Cannabis Concentrates: CBD Oil, Shatter, Wax, Rosin, Isolate, Hash
It seems that every time I visit the dispensary, there are new types of cannabis concentrates. It can be difficult keeping up with the latest trends and products in the cannabis industry.
When it comes to CBD, there are fewer options for concentrates but since the Farm Bill rescheduled hemp, companies are playing catch-up and it won’t be long until there are just as many CBD concentrates as there are with THC.
This article will try to review the various concentrates, how they are made, what their differences are, and how much they typically cost.
Cannabis concentrates are much more potent than the cannabis flower itself. Depending on the extraction process, cannabis concentrates are classified as either solvent-based or solventless. To extract the CBD and other compounds from the plant matter, various solvents are used. The most common being CO2, butane, & alcohol.
If a concentrate utilizes a solvent to be created it is classified as an extract. Other concentrates require no solvent and these are referred to solventless concentrates.
All extracts are concentrates but not all concentrates are extracts. This can all be very confusing and there are more types of concentrates coming out all the time.
We will focus on the following:
Hash, Kief, Rosin, Tincture, Oil, Shatter, Snap n’ Pull, Wax, Budder, Crumble, Distillate, & Isolate.
Concentrates: processed without solvents
Most everyone has heard of hash. This is the Cannabis trichomes or kief that has been pressed. The trichomes are separated from the cannabis plant and condensed with high temperature & pressure.
This video by Leafly shows how to make your own hash with a small rosin press.
The most basic concentrate is kief, the powdery trichomes present on the cannabis plant. These are seperate from the cannabis plant and can be used to make hash, add to food, or smoke.
Rosin is created by using heat and compression to extract the compounds from the plant matter. While kief and hash only contain the trichomes, rosin contains all compounds present in the cannabis bud and plant matter.
This video shows how a rosin press works:
Cannabis Extracts: made with solvents
Tinctures are made from decarboxylated cannabis. The CBD and other compounds are separated from the cannabis plant using Alcohol, often Everclear is used, as it is one of the most potent alcohols available. After soaking the plant matter in alcohol, it is strained, & the stripped plant matter is discarded, leaving the CBD & other compounds in the alcohol solution.
There are several different types of cannabis oils, THC honey oil, CO2 extracted oil, BHO extracted oil, distillate and Rick Simpson Oil.
Oils are thicker than a tincture but not solid like shatter and other concentrates. The oil is used to fill a syringe, vape cartridge, gelcap, or added to other products.
Supercritical fluid extraction/SFE is the preferred process for most cannabis oil extractions. During this process, components are separated using Carbon Dioxide or CO2.
In chemistry, “supercritical” refers to any substance at a temperature and pressure above its critical point, where distinct liquid and gas phases do not exist.” In this supercritical state, the product is able to be broken down and separated.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) passes over the cannabis plant, dissolving the membrane of the trichomes and separates the various compounds. CBD, CBG, THCA, THCV, and all other compounds are separated.
The CO2 solvent, enriched with the plants compounds is then passed into another tank, a pressurized separation vessel, where temperatures and pressure and changed completing the seperation process. The remaining CO2 is restabelized into gas form and often reused.
CO2 Extraction is recognized by the FDA as a safe way to perform industrial extraction of botanicals.
Distillation is a process often used in the alcohol industry to remove methanol and ethanol in alcohol production. It is the process used to separate compounds by utilizing their unique boiling points.
It is used to purify cannabis oils by heating cannabinoids to their boiling point. The resulting cannabinoid-rich vapor is condensed and collected leaving behind residual solvents, chlorophyll and other unwanted plant matter
Unfortunately, the temperatures are too high for most terpenes to survive the process, Some manufacturers using this process may reintroduce the lost terpenes to the oil.
Butane/BHO Oil/Honey Oil
BHO, Butane Hash Oil – sometimes referred to as Butane Honey Oil, was originally made through a process called “blasting” or “open blasting” which is really not done commercially anymore but is often the cause behind at home manufacturing explosions.
The extraction process involcves gas passing through a tube open at one end, often made of glass, stainless steel or PVC, which is filled with cannabis plant matter.
A low temperature, liquid butane passes over the plant matter, is collected at the other end and crystallizes the resins in the cannabis. The butane is then left to evaporate, by heat or vacuum oven, and what is left over is known as BHO.
It is a hazardous process and wastes a lot of cannabis, making it not the most cost-effective way to create BHO either. When blasting, there is no way to contain the extremely flammable butane making explosion a high possibility. This process is outdated and should be avoided.
Rick Simpson Oil
RSO is made by stripping the contents of the cannabis plant with alcohol, boiling off the alcohol, leaving behind the RSO. This is a simple way to produce your own medicine at home. The Magical Butter Machine makes it very simple to produce at home with your own cannabis plant.
Shatter is a solid substance, which resembles a honey-colored glass shards. When tapped, it shatters.
Shatter is one of the most recognized concentrates, is easy to manipulate and is far less messy than other varieties of concentrates or extracts.
Pull and Snap
Pull and snap looks very similar to shatter but has an almost taffy-like consistency. Instead of shattering into pieces, pull and snap can be…pulled and snapped.
As a piece of this concentrate is pulled, it reaches a breaking point then snaps off the whole. It, too, is honey colored.
Wax concentrates have the texture of candle wax. The consistency may be softer like a budder or harder like crumble.
Crumble and Honeycomb wax have the same consistency but can be in different forms. Crumble is typically used to describe wax that is crumbled up
Honeycomb is used to describe wax that is still mostly intact but is filled with holes like a honeycomb.
Distillate is a refined/distilled version of a cannabis extract. First it goes thru the extraction process, then it is run thru a purification process several times. This produces a liquid distillate with the color and consistency very similar to honey.
Crystalline is a solid extract that has been through many processes and filters in order to destroy the plant matter remaining in the extract, preserve the CBD/THC and remove any leftover solvents. The remnants are clear crystals that boast 99%+ CBD or THC.
Unlike other extracts, all other compounds have been extracted leaving pure CBD or THC.
Price of Cannabis Extracts
Pricing cannabis extracts is not simple. Depending on your location, prices could be double or more. While Portland, Oregon has a stockpile of cannabis and prices recently hit record lows, most places do not have that “problem”.
$25-$50 per gram seems to be the average for most cannabis concentrates. I recently found high THC shatter at a dispensary in Portland for $7.00 per gram and at $15 per gram there are many options available. $75-$80 is the high end for any concentrate.
You find that there are premium brands with a vape cartridge going for $60 on average, the orice of high CBD vape cartridges are typically higher, much like flower.
There are CBD concentrates coming to the market, isolate & kief are the most widely available. I have seen rosin and shatter available from a few companies.