Dabbing: The Ultimate Cannabis Concentrates Glossary
Cannabis Concentrates: The Ultimate Glossary
Every term you should know before using cannabis concentrates.
How about we pause for a minute to recap and ask, why consume cannabis concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are well-known to have a higher potency and therefore, a bigger effect can be achieved with a smaller dose making it more economical. Then, cannabis concentrates not only concentrate cannabinoids, but also the tasty and beneficial terpenes. The flavour resulting from concentrates vaporization allows consumers to taste terpenes more clearly within a clean hit, rather than mixing it with plant matter or tobacco.
The Internet is full of scientific articles explaining how cannabis concentrates are made and how the process makes them different. With all this jargon out there, are you sure to know cannabis concentrates?
Cannabis: Cannabis is a leafy plant that includes different species. It has a history of use dating back thousands of years across many cultures. Cannabis can be smoked, eaten, drunk, inhaled or applied on the skin. The term 'hemp' is generally used to describe low-THC varieties of cannabis which are grown for industrial uses.
Cannabinoids: Cannabinoids are the chemicals compounds which give the cannabis plant its properties. There are over 100 known cannabinoids like THC and CBD which interact with different receptors in the body to produce a wide range of effects, such as feeling high.
THC: THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the principal psychoactive cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. It can be an amber/gold, glassy solid when cold, which becomes viscous and sticky if warmed.
CBD: CBD or cannabidiol, is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in the trichomes of the female cannabis plant and hemp. CBD is more commonly associated with the medical use of cannabis. It is non-psychoactive, non-toxic and doesn’t have side effects. CBD is currently being researched to learn more about its properties.
Terpenes: A large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants in nature including cannabis. Terpenes are synthesised by the secretory cells inside the glandular trichomes. They are responsible for the different aromas and smells found in plants and fruits.
Cannabis concentrates: a highly potent cannabinoids concentrated mass that is extracted from the cannabis plant. On average, the concentrate has between 60-80% THC, compared to smoking cannabis flower which averages 10-25% THC. Cannabis concentrates groups varying products that range from moldable goo (budder/wax) to thick sticky oils (BHO) to and resinous bits (shatter). The classification of concentrates is often dependent on the manufacturing method and the consistency of the final product.
Dabbing: The practice of consuming cannabis concentrates. The slang term is used to refer to a dose of cannabis concentrates “dabbed” or flash vaporized once applied to a hot surface and inhaled. The act of “dabbing” refers to partaking in dabs.
Low-temp dabs: Low-temp dabs is a way to vaporize cannabis concentrates at a relatively low temperature. 315-450°F is the sweet spot for vaporization of all cannabinoids and terpenes while retaining maximum flavour. Low temp dabs enable dabbers to get the most of their concentrates. Dabbing at this temperature will produce a smooth hit that is relatively easy on the lungs.
SOLVENT BASED EXTRACTION
Solvent-Based Extraction: Solvent-based extractions use chemical solvents to strip cannabis flowers of their highly potent resin glands. In any solvent-based extraction, whether butane, CO2, propane, or alcohol. Even though most concentrates are known by their appearance, the real difference between products is how they are made. Different extraction methods change the chemical and biological makeup of the final product form in ways that are not obvious to the naked eye. This is why you should always understand the process behind the product.
Slurry: Slurry is the resulting product of a solvent passing through cannabis flowers to collect its cannabinoids. It is the mixture of cannabinoids and unpurged solvent. Mainly, slurry looks like either a runny liquid form or an airy patty/loaf. It contains high amounts of residual solvent and is not considered safe to consume. In order to turn slurry into a finished and compliant product, purging must be implemented.
Purging: Purging can be achieved through evaporation, vacuuming or hand-whipping. Each method of purging has different variations and produces a different end product and consistency. While there are many different options for solvent purging, vacuuming is predominantly considered the most popular.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO): Butane hash oil is a solvent-based extraction that uses butane as a solvent. BHO offers a variety of end products with very high THC levels and is a thick, sticky oil. BHO is also referred to a budder, shatter, wax, sap ect.. depending on the manufacturing method. Butane was one of the first solvents used in concentrate extraction. Because of its low burning point, butane is extremely volatile, which is why it is unsafe to use if you are not a professional.
Wax: Wax is made by blasting the cannabis plant material with a solvent using a closed-loop extraction system. The resulting slurry is heated at low temperatures and whipped vigorously to remove all residual solvent. Because the product is whipped by hand, it gains airy peaks that are similar to whipped topping. Waxes tend to be harder, non-transparent oils. Budder and honeycomb are considered versions of wax. Wax can vary from crumble to budder depending on changing factors during extraction like the temperature, solvent, pressure and strain used.
Budder: Budder refers to pretty much any cannabis concentrate that is creamy in consistency. Budder is essentially wax with higher moisture content because it is whipped less than wax. Budder is by far one of the easiest concentrates to scoop and serve consistently. Budder wax is made when the extracted cannabinoids begin to crystallize after being agitated during the extraction process
Shatter A brittle form of BHO. It has the look of transparent amber glass and has a reputation for being the purest and cleanest type of extract. Shatter is named for its break-ability, like shattered glass, and is favoured for its ease in handling while dabbing. Shatter requires long and delicate purging cycles to properly remove all solvents used in the manufacturing process. Shatter’s harder composition makes it preferable for dabbing and vaporizers.
