Chapter 1: Types of Cannabis Concentrates
Cannabis concentrates are as diverse as they are potent. There are so many different types of concentrates, sometimes it hard to keep them all straight.
From kief to oils, hashish to shatter, it can be overwhelming to consider trying them, or how to smoke concentrates when you aren’t even sure which is which.
So, what are concentrates?
How are cannabis concentrates made?
How are concentrates, oils and extracts different?
How much do concentrates cost?
Types of Concentrates
What is a concentrate?
What is a solvent based extract or solventless cannabis concentrate?
Well, some concentrates call for a solvent, such as CO2, butane or alcohol, in order to extract the THC and other valuable cannabinoids and terpenes.
If a concentrate utilizes a solvent to be created it is referred to as an extract. Other concentrates require no solvent and these are referred to solventless concentrates.
All extracts are concentrates but not all concentrates are extracts. While different types of cannabis concentrates might seem to run together, they are each quite distinctive.
There are numerous types of concentrates and extracts and new ones being developed all the time.
Kief, hash, rosin, tinctures, oils, shatter, pull and snap, wax, budder or badder, crumble, honeycomb, distillate and crystalline are the concentrates we will focus on.
Popular Solventless Concentrates
Kief is the most basic of the THC concentrates. It is a powder-like substance that lives on cannabis flowers. If you own a grinder with a small reservoir at the bottom, known as a kief catcher, you are probably familiar with kief.
Hash is, basically, pressed kief or compressed resin. There is finger hash, bubble hash, dry sift. To make hash, THC rich trichomes are separated from the cannabis plant and condensed with high temperature and pressure. It is highly potent.
In this Leafly video, you’ll learn the cannabis craftsmanship on how to make hash.
Rosin is a sticky substance created when heat and compression meet a bud of cannabis flower. Unlike hash which is made with just trichomes, rosin is made with the entire cannabis bud. Rosin can be made commercially but is also able to be safely and easily produced at home with a hair straightener or t-shirt press.
Popular Cannabis Extracts
Tinctures utilize decarboxylated cannabis, placed in a jar with a high proof alcohol like Everclear. The mixture is then stored for several weeks, strained and consumed.
It remains a liquid, but will be green in color and is spiked with all the good stuff that has been leached out of the plant into the alcohol.
There are several different types of cannabis oils, which we will detail in depth in our next chapter.
When made properly, it is a thicker liquid than a tincture, but viscous enough to not be a solid either. It is more popularly utilized in a pre-filled vape pen and can also be placed inside capsules for oral ingestion.
Shatter is a solid substance, which resembles a honey-colored glass shard. When tapped with a dab tool, it breaks into pieces or “shatters,” get it?
Shatter is one of the most recognized concentrates, is easy to manipulate and is far less messy than other varieties of concentrates or extracts.
Pull and Snap
Pull and snap looks very similar to shatter but has an almost taffy-like consistency. Instead of shattering into pieces, pull and snap can be…pulled and snapped.
As a piece of this concentrate is pulled, it reaches a breaking point then snaps off the whole. It, too, is honey colored.
As the name suggests, wax concentrates resemble the texture of candle wax. Depending on the overall consistency it can be known as budder, badder, crumble or honeycomb.
Budder or Badder wax is the more viscous wax, which is gooey and can almost be stirred.
Crumble and Honeycomb wax have the same consistency but can be in different forms. Crumble is typically used to describe wax that is already broken up, or crumbled. Honeycomb is used to describe wax that is still mostly intact but is filled with holes like, you guessed it, a honeycomb.
Distillate is a refined, or distilled, version of a cannabis extract. After extraction, the distillate is run through a purification process several times. The result is a liquid, clarified distillate, much like honey in color and consistency.
Crystalline is a solid extract that has been through many processes and filters in order to destroy the plant matter remaining in the extract, preserve the THC and remove any leftover solvents. The remnants are clear crystals that boast 99% THC.
