Cannabis extracts (also called cannabis concentrates) are highly-concentrated, ultra-potent cannabinoid isolates. Extracts are made when flower is compressed at extremely high pressures, and the cannabinoids within are isolated from the plant.
The terms extract and concentrate are umbrella terms that house many different forms of extract. Oil, shatter, wax, rosin, hash, and tinctures are all common cannabis concentrates. These different terms generally determine the texture of the extract and the method of consumption.
Cannabis extracts have been growing in popularity amongst cannabis consumers for some time. Although extracts and flower produce similar effects, several key differences set them apart.
Extracts are much more potent than flower.
First and foremost, concentrates are much more potent than flower in terms of THC percentage. Flower contains between 10-25 percent THC but concentrates typically fall around the 50-80 percent mark. Because of this, it takes a lot less concentrate than flower to achieve the desired effect. If you are inexperienced in the world of cannabis concentrates, keep this in mind so that you do not ingest more THC than you’d like.
Extracts sometimes have less flavor.
Another key difference that sets concentrates apart from flower is flavor; concentrates sometimes have a less intense flavor profile than flower. Because of the intense heat and pressure required to produce the concentrates, terpenes within the flower that determine unique smell and taste are mostly stripped away. This is why you may notice that some concentrates are less aromatic and have a less potent flavor. However, some producers reintroduce terpenes to the extract after concentration, which results in a more flavorful experience.
Another exception to this rule is live resin. Live resin is made when freshly harvested cannabis plants are cryogenically frozen, and then the entire plant (stems and all) is compressed into a concentrated form. While most concentrates are stripped of their excess plant material and natural terpenes, live resin concentrates are not deprived of their plant material and therefore retain their original flavors and aromas. The normal cannabis drying process can also play a role in the breakdown of terpenes, so live resin ends up being especially flavorful as it does not go through the drying process.
Extracts do not contain plant material.
In addition to terpenes, all plant material is stripped away during the concentration process. As mentioned above, this is true except for live resin, which retains the original plant material after concentration. Therefore, the individualized effects of cannabis concentrates are not determined by strain type. Because concentrates are isolated THC and CBD, whether or not the concentrated flower is of indica or sativa origin has virtually no impact on overall effects. Any individualized characteristics from the strain would be determined by any terpenes introduced after concentration.
If you enjoy an energizing and uplifting effect typical of a sativa-type strain, look for concentrates with high amounts of pinene, limonene, and terpinolene. Research concentrates with myrcene or caryophyllene as their dominant terpene if you gravitate towards indica-dominant strains with calming and sedative effects.
Consuming extracts can be more discreet than smoking.
Extracts can be consumed in many other ways than just smoking, and a lot of these consumption methods are a lot more discreet than flower. Since extracts are refined to remove inactive plant material, they create a smooth and clean inhale when vaporized. Hash and cannabis oils are popular choices for vaporizing, dabbing, and smoking, while concentrates in shatter or wax form are primarily dabbed. For an especially discreet option, tinctures and capsules are ingested orally.
Cannabis concentrates open up a whole new world of cannabis consumption methods. This can be overwhelming, especially if you are inexperienced, but don’t let that stop you! Talk with your Oasis budtender about your individual needs and desired effects to determine which cannabis concentrates best suit you.