Concentrates grow in popularity amongst cannabis consumers with each passing year. Similarly, the different types of concentrates available those who seek them out also grows as time passes. With so many different types of concentrates on the market, it may become hard to make sense of it all, that’s why I’m here—to give you a crash course on some of the most popular concentrates currently available, from wax to distillate.
Whether you’re new to cannabis as a whole or simply looking to brush up on your knowledge, this guide will help you navigate the ever-evolving world of concentrates.
What is Wax?
By far the most common concentrate variety, wax, otherwise known as budder, gets its name from its wax-like consistency. This consistency combined with its typical potency level also makes wax the most accessible concentrate for occasional consumers, as it is easy to handle and often significantly less potent than its more refined counterparts, such as shatter or distillate. Related, wax is undeniably the least expensive option on this list. Among the different types of concentrates, wax is among the best when it comes to preserving terpene profiles following the extraction process, meaning the taste is often more defined than what one may expect from a more purified form of concentrate. Typically extracted using butane, the color of a wax or budder can vary dramatically based on a variety of factors including the quality of the cannabis used to create it or even the quality of the extraction process said cannabis is put through. Also, waxes are most commonly consumed via dabbing.
What is Shatter?
Moving on from the most common, shatter is almost certainly the most popular concentrate currently available on the market and a hit amongst the dabbing community. Named for its glass-like consistency and possessing an appearance akin to hardened tree sap in appearance, shatter characteristically offers the best price-to-potency ratio to cannabis consumers. Currently, shatter is probably the most plentiful concentrate on the market amongst all the different types of concentrates and that notion is reflected by its high accessibility. Nearly every company that creates concentrates offers shatter, from Green Dot to Craft Concentrates, making it quite easy to come by as any dispensary is bound to carry at least one brand of shatter, if not multiple.
Typically extracted using Co2 or butane, the appearance of shatter can often tell one a lot about its quality. While more pure, better extracted shatter will likely be golden or honey-like in appearance, less pure extracts will typically have a more brownish hue. Brighter, more translucent shatters often possess a cleaner taste whereas shatters with darker, brown appearances are indicative of a greater number of impurities.
What is a Distillate?
From the most common to the most popular, we’ve now arrived at the most potent of all the different types of concentrates: distillate. A relative newcomer to the world of extracts, distillates have the potential to be dramatically more potent than their preceding counterparts. Unlike the previous entries, distillate was not named for its consistency or appearance, but for its characteristic potency. While wax and shatter most commonly range between 40%-70% THC, distillate can be as high as 99% THC, making it by far the most effective way to consume THC in terms of pure potency. As one may be lead to assume, distillates are often quite aqueous in consistency, making them a little more difficult to handle than wax or shatter.
However, there are many products which allow for the convenient and discreet use of the most potent form of concentrate currently available. Because distillates can be up to 99% pure THC, one would be correct to assume that the complex refinement process that produces distillate does not leave much room for terpenes.
To rectify this, many concentrate companies actually add terpenes to their distillates once the refinement process is completed, giving extractors a previously unprecedented level of control over the flavor and terpene profiles of their finished products. In regard to pricing, distillates are on the more expensive side of concentrates, typically exceeding the prices of most shatters or waxes.
What is Live Resin?
Following the trend I’ve set thus far, it's now time to talk about what very well may be the most misunderstood concentrate: live resin. Often dabbed or vaporized and produced using a unique process that involves the freezing of an entire cannabis plant prior to the conducting of the extraction process, live resin has many notable differences from most of the other different types of concentrates.
For starters, the starting material is flash frozen immediately after being harvested and kept at freezing temperatures throughout the duration of the extraction process. This allows the plant’s trichomes and terpenes to avoid conditions that are often detrimental to them, such as oxidation and light exposure.
As a result, live resin is often more flavorful than other concentrates of similar potency as the starting material’s terpene profile is highly preserved by this unique extraction process, making is a hit among concentrate connoisseurs. Live resins can vary dramatically in appearance, some being more akin to shatter whereas others are much more viscous. If you’re interested in live resin, many products possess intricate terpene profiles as well as high levels of potency, making them a great choice for concentrate aficionados.
What is Rosin?
Rosin is a unique type of cannabis concentrate because of the way it’s hand crafted. It is made without using any solvents. What is a solvent? It’s an agent used in the refining and distilling of the cannabis product to separate the molecules. Instead of using a solvent rosin is an extraction technique that utilizes the combination of pressure and heat to squeeze the resinous sap from the starting material (buds or trichome- rich cannabis leaves).
You may have heard the term “rosin” in relation to bows or stringed instruments, where by rosin was used to create friction with violin bows. It’s not the same thing as Cannabis concentrate rosin but that is where the name originated. Rosin is very popular because of this solventless technique. The technique involves mechanically using heat and pressure to extract the resin from the cannabis plant. Interestingly you can make Rosin at home with no risk of explosion due to this solventless technique. It require the following items to make it at home:
- A hair straightener
- Some parchment paper
- A collection tool
- Some heat-resistant gloves (safety is important)
- Some of your favorite cannabis buds
Between various levels of potency, different price points, and related consumption methods, there is a lot to consider for those who are looking to purchase concentrates and as the market for concentrates continues to grow, so does the number of different types of concentrates that is available to consumers.
Whether you’re new to extracts and are wanting to try an entry-level wax or a concentrate connoisseur in search of the finest live resin, you'll find what you’re looking for at Clovr, Kansas City's best dispensary for concentrates and return here for information regarding all things cannabis.