A 2013 study suggested that “condensation and the use of butane to extract THC from the plant puts the consumer at risk for explosions and fires.”
If you are unsure of how to correctly administer your concentrates, a sweet and tangy distillate may be the best way to start your cannabis career.
How Dabbing Works
Although marijuana is commonly consumed by smoking joints and sometimes through vape pens, dabs are heated to an extremely high temperature and then inhaled. A specifically-designed glass bong commonly called an “oil rig” is used.
Marijuana concentrates are produced by extracting the active ingredients from the marijuana plant and then purifying it. This can be done through a solvent process or by slowly evaporating the solvent away. Solvents used for this purpose include butane, isopropyl alcohol, and carbon dioxide. The solvent is then purged from the extract, resulting in a pure form of marijuana concentrate. The rig is usually heated to around 900 degrees and the dabs are vaporized and then inhaled. This vapour will then enter the lungs and the effects will be felt within minutes.
Is Dabbing Bad?
Due to the potency of dabs, some people are concerned that they could be dangerous. However, a 2014 study suggests that they contain fewer carcinogens than marijuana smoke.
Dabbing concentrates is not for everyone. Dabbing Is Extremely Addictive. According to a study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, dabbing can lead to an increased risk of dependence, as well as potential problems with withdrawal symptoms and tolerance. The study also found that current users of marijuana and those who were frequent users of marijuana reported an increase in daily marijuana and dabbing use during the past year. Dabbing Has a Variety of Side Effects
Dabbing heightens your heart rate and can even lead to heart attacks, especially in people with heart or lung problems.
According to the American Lung Association, “These chemicals are much more potent and can cause negative effects like lung damage, respiratory problems and negative interactions with the immune system of the lungs.
Types of Concentrates
Cannabis hash, or concentrates, are most often made from the trim of the cannabis plant. This sweet leaf trim is loaded with trichomes, just like the buds of the plant, and instead of being discarded can be used to make highly concentrated cannabis products. As the popularity of hash increases, new forms of concentrates are being produced and brought to the market every day. Here are some of the current most popular concentrates.
Hash is the most common form of concentrate on the market today. It is made from the resinous trichomes of the cannabis plant. Hash is made in many different ways, with the most common methods being by rubbing the trim between the hands and pressing it into a ball or by using a press. The pressed hash that is so common today originated in Morocco and is known as kief.
Shatter is a concentrate with flawless amber-like glass transparency. This is obtained by leaving the molecules undisturbed once processed. Shatter is produced using heat and a vacuum in a vacuum oven and can be processed using either BHO or CO2 extraction methods. Shatter in its finished form contains inactivated THC (THCa) and will not provide a psychoactive effect until heat is provided.
Wax is a concentrate with a thick, ear wax-like consistency. This is a result of the molecules being agitated after processing. Agitating the concentrate encourages the oils to dry out leaving a variety of consistencies, ranging from a crumbly honeycomb-like appearance to a sticky peanut butter-like texture. This type of wax is often called “budder” Similar to shatter, wax can be processed using either BHO or CO2 extraction methods. Neither does it contain activated THC until heat is applied.
Bubble Hash is a concentrate made without the use of solvents. Ice water is used to freeze the plant, thus separating the concentrate from the plant material. This is one of the oldest forms of concentrates and does not require any solvents for the extraction method. This makes it the easiest and safest form of concentrate to process.
The extraction process includes using small mesh “bubble” bags to collect the concentrate once the product has been agitated. Since trichomes do not mix with water, once the water is filtered through the bubble bags only the concentrate remains. Bubble hash does not contain activated THC and will not provide a psychoactive effect until heat is applied and the THC is decarboxylated. While not as potent as wax or shatter, bubble hash remains a staple in the cannabis world.
Also known as fresh frozen, live resin is made from the process of freeze-drying the plant immediately after harvest.
The cannabis plant does not go through the curing process and is instead kept frozen until extracted. While the same CO2 extraction method is used, many believe live resin provides a much cleaner taste than its wax counterpart. Live resin has the same appearance as some forms of wax. Live resin does not have psychoactive properties until the proper heat is applied.
CO2 oil is a concentrate that is primarily used for vape cartridges and is the main ingredient in making edibles. When carbon dioxide is compressed at high pressure, it becomes what is known as a supercritical fluid. This fluid is then used to strip the terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. This leaves an orange-tinted oil that can then be used for creating edibles or placed in a cartridge and smoked (i.e. a vape pen). CO2 oil does contain activated THC and will provide a psychoactive effect without applying heat. Read more on the CO2 extraction process.
Distillates are a relatively new concentrate and are beginning to take the market by storm. While many processors end their process once the plant is processed into hash oil, some are taking the process a step further. By running the oil through a two-part distillation system, they are able to create a much purer and more potent product.
First, the terpenes and cannabinoids are removed from the oil. Once this is done, the second process removes the lipids, solvents, and any other impurities. This leaves you with an odourless, clear oil.
The processor can then add the terpenes and cannabinoids back into the oil, giving you a product that is virtually clean of all solvents and plant residue and can have up to 99% activated THC content.
Rosin is a solventless extract that can be made in a lab using just pressure and a moderate amount of heat. It can also be made at home with dried flowers, trim, or kief. Parchment paper, a hair straightener, and pressure that is applied by hand are all that are needed to produce rosin. Smashed material is placed between two pieces of parchment paper, and a hair straightener is used to quickly heat the material.
This produces an oil-like extract that tends to have a stronger plant flavour than extracts made using solvents. Rosin is a form of decarboxylase THCa and does have psychoactive properties in its finished form.
Kief is arguably the simplest form of cannabis concentrate. To make kief, one simply has to run the dried flower/trim material over a small filter screen and collect the trichomes that have broken off of the plant. The appearance is similar to sticky dust and does not need to be pressed. Since kief is simply the trichomes from dried flowers, the THC is not activated.