat and pressure turns it into an oil-like or shatter-like concentrate, which can be smoked with a dab rig.
Rosin is solventless and thus “clean.” Too much butane can be harmful, but this isn’t an issue when it comes to rosin, which typically has a THC potency of 50 to 70 percent.
Live Resin & High-Terpene, Full-Spectrum Extract (HTFSE)
Live resin is technically a type of BHO, as butane is typically used to extract this concentrate. However, live resin is quite unique in that it uses fresh or flash-frozen cannabis instead of cured cannabis. This means that it contains a high concentration of terpenes.
Live resin is considered a high-terpene, full-spectrum extract (HTFSE). Many people want high-terpene extracts because of the reported therapeutic benefits of terpenes.
Live resin usually has a gritty, sauce-like texture. and is typically smoked using a dab rig.
The THC potency of live resin is usually around 50 percent. The terpene percentage can range from 13 percent to 40 percent, depending on the plant.
Which Cannabis Concentrate Will You Fall in Love With?
While most people experiment with a range of cannabis concentrates, you might find that you have one or two flavours, textures, or potencies you prefer over others. But no matter which form of cannabis concentrate you enjoy, always be sure to purchase high-quality, safe products.