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 ConcentratesThere 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.