A beginners guide to using cannabis concentrates

Published Feb 14, 2019 07:05 p.m. ET

 As the world of cannabis evolves, there are always new and exciting ways to use marijuana to get high with some of the latest being various forms on concentrates and extracts. While some folks seem to have caught the wave of new age terminology and technology that has dramatically improved the way cannabis products have been used, the rest of us have been left in the dark with absolutely no idea how to use shatter weed, dabs, or cannabis extracts.

What’s the Difference Between Concentrates and Extracts?

We often hear both terms being used interchangeablyas if they mean the same thing when the reality is that they are very different because of the way the trichomes and cannabinoids are extracted from the plant material.

Cannabis Concentrates- Cannabis concentrates can be essentially any marijuana-infused products in their purest form. This includes tinctures, oils, wax, shatter, BHO, crumble, and budder.

Cannabis Extracts- All cannabis extracts are a form of cannabis concentrate however many marijuana concentrates are not extracts. Cannabis extract is made using solvents such as alcohol to rinse the plant material which removes the trichomes and cannabinoids and gathers them into a concentrated form.

Concentrates Terminology

Types of concentrates vary in average potency, terpene content, texture, and how they are made. Here is a simple list of the different types of concentrates including what each one means.

(insert photo of each type of concentrate)

Edibles or Medibles- Both edibles and mediblesare types of concentrates. They come in a watered-down food form like brownies or cookies and are often sold for medicinal use.

BHO (butane hash oil)- A highly condensed form of cannabis concentrate that is made using a solvent like butane to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from marijuana plant material.

Honey or Honey Oil or Budder- Another term often used to refer to any cannabis extract that is made using butane.

Hash - A thick cannabis extract that is generally one of the least potent concentrates as it contains the most impurities. It can be rock hard with a crystal-like appearance or look black, brown, or yellow and will likely be opaque.

Wax - Is a name that is used when referencing any potent cannabis concentrate that has a thick waxy texture and is completely transparent.

Shatter - Shatter is a thicker and more condensed form of BHO. It is hard, and if a large chunk is dropped, it can shatter just like glass hence the name. It is hard and impossible to spread like most other concentrates and cannabis extracts.


Dabs - Dabs can be made using any kind of concentrate that is listed that isn’t liquid or for topical use. A dab is essentially one hit worth of concentrate that can be vaporized using a dab rig and torch.

Tincture - Tinctures are liquid and mainly for either oral use or to be used as an addition or base when making edibles or cannabis-infused drinks. Tinctures are made with an alcohol base and usually sold in a dropper bottle.

Topical - A topical cannabis extract is made for external use only and is generally some form of tincture that has been mixed into a cream or balm. Topical cannabis products cannot be smoked.

How To Smoke Different Types of Concentrates

Smoking concentrates isn’t as complicated as it may first appear. There are several different options you can choose for consuming different types of concentrates.

Smoking - Most cannabis extracts and concentrates can be smokedalongside regular herb. Unfortunately, most will not burn in the way that dried marijuana does. If you have a concentrate and are wondering how to smoke it then consider its texture and consistency first.

Joints - Oils can be spread on papers before rolling a joint or dripped onto a bowl full of fresh green. Both require at least some dry herb to burn properly and aren’t the most efficient as much is wasted into the air.

Hot Knives/ Bottle Tokes - One of the oldest methods used to smoke hash and oil is using hot knives or bottle tokes. A piece of hash or a drop of oil can be placed onto a heated blade and then pressed with a second one which will almost vaporize it instantly. Often a tube or bottle is used as a mouthpiece for the user to inhale the smoke through while keeping a safe distance from the hot knives. A bottle toke is done by dropping a single drop of oil onto a cigarette and collecting it inside of a bottle to be inhaled once finished.

Dabbing- Dabbing is one of the newest and least understood methods of smoking marijuana concentrates. To dab, you will require a dab rig that will allow you to burn a concentrate without dripping down inside of it. Dabbing is done by heating a nail with a torch and placing the heat to the dab which instantly evaporates it. Any form of extract or concentrate can be dabbed making it one of the most effective methods of ingesting any concentrate.

Vaping - Vaping is a popular option particularly among those who don’t smoke or like to vape anyway.

Vapes - Vaping can be done using a tabletop volcano type device that you can place a concentrate inside. It will heat up and eventually release a smooth, steady stream of smoke for you to enjoy. They are easy to use but can come with a hefty price tag.

Vape Pens - Vape pens are an excellent option for those stuck on finding the best way to use cannabis extracts. It is the healthiest method, and for many, a convenient choice since many extracts can be made into vape juice which can easily be added and used without anyone even knowing you are getting high.

The best way to ingest cannabis extracts or concentrates is going to be up to individual preference. While vaping offers various health benefits over other methods, a more caveman-like method like hot knives or bottle tokes will get you just as high on a smaller budget. They just might not offer the same smooth taste like some of the other options you likely have available.



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