Dabbing can be a daunting method of consumption. The high potency of cannabis concentrates can be intimidating to new or inexperienced users. Using a blowtorch can be dangerous, especially if the user doesn’t feel comfortable or confident. Plus with a lack of regulation in the market, finding well made, high-quality concentrates can be difficult.
Understanding the different extraction methods can help the consumer make an informed decision when purchasing concentrates. We’ve put together an easy guide to know the differences between waxes, shatters, rosins, and other forms of cannabis concentrates.
Kief and Dry Sift
Kief is a collection of the trichomes, the part that has the densest concentration of cannabinoids on the cannabis plant, by using a mesh screen. The most basic of concentrates even irregular smokers could potentially have some on hand. Any stoner who has used a three-piece grinder with a screen has made kief with every batch of cannabis they grind. This is not made for dabbing.
Dry sift is another term for kief that implies a scale of quality related to dabbing. Dry sift also implies a more rigorous screening process. Producers will label the quality of dry sift on a scale of one to six stars depending on how fine the mesh of a screen is. One star being kief which won’t melt at all. All the way to five and six-star sift which will be free of impurities such as plant matter. These dry sifts will fully melt, are totally dabbable, and my absolute favorite.
The O.G. concentrate, hash has a special place in many cultures around the world. The Indian god Shiva is known for his love of cannabis. India is famed for creating Charas Hash, a finger made hash from the living cannabis plant.
Then you have the famous red and yellow hashes from Lebanon. An acquired taste, these spicier hashes are made from extremely dry cannabis plants. Afghanistan is well known for their heavy indica hashes. These are not made for dabbing.
Ice Water Hash
Ice water hash is similar to kief and dry sift. All of these styles come from separating the trichome heads from the cannabis plant. The difference here is that, as the name suggests, the plant takes a nice bath in some ice water. The temperature of the water makes the trichomes more brittle and easier to separate while the ice acts as an agitator to knock off the trichomes.
As with dry sift, ice water hash is rated on a scale of stars. One to two-star ice water hash is not used for dabbing but more commonly in edibles. Due to it’s cheaper price point three to four-star ice water hash is sometimes dabbed, but will not melt all the way. Five to six-star ice water hash will melt fully and are highly sought after by dab connoisseurs.
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)
Rick Simpson was an engineer at a hospital in Canada. After an accident left him with tinnitus and dizzy spells, he sought out to soothe his symptoms with cannabis and had great success. In 2003, Simpson was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. Having heard of a study where THC killed cancer cells in mice, he decided to treat the cancerous growths topically with his homemade concentrated cannabis oil. After four days the growths disappeared, confirming for Rick, the curative powers of cannabis.
He cultivated and distributed a generous amount of cannabis oil to cancer patients leading to the extraction method to be called Rick Simpson Oil. Typically extracted with ethanol alcohol the purpose of this extraction method is to maintain the full spectrum of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant to have the most health benefits possible. RSO is not recommended for dabbing but typically applied topically or ingested orally.
Butane/Co2/Propane Hash Oil
The consistency that popularized dabbing. This extract comes from blasting the flower with a chemical solvent that separates out the cannabinoids. The solvent is then purged out from the cannabinoids leaving a product specifically made for dabbing.
Many consistencies come with this extraction method based on the quality of the material used, the solvent used for extraction, as well as the temperature and length of the purge.
Basic Consistencies For Cannabis Concentrates From Solvent Extraction
- Crumble – dried oil with a honeycomb-like consistency
- Budder – whipped under heat to create a cake batter consistency
- Sugar Wax – a crystalized consistency that is between a budder and a pull and snap
- Pull and Snap – a sap-like concentrate that contains more terpenes than shatter
- Shatter – a brittle amber colored concentrate that will break like glass
Within the realm of solvent extracts come special types of concentrates. Live resin is made with freshly harvested and flash frozen plant material. This maintains the delicate terpene profile and the potent cannabinoids present in perfectly matured plants. The result is a gooey yet delicious oil that boasts plenty of personality.
Isolate extracts take away one, and only one cannabinoid from the plant. I have seen THCa (the acidic not yet activated form of THC), CBD, and even Delta-8 THC which is a more recently discovered psychoactive cannabinoid from the cannabis plant. Sometimes you will even see these isolates dripped in terpenes and being called sauce.
Rosin is a solventless extraction method created by taking the buds and adding heat and pressure to squeeze out the oils. One of the easiest and safest extraction techniques, it’s gained popularity from it’s easy to do yourself process. All you need is weed, parchment paper, and a hair straightener.
Now that you have a rundown of different types of concentrates, check out what temperature can do for you. You can join the Respect My Region squad for a special 710 session on July 10th in Tacoma. Sign up for the guest list here.