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The 101 on 710: Cannabis Oils & Concentrates

cannabis concentrates and extracts

As legalization continuing to grow, so does the 710 community. From crumble to wax, shatter, or other forms, extracts and concentrates offer a potent high and powerful relief.  They can also be a cleaner and safer method of cannabis consumption, particularly for MMJ patients. 

Regardless of whether you’re an occasional user of cannabis oils and concentrates or they’re the preferred intake of choice, it’s important to know how your product was produced to reduce possible risks to health.

Defining a “Dab”

A “dab” is different from a hit of flower because of its very high levels of cannabinoid compounds, according to Sativa Science Club (SSC). This usually means that the final product has maximum levels of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCa) or cannabidiolic acid (CBDa).

As experienced cannabis oil and concentrate users know, consuming via dabbing and other ingestion methods is not always ideal for beginners, as effects can be quite strong. Dosing slow and steady is always recommended. 

What’s the difference between extracts and & concentrates?

According to SSC, cannabis oils are categorized as either extracts or concentrates. The difference lies in whether the cannabinoids are extracted to form a product (like wax, shatter), or if they’re concentrated to form a product (like tinctures).

Extracts use different forms of solvents for cannabis extraction, and some are even solvent-free. Common solvents used for cannabis extraction may include butane, propane, carbon dioxide, or alcohol.

What’s the “healthiest” option and what’s the “unhealthiest”?

There are many forms of dabs available on the market, but these are some of the most commonly found and utilized for medicinal and recreational purposes.

CO2 extraction

For the health-conscious and/or medical cannabis user, CO2 extraction is often preferred because it utilizes high-pressure and below freezing temperatures to obtain the bioactive compounds from the plant material. As a result, the final product is a clean and solvent-free of residue or contaminants, says SSC.

Live resin

Another solvent-free option is the highly potent live resin. To produce live resin, a freshly-harvested plant is flash frozen prior to extraction through a process known as “full plant” or “full spectrum”. This method is said to contain the maximum possible amount of phytocannabinoid and terpene compounds. As a result, it may offer greater medical efficacy.

Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

Butane Hash Oil (aka BHO) is extracted from butane gas – the same normally used in lighters. BHO is often called crumble, wax, snap n pull, or shatter. Other consistencies from BHO extraction methods include honeycomb, sauce, and diamonds.

Though proper processing can produce a quality, high-potency product, BHO poses higher health risks than cleaner, solvent-free techniques like as CO2 extraction. Butane is highly flammable, deadly if inhaled in large quantities, and potentially explosive under improper extraction methods.  

Many BHO extracts on the market may still contain harmful traces of butane, petrochemicals and other contaminants. To ensure safety and quality, asking your budtender or the dispensary about lab testing is the only true way of confirming product purity.

Does color mean better quality?

It’s a common assumption (and fallacy) that clearer color equates with greater purity. SSC has confirmed with various extraction lab experts that this is not always the case due to factors like plant material preparation (like curing and storing), which can alter color under different conditions. Test results are the only way to determine residual solvents or other impurities.

 Lit By Leaf is proud to be a Sativa Science Club 2019 Elevated Advocate – "education that takes you higher.”

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