Cannabis is one of those things that will never stop evolving—especially as legalization becomes more commonplace. Enthusiasts are constantly breeding new strains and finding ways to get a better, faster high. Of course, marijuana derivatives have been around for centuries, but with users fixated on finding more efficient ways to get exactly what they want out of the herb, they’ve developed many different extraction methods to produce different concentrates. Concentrates come in a number of different forms—from butters to oils—and we’ve compiled some of the most popular ones so you know exactly what they are, how they’re made and how you can use them.
The name says it all. This concentrate is made for baking and cooking and will allow you to experiment with new edible recipes, and you can find our how to guide to CannaButter here. This is the simplest extract you can make and therefore we’d recommend it as a starting point for any budding extractors. Cannabis butter is exactly what you’d expect it to be: melted butter mixed with your favourite ground strain of marijuana. For the most part it’s used in baking, but you could also spread it on a toasted blueberry bagel or sprinkle it on a fresh bowl of popcorn!
Budder (though it sounds like 'butter') is actually a moderately potent concentrate that can be formed using various methods of extraction. Normally referred to as “wax,” the oil-based concentrate takes on a brittle or sometimes molasses-like, opaque formation as a result of disturbance during the extraction process. Normally the disturbance comes in the form of brisk stirring, which is done to achieve irregular molecule densities. Budder is consumed through vaporization or mixed in with herb to add an extra kick when consuming it.
If you think of what it would look like if all of that very, very sticky residue stuck on your grinder was compressed to form a ball of extremely potent marijuana, you'd get hash. This is the oldest concentrate in the book considering that finger hash (made by rubbing buds between your hands until the residue rubs off and can be rolled into balls) has be used and made in India for years and years. There are other common ways to make it too, like stirring cannabis into ice water or using chemicals. Consumption methods are quite similar to how you smoke your herb. You can vaporize it, use your pipe or roll it up into a joint and smoke it. Super potent in nature, because of the THC in this concentrate, you can also purchase hash pre-made.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
Normally this concentrate is consumed by dabbing or smoking in certain types of vaporizers. While the extract is extremely potent and popular amongst cannabis concentrate users, there is a risk associated with it. The term “butane” isn’t part of the name as a joke; the gas is actually used as part of the extraction method and if done incorrectly can end up being consumed. Be sure that your oils are lab tested and always get them from a reliable source if you're going to try this method. As great as this concentrate can be, please don’t try making this at home if you’re untrained or inexperienced in making extracts. People have been critically injured and some have even died as a result of the process involved with making butane hash oil (BHO). Be careful out there!
Rick Simpson is a Canadian who cured his skin cancer by treating it with his homemade concentrates. As the story goes, he recalled a study that found THC helped reduce or eliminate cancer cells in mice. Because of this, he figured that since he was already using cannabis oils he may as well try using his extraction method to help cure himself. His method involved using “pure light aliphatic naphtha or 99% isopropyl alcohol to remove the available resin from the plant material.” For the most part, the extract is high in both THC and CBD, but a quick search of how-to videos will show you variations and particular strains that can give you different results.
One of the perks of smoking cannabis is the instant relief. Tinctures were made with that in mind and are often a medical alternative to smoking the plant. Normally administered orally by placing drops of the concentrate under the tongue in order to be absorbed into the bloodstream more directly, tinctures act quite quickly. Some versions are high in CBD and low in THC, which is perfect for those solely wishing to medicate with no psychoactive side effects.
This method of natural extraction is normally marketed as being organic and producing a potent concentrate. scCO2 extraction, or Supercritical Carbon Dioxide, uses heated compressed gasses (normally carbon dioxide) to extract the active components of marijuana (such as terpenes and cannabinoids) without deactivating them. Essentially, this expensive method of extraction strips away all unessential components of marijuana, leaving the desired compounds to be packaged in one of their purest, most concentrated forms.
Shatter, in its purest form, is an extremely potent extract available both in dispensaries and on the street. Normally derived via BHO extraction methods (a step after extracting the BHO itself), shatter is pretty pricey because of the experience and chemicals required to make it, as well as the potency of it. The amber coloured, translucent substance is almost exclusively used in dabbing and those who do consume it are normally experienced in marijuana consumption. It can be dangerous to make, so leave it to the pros to produce this concentrate.
While many still prefer using marijuana in its plant form, concentrates are quickly rising in popularity. Concentrates are made for many reasons: some aim to get you higher than you’ve ever been and others aim to focus on medicinal and therapeutic benefits. In all cases, concentrates offer a number of alternatives to traditional methods of consumption, allowing users to more properly control dosage and find new ways to enjoy their favourite herb.