Concentrated cannabis medicine could refer to many things like the hash oil you're vaporizing, the sublingual tincture you put under your tongue, or non-intoxicating CBD oil that can be used as a topical or an orally administered medicine for a wide range of benefits. However, most prominently in the industry as it has evolved, concentrates generally refer to any product procured through an extraction process. Many new cannabis users can find raw concentrates to be a bit intimidating. Today we'll be exploring the types of raw concentrates extracted from marijuana flower, what they are used for, and how to use or store them.
As research and development of cannabis products continues into a regulated market, the type of concentrates available continues to grow. Leafly describes it well when shopping for cannabis products, "Imagine...you see the following items: shatter, rosin, BHO, CO2, wax, crumble, honey oil, dabs, hash, tinctures, and capsules. Don’t let the breadth of options drive you away – many of these are different names for the same thing. Here are some quick tips for narrowing your search down:
Shatter, wax, crumble, sugar, honeycomb, sap, and oil often refer to a concentrate’s texture. While some people have a preference of an extract’s consistency, what’s important to many people is the solvent used and how compatible that extract is with their preferred consumption method.
Most concentrates are extracted using CO2, butane, hydrocarbons, propane, water, alcohol, and heat. Solventless extracts made using water (e.g., hash) or heat (e.g., rosin) are excellent choices for those wary of how consuming solvents might affect them."
Simply put, concentrates are used by patients and cannabis consumers because the dosage levels of cannabinoids are more potent than flowers. The effects are also very immediate, say when 'dabbing' exracts. However, it should be noted that depending on the extraction process, terpenes could be more or less preserved, affecting the 'entourage effect' that most flower strains produce. Even so, some patients undergoing treatment for cancer through chemotherapy have reported that concentrates like shatter or wax are more immediate and effective in relieving nausea or increasing appetite. Some brands like, dosistTM, extract both terpenes and cannabinoids to create a blend appropriate for multiple effects. Take this vaporizer pen called 'arouse by dosistTM' as an example. It sources both extracted cannabis terpenes and the cannabinoids THC and CBD to produce an aroused effect. The spectrum for concentrate use can be individualistic in needs, or used by edible companies to dose their goodies. Many use solventless extracts like hash, kief, or rosin. Others may use solvent extracted forms, and test for residual solvents to make sure their products are safe. At HERB, we're big fans of lab testing and the information and safety that comes with it. Especially in concentrated forms of cannabis.
Concentrates can be 'dabbed' or vaporized with devices like a PAX 3, or more conveniently in a CO2 extracted, distilled hash oil cartridge, like this one from Absolute Xtracts. We have a large section on our website dedicated to troubleshooting and instructional videos on vaporizers that you can check out here. For a guide on how to dab, check out this article by Leafly.
Storing cannabis concentrates can be easier in preserving the quality of a product, more than flower. In regards to storing your weed extracts...
High Times put together some great tips:
The ideal environmental conditions to properly store cannabis concentrates is about the same for all consistencies. However, the best storage containers will vary based on the consistency of the extract. These are the various containers that are commonly used to store cannabis concentrates:
Silicone Jar - A silicone is one of the most versatile containers for storing cannabis concentrates because you can easily get any consistency on and off of it. You’ll want to make sure it is made of medical grade silicone to ensure your concentrates remain sanitary and uncontaminated.
Even though they’re convenient, silicone jars are better for short-term storage. If you’re gonna be done with the wax in about a week it should be fine. However, silicone jars aren’t air-tight so you can’t count on them to preserve the quality of your extracts for long.
Parchment Paper - Parchment paper alone is ideal for short-term storage of a few extract consistencies like shatter. It’s also used to make dabs at home using the rosin technique. Cut just enough for the amount of concentrate you have and make sure it’s folded up to keep the extract away from outside elements.
You’ll want to put anything that you don’t want being squished like crumble in a container with more space. To avoid anything leaking off of the paper, use a different container for sauce, distillates and any other runny concentrates.
For short-term storage, you’ll just need to keep the parchment in a cool and dark place. For anything longer, you’ll want to make sure the parchment is sealed in something completely safe from outside air, moisture and light. Then, you can just leave it in a cool dark place.
With a few extra steps, you can use parchment paper for medium-term storage or longer. If you only need to store your concentrates for a few weeks, you can put a concentrate-filled parchment paper in a sealed food bag. Then, store it in an airtight container placed in a cool, dark place.
Freezing - For people in hot areas with no cool dark place, you can use a refrigerator or freezer for long-term storage. You’ll need your extracts to be stored in parchment or a glass jar. Then, vacuum-sealed to ensure no humidity contaminates your extracts.
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer or enough concentrate to warrant one, you can use other precautions. Put the parchment or jar in a sealed bag and then put that sealed bag in an airtight container. Preferably one that removes the excess air when you seal it off.
When you pull it out you have to let it reach room temperature before cutting the seal. Cutting the seal or opening an airtight container immediately can let some of the moisture condensing off of the container into the extract. Then, you’ll hear sizzling from the water in your extract the next time you go for a dab. If it was a large quantity you pulled out, you’ll be hearing those sizzles for a while.
Glass Jar - This can be anything from a small glass jar with a plastic twist top to a mason jar depending on how much concentrates you have. It’s best to use the smallest container possible so there’s no extra space for air. Glass containers are better for oleoresins that can be scooped right off of the glass. Glass jars with plastic twist-off caps are filled with budder, crumble, sauce, sugars, THCa crystalline and other concentrates that don’t stick aggressively to glass jars. For long-term storage, the jars can be vacuum seal and stored in a cool, dark place.
Plastic Jars - Plastic jars are another short-term storage option for certain consistencies of hash oil. We don’t recommend storing your concentrates in plastic jars because stickier concentrates and shatters will stick to the point where it’s near impossible to get it all off. These containers come with certain crumbles and other BHO at dispensaries. So either move your concentrates to another container or plan to finish them as soon as possible.
*If you’re not planning to use your concentrates within a week you’ll have to take some of the extra precautions mentioned above like acquiring an air-tight container or vacuum-sealer. If you have a consistently cool, dark place you can leave the sealed-off extracts there for months."
Now that you know the background information surrounding cannabis concentrates, feel more confident in trying out these types of products. Feel free to take a look at the variety of concentrated products we carry, and remember we're always here to answer any questions you may have!