CANNABIS CONCENTRATES AND EXTRACTS
Cannabis is a plant full of precious terpenes, cannabinoids and tasty resin. This article describes different ways of extracting the connections you want. In this article, we will take a quick look at the different types of cannabis extracts, how they are made and how they differ.
WHAT ARE CANNABIS CONCENTRATES?
Cannabis concentrates are - as the name suggests - manufactured by concentrating the chemical components (cannabinoids and terpenes) of cannabis. There are many ways of doing this, but they all involve separating the trichomes from the cannabis flowers. These trichomes are small sticky crystals that cover the buds and contain all the chemicals that give cannabis its unique characteristics.
There are several different types of trichomes on cannabis:
- Bulbous trichomes
These tiny trichomes measure only 25-30 µm and consist of only 1-4 cells. On mature plants, these trichomes form a small bubble that contains resin.
- Head-shaped sessile trichomes
These trichomes are much more numerous than the bulbous trichomes. They consist of about 8 to 16 cells and have a diameter of 25 to 100 µm.
- Head-shaped and pedunculated trichomes
Also known as glandular trichomes, these are the largest trichomes found on cannabis. They measure 150-500μm and are responsible for the production of the majority of cannabinoids. They are the largest contributors to the production of extracts.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CANNABIS CONCENTRATES
Concentrates come in many different forms, some of which are distinguished by their extraction method and others by their texture alone. Let's take a look at the most popular.
Kief is the simplest form of cannabis extract. Sieves are used to separate the trichomes from the dry cannabis buds, which then form a fine golden powder. This can be done on a small scale with a multi-chamber grinder or on a larger scale with a sieve.
DRYING OF THE SIEVE HASH
The hash is made in most cases by collecting this sieved kief, which is then heated and pressed into black blocks resembling chocolate.
Charas (colloquially known as finger hash) is made by rubbing live cannabis buds in your hands. The rubbing separates the trichomes of the plant and forms a thick, dark resin on the palms of your hands. This resin is then collected and rolled into a ball or "snake" for consumption.
Bubble Hash is made using ice water, shaking and special bags to remove trichomes from frozen cannabis buds. The cold treatment removes the trichomes while preserving a large part of the terpenes that are lost at higher temperatures. Besides, the use of water is cleaner than that of propane or butane. The quality of the bubble hash can vary depending on the size of the mesh used to collect the trichomes. The finer the mesh size, the higher the quality.
FULL MELT EXTRACTS
Full Melt extracts have been around for a long time and are considered by many to be the absolute elite of extracts. They are solvent-free extracts, which means they are not made with propane, butane or CO₂ and are obtained by sieving cannabis dry or using ice water (which is not considered a solvent here) to separate trichomes from the flowers and trimmings.
You guessed it, the extracts melt completely in a puddle when dabbed without any contaminants (such as chlorophyll or wax) burning with them. Lower quality extracts, on the other hand, also evaporate but leave a residue. Fully melted extracts require the use of a very fine filter to obtain the right consistency.
BHO - BREAKING, BUDDING, CRUMBLING
Not so long ago, BHO (Butane Hash Oil) was the latest craze in the world of cannabis concentrate. It is made with liquid butane to separate the trichomes from the dried cannabis buds. The butane is then slowly boiled to leave a super concentrated oil. BHO is sold under many different names including Wax, Shatter, Crumble, Budder, and many others. These terms simply describe the texture of the concentrate, which can range from brittle and glassy (shatter) to thick and creamy (budder) to dense and sandy (crumble) - and just about everything in between. Users choose different types of BHOs according to their preferences and consumption patterns.
Rosin is a solvent-free extraction method that uses heat and pressure to extract a thick, golden resin from dried cannabis buds. The simplest method is to wrap a bud in waxed paper and press it with an iron for a few seconds. The most professional method is to use a special press that allows you to better control the pressure and temperature used, resulting in a better quality product.
Live Resin, like BHO, uses a solvent to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis. The difference here is that instead of dried buds, Live Resin is made from fresh cannabis buds which are frozen immediately after harvest. Extraction also takes place at temperatures below freezing to produce a super-rich extract which then has to harden for about two weeks. The result is an extremely potent extract that, like BHO, can have many different textures and retains many more terpenes and flavonoids than some of the other processes listed here.
CO₂ Extraction is by far the most advanced extraction method for cannabis. It involves the use of CO₂ supercritical to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis buds. The resulting extract is then purified, producing a clean, golden oil that is appreciated for its taste and potency. The advantage of CO₂ is that it is a non-toxic solvent that probably gives the best results for retailers. Other than that, it is probably the most expensive method mentioned in this list.
OILS AND TINCTURES
Cannabis oils and tinctures are made by taking cannabis extracts (usually a CO₂ extract) and mixing them with carrier oils (such as hemp seed or olive oil) or alcohol/glycerine. These supplements are available in different concentrations and can be specially formulated for a specific purpose or symptom.