Cannabis treatment may be right for treating a wide variety of ailments. While simply smoking the dried buds offer relief for many, more chronic symptoms or life-threatening illnesses require a large quantity of cannabinoids to be consumed. This is where concentrates come in.
This guide is more of a simple introduction for patients just getting started and not meant to be a complete guide, there is much, much more!
The term “dab” can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective. Example: You can dab a dab of dab. This is an easy (and fun!) way to say “consuming concentrated cannabis vapors”.
There are several ways to consume concentrates. They may easily be added to a bowl or joint, some may be taken orally, or vapors may be inhaled. Many dispensaries, glass boutiques, and even vapor stores carry an array of equipment specific to concentrates.
Electronic devices (dab pens) can be very stealthy, they have a look easily mistaken for a nicotine vaporizer. These vary greatly in price and quality. Some of these devices even come with water attachments to help cool the vapor. A little research can go a long way when finding the device that’s right for you. Google/YouTube is your friend.
A glass straw or nectar collector can be an easy entry for patients not looking to buy a lot of elaborate equipment. With these the tip is heated and once cooled can be placed directly onto the concentrate. Patients may need to transfer their medicine into a glass or silicone dish, it is also possible to consume directly from parchment paper, but NEVER from a plastic container or wax paper.
A water pipe can also be made into a “dab rig” by replacing the bowl with a piece such as a banger, honey basket, or dome and nail. They can be quartz, ceramic, or titanium, each having its own advantages and disadvantages.
Be sure you get the correct joint size for your piece, common sizes are 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. 10mm are the smallest and the 14mm is about the size of a dime. These pieces also come with male and female fittings so be sure to make note of which fitting your device has so you can get the correct pairing.
An e-nail is the best way to heat a dabbing apparatus. This device heats your setup perfectly to insure your vapors are not too hot. A torch is a trusted alternative method. Refined butane is easy to find online and cost effective. You will need to play with the temperature a little bit because each piece differs, but a good place to start is one minute of heating and one minute of cool down.
NEVER EVER consume concentrates off of red hot glass. Read that again and remember it, it’s important.
Patients new to dabs, even those with a high tolerance for flower, should begin with a minimal amount. A good starting point is about the size of a quarter of a grain of rice.
It’s not necessary to try to hold the hit for a long time, simply take a draw and exhale. Wait 10 or 15 minutes to see how you feel before trying another dose.
There are many different types of concentrates and more are surely being pioneered in labs around the country as you read this. Here are a few of the basics:
Rosin is perhaps the easiest concentrate to produce. Cannabis buds are sandwiched inside parchment paper. The packet is then placed inside a heat press, a hair straightener could also be used. The heat and pressure will cause the rosin to ooze from the sides. The rosin is ready for dabbing immediately.
Kief or “pollen” is trichomes and resin glands from cannabis buds. This lovely concentrate can be found in the bottom layer of a 4-piece grinder, a guitar pick is usually included for ease in scooping.
Kief may also be produced on a larger scale. Cannabis buds are placed into a micron bag (very fine strainer) often with dry ice. The bag is then shaken vigorously. A fine yellow powder is produced, kief! This makes a great topping for a joint, or may be added to any bowl whether vaporizer or combusted.
Hashish is also made of resin glands, similar to kief. However the end product is compressed, compounding the potency. The end product could look a little pile of sand or a tiny brick. Hash is usually smoked out of a pipe, but can be vaporized, added to joints/bowls, or even dabbed.
There are several methods to produce hash. Dry sift involves rubbing cannabis buds on a mesh screen. Making bubble hash (also called gumby and gravity) involves soaking and agitating cannabis buds and/or trim and ice before straining through a micron bag. Dry ice may also be used. This produces a higher yield, however less pure than other methods.
CO2 extraction is a popular choice for processors as a more natural solvent with little work involved in post processing. Terpenes may also be separated and added back to the cannabinoids at the end of the process. CO2 Extraction could be either supercritical or subcritical depending on the temperature and pressure used this will also determine the type of product produced.
CO2 extracts are very versatile and may be added to topicals, made into crumble, shatter, wax, put into vapable cartridges or pods, and more!
Hydrocarbon extraction is a popular choice for extractors. Butane and propane are two hydrocarbons commonly used for this type of extraction. When this process is done correctly, no solvent is left behind and you are left with a very clean product.
BHO or Butane Hash Oil is one product of hydrocarbon extraction. BHO is loved by many patients for its preservation of terpenes. BHO can produce many different types of finished products.
Depending on the starting material and the steps taken BHO could become shatter, wax, sugar, budder, or even live resin. Live resin can be taken through an additional process called “diamond mining” to further separate the material. Using this method processors are about to achieve highly coveted, pure THCa crystalline cannabis diamonds.
Full Extract Cannabis Oil is an unrefined extract. It contains all the chlorophyll, fats, lipids, and other plant matter other extraction methods dispose of. The technique was popularized in 2008 with Canadian cannabis activist, Rick Simpson’s, documentary Run from the Cure. It involves washing cannabis buds with food grade
FECO can come packaged in capsules or also in a dosing syringe. The material is tar like and will stick to your teeth. If you are using a syringe you can take a small piece of bread to wrap a dose of the concentrate before swallowing. This ensures none of the product sticks and you recieve your proper dose.
These concentrates are VERY potent. New patients (non-terminal) should begin with a tiny amount perhaps the size of a grain or rice or smaller and wait 1 to 2 hours to see what happens before consuming more.
Distillate or “Clear” is a type of refined concentrate. These concentrates are achieved by a distillation process that separates THC from most other plant matter. This process also activates THCa, turning it into THC.
The finished product is clear (hence the name) and usually tasteless. Distillate is very versatile and may be consumed in many different ways from making edibles, adding it to cartridges, or even dabbing.
With the Prohibition of Cannabis becoming a thing of the past more creators and groundbreakers will continue to discover new and innovative ways to consume cannabis medicine. This fast paced industry is ever changing, but great fun trying to keep up!