Author Maxim Tourou / Category Architecture / Published: Apr-05-2018
The Pros and Cons of Cannabis Concentrates
The Pros and Cons of Cannabis Concentrates
While the history of cannabis concentrates is not entirely clear, what we do know is that cannabis plants evolved to produce THC as a means of protecting themselves from predation. Therefore, the first landrace cannabis strains had an extremely low THC content by today’s standards because a high THC content was apparently not needed to dissuade both animals and insects from eating the plant.
Even so, at some point in history, some human somewhere discovered that ingesting cannabis plants has a psychoactive effect on the human brain and thus, they began looking for a way to concentrate the psychoactive compound in order to intensify the psychoactive experience which, in turn, led to the development of hashish. Thus, hashish has retained its supremacy as the king of cannabis concentrates until just the last few years in which legalization has led to innovation which has led to a wide variety of cannabis concentrates. However, not all cannabis concentrates are created equal as you will learn in the following article.
What is a Cannabis Concentrate?
For those of you who are not familiar with cannabis concentrates, the first question should be what is a cannabis concentrate? Well, the answer to that question is that because cannabis plants are subject to being eaten by both animals and insects, they have evolved a natural defense system by producing a compound called THC which is a psychoactive substance that causes mild hallucinations in animals that ingest it. However, the THC and other cannabinoids that the plant produces such as CBD and CBN are all contained in glands called Trichomes which appear on the surface of the cannabis plant’s buds, leaves, and stems. Therefore, a cannabis concentrate is simply a collection of trichomes from a cannabis plant or, their internal essence.
Types of Cannabis Concentrates
So, now that you know what a cannabis concentrate is, your next question should be what are the different types of modern cannabis concentrates? Well, the answer to that question is that there are now nine different categories of cannabis concentrates consisting of three different types of hashish, four different types of solvent hash oil, cannabis rosin, and cannabis distillate.
Thus, although cannabis concentrates are no longer limited to hash alone, hashish is still a popular form of cannabis consumption and it consists of the traditional forms of “solventless” hash such as “hand rubbed” hash and “dry-sift” hash along with a more modern form called “bubble hash”.
Then, there are the various types of hash oils such as Quick Wash Isopropyl Alcohol Hash Oil (aka QWISO), Propane Hash Oil (aka PHO) and, BHO (aka Butane Hash Oil); all of which use a solvent to separate the trichomes from the plant material.
Then, there is “winterized” CO2 Hash Oil which utilizes CO2 placed under enough heat and pressure that it attains a “critical” state in which it displays the properties of both a gas and a liquid (aka a super-critical fluid) which is then used to wash ground cannabis in order to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material. Thus, this process produces a very pure form of hash oil minus the potentially harmful solvent residue found in other forms of hash oil.
Next, we have cannabis “rosin” which requires an entirely different method to produce from any of those listed above. Instead, when manufacturing cannabis rosin, a person presses either live cannabis buds or buds that have been dried and cured between two heated metal plates to produce two different products called “live rosin” and “rosin” respectively. Then, the resulting rosin is collected from the two metal plates. Therefore, manufacturing cannabis rosin does not require the use of potentially harmful solvents and thus, cannabis rosin is one the most pure and most potent cannabis concentrates available.
Then, last but not least, there is a method of distilling cannabis which, unlike distilling alcohol does not require the cannabis to be fermented first and which does not produce a liquid cannabis product. Instead, it produces a nearly pure form of THC powder which can be as much as 99% pure THCa.
So, as you can see, the science of cannabis concentrates has come a long way since the early days of landrace cannabis strains and hand-rubbed hashish!
The Pros and Cons of Cannabis Concentrates
Thus, with so many different types of cannabis concentrates on the market today and with each one having its pros and cons, which type of cannabis concentrate is the best choice for you? Well, in order to answer that question, we will need to delve into the pros and cons of each type of cannabis concentrate.
Cannabis Concentrates that Don’t Require Solvents –
- Hashish – As mentioned above, there are three mainstream methods for producing hash and the resulting product can range in quality on a scale of 1 to 6 from no-melt hash (#1 & #2) to half-melt hash (#3 and #4) to full-melt hash (#5 and #6) depending on its purity. Thus, no-melt hash is the lowest grade because it is the least pure and thus, the least concentrated while half-melt indicates a significantly more pure and more highly concentrated form of hash and, full-melt indicates the most pure and most highly concentrated form of hash. Therefore, full-melt hash provides the user with the most intense psychoactive experience possible because its purity can approach 100% pure trichome glands.
