Welcome to the World of Concentrates.
In this article we will cover, why concentrates are better than flower, the main extraction methods used today to make a concentrate, and finally the difference between live resin and live rosin. Whether you’re a daily dabber or new to concentrates, once you’re finished this article you’ll be loaded with a whole new arsenal of concentrate knowledge to share with your friends as well as help you make more informed decisions when purchasing concentrates.
Why concentrates are generally better then smoking flower.
When growing cannabis our goal is to create a flower that is covered in trichomes because more trichomes equates to more psychoactive compounds that will be available when consuming. The resin within the trichomes is what gets us high, the flower the trichomes grow on has zero psychoactive compounds therefore there is no need for the flower. When combusting trichomes on flower we create carcinogens as you would if you combusted any type of organic material. So, this is where concentrates come in, by separating the trichomes from the plant material we can take out the risk factor that comes with combusting flower. Instead, our goal is to vaporize the concentrate which gives us much greater flavour with much lower risk of carcinogens compared to full combustion. This is even safer than using a regular dry herb vape because if it is used improperly it can lead to combustion of the flower, exposing yourself to those unwanted carcinogens. By taking the flower out and only smoking the trichomes or resin within the trichomes we create a far safer product to smoke long term.
There are many ways to extract trichomes from the plant but the two most commons methods of extraction used today are butane and ice water extraction. Butane extraction uses large cylindrical columns that are filled with cannabis, butane is then released and through cold temperatures and pressure the trichomes are separated from the flower. The end result being a syrup like resin. Through various post process techniques the resin can then be turned into shatter, diamonds, sauce, batter, crumble etc. Ice water extraction is done by putting cannabis in a large container filling it with ice and water and mixing it, which allows the trichomes to fall off. The container is then emptied and the trichomes get separated through screens of various sizes. They are then dried using a freeze drier and once dried put into another small mesh bag and squished between two hot plates to separate the resin from within the trichomes. Your then left with a resin that you can also turn into diamonds, sauce, and butters via various post processing techniques.
So, what’s better Hash Rosin or BHO extracted concentrates?
There’s valid arguments on both sides but ultimately the biggest difference you’ll notice is that you can get much more pungent terpenes and a higher concentration of cannabinoids from a butane extract, this is because through chromatography and other advanced extraction techniques labs can do a much better job at extracting more of the cannabinoids and terpenes than ice water extraction. However, more isn’t always better. When smoking Hash Rosin the flavours are much more similar to how the plant would smell at the end of its harvest cycle, the smells are natural and pleasing and the psychoactive effects that come with it are full bodied and relaxing and the high seems far more balanced compared to a butane extract.
But, if you’re looking to just get super high, Butane is the way to go. You can definitely get blasted on Hash Rosin but there is always a little something extra when it comes to butane extraction due to the higher cannabinoid and terpene content that can be extracted. However, the largest problem with butane extraction is that if it does not come with a COA (certificate of analysis) it’s probably not safe to smoke. If the product is from the grey market there is a high probability it has not been purged properly and may be made with moldy or low-grade material, synthetic terpenes can also be easily added to the final product. All this would show in a COA, but without one it makes it hard tell the difference between high- and low-quality products. There is a saying in the Rosin community “quality in quality out”, when you make Hash Rosin if the product you are making it out of is not cured or pulled at the perfect time it will show as a very poor-quality product and if you add synthetic terpenes you’ll 100% know because they’re far too pungent to replicate the natural smells of rosin. This is why if you buy from the grey market I only recommend buying Rosin products. If the product looks brown or dark and doesn’t smell that great, then you know it’s a bad product. On the other hand if the product is very light in colour and smells of rich natural flavours you can be sure your holding a quality product.
Live Resin vs. Live Rosin
The only difference between these two is how they are made. Live Resin will always be a butane extracted product and live Rosin will always be an ice water extracted product. What categorizes them as “live” is the fact that they were harvested and turned into a concentrate or stored in a freezer within 3 hours of cutting the plants down.
By doing this the plant can be considered living and the exact smells and flavours the plant had at its peak of flower are preserved. If the concentrate does not state that it is a live product we can be sure that it’s been dried, then cured before processing. If you haven’t tried live, I highly recommend it as once you try live it is very hard to ever go back to a cured flower concentrate.