If you're familiar with cannabis extracts and their use, you have probably heard the terms, "solventless" and "solvent," both of which are used to describe certain cannabis products. In recent years, use of cannabis extracts have surpassed the use of cannabis flower products, which means that more people are trying them every day. If you are interested in using extracts, it's a good idea to understand the lingo and a bit of the science associated with them so you can choose the product that best suits your needs. This guide can help.
To create cannabis concentrates, the plant material is filtered out, leaving behind the active compounds that produce the effects of use. That includes both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The process also removes the terpenes, concentrating them into the finished product. The terpene profile refers to the combination of chemicals that produce the unique scent and flavor of a given cannabis product. No two are quite the same and you can find those that offer up an herby profile, as well as many that have a fruity profile.
The most common way to make a concentrate is to use some type of solvent to dissolve the plant matter, leaving behind the cannabis compounds and terpenes. The trick is to use a solvent that won't destroy the CBD, THC or terpenes. Once it's done its job, the solvent is typically left to evaporate. There are several solvents used to create the various forms of concentrates found in dispensaries.
It might sound like the use of these chemical solvents are something you should avoid. However, this process has been used in the food industry for decades. Provided you buy your concentrates from a licensed and reputable dispensary, you can safely use cannabis products made using a solvent such as those listed above.
There are a variety of options when it comes to choosing solvent-based concentrates. Understanding their properties and uses will help you decide, not only if they're right for you, but which one is the most ideal for your marijuana goals.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
This is perhaps the most common extraction method and is done using lab-grade butane. Butane is lauded for its bipolarity, which allows manufacturers to separate the plant matter from the cannabinoid content and the terpenes in an efficient manner. At the same time, the process eliminates any residual butane from lingering in the final product. Examples of this include the following:
Propane Hash Oil (PHO)
This product utilizes propane to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant material. This is done at a higher temperature and lower pressure than the butane method and removes more the residual plant materials, resulting in a high terpene, full-spectrum extract.
Ethanol is the agent that creates intoxication in liquor and is a colorless and flammable liquid that works well as a solvent. It's used for a variety of food preservative and additive purposes. It doesn't have the non-polar properties of butane, but many experts say it's just as effective and helps retain some of the chlorophyll in a cannabis plant, producing products with a pleasant grassy flavor and scent. The main limitation with this extraction process is that it cannot reach a purity of more than 80 percent, so the finished product isn't as full spectrum as others.
Weighing the good with the bad is always an important part of choosing the right cannabis concentrates for you.
Solventless extractions are resin concentrates that are created without the use of chemicals. They are an ideal choice for someone who wants to be sure they aren't getting any residual butane, propane or ethanol in their concentrates. Keep in mind that solventless concentrates are not the same thing as solvent-free products. A solvent-free concentrate is one that has had the solvents used during the manufacturing process removed before sale. A solventless product has no chemicals used at all and is an ideal choice for a medical marijuana user, as well as health-conscious cannabis connoisseurs.
As with solvent-based extracts, there are a wide variety of solventless concentrates to choose from. As the technology for manufacturing this kind of concentrate continues to advance and evolve, you can expect new products in this category to pop up all the time. In the meantime, have a look at your options below.
Also called hashish, hash has been around for centuries and has its origins in India and the Middle East. It's very popular due to its potency and true flavor profile. It's made by identifying and separating the trichomes from the cannabis plant. Originally, this was done by simply massaging the marijuana buds between the fingertips. It's now done using screens, which is an efficient way to capture all of the resinous trichomes from the flower, which is then pressed into bricks, that in turn is used to create other cannabis products, including the following:
Also called water hash or ice-o-lator, bubble hash is a resin that is extracted from the cannabis plant material using ice-cold water and agitation. During ice water extraction, the buds of the plant are stirred, either by hand or with a machine, which causes the trichomes to break off the plant. The water is then poured through a series of mesh bags, with the mesh material becoming finer as the cannabis is poured through. These are often called bubble bags. The quality of the water influences the quality and potency of the final product, with the expectation of total cannabinoids being between 50 and 80 percent.
Using only heat and pressure, rosin results from extracting a full melt oil from the cannabis flowers or hash. This is a new method of creating solvent-free cannabis products and dates to only 2015. It is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to extract resin while keeping as many of the terpenes as possible.
Rosin can be created using many original sources, including kief, bubble hash and flower and works with both fresh and frozen materials. Because the chemical structure of rosin can't be altered, there's no way to make the high-quality products that other methods that are used in the cannabis industry. In other words, the quality of the plant directly correlates to the quality of the rosin.
When you have a resin product, you can process it further by whipping it. The resulting product is called budder and is often used for dabbing due to its texture. The process of creating a budder is a good way to increase the aroma of the starting material. Budder can be found at many dispensaries, but can also be easily made at home by stirring rosin with a spoon to get the desired texture.
Again, before deciding if solventless extracts are right for you, it's important to have a look at the advantages and drawbacks that such products offer.
No matter whether you choose solventless cannabis extracts or the solvent-based variety, safety is of the utmost concern. Only buy your products from licensed dispensaries with proof of their quality and safety compliance. Low-quality concentrates pose health risks, so it's best to be sure you are choosing the safest products on the market. If you have more questions, don't be afraid to talk to your budtender at DC Collective who can guide you to the right concentrate product for your wants and needs.
⚠️WARNING: Products sold on this site can expose you to chemicals including marijuana smoke, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information, go to http://www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
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