“Concentrates” is a catchall term for any form of concentrated marijuana product. There are many types of concentrates and therefore many methods to create them. I’m going to try and cover each individually and also include some general information. I just want to say I’m no scientist so some of this might be somewhat inaccurate and feel free to call me out on it.
The first distinction made is whether it is made with a solvent (Butane, alcohol, CO2) or it is solventless (extracted through mechanical or manual means).
- The solvent essentially dissolves the good parts of the plant like THC and CBD and leaves the chlorophyll and plant matter behind. Then the solvent is removed usually through some kind of forced evaporation induced by purging it in a vacuum chamber or heating. This leaves only the THC and CBD behind. The better the job done the less plant matter, fats and oils will be in the final product making it more “pure”.
- Solventless concentrates are made by basically just manually stripping the nugs of those lovely crystals and balling it up.
*Much of the types and classifications can be debated and can overlap but this is how I always understood it.
- Consistency/Appearance : sticky, goopy or liquid. Clear or opaque.
- Solvent: Butane or CO2
- CO2 oil is really cool because all the THC is active. Meaning you can smoke it, eat it or even just rub it into your skin. No need to activate it with heat by smoking or dabbing.
- Consistency/Appearance : somewhat sticky, crumbly, pasty or waxy. Opaque or solid amber, yellow or green color.
- Solvent: usually Butane
- Many people use wax as a general term for all concentrates (I do it sometimes) but it refers to a concentrate that isn’t an oil or a shatter.
- Consistency/Appearance : creamy, almost grainy. Looks like peanut butter. Solid yellow color
- Solvent : Butane
- Budder refers to concentrates that were whipped/whisked over certain temperatures. This agitation changes the molecular structure while also removing leftover solvent and aerating.
Crumble / Honeycomb
- Consistency/Appearance: dry, stable, crumbly or creamy. Might have tiny air pockets. Solid yellow color.
- Solvent: Butane
- Crumble is essentially the same thing as shatter but by using different temperatures and handling you un-align the natural crystal structure causing to to turn opaque. The bubbles are created by escaping gas and layering of the crumble while purging.
- Consistency/Appearance: Solid, stable or like glass. Will literally shatter if hit. Clear or opaque yellow or amber color.
- Solvent: Butane
- Created using many techniques but usually involves a high powered vacuum chamber and a process called winterization which essentially just removes fats and reduces moisture.
- This is a good article about what makes shatter shatter http://www.hightimes.com/read/shatter-vs-wax-whats-difference
- Sap is a form of shatter that just has more moisture in it.
- This just refers to how the plant is treated before the THC is extracted. Instead of using dried older plants people use fresh flash frozen plants.
- Known to capture more of the terpenes (flavors) in the final product
ISO Hash / QWISO
- Consistency/Appearance: Can look like any of the above mentioned. If done well it will be stable like shatter
- Solvent: Isopropyl or Ethanol
- One of easiest to make. Popular for DIY concentrates.
Hash / Bubble Hash
- Consistency/Appearance: It’s hard to describe but it can have a grainy play-dough type texture. It pulls and tears. It can also be squishy and look like sand.
- A few techniques are used but a popular one is bubble hash. Using bags with different sized holes and a cold environment you can literally shake the crystals off the nugs. I’ve never actually made it before so I’m not too familiar with the process.
- Consistency/Appearance: Usually quite stable. Similar to shatter.
- This is created by applying heat and pressure to literally squeeze out the THC.
- Extremely pure and stable without risk of having leftover solvent in it.
Kief sometimes transliterated as keef or kif, refers to the resin glands (or trichomes) of cannabis that may accumulate in containers or be sifted from loose dry cannabis flower with a mesh screen or sieve.