Since the legalization of marijuana in a number of states in the US, there has been a growing demand for marijuana in different forms. One of the increasingly popular forms is marijuana concentrates.

Consumers who prefer the concentrates report that the high kicks in faster, it is more intense, and when used for medical purposes, the relief is immediate.

What Are Cannabis Concentrates?

Cannabis concentrates is an umbrella name used to refer to cannabis extracts. Concentrates, as the name suggests contains high levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The marijuana flower undergoes an extraction process whereby the plant matter is separated from the resin glands which contain the highness-inducing cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabis concentrates go by different names depending on their texture and method of extraction. Some concentrates are solid, while others are butter-like, yet others look like honey.

Common names used to refer to marijuana concentrates include: dab, shatter, wax, crumble, hash, tinctures, capsules, honey oil, rosin, sugar, sap, honeycombs, oil, 710 the word “oil” flipped and read backwards), BHO (butane honey oil), black glass, errl, budder, butane hash oil, and ear wax.

Different extraction techniques are used depending on the concentrate type. The most common extraction technique is the use of solvents such as butane, water, hexane alcohol, heat, and CO2. The type of solvent used will depend on the preferred resulting form of the concentrate and the method of consumption.

Concentrates are available in different forms, shapes, and sizes. Similarly, there are different ways of consuming them. For instance, oil concentrates can be infused in alcohol or taken directly by dropping a few drops under the tongue for it to infiltrate into the bloodstream. Concentrates are also available in the form of capsules that can be swallowed. Vaporising and smoking are methods of consumption.

How Are Concentrates Different Compared to Flowers?

One of the top distinguishing characteristics between concentrates and flowers is that concentrates are more potent – they have a higher concentration of THC that ranges between 50-80% while flowers have a concentration of about 10-25%.

In some cases, the extraction process may take away the “weed” smell that is distinct in marijuana flowers. Therefore, some concentrates may be odorless. However, extractors have discovered a technique to add back the aromatic compounds after the extraction process is complete.

In regards to pricing, concentrates are generally more expensive than flowers. The price difference can be linked to the value-adding extraction process involved in deriving concentrates. The higher THC levels in concentrates than in flowers further accounts for the price variance.

What Is Used to Make Concentrates?

Different concentrates are made from different parts of the marijuana plant. The two most common types of concentrates on the basis of the part of the plant used are trim run and nug run.

• Trim run

The trim run is made from trimmings (stems and leaves). It is a lower quality concentrate. A distinguishing characteristic of the trim run is that it does not have the original weed-smell. It has lower potency than nug run but will provide a decent high especially for the occasional user. One of its downsides is that it contains high levels of chlorophyll that make it distasteful. The upside is that it is one of the cheapest marijuana concentrates in the market.

• Nug run

Nug run describes weed concentrates made from nuggs/nuggz (buds and flowers). Nuggs contain high levels of terpenes and cannabinoids; therefore, they make high-quality, high-potency cannabis concentrates. Since the flowers and buds do not contain high levels of chlorophyll, nug run is generally tasteful hence dubbed “the nectar.” It has the characteristic weed flavor. The downside of nug run is that it is pricey.

Equipment, Tools, And Compounds Used to Make Concentrates

Different equipment and solvents are used to make concentrates depending on the method of extraction. These methods vary from simple to complex and mechanical to solvent-based methods. The method used has a direct impact on the potency of the concentrate, shape, and form of the extract, and the suitable method of consumption. Each extraction method presents both benefits and drawbacks.

Here is a look at the most common marijuana concentrates extraction methods and tools.

1. Mechanical methods.

The most popular mechanical extraction method is the use of weed grinders to crush the resin glands. The cannabinoids and terpenes containing-trichomes are separated from the rest of the plant, dried and then crushed. The result is a fine and light-granular like powder.

This method requires the use of specialized cannabis grinders as regular grinders will not do the extraction job effectively. With a wide range of grinders in the market, manufacturers and marijuana concentrate users have to do their due diligence to find the best weed grinders in the market at an affordable price. The best grinders have a collection chamber that sieves and collects only the finest concentrates.