How do I smoke a concentrate? You’ll have to wait until Chapter 2 for that answer!
Price of Cannabis Extracts
What is the price of a cannabis extract? Well, it depends. We are going to be talking averages here because nailing down a universal price isn’t realistic.
So you might have seen it go for more, you might have paid less at some point – but for the sake of putting an average number on it, these are the prices we discovered through research.
$20-$35 a gram
At this price point, you can get a gram of kief, hash or wax. From our research $20-25 a gram seems a pretty customary average for kief.
However, you COULD just purchase a grinder with kief catcher and collect your own. Bubble hash can be around $30 a gram, but hash that is a chemically extracted product can cost up to $100 a gram.
As for wax, you will pay around $30 a gram, depending on the wax you are choosing.
$40-$55 a gram
For a little more money, you can get yourself a gram of rosin, shatter, pull and snap, 250-500 mgs of cannabis oil or 32 ml of tincture. Depending on the quality of the rosin, you could pay an average of $45 a gram, with some being less and some being more.
An average cost for quality shatter is about $40 a gram. Pull and snap can range between $30-$50, or an average of $40 per gram. A vape pen cartridge filled with oil can be anywhere from $30-$60. If you want hash oil you’ll be looking at around $50 per gram.
You aren’t going to be buying a gram of tincture because most likely it is going to be measured in milliliters. 32 ml of tincture can go for about $50.
$100-$200 a gram
Yes, this sounds a little crazy, but both distillate and crystalline will cost a pretty penny. Users need to use much less at a time than other concentrates to feel effects, both of these products should last you for some time.
Because of its high quality and high potency, distillate can go for up to $120 a gram! Wowzers!
However, keep an eye out because prices for distillate have been dropping and it can be found for $50 a gram, sometimes even as low as $20 – though you might want to question the purity and quality of such cheap product.
For a gram of Crystalline will be anywhere from $100-$200 for one gram, because again, the high quality and high THC potency are going to cost you.
In the last part of our chapter, we answered your questions, “what is honey oil?”
Well, you are in luck because continuing onto the next part of our chapter – we explore just how these incredible oils are made and how to consume them. There are lots of ways to do both, make and consume weed oil, and we will do our best to go into as much detail as we can, safely.
For example, we aren’t going to draw you a diagram on how to make BHO or Butane Hash Oil because, well, it can be a hazardous process. But we will give you the basics and you can do more research about it if you choose.
Time to get started.
How are Cannabis Oils Made?
As we learned in Part 1, the terms “cannabis oil,” “hash oil,” “marijuana oil,” and even “weed oil” refer to any concentrated extract oil made from cannabis. That includes THC Oil, CBD Oil, Hash Oil, Honey Oil, BHO, CO2 Oil and Rick Simpson Oil.
All of these, except for CBD Oil, comes exclusively from the sticky icky kind of cannabis. CBD CAN come from recreational or medically grown marijuana – but it can also come from hemp, which allows it to be sold nationwide (and even internationally) as hemp products are totally legal.
“There can be many, many different varieties, and if you’re thinking about doing this for medical reasons, you want to find a trusted source and do your research. Where does that oil come from, and how confident can you be that you know the exact percentages of the different cannabinoids in the product?”
We think whether you consume cannabis oil for medical OR recreational reasons, it is important to know how it is made and the quality of said oil. So, how is cannabis oil made? To tell you short and sweet, each oil has a different extraction process but many are available in cartridges to use in your vaporizer.
Interested in how to make THC oil?
It isn’t that difficult at all. A basic THC oil is made with alcohol and is produced by extracting the resin that is in the cannabis plant, the female of the species of course. The resin that is extracted dissolves in alcohol. After that the alcohol evaporates, leaving a thick, syrupy residue.
This is your THC oil!
The higher the THC percentage in the flower that you use, the higher the THC in the resulting oil.
