Challenges Remain As Concentrates Fight for the Future of Cannabis
Getting concentrates and the discussion of them right will take some work.
Published on August 4, 2016

Phil “SoilGrown” Salazar popularized the at-home, hair-straightener-enabled, heat-extracted hash oil production technique that created the rosin category and presented another alternative to washing weed in a solvent. At the recent High Times Medical Cannabis Concentrates Cup in San Bernardino, Salazar featured delicious “Purple Mr. Nice” rosin budder pressed from an ice water extraction.

The Clear’s head scientist (@theclearscientist) also presented a lucky few with a taste of his THC-O-acetate. Made using distilled THC, the chemistry consists of adding an acetate group to the free hydroxyl group on THC to create a compound that is said to be two to three times as strong as THC.

MERRY JANE attended the cup, which was billed as the “historic launch” of a “revamped competition” featuring “cannabis extract products only…both solvent and non-solvent extractions,” and walked away wondering if the varied concentrates and events like these are the future of cannabis.

The distinct utility of these events is the direct access to the manufacturers that often make wholesale prices available to the public. The ability to track down and stock up on world-class hash and exotic cannabis products makes these farmers market/trade shows a valuable resource for power users. The price of admission is worth it for Sam’s Club-esque bulk buys alone.

The end user in California must still wonder what’s going on with their flower and concentrates. On the heels of the controversy surrounding contaminated submissions to July’s Chalice Festival, where nearly 20 percent of the solvent concentrate category entrants were disqualified for “molds, pesticides, or other pathogens,” there was remarkably no negative buzz or talk of failed tests at the Concentrates Cup. The only controversy centered around Lil Wayne, who had what organizers described as a “full meltdown,” walking off after performing only four songs.

But in general, there doesn't seem to be much questioning of the products going on at all. Has the BHO been completely de-waxed and fully purged? What could be the long-term health impact of vaporizing plant waxes or even trace amounts of residual solvents? In what concentrations do mold and bacteria and E. coli exist in ice water extractions, and can they cause respiratory issues? What pesticides and heavy metals collect in the trichome heads? Could vaporizing and inhaling terpenes sourced from other plants and intended for use in food production be dangerous?

No one knows right now and hopefully it all sounds worse than it is. At present, the best thing to do is to keep asking questions, proceed cautiously, and smoke in moderation—though it didn’t seem like the few thousand mostly young people who attended the Concentrate Cup intend to take it easy. Bottom line, it's a miracle that events like these exist, particularly since making cannabis extracts with a chemical process is illegal in California. We need more of this type of face-to-face interaction between producers and supporters of the culture for both commerce and concentrate education—just try to ignore the headline-stealing rapper drama if at all possible.

Arnold Puffington III
As the first caddy to be honored in the Golf Hall of Flame, Arnold Puffington immortalized his place in golf lore after looping for such luminaries as Toker Woods, Jordan Splieff, Gary Blunt-Slayer and Greg Norml. Renowned for his ability to bring a calming sense to the course, Arnold or Puff Caddy as his friends call him, has been sought out by golfers around the globe for his sage wisdom and his consistent ability to help players get on the green. As his dimples wore down and he could no longer roll like he used to, Arnold decided to enter the next phase of his career. Launching Puffingtons Golf in 2013, he’s since dedicated himself to touting the benefits of his flagship product, the Pitch-N-Puff, and his patented on the course relaxation techniques, helping players worldwide elevate their game whenever they tee-off. #Fore20!!
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