Cannabis concentrates, and especially dabbing, are the new big thing in stoner circles.
As the name suggests, cannabis concentrates are concentrated THC and CBD extracts of cannabis flowers, which usually contain a plethora of other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Today, with new technologies and methods, cannabis concentrates are easier to make than ever before—amazingly, some of the old techniques are still in use today, such as hand-rolling.
Concentrates are packed with several times more cannabinoids than “plain” dried flowers and their potency can reach up to 90%, which is why many people have a bad experience when they first try them.
When consumed carefully and in moderation, concentrates can be safely used by both medical and recreational users.
What are cannabis concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are products made by separating resin from the flowers in order to extract the maximum amount of cannabinoids and terpenes, without the unnecessary plant material.
Cannabis resin contains trichomes—tiny outgrowths on the flowers where most of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes are synthesized.
The more trichomes a plant has, the higher the potency of the end product will be.
Compared to dried flowers, small amounts of concentrates contain substantially more cannabinoids and terpenes.
For example, most flowers contain around 15-20% of THC, while most concentrates have up to 80-90% of THC.
Concentrates can be found in many cannabis products, from edibles to oils and tinctures. They can also be consumed in their purest form by using additional equipment such as dab rigs and vaporizers.
Since they are so potent, the high you get from concentrates is almost instant and last for about 1-3 hours.
11 different types of cannabis concentrates
There are many different types of concentrates on the market. We recognize several common types, based on the way they are extracted and the part of the plant used for extraction.
The most well-known cannabis concentrate, hashish spread from north India to Arabian peninsula and Europe.
Hash is a cannabis concentrates made by separating trichomes from the plant material and then forming the resin into a coherent mass.
There are several types of hash:
- Bubble hash—made by separating the trichomes using ice cold water;
- Lebanese hash—made by drying flowers and rubbing them on a piece of fabric and then pressing the material into slabs;
- Afghani Royal (aka Royal Border) hash—made by putting flowers into water or tea to separate the resin, which is afterward pressed into slabs;
- Charas Hash—made by hand rolling flowers;
- Super Nepalese Hash—also made by hand rolling;
- Moroccan Slate Hash—made by dry-sifting cannabis flowers.
How to use hash
You can either smoke hash or consume it as an edible.
Consuming hash with edibles is recommended if you are trying to avoid smoking. Using it in hash brownies is the classic choice and it’s very easy to make.
Smoking is the traditional and probably the easiest way to enjoy hashish:
- One way is to roll it just like a joint but just mix it with a bit of tobacco.
- Another method is to heat up two butter knives, place some hash between them, and inhale the smoke.
Hash can also be smoked with a bong or in a pipe.
I personally like to use a hookah for smoking hash.
How to make hash at home?
DIY hash might not be as good as Moroccan hash, but it can be perfect for an occasional treat.
To start making it, just put a few buds between your palms and roll them around.
By doing this, you’ll separate trichomes from the buds as the trichomes will stick to your hands. After a few minutes, you’ll notice a thin, dark, clay-like layer on your palms.
Gently remove that layer with a hard-edged object and sprinkle your joint with it.
Kief is the powdery material that collects at the bottom of your grinder (see image above).
It’s super-potent since it consists of pure trichomes. It’s rarely 100% pure, as most of the time it will contain some plant particles.
And as you’ve probably figured out at this point, hash is made from kief.
How to use kief?
Kief is easy to work with as it’s simple to make and has many uses.
If you have a grinder that has a kief catcher, you can use the collected kief by sprinkling it in a joint or by packing a bowl with a mixture of weed and kief.
One of the coolest ways to use your kief is to make moon rocks. Although they can be a bit expensive to buy, you can actually make them yourself at home.
To make moon rocks, just dip a nug into some cannabis oil, and then roll it into your kief.
There’s one important thing you should remember about moon rocks—don’t grind them after you make them.
If you put a moon rock in a grinder, the oil will stick to the grinder, the kief will fall off and you’ll lose most of the potency.