Some people have attempted to extract marijuana concentrates at home using blenders and food processors. While this approach may work, the quality of the output cannot match up to the stands of concentrates extracted via a grinder.

Commercial presses are available and can be used to flat press the marijuana plant before it is put under heat and pressure to extract the concentrates.

2. Solvent-based extraction methods

There are a number of chemicals that can be used as solvents to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from the marijuana plant. Common ones include butane, propane, and hexane. The marijuana plant is dissolved in a solvent which strips it of the active THC ingredients. Once the dissolving process is over, the residual solution is heated in a vacuum to remove the remaining solvent. This method is most popular for making BHO concentrates.

Alcohol, mainly ethanol and isopropyl alcohol, are common solvents in the extraction of marijuana concentrates. This method is performed under controlled temperature, and atmospheric pressure since alcohol is highly flammable.

One of the drawbacks of using solvents for extraction is that it can explode when exposed to heat. In addition, some of the solvents may remain in the concentrate.

3. Supercritical fluid extraction (CO2)

Carbon dioxide is compressed and subjected to heat to make a supercritical fluid that is used to dissolve terpenes from cannabis plant matter. The procedure is carried out in professional laboratories using the expensive and highly specialized equipment. Although it is a costly technique, it is considered one of the safest as no residual elements are left in the concentrates.

4. Molecular separation.

Molecular separation is preferred because it exposes the plant to minimal thermal degradation and it removes any residual solvent from concentrates extracted through solvent-based extraction methods. The solution is exposed to high temperatures and low air pressure in a vacuum. Since cannabinoids have a high boiling point and the solvents have a lower boiling point, the solvents vaporize leaving behind the concentrate.

How Are Different Types of Concentrates Made?

In this section, we’ll take a look at how some of the most common types of cannabis extracts are made.

1. Kief

Kief is the simplest and most popular form of cannabis concentrates. Marijuana trichomes (a sticky substance found in marijuana flower) are ground to produce a soft, fine powder. The trichomes contain the highest levels of cannabinoids hence kief has a high potency and is flavorful.

2. Hash

Hash, also known as hashish is the oldest form of concentrates in human history. The traditional method of making hash is by pressing the powdery kief to form bricks and biscuits. Ice water can also be used to extract the cannabinoids.

3. Butane hash oil

Commonly referred to as BHO, Butane hash oil is a type of hash concentrate extracted using butane as a solvent. This method of extraction enables for the potency of up to 80-90% in hash concentrates. While different extraction variables can be adjusted to produce hash in different forms and consistencies, BHO refers explicitly to butane extracted hash in oil form.

4. Propane hash oil (PHO)

Like BHO, PHO derives its name from the solvent used for extraction. The method of extracting PHO is similar to that BHO only that propane is used instead of butane.

5. Rick Simpson oil (RSO)

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), is a whole-plant cannabis oil. It goes with many names including phoenix tears, cannabis oil, and hemp oil. RSO has a wide range of medical uses. It can be used orally or applied on the skin. It is particularly made from the flowers of a female marijuana plant and contains a wide range of cannabinoids.

6. Rosin

Rosin is a solidified form of cannabis resin juice. It is made by subjecting marijuana buds under pressure and heat to extract terpenes-rich juice from the buds.

7. Dry sieve

Also known as dry sift, is a form of kief that is highly refined by running it through several screens. The refined kief can then be pressed to make hash. When exposed to heat, dry sift fully melts to form dry sieve hash.

8. CO2 oil

A CO2 oil concentrate is a form of cannabis concentrate extracted using CO2 as a solvent. Since CO2 leaves no residue hence the concentrate has low levels of toxicity.

What do concentrates look and feel like?

Here is a look at the various forms of marijuana concentrates.

1. Shatter

Shatter concentrates have a glassy look similar to caramel candy. Most BHO and PHO concentrates take the shattered form. Shatters have different THC concentrations depending on the manufacturer specifications. The THC is inactive until activated by heat.

