“Concentrates” covers a whole range of products created through an extraction process that results in highly concentrated forms of cannabis. These products may require an accessory to consume and can be highly potent; thus, these are recommended for more advanced consumers. When it comes to concentrates, particularly when trying any new product for the first time, we also recommend that you start low and go slow.
Now, let’s go over a few of the types of concentrates you are more likely to see:
Vape Cartridges & Pens
Typically with these products you will see a chamber with liquid inside that can be from distillate, winterized oil, hash oil, or even rosin. Generally, a thinning agent is added to ensure the ideal viscosity and functionality for this liquid to flow as needed. Such additives that may be used include MCT, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, and vegetable glycerin.
Naturally occurring terpenes may be added to these vape liquids as a way to introduce specific aromas or flavours. However, there are strict rules that do not allow for artificial flavouring or colouring to be added to legal vape products.
Health Canada imposes strict regulation on all additives that may be used, to ensure they do not exceed a level that would be unhealthy for human consumption.
You can find these types of products in standalone cartridges that attach to industry standard 510 thread batteries or “closed-loop” systems like the PAX Era, or as wholly contained ready-to-use vape pens.
To “dab” refers to applying a concentrate to a specialized bowl or nail, which has been heated to high temperatures, allowing the material to be vaporized for inhalation. This can be done with a “dab rig”, a water pipe that has a special attachment for the concentrate to be heated (often by torch), or with an electric dab rig or e-nail that can usually be manually adjusted to a preferred temperature setting.
A variety of concentrates can be dabbed, including:
- Winterized Oils
- Live Resin
Each of these dab-able concentrates are typically extracted using hydrocarbon solvent-based extraction methods, often using Butane or CO2.
It is always important when dabbing to ensure heating temperatures are in the right range. Dabbing between 350-450⁰F, or “low-temp dabbing” can provide smooth, flavourful rips that are easier on the lungs. When heated to 900-1000⁰F, or “high-temp dabbing”, this can put undue stress on both your equipment and your lungs.
“Bowl Topper” Concentrates
These types of concentrate are typically added to compliment whole or milled flower to enhance potency and effects. They can be added to a pipe or bong bowl, included with dried flower being rolled into a joint, or even used to coat the exterior of a pre-roll.
“Kief” is obtained when the trichomes of the cannabis plant are detached, to get the resin glands – this is also called dry-sift or pollen. The result is a raw powder that can be added as a topper or compressed into blocks (for hashish).
“Hash”, or hashish, is the result of moistening and compressing kief into a more malleable and uniform format. Sometimes, low level heat may be applied in the process. But, there continues to be a growing number of ways that hash can be formed.