This list of cannabis concentrates is by no means exhaustive, but it will introduce you to some of the most common extracts found in today’s market.
One of the oldest players in the cannabis game is hash, a concentrate made by compression of the plant’s resin glands. The powdery kief that coats your cannabis flowers can be collected and pressed together to form hash, or solvents like ice water or ethanol may be used to more effectively strip the plant of their cannabinoid-loaded crystals. Though not as potent as BHO and other cannabis concentrates, hash remains a staple of cannabis culture around the world.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO) & Propane Hash Oil (PHO)
BHO, or butane hash oil, and PHO, or propane hash oil, are extremely potent concentrates popularly consumed by dabbing (see Cannabis Glossary) and other vaporization methods. Cannabinoids are drawn out of the plant through butane/propane extraction, which leaves behind a wax that will either maintain its sticky consistency, resulting in a crumbly or fluffy wax, or harden up, resulting in a glass like “shatter.” Because their THC contents stretch-upwards of 70%-90%, BHO and PHO are popular remedies for chronic pain and other intractable symptoms. Always be sure that your oil is lab tested for purity, as improperly purged BHO/PHO may contain butane/propane in unwanted levels.
CO2 oil, is a concentrate made possible by expensive botanical extractors that use pressure and carbon dioxide to separate plant material from resin glands. This method, called supercritical fluid extraction, is an effective way of reducing cannabis to its essential compounds. The amber oil it produces can be vaporized in a variety of ways, one of the most popular being portable vaporizer pens. One of the best ways to consume cannabis on the go is disposable cartridges containing CO2 oil and a carrier like MCT oil, or polypropylene glycol, which gives the oil its liquid consistency.
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)
In 2003 a man named Rick Simpson treated his skin cancer using a homemade remedy made from hemp. By soaking the hemp in pure naphtha or isopropyl alcohol, the therapeutic compounds are drawn out of the plant, leaving behind a tar-like liquid after the solvent fully evaporates. Also known as Phoenix Tears, Rick Simpson
Oil (RSO) can be orally administered or applied directly to the skin. Many other businesses now sell their own renditions of the Rick Simpson Oil, some of which are high in THC while others contain only non-psychoactive compounds like CBD.
Tinctures & Edibles
Up until marijuana’s prohibition in 1937, tinctures and edibles were the most common form of cannabis medicine in the United States. A tincture is a liquid concentrate procured through alcohol extraction, which pulls out many of the plant’s beneficial cannabinoids. A few drops under the tongue may be a sufficient dose, but patients can safely apply more as needed. Tinctures, which are now available in a variety of flavors, are a great way for patients to medicate without having to smoke. Edibles are food products infused with cannabis extracted in various ways depending on maker. Anything from chocolate bars, to gummies, to truffles, to soda pops, to cookies, to brownies, etc. are on the market. Inconspicuous and effective, edibles are a wonderful addition/alternative to consuming cannabis by inhalation.
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