Marijuana Concentrates 101
Not every medical marijuana patient wants to smoke their medicine.
Not every patient wants to go through the hassle of
- rolling a joint or packing a bong
- exposing their lungs and skin to carcinogens
- dealing with tiny bits of bud lying around on their countertops and tables.
But these patients are willing to put up with it because they want what’s inside the marijuana: the cannabinoids. That’s where marijuana’s medicinal power truly lies.
If only there was a way to get those cannabinoids out of the plant and into a form that was easily consumable…
Well, there is. You may even be already familiar with these types of products.
If not, just keep reading. We’re about to give you an introductory lesson on marijuana concentrates.
The Benefits of Marijuana Concentrates
Concentrates are more powerful than flowers
The average marijuana flower contains anywhere from 5 to 15 percent THC.
But marijuana concentrates can contain anywhere from 20 to 60 percent THC. Some even go as high as 90 percent.
Now…more doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Marijuana is medicine. Like any medicine, it should be used to provide relief — as much relief as you need.
When you have an average headache, you don’t call your doctor for a Vicodin prescription. You just take two Tylenol pills and call it a day.
Similarly, if you can manage your illness and pain levels just by consuming marijuana flowers, then you don’t need concentrates.
But if your pain is both chronic and severe, and marijuana flowers aren’t doing the job, concentrates may be the way to go.
Certain concentrates don’t produce smoke/odor.
The skunky smell of burning marijuana is an acquired taste. Some people grow to love the smell, but they don’t necessarily love the fact that the smell lingers for hours or even days after you’ve smoked.
But if you use a vape pen with concentrated marijuana oil, your room won’t stink to high heaven. You’ll get a little odor from the resulting vapor, but nothing that will stick around for too long.
Less damage to your lungs
Concentrates have a higher THC percentage than marijuana flowers, so when you smoke or vaporize concentrates, you don’t have to inhale as much to feel the desired effects. Using a vaporizer will help your lungs out even more.
Whether you’re rolling a joint or packing a bowl, pieces of bud constantly break off. You can clean them up easily if they land on a table, but when they land on sofa cushions or on the floor (especially carpet), forget about it.
You don’t have to handle troublesome plant material when you use marijuana concentrates. Oil cartridges, tinctures, wax…they all come with a minimum of muss and a minimum of fuss.
Types of Marijuana Concentrates
You know those tiny crystals that you see on marijuana flowers?
More specifically, kief refers to the resin glands that are found on the marijuana plant’s trichomes. These trichomes are responsible for producing a large bulk of the marijuana plant’s cannabinoids.
You can’t get much kief from a single marijuana flower. But if you use a three-chamber grinder, you can capture and collect pure kief while you’re grinding up your flower.
Depending on how much marijuana you consume, it may take a while to collect enough kief to actually consume. But once you do have enough, the kief will contain anywhere from 20 to 50 percent THC.
If you don’t feel like waiting, you can always sprinkle small amounts of kief on to the flower you’re about to smoke. That alone will give it an added punch.
Hash has been around for a while, and when we say “a while,” we’re talking Middle Ages. Before there was any such thing as modern plumbing.
Hash is kief that has been compressed, heated and pressurized into bricks or balls that can contain anywhere from 40 to 80 percent THC.
Before marijuana was outlawed back in 1937, people were using marijuana tinctures for pharmaceutical purposes.
Tinctures are made using an alcohol-based extraction process, and they work sublingually, meaning you place a few drops under your tongue to achieve the desired effects. This gives you much more control over your dosage than if you were smoking or vaporizing.
CO2 oils are made through a process called supercritical fluid extraction, which uses carbon dioxide and pressure to extract marijuana’s active ingredients.
Patients can use portable vape pens to consume CO2 oils. The oil comes in a cartridge, which you screw onto the battery of the pen. Once you use a cartridge up, you can simply replace it with another cartridge.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
BHO is arguably the most powerful marijuana concentrate legally available to medical marijuana patients.
It’s made through an extraction process that involves butane. If you decide to use BHO products, make sure they’re of the highest quality and have been lab tested for contaminants. If there’s any butane left over in the oil, it can be toxic.
BHO products can contain up to 90 percent THC, so you understand why we don’t recommend dabbing for first-time patients.
Shatter and wax are BHO concentrates that are commonly used for dabbing. They’re roughly similar in potency, but they have different physical characteristics because of the different purification processes used:
Shatter is thin and translucent like glass. It can easily be broken into pieces, but it is somewhat difficult to handle.
This BHO product doesn’t have the translucent oils that give shatter its signature look.
Wax that is more runny and gooey is called “budder.” Thicker, more crumbly wax goes by the name of “crumble” or “honeycomb.”
Rosin is not a type of concentrate, per se, but refers to an extraction process which produces BHO-like results.
Whereas BHO products use butane to extract the cannabinoids, rosin uses a mechanical process that involves heat and pressure. No solvents are necessary
This is an attractive prospect for patients who want to enjoy the benefits of BHO without worrying about toxic solvents winding up in their product. Patients also don’t have to worry about a loss of potency because when it’s made correctly, rosin brings the same type of power to the table as BHO.
Are Marijuana Concentrates Right For You?
If you find that regular marijuana flowers aren’t helping you manage your pain, speak with your physician and local dispensary staff to see if there’s a concentrate that can better fit your needs.
We recommend you go slowly up the THC percentage ladder. Don’t start off with BHO or rosin. Try kief, hash or a high-quality CO2 cartridge, and only use enough to alleviate your pain.
And if you’re a qualifying patient who still hasn’t taken the steps necessary to get your Nevada medical marijuana card, make an appointment with us today, and we’ll help you get sorted out!