Cannabis Concentrates 101 – A Beginner’s Guide
Welcome to Concentrates 101, brought to you by, Grant Pharms! In this rapidly expanding cannabis industry, we are constantly being introduced to new methods of marijuana consumption—one of the largest and most popular being, Cannabis Concentrates.
Here at Grant Pharms, we carry over 25+ different strains, which have been extracted in 12 different varieties. All these selections can sometimes confuse or even intimidate a patient who is looking to try concentrates for the first time, so we feel it’s our responsibility to shed some light on the topic with a brief history of concentrates, the different types of concentrates, and their various styles of administration.
Despite the fact that most concentrates today are produced using modern, closed-loop extraction methods, they have a very extensive and established history.
The first known uses of concentrated cannabis can be dated back to 10,000 B.C. in the Steppe Mountains of China! The Chinese have been incorporating Cannabis in their medical practices and pharmacopeia for centuries and even created rough diagrams of a rudimentary endocannabinoid system, the first of its kind in history. The various cannabinoids and terpenes found in Cannabis have been used to treat myriad health conditions in many cultures since, in addition to religious uses.
WHAT ARE CONCENTRATES USED FOR?
The intended purpose of the use of concentrates is primarily to provide relief to those with higher tolerance levels, who are unable to achieve the previous relief from flower or edible routes of administration.
Like anything concentrated e.g., essential oils, perfumes, and oils from a variety of flowering or deciduous plants; cannabis concentrates are extracted in a similar fashion to capture and intensify the potency and flavor profiles of the plant. As the name implies, when you “concentrate” something you are making it stronger and more potent, which means you essentially need less to achieve a particular effect e.g., pain relief, appetite stimulation, sleep, or focus and concentration.
Concentrates are a great option for seasoned cannabis consumers looking to increase the intensity and duration of their high, as well as flavor connoisseurs seeking to taste the most exquisite terpene profiles. Medical marijuana patients in need of relief also turn to concentrates for a direct, economical, and fast-acting solution to their ailments.
WHERE DO CONCENTRATES COME FROM?
Extraction methods are vast, but we’ll focus on two categories:
- Solventless: Stemming from ice water extraction methods which are typically safer, provided you are beginning with a superior crop.
- Using Solvents: Other methods typically use solvents such as Butane (BHO), Propane (PHO), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), and Hydrocarbon. Typically, whichever solvent you use is going to determine the stability of your end product.
Wax, Shatters, and Live Resin are usually produced from BHO, PHO, and Hydrocarbon methods, which allow us to achieve a low enough temperature (well below freezing), in order to freeze off the desired cannabinoids (particularly THC), and harvest the trichomes which may be further distilled in order to extract and isolate other cannabinoids such as CBDs, Terpenes, and Flavonoids. Once everything is separated, the end product can be manipulated and reconstructed to achieve a certain flavor profile, effect, and potency.
An important side note regarding cannabis concentrates is that the end result of a product is also determined by the time in which the residual solvent from the initial extraction process is purged out in a vacuum oven. The longer the product is purged, the less residual solvent is present, and the more potent and flavorful it will be.
When we distillate, we’re essentially taking pre-extracted concentrate oil and further separating the cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids from the stuff we don’t want—like pesticides. When compared to the process by which we get wax and shatter, this is like extraction—distillation results in the most refined and potent product available.
The aforementioned goodies are acquired by applying a thinning agent solvent (Isopropyl Alcohol ETOH) to the concentrated oil. We get distillate by taking advantage of the boiling points of the chemicals that make up the oil, allowing us to then separate them out for matchless purity. After all that, we can manipulate the cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids further for taste and utility.
WHY THE LOVE
Obvious reasons first—cannabis concentrates are potent. EXTREMELY potent. The 99% purity we can achieve in some cases essentially means that the concentrate is as pure as it can possibly be. And because the good compounds are separated from the bad, and there’s no smoke involved in consumption, THC distillates are also the cleanest high on the market. That may not matter to some, but it’s important for people turning to THC for medicinal purposes or who may not feel comfortable with certain stigmas of smoking. Additionally, because we can control the substance at a chemical level, we can determine how much taste any given distillate has or doesn’t have. That makes its use very versatile because it can be easily incorporated into any form that the user feels most comfortable consuming it in.
If you have any questions about which cannabis concentrate might be right for your unique needs, please reach out to the staff at Grant Pharms MMC.
Give us a call at: (719) 387-1633
Or, visit us at our local dispensary in Colorado Springs.