To extract CBD you are going to typically use the whole plant – or aerial parts. Aerial means it is exposed to air – so no roots.
Your CBD process will be the same as your THC process – the only difference is that the resulting oil will have no psychoactive qualities. Because CBD is totally legal, making CBD oil from hemp (not THC filled cannabis) is also legal and results in no legal ramifications for possession or manufacturing.
It also has a host of medical benefits that many patients, and pet parents, swear by.
Butane/BHO Oil/Honey Oil
Okay, into the more involved processes.
BHO, Butane Hash Oil – sometimes referred to as Butane Honey Oil, was originally made through a process called “blasting” or “open blasting” which is really not done commercially anymore but is often the cause behind at home manufacturing explosions.
This technique is outdated, to say the least. During the butane extraction process, gas passes through a tube open at one end, often made of glass, stainless steel or PVC, which is filled with cannabis plant matter.
A low temperature, liquid butane passes over the plant matter, is collected at the other end and crystallizes the resins in the cannabis. The butane is then left to evaporate, by heat or vacuum oven, and what is left over is known as BHO.
It is a hazardous process and wastes a lot of cannabis, making it not the most cost-effective way to create BHO either. When blasting, there is no way to contain the extremely flammable butane – so when you are open blasting any type of ignition can create an explosion.
We will not be going to go into detail on how to perform open blasting, it is dangerous and we won’t be responsible for passing that knowledge along.
However, blasting is not the only way to make BHO. Due to the extremely hazardous conditions caused by blasting, a new concept has been adopted – Closed Loop Extraction. And it isn’t just better because it isn’t an explosive technique – there are other reasons it is superior to blasting.
In closed loop extractions, solvents are put into a pressurized tank which is connected to an extraction tube which is where plant materials are stored. Leftover, or residual, solvents then collect in a recovery tank. Solvents in the recovery tank can be stored and reused – so it is a very sustainable process as well.
People are also debating whether or not consuming butane is safe. When you use a lighter to light a bong, pipe, joint or cigarette – you are inhaling trace amount of butane…but there has not been enough research done to say if butane consumption is creating long-lasting health hazards or not. Buyer beware.
Supercritical fluid extraction of SFE is the preferred process for CO2 Oil extractions. What is Supercritical Fluid Extraction? During this process, components are separated using Carbon Dioxide or CO2.
The word supercritical plays in because in chemistry, “supercritical” means “any substance at a temperature and pressure above its critical point, where distinct liquid and gas phases do not exist.” In this supercritical state, the product is able to be broken down and separated.
Only then is it able to pass over cannabis plant matter and dissolve the membrane of trichomes and separate substances. CO2 extraction is capable of extracting THCA, CBD, CBG and THCV to name a few. CO2 extractions can also separate terpenes and other vital compounds in cannabis.
The enriched CO2 solvent is then passed into another tank, a pressurized separation vessel, and changing pressures and temperatures are used to complete the process of separation. Remaining CO2 is restabilized into a gas and as we said above, often reused.
Even the FDA recognized Supercritical CO2 extractions as safe for industrial extractions – not in cannabis of course, but for other botanical products and such.
Distillation is used in the alcohol industry to remove methanol and ethanol used in alcohol production. It is the process used to separate compounds by utilizing their unique boiling points.
It is used to purify cannabis oils by heating cannabinoids to their boiling point. The resulting cannabinoid-rich vapor is condensed and collected – while residual solvents, chlorophyll and other unwanted plant matter are left behind.
With that said, manufacturers are now playing with the re-introduction or terpenes to the oil after the process. The distillation method can be repeated multiple times in order to produce the purest product possible.
Rick Simpson Oil
RSO is easy peasy to make at home on your own and is not too much different than making cannabutter or other cannabis oils.
Simpson’s recommendation is to use indica strains exclusively, but a patient can use whichever strain they prefer. Visit Leafly for the full recipe and process.