In recent years concentrates have boomed as a popular choice among consumers who are consuming cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes.
What exactly are concentrates?
Herbal concentrates are the official name of “dabs,” small concentrations of the active ingredients found in cannabis. While the terminology and the sheer amount of options with vaping concentrates are enough to scare some people off, many people are coming around to them.
Why are people switching to concentrates?
So what’s the big deal with dabs, anyway? People are creatures of habit, and it usually takes something good for most people to expend the energy shaking up their routine. Vaping concentrates have a couple big draws.
Concentrates are just that, concentrated. They contain all of the active ingredients and none of the fluff. Their potency is much higher than conventional smoking methods, with some wax concentrates being as much as 80%.
Because there’s nothing else getting in the way, concentrates tend to deliver a much stronger flavor. The “taste” of marijuana is often people’s least favorite aspect, and with vaping concentrates it is no longer a problem.
Even in states where consuming marijuana products is legal, many people prefer not to draw attention to themselves. Vape pens are discreet and don’t leave nearly as much smell behind after you’re done using them.
Concentrates also come in a variety of forms, allowing people to find one that fits their specific use case or preference. A concentrate can be solid, waxy, crumbly, completely liquid, and any combination of these descriptors. Because of this, the method for consuming them also changes.
Cannabis Concentrates Perfect for Newbies
The world of cannabis concentrates can seem vast and overwhelming, but don’t let that intimidate you, many products out there are perfect for beginner consumers such as yourself.
CBD oil and hemp oil
CBD oil is a cannabis concentrate abundant in the non-intoxicating compound cannabidiol (that’s the full name for CBD). Offering benefits without the smoke and high, consumers commonly reach for CBD oil when seeking relief from stress, anxiety, pain, inflammation, or another condition that may potentially be treated by CBD.
Is CBD oil the same thing as hemp oil? Not always. Hemp produces CBD and, as such, you can create a CBD oil from it. But cannabis that has been selectively bred to contain higher levels of CBD alongside a spectrum of different beneficial compounds is often regarded as more effective. While hemp oil is widely advertised online, cannabis-derived CBD is only available at your local cannabis shop as these products are subject to different regulations.
Kief is easily the most basic cannabis concentrate. A fine powder made of thousands of tiny trichomes, kief can be sprinkled on a regular joint or bowl for a little extra kick. Kief is also the main ingredient in hash, where it’s compressed into dense blocks.
Collecting kief is easy. All you need is a grinder with a kief compartment, like the Metal Grinder RQS Pollinator. As you grind your flower, kief will automatically filter through the fine mesh screen and collect in the bottom compartment of the grinder. To enjoy it, simply sprinkle some into your joint or bowl.
Alternatively, try saving your kief (if you can resist the urge to smoke it) and, once you have a decent amount, try your hand at making your own hash. To do so, put your kief between two pieces of folded baking paper. Next, fill a glass bottle with boiling water and use it as a rolling pin to roll and press your kief. Remember to use a hand towel when handling the glass to avoid burning yourself.
You’ll need to roll and press the kief multiple times until it reaches the right consistency, which should resemble that of a brownie. Alternatively, you can use a tool like the Super Pollen Press to compress your kief into small, compact discs.
Kief is a great stepping stone for beginners because it isn’t as potent as some of the BHO products on the market, and won’t leave you with a knockout stone. Plus, kief is super easy to dose; a little sprinkle is usually all you’ll need to step up your regular joint/bowl.
One of the best starter items for the cannabis-curious is a portable pre-filled vape pen—a simple setup that requires just two things: a battery and an oil cartridge. Easy to use and dose, vaporizer pens deliver an adjustable dose of vapor with just the click of a button (simpler yet, some simply activate when it senses you inhaling).
Pre-filled oil cartridges come in a variety of different strains, flavors, and potencies, so you can choose virtually any experience you’re in the mood for. Choose a CBD-rich cartridge for a low-key relaxed experience sans dizzying euphoria. Or find your favorite strain for that perfectly dialed-in high.
The most common concentrate used in these vape cartridges is CO2 oil, derived through industrial botanical extractors that use pressure and carbon dioxide to separate isolate cannabinoids and other essential compounds.
Another form of cannabis concentrate that has seen wide use are wax concentrates. Wax concentrates can also be consumed using a vaporizer, which makes it all the more an easy and an enjoyable experience. Wax concentrates come in various dosages of THC and CBD giving it the sought-after entourage effect. Unlike consuming pure CBD, a mixture of both cannabis’ therapeutic and psychoactive components allows you to get the best of both worlds. You get both the curative benefits and the psychedelic upshots which make it perfect for individuals who look to get lifted and medicated at the same time.
Often used by casual consumers wax concentrates can easily be vaporized via a vape pen or a portable mod vape. These devices are small and compact and are leaps and bounds convenient and straightforward compared to the large and clunky dab rigs that often scare beginners away. Vape pens also use different heating elements and are outfitted with variable voltage settings that allow consumers to customize the results of wax concentrates.
Rosin is a delicious extract that’s very potent, yet easy to make at home. All you need is some premium flower, parchment or baking paper, and a hair straightener. Wrap a bud in the parchment paper and press it as tight as possible for 3 seconds.
Repeat this a few more times, moving the bud to a new spot on the paper each time. Once you’re done, collect the rosin using a dabber and enjoy it in a portable vaporizer like the Storm for a potent, clear, yet not-overpowering high.
Rosin is a great concentrate for beginners because it is easy to make and makes for a really tasty smoke. Plus, out of all the extracts on this list, it is the most similar in consistency and effects to some of the newer BHO dabs currently on the market.
Up until prohibition in 1937, tinctures were the most common form of cannabis medicine in the United States. A tincture is a liquid concentrate procured through alcohol extraction, which pulls out many of the plant’s beneficial cannabinoids.
Apply your tincture directly under the tongue and hold it there for 15-20 seconds. Effects typically kick in after 20-30 minutes, but if using a high-THC tincture, it doesn’t hurt to wait a little longer before dosing again.
Tinctures are available in a variety of flavors and potencies, whether you’re seeking a fast-acting THC high or quick relief with CBD.
Find the right dose, potency, and effects
A concentrate can provide a euphoric high, gentle relaxation, or non-intoxicating symptom relief—it all depends on its ingredients.
- For a potent and euphoric high, look for an oil high in THC.
- For a balanced and gentle high, try an extract with an equal mix of THC and CBD.
- For therapeutic relief without the high, you’ll want a high-CBD, low-THC product.
Trying dabs for the first time doesn’t have to be intimidating. Cannabis concentrates offer unique benefits that may change the way you see marijuana. The many different forms and application methods can help make medical marijuana more convenient, discreet, and effective.