FORMS OF CANNABIS
Flower – Flower is the term for the smokable part of a female cannabis plant that has been harvested, dried, and cured. In this form, it can be ground up and then smoked or vaporized. It can also be used to make cannabis concentrates and canna-butter or canna-oil.
It is popular for its versatility and quick onset of effects but does not have a precise dosing structure. Potency is measured in milligrams of THC per gram—for example, if a menu item reads “18% THC,” there are 180.00 milligrams of THC in one gram of that particular product. Flower can be purchased in loose, measured quantities (by the gram, or by the portion of an ounce) or in pre-rolled joints.
Concentrates – Concentrates are products made from processing the cannabis plant to keep only the trichomes as they contain most desirable parts of the plant. Thus, they have a much greater proportion of cannabinoids and terpenes by volume than flower. Efficient, refined, and diverse both in product choice and consumption method, concentrates are preferred by some because of the quick onset and because they can be easier to dose. They can be consumed by smoking, vaporizing, or orally as capsules or tinctures. They can also be used to make edibles.
How are concentrates made? – Concentrates are a diverse group of products, but the distinction between different types of concentrates is made based on the consistency or the resulting product and the process used to make it. There are two major ways of making concentrates: solvent extraction and solventless extraction. Solvent extraction takes place when chemical solvents like ethanol, butane, or propane are used to strip the plant material of the cannabinoids and terpenes. Afterwards, the chemical solvents are usually evaporated from the extract in a process called purging. Products labeled “solvent-free” have had the solvent removed entirely during purging. Solventless extraction uses mechanical techniques like pressure, temperature, and filtration to gather the essential compounds from the cannabis plant.
Types of Concentrates
There are a wide variety of concentrates based on texture and intake method. Read more to find out which types of concentrates best suit your preferences and needs.
Shatter – Shatter is brittle, glass-like extract that generally has a color ranging from golden to amber. It has a tendency to break apart if handled too much and is made using BHO extraction, meaning butane is the main extraction solvent.
Wax – Wax, another BHO extracted concentrate, is stickier than shatter but can range in consistency from crumby to honey-like. The softer of these variations is often called “budder” while harder waxes are often called “honeycomb” or “crumble.” Wax generally requires a dabber, a small stick used to manipulate the product.
Oil – Cannabis oil is produced with carbon dioxide and are often used in dab pen cartridges and to make edibles. It is runny is consistency and is the most common concentrate to contain
Live Resin – Live resin is created using a flash-frozen live cannabis plant rather than the dried and cured flower. This allows for a higher terpene profile and often higher cannabinoid potency.
Rosin – Rosin is a solvent-free concentrate made by applying heat and pressure to flower. The resulting product is sappy, oily, and contains many of the familiar aromas terpenes that other concentrates lack due to the extraction process.
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) – In 2003, a man named Rick Simpson discovered three bumps on his arm. These turned out to be basal cell carcinomas—a form of skin cancer. Since Simpson had previously used cannabis to treat medical issues, he made a cannabis oil to apply topically to the area. He claims that within four days, the bumps were gone. While this has yet to be backed up by scientific studies, there are many reports of its effectiveness at treating cancer and relieving symptoms of a wide variety of conditions.
The distinctive feature of RSO is the high concentration of THC—typically at least 20%. RSO is available for purchase at some dispensaries and is also relatively easy to make at home with cannabis flower.
Check out Rick Simpson’s website for more information & resources on making RSO and dosing.
Information courtesy of: