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Cannabis 101

The wide, wonderful world of concentrates

Carolyn BerkJanuary 19, 2021

Marijuana concentrates offer many dynamic ways to experience cannabis. From hash to rosin, waxes and sugars, the possibilities for exploring these alternative methods of consumption are seemingly endless when the trichomes of a cannabis plant are turned into a concentrate.

What are marijuana concentrates?

Marijuana concentrates are products extracted from cannabis flower and processed into a concentrated form. Because concentrates are, well, concentrated, these products can impact users more intensely or make them feel differently than how they do when smoking flower or using edibles. New users should keep this potency in mind when trying different types of concentrates for the first time. As with all unfamiliar cannabis products, start low and go slow.

How are marijuana concentrates made?

Concentrates are made through a variety of processes from cannabis trichomes. Trichomes are the tiny, resinous, crystal-like hairs that give marijuana its aroma, flavor and diverse medicinal benefits through cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. Some concentrates involve using solvents, such as alcohol or C02, to extract trichomes from the plant. However, there are also many solvent-less options available, like rosin, ice hash or kief.

Are marijuana concentrates right for you?

If you're a more seasoned user and comfortable with higher doses of THC, concentrates are definitely worth trying. Concentrates can be an excellent option for people with lung or throat problems, or those who just prefer not to smoke. They tend to be much cleaner than smoke, making them a better option for users with sensitive respiratory systems. It doesn't take long to feel the effects of concentrates, especially compared to other smokeless ways of consuming, such as marijuana edibles. This makes concentrates ideal for relieving intense pain. The higher strength of concentrates also mean that users generally only need a small amount in order to get high.

How to consume different types of marijuana concentrates

If variety is the spice of life for you, you're going to love exploring the wide world of cannabis concentrates. Below, Lantern shines light on the most common types and related methods of consumption for a variety of concentrates available at most dispensaries. Grab your torch and read on!


How to consume: Smoke

If you've been putting your flower in a grinder before packing it into a bowl or bong, you may already have this extract on hand! Many grinders have a tiny compartment on the bottom that collects the pollen-like substance that is kief (or dry sift, as it is sometimes known). Kief is the dusty byproduct of grinding up the flower. But don't let appearance fool you: kief is a jackpot of broken-off trichomes that can be sprinkled like a seasoning on top to give bowls or joints a little extra kick. Kief is also used to make potent, smokable treats like moon rocks.

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How to consume: Smoke, or decarb and make into an edible

Hash is typically made by removing trichomes from the plant and pressing the trichomes into a resin. In some cultures, “finger hash" has been quickly and easily made for centuries by simply rubbing the bud in one's hands to remove the sticky trichomes from the leaves, and shaped into little smokable balls. This resin can be added to a joint or blunt, or smoked in a bong or pipe like you would flower. If you have access to a decarber, hash can also be transformed for use in potent edibles like brownies. Bubble hash is becoming increasingly popular. This solventless type of hash involves using cold water, ice, and a series of “hash bags" hash bags to separate the trichomes from the plant material. Unlike it's buoyant name, bubble hash has a texture that can be anywhere from dusty to paste-like. The bubble hash process also makes for a fun workout!



How to consume: Dab or vaporize

There are many kinds of cannabis products that fall under the extracts umbrella. Wax, shatter, oil, crumble, budder, BHO, pull-and-snap, mainly, vary in consistency. Textures range from resembling fresh sap dripping from a maple tree to feeling like hardened, ancient amber. By dabbing and vaping these products, users can get a powerful, fast-acting feeling of highness. Many patients also report quick and effective pain relief with extracts. Of course, because they can hit users hard and fast, be sure to first try them out in a safe environment until you know how your body will react. Slow and steady wins the race! Learn more about dabbing here.

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How to consume: Smoke or dab

Similar to how you can squeeze an orange to make OJ, cannabis flower can be squeezed to give off rosin. Unlike orange juice, though, heat is involved to help produce this gooey, sap-like extract. Aside from cannabis flower, rosin can also be made out of hash and kief. Rosin is a popular solventless concentrate to make at home. While it's easy to find online instructions on making rosin using parchment paper and a hair straightener, for example, you can also find it in a variety of strains at many dispensaries. Like other concentrated forms of cannabis, rosin is potent. Itis best consumed by adding it to bowls or even wrapping some around the outside of a joint.

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Carolyn Berk Lantern Author 
Carolyn Berk
Carolyn Berk got her start working in both radio and TV before applying her journalism skills to the cannabis industry. She is currently a content marketer and an active member of the New England cannabis community.