Instead, just break the rock gently into smaller pieces using your fingers. Sprinkle some in your joint and enjoy getting super high.
I do not recommend smoking moon rocks if you are a novice user, just because they are super potent.
Rosin (or weed wax) is cannabis resin, but in a solid form. It’s made by extracting resin from flowers by applying pressure and heat.
This process is usually done with an industrial press but you can easily make it at home with a hair straightener.
How to make rosin at home?
You’ll need a hair straightener, two pieces of parchment paper and heat-proof gloves.
Preheat the hair straightener, place the parchment paper on both plates, place the flower on one, and then press the plates together.
Keep it pressed for about 5 to 10 seconds, depending on the temperature of the straightener, until you hear a sizzle.
After the heat-and-press process, you’ll get a translucent yellowish mass ready to use.
Remove the paper and gently unfold it. Use a knife to scrape off the sticky mass from the paper.
How to use rosin?
One of the most popular methods of using rosin is by twaxing—applying the rosin to the outside of a joint.
The most visually appealing way to do this is to make a snake-like shape out of rosin and then just wrap it around the joint, similar to the image below.
You can also use rosin by mixing it with ground-up weed.
Hash oil (or butane hash oil) is extracted by using alcohol to wash away trichomes from the buds and then heating the liquid up until alcohol evaporates. The end result is a pure plant extract.
BHO can be smoked or used in edibles. This sort of extraction is also the original way of producing cannabis oil.
Shatter is the purest of all cannabis concentrates.
It’s is made by using a solvent to extract THC from flowers in a process called the butane hash oil extraction.
This type of extraction is not safe for DIY projects as the solvent needs to be completely eliminated from the concentrate before you can safely consume it.
Shatter looks like a colored piece of glass and has a candy-like consistency. It’s really potent—it can have upwards of 80% THC, but it’s not especially rich in flavor.
Shatter is hard to work with since it’s in a solid state. There are several ways to use the final product, from dab rigs to vapes and bongs.
Sugar wax is another concentrate made through butane extraction and it looks just like it sounds—shiny, sticky and crumbly.
Cannabis strains that contain terpenes which are particularly prone to retaining water are better for making sugar wax. Know that if you are trying to make a shatter, it can sometimes turn into wax because of the terpene contents.
Since the process of making sugar wax also involves butane, it’s not safe to make it by yourself.
Budder is something between shatter and wax, but it’s also made using butane hash oil extraction.
What separates it is the purity: Budder has fewer cannabinoids but is richer in terpenes. Also, budder is not as solid as shatter, and it’s more wax-like which makes it much easier to use.
To use budder, put it in a bong or pipe, add it to a joint or blunt. Just like with all of the above.
The process of making crumble is very similar to other wax varieties, but with one important difference—the temperature of purging.
After the initial solvent extraction, the rest of the product is left on low heat so the solvent can evaporate gradually. This is the best way to keep the full flavor of the concentrate.
Crumble is easy to use: Just scoop it and pack it into a bowl.
It also works great for every type of dabbing. Crumble easily loses moisture, so it’ll turn into dust-like crumbles quickly. It’s important to keep your concentrate in a sealed container, in a cool place.
This is the latest method of cannabis concentrate extraction. Freshly harvested buds are frozen and then the resin is extracted from the flowers.
This method of extraction is complicated, requires laboratory equipment and is not something you can do at home, so it’s better to buy live resin at your local dispensary.
This type of oil uses carbon dioxide for extracting the resin. The end product is a pure, liquid concentrate that’s usually used in vaporizers and vaping pens.
CO2 extraction leaves more terpenes in the concentrate, which means more flavor and even more medical benefits.
Be careful when trying cannabis concentrates!
Always keep in mind that concentrates are incredibly potent—just a small amount can contain more THC than the entire gram of your favorite dried flower.
So, if you haven’t tried them before, be extra cautious the first time around.
Just take one hit first, and see how it feels. It’s better to take small hits gradually than to get too high too quickly and feel horrible afterward.