The 6 Basic Types of Cannabis Concentrates and their Uses
Cannabis oil and concentrates are refined and purified substances with a much higher concentration of TCH. Understanding the effects and dosage of cannabis oil and concentrates opens up a lot of opportunities to get the most out of your high; and with legalization on the horizon in North America, it’s worth it to learn about all of the products that we hope will be available. There are many types of cannabis concentrates, and they’re consumed in various ways – from edibles to dabs, and lots more!
Also spelled kief, this is a powdery substance that is made up of the resinous glands of the marijuana plant. Depending on the particular strain that it is coming from, it can be more or less sticky and gummy. When using keef it is important to remember that it will need to be heated prior to eating to turn the THC-acid into proper THC. Keef can be anywhere from 20 – 50% TCH content.
Hash, or hashish, is just keef that has been heated and pressed. It can range from gold to brown to dark green in color, and it can be anything from a crumbly powder to a putty-like substance. Though both options are preferred in the more sticky variety for the purposes of smoking, the powdery versions are more valuable for cooking. Further, both hash and keef can be pushed up in potency through some basic decarbing. The quality of hash varies widely, and can have almost no TCH, and upwards of 65% THC content.
Hash oil, also known as dabs, honey, or oil, is typically used for dabbing. It is probably the least consistent out of all the concentrates, as the end product is going to be different depending on a lot of variables during production. While it’s not the best option for cooking with, dabbing is widely popular – but be sure that it’s good quality or you’ll be consuming butane residue left over from the refining process. Hash oil can be anywhere from 30 – 90% TCH content.
Shatter is a smooth, clear, and solid substance, and it’s the purest and most potent option of concentrates. This is created through putting the hash oil through a second extraction process that removes all the fats, lipids, and waxes. The result is an 80% TCH concentration. As a result, the vast majority of the flavors have been lost in the process, as have the terpenes. Shatter can be used for dabbing, added to joints and bowls (although it’s difficult to work with), and edibles.
Budder is a less refined compared to shatter, but it also has a lower THC concentration. It has a creamy consistency and a yellowy color, and tends to have around 70% TCH content. Buddering essentially is formed through an extraction process of shatter with more moisture being introduced, essentially introducing impurities into the process. Also, shatter tends to degrade into budder over time if it is left alone, due to it picking up moisture from the air.
Potency & Dosage
Each of these processes results in different dosages and potencies. Identical strains from different growers can already have wildly different THC levels going into the process, and further alterations will result in higher concentrations, but the variation will often remain. The result, however, is always higher dosages than smoking.
There are three other main factors to consider. The weight of the person involved is significant as well, a major factor for any narcotic. Frequency of it being imbibed is also important, resulting in higher tolerances over time as it is used more and more often. Finally, they will have the strongest effects when they are imbibed without any other food, other than fats being used to pass along the system.
Cooking with Concentrates
Because TCH is fat soluble (it dissolves in fat and not water), edibles are traditionally prepared with weed butter (AKA cannabutter), but cooking with cannabis oils and concentrates presents a whole new world of opportunities! Without the fat resource to serve as a delivery mechanism, it can be added to a variety of recipes that don’t include butter or other similar fats. It can be added to everything from dressings for salad and other options, to nearly anything that can be baked but kept underneath the golden temperature at which THC evaporates: at temperatures above 392°F (200°C), THC evaporates. Any cooking will, as a result, need to be done at levels below this temperature.
Concentrates are one of the best ways to integrate your cannabis into your cooking if you want to experiment with edibles – most recipes out there have a lot less fat in them than required to get the right amount of TCH. Its important to remember that consuming fats along with your cannabis is often the best way to maximize the high you get from it, but it’s not required. Concentrates also have a slightly nutty flavor that can be delicious in your cooking, and is quite different from the more herbal flavor that you often get with cannabis oils.