Cannabis Concentrates: A Beginner’s Guide

This article was originally published on Weedmaps, and appears here with permission.

It wasn’t long ago that dabbing conjured visions of intense consumption and high THC levels. Fast forward to e-rigs, portable vaporizers and strides in testing and quality of concentrates, all helping propel this once “sketchy” corner of the black market into a booming, legal industry. Though, despite this, consuming concentrates and extracts tends to make newcomers a little wary.

Like all forms of weed villainization, the negative connotations that surround dabbing are unfounded. Understanding extraction is inherently complicated due to its scientific nature, but the way extracted products are displayed is complicated too. New users are immediately bombarded by the market, forced into making choices between products and terms they know little about — think solvent versus solventless extraction, badders versus diamonds, rosins versus resins, and so on. Brands consistently tout staggeringly high THC percentages, while providing little to no useful information for beginners to cannabis attempting to navigate this vast and confusing sea. 

With our guide to getting into concentrates, you’ll find everything you need to know to get started. From methods of extraction and different types of extracts, to a rundown of the best dabbing devices and extracts on the market. We’ll help you learn how to choose the best concentrate or extract to suit you and the effects you’re wanting. 

What are concentrates and extracts?

The terms “concentrate” and “extract” refer to concentrated cannabis products like rosins, resins, sauces, shatters, and so on. These potent substances are produced by isolating the active ingredients in cannabis, like terpenes and cannabinoids, from plant matter by a method called “extraction.” The type of concentrate produced, and whether it would be considered a concentrate or an extract, is determined by which method of extraction was used in production. 

To explore the inner workings of cannabis concentrates and extracts, we spoke to concentrate/extract experts, Russ Daniels, master extractor and CEO of Cali Stripe Concentrates (formerly known as Candy Stripe Concentrates), and Michael Tanzer, co-founder of RedTape Ventures, a venture firm that invests and develops business in the cannabis industry, including Candy Stripe. 

“A good way to communicate what concentrates and extracts are is to think about them as the active ingredients in the plant,” Tanzer said. “Through extraction, we’re able to isolate and remove just the active ingredients, so you don’t have to consume all of the plant’s fiber and materials.” By isolating the active ingredients (cannabinoid and terpenes), these products offer the cleanest, and most time-efficient way to get lifted. 

kiefGina Coleman/Weedmaps

“I would define concentrates as solventless products like rosin and bubble …

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