Many Kinds of Concentrate
These days there are many different kinds of medical marijuana concentrate. It can be confusing for traditionalists who are used to just one kind of concentrate - hashish, or "hash" - to figure out. I admit that I'm still learning myself, but with your help I hope to keep a list here of the different kinds of concentrates you can find today on the Medicineman site:
- Bubble Hash isn't so much a kind of hashish as a grade of quality. Literally it means that if you heat it at the right temperature, without burning it, the hash will bubble up and vaporize clean. That means it's a well-filtered extract without extra chlorophyll to ruin the taste or lingering additives, like fertilizer, in the concentrate. Translation: this is good quality hash!
- Kief is a product we don't currently have on our menu (Oct 2018) but we get it fairly often. Basically it's the same stuff as hashish, but it's extracted a different way. While hash is washed or rubbed out of the cannabis plant, kief is mechanically separated either by agitation or grinding up. Its quality basically depends on the quality of cannabis used to make it; I've had some kiefs that truly blew me away! But it's gotten a reputation as a lower quality extract because many suppliers just extract it from their leftovers in an attempt to squeeze a little more profit out of their grows.
- Rosin is a cool extraction technique that's like 'hash plus' because it's chemical free like hash but yields a more flavorful, more potent extract. Instead of water, the extractor uses heat and pressure. Sometimes they just use two flat stones warmed up a bit, then squish cannabis wrapped in wax paper. It works a lot better than you'd think! The result is an extract that is a lot like shatter, but is easier to handle and tastes better in my opinion.
Hash and kief are extracted using methods that don't use any chemicals. For some patients, this is very important, because it means that there won't be any traces of any leftovers in their medicine. But it's important to keep in mind that for the other concentrates on this list, it's nothing to be concerned about even though some chemicals are used. In fact, modern extraction equipment is extremely efficient at purging and recapturing all extraction chemicals used. This is better for the environment, the extractor's bottom line, and for your health. So everyone wins!
- Wax is cannabis extracted with butane, then well purged so no trace of butane remains. Because it is a chemical extract, it is more efficient than the mechanical extracts listed above. It is better at straining out chlorophyll and other plant matter, and it also is very efficient at extracting THC and other cannabinoids. It is also good at removing terpenes, though not all terpenes are the same. Some are more delicate and can be destroyed by butane extraction, so some flavor is lost. However, wax extracted by skilled technicians will still smell and taste great - better than hash.
- Shatter is a higher grade of butane extract than wax. It is prized for its consistency - whereas wax tends to be a little goopy or sometimes have the consistency of butter, true shatter will break like glass (thus its name). Recognizing that this quality may be a little inconvenient for patients, some extractors prefer a variety of shatter called 'Pull n Snap', which does pretty much what it's called. Many patients prefer shatter over wax, praising its texture and superior taste, but in my experience the potency of shatter is usually about the same as wax.
- Live Resin is basically the same as wax, except it's a higher quality because the extractor uses a higher quality plant material to extract from. Most wax is extracted from dried cannabis, often what's left over from the harvest - the buds that were too small to sell, mixed in with leaf trim (but this is not always the case - see 'Nug Run' below). But live resin is extracted from live cannabis plants, so the material is as fresh as it can be. Most patients agree that this results in a significantly better flavor, though potency is not really any higher.
- Distillate is the newest extraction technique, and potentially the most potent. Basically it results in 98-99% pure THC, so it packs a real wallop. So much so that it's rarely sold all by itself, usually the extractor mixes extra terpenes in because undiluted THC is simply too powerful for all but the most tolerant patients. Our 'Diamonds' are this kind of new extract - pure THC with terpenes blended in.
Wow, that's a lot, but we're still not done. We still haven't covered:
- CO2 supercritical extracts are a newer kind of extract that don't use any fossil fuels like butane. Thus some people claim that they're cleaner, though in reality well-purged butane extract is just as clean. CO2 uses carbon dioxide which is put in a supercritical state, so it exists as a gas, liquid and solid at the same time (I'm completely trusting Wikipedia on this). Apparently this does a super job of knocking the THC and terpenes off of the plant matter, leaving very little of the undesirable stuff mixed in. The result is a very pure extract, comparable to high quality butane wax but without any butane used.
- "Nug Run" is a name that refers to a kind of extract, to specify that the extractors used whole nugs of cannabis flower, instead of the small buds and shake of most extractors. Better ingredients, better extract.
- Finally, all of the edibles on our site use quality extracts like butane or CO2 wax for their medicine. That's why our brownies don't have a really strong taste of weed, the way they used to back in the 70s!
Please let me know any questions in the comments below. I'll add to or change this list as necessary.