Since they first took the cannabis world by storm in the late 1990s, cannabis concentrates have gone on to become one of its most exciting and ground-breaking areas of exploration. Compared with flower, cannabis concentrates—sometimes called “cannabis extracts”—offer a large increase in potency. But that’s not the end of the story. In recent years, hi-tech extraction methods have allowed cutting-edge producers to create concentrates that capture the true essence and complexity of the cannabis plant in ways never thought possible before.
The world of cannabis concentrates is big, and there’s a lot of competing terminology to keep straight. We’ll get you started on the right foot with this guide to the most common and important types, and share a little information about how they differ from each other in their use and their effects.
Hash, the Original Cannabis Concentrate
While cannabis extracts seem like a modern invention, there’s one concentrate that dates back centuries: Hashish, or hash. These dense, sticky blocks range from dusty tan to nearly black. They’re made by removing and concentrating the gooey trichomes that coat the cannabis flower. Hash’s popularity has faded a bit with the introduction of newer cannabis extracts like live resin and BHO, but it’s still a potent (and flavorful) way to sample a very ancient kind of concentrate.
Cannabis Extracts: C02 Extraction
CO2 extracts are part of a class of cannabis concentrates made with solvents like ethanol, butane or carbon dioxide to remove the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter. One of the most popular uses of solvent extractions is the oil in vape cartridges, which is typically produced by CO2 extraction. While not as nuanced as some solventless extractions, it’s still a potent, effective and self-stable product.
Cannabis Concentrates: Hydrocarbon Extracts
Hydrocarbon extracts are one of the most prevalent forms of cannabis concentrates today. Several types exist that all exhibit different physical traits.
Hydrocarbon extracts are solvent extracts but tend to preserve more of the flavorful terpenes and potent cannabinoids than other solvent-based techniques. They include “shatter:” dried, translucent candy-like shards of cannabis concentrate, usually consumed in a specialized “dabbing rig.”
Batter and Budder
These similar forms of cannabis concentrates are made using solvent extraction, and they tend to preserve more of the cannabis plant’s native terpenes and cannabinoids. Both are creamy and smooth, resembling cake batter (or creamy butter, depending). Both add a smooth boost of flavor and potency when dabbed or added to flower.
That said, both batter and budder are less shelf-stable than other concentrates and lose their creamy consistency and bright appearance over time. They should be stored in sealed and lightproof containers away from excessive heat and cold.
Live Resin: The Most Flavorful Cannabis Concentrate?
Live resins are a type of solventless cannabis concentrate made from flash-frozen cannabis flower. This method preserves an extremely high proportion of terpenes. As a result, the flavor of live resins can be nearly “hyperrealistic.”
These soft and opaque cannabis concentrates are meant to be consumed in a dabbing rig or added to a joint or a bowl. Like adding any concentrate to flower, they add a big dose of potency and flavor. For this reason, it’s important not to consume too much, especially if you’re new to cannabis concentrates.
Cannabis Extracts: Rosin
Not to be confused with the “resin” we described above, rosin is a form of solventless concentrate that’s made using mild heat and pressure. This makes it one of the most popular—and safest—kinds of concentrate to make at home.
That’s not the end of the story when it comes to cannabis concentrates: new products are continually hitting the market, including exciting and flavorful forms like diamonds and “terp sauce.” If you have any other questions about cannabis concentrates or extracts, we’d love to have the chance to explain them in more detail. Just find your nearest your nearest Green Goods location.