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  • Writer's pictureOlympia Team

What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Today, cannabis enthusiasts are not just limited to dried flowers. There are so many different products on the market depending on your preferences and needs. Concentrates in particular have become very popular in recent years. As their name suggests, concentrates contain extraordinarily high THC levels ranging from 40 to up to 90 percent.

Concentrates allow you to enjoy the best part of cannabis in a wide variety of ways and using different methods. Depending on the final form they take, cannabis concentrates and extracts can be consumed on their own, sprinkled in a joint to increase the potency, or incorporated in a batch of edibles.

What exactly is a cannabis concentrate?

A cannabis concentrate is a highly potent THC-concentrated product that typically has the consistency of honey or butter. Similar to a juice concentrate, cannabis concentrates are the product of distilling down the most desirable parts of the plant. This material contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes of cannabis flowers but none of the excess plant material.

You know those frosty, sparkling structures you can see on high quality cannabis flowers? Those are called trichomes. A cannabis concentrate is simply a densely packed accumulation of these trichomes.

Cannabis concentrates are made in a wide variety of ways. Some are simple, mechanical extractions, while others use solvents and more complicated processes to extract the trichomes.

For example, ‘Keif” is made by simply collecting loose cannabis trichomes via mesh screen or sieve. Cannabis wax on the other hand is made using isopropyl alcohol or butane through a process that draws the THC out from the plant, leaving a substance that ends up resembling wax - either hardened and crumbly or soft and viscous. These potent concentrates can contain up to 90% THC.

How do you use and consume cannabis concentrates?

Depending on its form, there are a variety of ways to use concentrates. The first method most people think of is ‘dabbing’, a process that involves heating a concentrate or extract to the point where it vaporizes, producing a highly potent vapor that you inhale. Concentrates can also be experienced through using vape pens, tinctures, topicals, edibles, and more.

Not sure which concentrate to start with or how best to consume it? We’ve got you covered. Here’s your guide to using concentrates:

Want an easy potency boost? Top your flower

Sprinkle some powdered kief on top of the flower in your bowl or wrap a thin strand of wax around a joint to quickly and easily boost the potency of your smokeables. These methods don't require any fancy tools but can substantially increase the potency of your smoke while adding extra flavor.

Want an intense and fast-acting high? Dab

Dabbing involves vaporizing the concentrate using a dab rig, which is done by heating the nail, (the dab rig equivalent of a bong bowl), and then applying the concentrate directly onto the hot surface, instantly turning it into an inhalable vapor. Most dab rigs are glass with nails made from either glass, ceramic, titanium, or quartz. While the traditional method involves heating the nail with a torch, there are many user-friendly e-nails on the market now, too.

Want a less intense high, on the go? Use a vape pen

Pre-filled vape pens are a discreet, portable, and efficient way to consume cannabis concentrates. While they likely won’t get you as high as a dab, the high does set in almost immediately. All you need is a pre-filled cartridge and a battery or an all-in-one vape pen. The cartridge's battery activates a heating element that warms the cannabis concentrate. Most vape pens are operated by pressing a button or, in the case of a buttonless pen, by simply taking a drag from the mouthpiece.

Want a long-lasting, smoke-free high? Eat an edible

While most people don’t consider edibles to be related to concentrates, they typically are. Store-bought and homemade edibles are made using cannabis extracts. Much like vapes, they don't require special equipment and are easy for new consumers to try. And much like dabs, they can provide a long-lasting, potent high depending on the dose. The main difference between edibles and inhalables is the onset time. Inhale vapor or smoke and your high will kick in almost instantly; eat an edible and your high may take up to two hours to reveal itself.

Looking for targeted pain relief? Try a Topical

Similar to edibles, most people wouldn’t consider topicals to be forms of concentrate. But when applied topically, concentrated forms of cannabis may provide targeted relief without the head high.

Still have questions about concentrates? We’d love to answer them.

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