Thus, hashish has the advantage of not requiring the use of solvents during production and therefore, it has no left over solvent residues in the final product. However, even the most pure forms of hashish are not as pure as QWISO’s, BHO’s, or PHO’s because hash consists of concentrated trichome glands and thus, even hash that is 100% pure trichomes also contains some degree of plant matter. Plus, using any of the three methods of making hash mentioned above is far more time consuming and labor intensive than making any of the four different types of hash oil or cannabis rosin.
- Cannabis Rosin – One of the purest and most potent forms of cannabis concentrates available and, second only in purity and potency to cannabis distillate, cannabis rosin is the “best of the best” when it comes to cannabis concentrates!
Made by pressing either live or dried and cured cannabis buds between two heated metal plates which cause the trichomes to melt and liquefy without vaporizing, the resulting “rosin” can then be easily collected from the metal plates. Consequently, creating cannabis rosin does not require several hours of meticulous labor like making dry-sift hash does and, it does not require the use of potentially dangerous solvents the way that making hash oil does. Plus, it does not require a person to have a sophisticated and expensive laboratory machine as producing CO2 hash oil or cannabis distillate does. Yet, cannabis rosin is one of the purest and most highly concentrated forms of cannabis available!
Plus, cannabis rosin can easily be made at home without the need for a fancy pollen press or expensive laboratory equipment. In fact, anyone can easily make cannabis rosin at home by employing a simple, handheld, portable, rosin press. Thus, for the average cannabis consumer who only has the need to make two or three grams of cannabis rosin per month, the Juice Box Portable Rosin Press is the perfect tool for the job since it is the only portable rosin press specifically designed for the home cannabis consumer!
- Cannabis Distillate – Unlike CO2 cannabis concentrates which use Carbon Dioxide as a solvent to dissolve the plant’s trichomes in order to separate its cannabinoids and terpenes form the plant matter, cannabis distillate is made by using a special process called Short Path Distillation in which the various cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the cannabis are first subjected to enough heat to vaporize them and then they are cooled condensed into containers. Consequently, cannabis distillate produces the purest possible form of cannabis concentrate with purity levels that can reach 99% THCa.
However, distilling cannabis does require a very sophisticated and relatively expensive extraction machine as well as the technical knowledge of how to use it properly and thus, cannabis distillate is very difficult to make at home. Plus, a cannabis concentrate of that purity could very well be harmful to the user if too much is consumed at one time. Thus, cannabis distillates are best reserved for laboratories and medical use.
Cannabis Concentrates that Require Solvents –
- Alcohol, Propane, and Butane Hash Oil – Due to their inherent purity, all types of solvent hash oils produce grade 5 and grade 6 “full-melt” hash oils which means that the product melts and then vaporizes when heated. However, when referring to BHO’s and PHO’s, the term “hash oil” is misleading because most BHO’s and PHO’s are actually solid substances which are divided into two categories depending on their appearance consisting of “wax” and “shatter”. Then, each of those categories is further subdivided into categories that describe their specific appearances such as “sap”, “sugar wax”, or “budder”.
However, regardless of which type of hash oil you choose, this type of cannabis concentrate is commonly significantly more potent than even the purest forms of hashish. But, at the same time, it does require the use of solvents to manufacture which inevitably leaves some residue behind in the finished product.
- Winterized CO2 Hash Oil – Like QWISO’s, BHO’s, and PHO’s, winterized CO2 hash oil is an exceptionally pure form of cannabis concentrate because the Carbon Dioxide that is used as a solvent during production extracts the plant’s trichomes without contaminating it with plant matter. However, unlike QWISO’s, BHO’s, and PHO’s, winterized CO2 hash oil does not have any residual contaminants in the final product and thus, it’s a more pure cannabis concentrate than even the purest form of hashish as well as the purest QWISO’s, BHO’s, and PHO’s.
However, producing CO2 hash oil does require a highly specialized and relatively expensive extraction machine as well as the technical knowledge of how to properly use it and thus, it is very difficult to make at home. Consequently, CO2 hash oil tends to be significantly more expensive than either hashish or other forms of hash oil.
Rosin Is the safest and most flavorful cannabis concentrate
So, when it comes to cannabis concentrates, cannabis rosin can arguably be said to be the best possible choice! After all, it’s more potent and requires far less labor to produce than hashish does, it does not require the use of solvents during the manufacturing process like QWISO’s, PHO’s, and BHO’s do and thus, it produces a 100% pure cannabis concentrate and, it does not require the use of complicated and expensive laboratory equipment to produce it. Instead, cannabis rosin can easily be made at home with a simple, hand-held, rosin press like the Juice Box Portable Rosin Press.
Thus, if you are a cannabis consumer who prefers the purity and potency of cannabis concentrates over smoking cannabis buds, then cannabis rosin is the way to go because it’s one of the most pure and potent cannabis concentrates available and, you can easily make it at home!