What Are Cannabis Concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are powerful extractions of cannabinoids, terpenes and other chemical compounds from the cannabis plant, most notably tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
If you look closely at the cannabis plant, you’ll see thousands of tiny translucent hairs called trichomes. This is where cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, are produced. With cannabis concentrates, the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the trichomes, and the rest of the plant material is left behind. As a result, concentrates are far more potent by weight than other cannabis flower They can be consumed by themselves and are the source of all infused products (everything other than flower).
Solventless vs. Solvent-Extracted Concentrates
There are two main techniques for extracting cannabis concentrates. Some producers use solvents (usually some sort of hydrocarbon like butane), while others go for a solventless method involving water, heat and/or pressure. Traditionally, solvent-extracted concentrates have usually had a higher THC level (over 80%), whereas nonsolvent concentrates, while still more potent than cannabis flower, have tended to feature lower per-gram levels of THC. That pattern is rapidly evaporating today, though, as new extraction techniques and technologies have increased the potency and purity of solventless extracts.
Solvent-extracted concentrates use a solvent, such as ethanol, CO2, butane or propane, to isolate the plant’s terpenes and cannabinoids into a consumable form. A variety of extracts can be produced using this technique, varying by texture, appearance, and cannabinoid and terpene content. Solventless concentrates are just what they sound like; they’re produced without the use of any chemical solvents. Some of the oldest forms of cannabis concentrates in the world like charas, a form of hand-rubbed hash traditionally made on the Indian subcontinent, are in fact solventless concentrates. These ancient techniques have been modified with modern advances like ice water extraction to create incredibly flavorful and pure concentrates from hashes to rosins that offer a variety of textures, colors, and price points. They can be found sold on their own; infused in products like edibles, topicals, or tinctures; blended into prerolls; and even now in cutting edge vape cartridges.
More about Rosin
A non-solvent extraction made using heat and a hydraulic press rosin, is a thick, viscous concentrate that retains most of the cannabinoids and terpenes of the original plant. Think of it like the extra virgin olive oil of cannabis. You can find both live (fresh frozen) and cured rosin on the market, and it’s popular with users who want a solvent-free concentrate that offers strong flavor and abundant cannabinoids. It can be produced using flower or kief, but more refined rosin that will be smoked or vaporized is usually the beautiful end result of applying heat and pressure to hash. Enjoy it with a dab rig, vaporizer or in vape pens for an aroma-rich hit.
All About the Purity
One of the main appeals of solventless concentrates, and the products made using them, is that they offer consumers worried about their own health and the health of the planet a pure, chemical-free production process. But, they also offer an added benefit: purity of input material. While solvent-extracted concentrates can hide some impurities through chemical refinement, the same cannot be said for solventless concentrates. So, all of our solventless supply partners have to work even harder to grow or source the absolute cleanest and purest starting material so that their products can showcase the plant’s resin and nothing else. Because of these necessarily higher sourcing standards, lower average yields, and the fact that only a limited subset of cannabis genetics can be efficiently processed through ice water extraction, premium solventless extracts are worth every penny.