Crumble: Crumble wax is made with a procedure very similar to those that create shatter and budder, but the pre-purged oils used for crumble generally have more moisture, a different temperature and a thicker consistency, which help create the wax’s crumbling, cheese-like body. Although its loose structure isn’t suited for dabbing, like stickier budders and shatters, shaving bits of crumble works well for portable vaporizer coils and topping bowls of a flower.
Honeycomb: Honeycomb is made by blasting plant material with a solvent using a closed-loop extraction system. The resulting slurry is collected into parchment paper and placed in a vacuum oven for solvent purging. After the purging interval, the concentrate patty is pressed to promote faster nucleation, turning it from a shiny shatter looking substance to more of a cookie crumble, honeycomb look. The final product delivers an amber colour with a strong aroma and overall flavour.
CO2 Oil: CO2 oil is a commercial method of making concentrated THC oil, made from the Supercritical CO2 extraction process. Supercritical CO2 extractors are able to separate the various components of cannabis from each other such as cannabinoids and terpenes. The consistency of CO2 oils tends to be less viscous than other forms of cannabis concentrates. As a result, most CO2 oil is loaded into vape pens for easy use on-the-go.
Tincture: A tincture is a liquid cannabis extract made with high percentage alcohol that is often dosed with a dropper. The alcohol is used to extract terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant material. Tinctures can be used sublingually, orally or used to infuse just about any dish you want
NON-SOLVENT BASED EXTRACTION
Non-Solvent Extraction: These are concentrates produced without the use of a solvent. Non-solvent extraction processes typically involve using ice to chill cannabis flowers to sub-zero temperatures, agitating the resin glands to detach from the epidermis of the flowers. Heat and pressure extraction methods can also be implemented to make non-solvent concentrates. They result in products that have equal to higher potency than those created with solvents. These traditional extractions remain popular with purists and new consumers who care about what chemicals they're inhaling (or technically not inhaling). Because there are no chemicals introduced to the process, the plant remains unaltered, resulting in rich and complete terpene and cannabinoid profiles. When water or CO2 are used as solvents during the extraction process, the end result is considered solventless as they don't get left behind in the end product and are harmless.
Kief: Kief is the simplest and most traditional type of concentrate available. Kief is very fine in texture and often takes on a light brown or tan colouring. It mimics the flavour of the flower it came from. It can be used on top of a bowl or consumed on its own. Ideally, kief should be purely trichome heads making it very potent as the majority of cannabinoids and terpenes are found in them. The process used to extract it involves cannabis flower and specialized fine filtering screens or tumblers. Kief is made by rubbing the cannabis flower against fine filtering screens, trichomes are agitated and isolated. Applying heat and pressure to kief will turn it into hash.
Hash: Hash is the product formed when the cannabis trichomes found in the resin glands are concentrated and compacted into a solid block. Because everything but the active part of the plant has been removed, hash ranges in potency but is generally stronger than straight flowers. Hash can take many different forms, from dry to sticky to oily. Hash can also be made by rubbing your hands on cannabis flowers. Then scrape your hands to have a ball of potent ‘finger-hash’. It is one of the oldest preparations of cannabis, representing centuries of history and global popularity.
Bubble Hash: Bubble hash (also known as water hash or ice water hash) is made using ice, water, and fine micron bags to separate resin glands from raw cannabis and other waste. The resulting product is called bubble hashish because it bubbles when a flame is applied to it. It comes in a variety of qualities and consistencies and is commonly graded based upon the micron level of the screens used and a "star" scale, with 1* being the lowest grade and 6*, or full-melt, being the highest. Quality bubble hash will look tan or golden in colour with a sand-like consistency, lacking any visible plant matter. Producing bubble hash is debatably the safest extraction technique known to man.
Full-Melt Extracts: “Full-melt” is a term used to describe the quality of cannabis hash. It is a cannabis resin concentrate that is usually obtained via an ice and water extraction method. However, full melt hash can also be extracted using a dry sieve process. Both extraction processes are solvent-less and readily separate the cannabis plant’s resin heads from the plant’s material. The goal in creating full melt bubble hash is to obtain the plant’s pure trichome heads. The bubble hash is usually called full melt because it is highly concentrated. The cannabis concentrate readily melts and bubbles when heated from flame or vaporization.
Rosin: Rosin refers to an extraction process that utilizes a combination of heat and pressure to isolate the resinous essential oils from trichome heads to create a solid form of resin. It can appear as a very hard and stable product as it can appear very soft and fluffy when extracted at a low temperature. Because solvents are not introduced in the process, the chemical structure of terpenes and cannabinoids within the flower are unaltered, which is why rosin is often considered one of the purest and most flavorful forms of concentrate. If executed correctly, rosin can rival the flavour, potency, and yield of other solvent-based extraction products. The most common way to consume rosin is dabbing.
The best cannabis concentrates for you will depend on what you’re looking for. Fans of terpenes will want to try high-quality BHO or CO2 extracts. If you’re not into smoking or inhaling cannabis, you’re better off with tinctures. If you’re into high terpenes and cannabinoids without the solvents, full melts or rosin are the way to go.