The best ways to soften hardened cannabis concentrates

Published Dec 4, 2020 02:00 p.m. ET
iStock / HighGradeRoots

Some cannabis concentrates are soft when they're freshly made like BHO, while others come right off the press hard as a rock once they hit room temperature, like shatter. No matter which type of concentrate you use, you'll likely, at some point or another, struggle with either moving it from one container to the next or merely using it. This is a common problem, and there is nothing more irritating than unmanageable dabs, and this is where heat can come in handy.

Many lesser experienced cannabis consumers will resort to the barbaric practice of using a lighter to heat up whatever concentrate they need, and technically, this will work if you have no other option. Still, it's a bad idea for a few different reasons. Doing so risks the integrity of the container, increases your chance of getting burnt in the process, and it scalds your concentrate, leaving it black and harsher than what it would have been before, and that's why we're offering up five different safe ways to apply heat.

1. Warm water

Some say that this is the best option out there because you can maintain control over the exact temperature and it's readily accessible in pretty much every home or apartment. Still, it's less than ideal if your container has any kind of weakness that stops it from holding an airtight seal. However, if that isn't a problem for you, then simply drop the container into hot water until it is soft enough to work with.

2. Rice packs

Rice packs work perfectly, but you do have to have some on hand to make use of them. Luckily, it's relatively easy to create one. All you need is one cup of rice, a hole-free sock, a thread, and a needle, and you can have one thrown together in no time. Use one for warming up, cannabis concentrates. Just place it into the microwave on high in 30-sec increments until it is warm enough to work, without burning your finger as you handle it.

3. Hand warmers

Handwarmers are excellent for warming up sticky or hard cannabis concentrates like shatter, but most people don't have a bunch just hanging around. Luckily, they can be purchased through our local dollar store for an affordable price, and if you can afford it, these things are well worth the cost. They are designed to drop right into our gloves or pockets, so with a quick snap, the two chemicals combine to produce the ideal level of heat to be safe to the touch and for your softer containers.


4. Sunshine

Most cannabis enthusiasts don't consider this option. Still, it's one of the most economical, especially if you're working with a container that isn't water or airproof because you can simply rest it on the windowsill and let nature do the rest. Unfortunately, it can take some time to pull off, and it only works during the daytime when the sun's rays are reaching into your home, but it works without having to risk the integrity of our concentrate, as long as you've got the time to wait.

5. Your hands

The human body rests at a comfortable temperature, and it's just enough to warm up even the hardest cannabis concentrates. It does take a little bit of time to heat larger amounts. It might not work if you're outdoors, or for some other reason your hands are already cold, or the environment is working against you, but with a bit of time and patience, for many, it will be the most suitable option for the task. All you have to do is hold the container tight until you notice a change in its consistency. It's that easy!


There is nothing worse than spending your hard-earned money only to watch it all go down the drain. So, while you're using these various techniques, it is essential to remember that heat tends to reduce most cannabis concentrates to a liquid, which makes it easy to spill if it happens to get knocked over, or if it's rested on its side, without a lid. So make sure to take this into account, and either seal our container, or watch it to make sure that it stays standing throughout the process, and you'll avoid this costly mistake.

Using cannabis concentrates to make edibles


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