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Spotlight: Cannabis Concentrates: A Beginners Guide

Commonly referred to as dabs, shatter, or oil, these concentrates have boomed in popularity over recent years, becoming a common choice among recreational and medicinal consumers.
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Cannabis Concentrates

You'll likely be familiar with the cannabis flower and edibles you've probably tried one of them at some point. Still, suppose you're new to concentrates. In that case, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the vast number of varieties and options available.

Commonly referred to as dabs, shatter, or oil, these concentrates have boomed in popularity over recent years, becoming a common choice among recreational and medicinal consumers.

You can consume these concentrates with a dab pen, a type of oil, or wax vaporizer. Alternatively, a dab rig, a kind of water pipe akin to a bong, can be used. 

What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Concentrates have been around for thousands of years, their origins tracing back to ancient India and China. It wasn't until recent technological developments in making concentrates and legalization of marijuana and its derivatives that has seen the industry grow exponentially.

You have probably guessed from the name "concentrates" that these products are a concentrated form of the marijuana plant, and in that, you'd be correct.

It involves separating and concentrating the trichomes, the cannabinoids, and the terpenes from the excess plant fiber. Scientists have found over 110 different cannabinoids and over 120 terpenes.

The marijuana plant's terpenes and cannabinoids are produced in its trichomes. These are the white crystalline parts found on the surface of the plant's buds and leaves.

The terpenes give different strains of cannabis their particular flavor and can enhance or modify the psychoactive and medicinal effects. It makes the plant sticky, and likely plays a defensive role in protecting the plant from insects and the elements.

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Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that act on the endocannabinoid system of the human body and brain. The best-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD, but they are just two of over 140.

THC is the cannabinoid containing psychoactive properties that are responsible for that euphoric feeling. CBD contains healing and pain relief properties.

How are Cannabis Concentrates Made?

Cannabis concentrates can be divided into two subsets, those extracted from cannabis using a solvent such as carbon dioxide, propane, or butane. These are called solvent-based concentrates or extracts.

Solvent-based concentrates include Shatter, Wax, Crumble, Budder, Live Resin, BHO, PHO, and C02 Oil.

Concentrates that are made without using solvents are known as non-solvent /solventless concentrates.

The solventless concentrate is made using heat, pressure, water, and filtration to remove the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant and is more time consuming than solvent-based extraction. However, it's often regarded as a more natural method.

Non-Solvent Concentrates include Kief, Hash, Charas, Bubble Hash, Rosin Hash.

The marijuana flower typically ranges from 10 to 25 percent THC content. Non-solvent based concentrates usually range from 39 to 60 percent THC. In contrast, solvent concentrates on average contain 54 to 69 percent TCH but can be 80 percent or more, making them considerably more potent.

As these concentrates can be so potent, you need to be careful with dosage to make sure you're consuming the right amount for your needs. When purchasing a concentrate, take the time to discuss your needs with your dispensary or bud-tender to find the one that's right for you. Different cannabis concentrates will contain varying amounts of THC & CBD. They can point you in the right direction if you want a euphoric high or would rather something for purely medicinal benefits.

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