Welcome to Concentrates101 brought to you by Grant Pharms! In this rapidly expanding cannabis industry we are constantly being introduced to new methods of consumption, one of the largest and most popular being Cannabis Concentrates. Here at Grant Pharms, we carry over 20 different strains, which have been extracted in 12 different varieties. All of the selections can sometimes confuse or even intimidate a patient who is looking to try concentrate 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 routes 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 have 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, and 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, stemming from ice water extraction methods (which are solventless), and typically safer provided that you are beginning with a superior crop. 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 is 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 with regard to 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 basically 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 concentrate 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 of that, we can manipulate the cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids further for taste and utility.
WHY THE LOVE
Obvious reasons first—this stuff is potent. EXTREMELY potent. The 99% purity we can achieve in some cases essentially means that there’s nothing not getting you high. 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 last bit may not matter to some, but it’s important for people looking to THC for medicinal purposes or who may not feel comfortable with certain stigmas of smoking. Also, 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 super versatile because it can be easily incorporated into any form that the user feels most comfortable consuming it in.