2. Crumble

Crumble has a softer consistency than that of shatter and are less fragile to handle.

3. Wax

Wax is a concentrate with a thick wax-like consistency. It is created by agitating oil concentrates such that when they dry out, they have a butter-like texture and a crumby appearance. Wax concentrates can be made using BHO and CO2 extraction methods. THC elements in wax concentrates are only activated after heating.

4. Budder

While many people use the words wax and budder interchangeably when referring to concentrates with a waxy texture, there is a slight difference between the two forms of concentrates. Budder concentrates are thicker and stickier than wax concentrates.

5. Oil

Oil concentrates have a runny texture. They can be extracted using butane and CO2.

6. Pull and snap

Pull and snap is a term used to refer to concentrates with a consistency that is neither waxy nor solid. These concentrates are characterized by a consistency that stretches when pulled and then it breaks off with a snapping sound.

7. Sap

Sap concentrates have a texture and consistency similar to chocolate.

8. Tinctures

Tinctures are liquid concentrates extracted using alcohol.

How To Consume Marijuana Concentrates?

There are a number of ways of consuming marijuana concentrates. The most ideal method will depend on your preference, the form of the concentrate and the method used to extract concentrates. Methods of consumption such as vaping and dabbing require specialized equipment while no equipment is needed for ingestion.

• Smoking

Concentrates can be smoked inform of joints or from bowls. Concentrates such as keif are very fine hence will burn fast when lit as a joint. To make them last longer, consider adding them to marijuana flowers blunts and joints.

T-waxing is one method of mixing concentrates with a joint. The concentrate is smeared, spread or sprinkled over a joint so that when one is smoking the joint, they also get a taste of the concentrate.

• Ingesting

There are a number of ways to consume concentrates orally. Some concentrates are packaged as capsules which one can swallow. Others are available in the form of tablets which can be swallowed or placed under the tongue to infiltrate the bloodstream.

Cannabis oils are available as oral sprays in which case patients spray the oil under the tongue for fast pain relief. Most tinctures come in a bottle that has a dropper dispenser which makes it easy to squeeze a few drops on or under the tongue.

Another common method of ingesting concentrates is by adding them to or mixing them with edibles. Edibles specially made with concentrates are available in the market in various forms including cookies, cakes, brownies, drinks, chocolates, candy, and syrups. Tinctures can be added to drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Some people prefer to mix wax-like concentrates and cannabis oils with butter. Others add a bit of the concentrate to their food recipes. When adding concentrates to edibles at home, it is important to pay attention to THC levels in the concentrate to avoid overdosing.

• Dabbing

Dabbing is a method of consumption whereby the concentrate is heated, and the vapor is inhaled. There is special equipment that has been developed to make dabbing safe, fast and convenient, e.g., dab rigs.

Dab rigs have a nail that is heated using a butane torch. The heated nail heats the concentrate generating vapor that is then inhaled by the consumer.

Dabbing is considered one of the safest methods of consuming concentrates. It is also ideal for concentrates that require to be subjected to heat for the THC elements to be active. Shatter, honey oil, wax, hash, and budder are some of the types of concentrates that are consumed through dabbing.

Dabbing temperatures vary for different concentrates. Higher temperatures are preferred because they vaporize the concentrate better and the vapor is smooth when inhaled.

• Vaping

Vaping is a form of dabbing whereby instead of using dab rigs, one uses a vaporizer to heat and inhale the concentrate. Both dabbing and vaping are popular as they are considered safer methods of smoking concentrates. This is because the user is not directly exposed to harmful aspects associated with smoking. Early on, vaporizers were big and portable but they have evolved to become small, portable gadgets such as vape pens and electronic cigarettes.

• Intravenously

Cannabis oils are mostly administered intravenously for medicinal purposes in pain management among cancer patients.

• As suppositories

Marijuana concentrates are predominantly consumed as suppositories by cancer patients who experience severe nausea hence are not able to efficiently consume concentrates orally. They are also used by kids and adults who cannot consume the concentrates through smoking or swallowing capsules.

Cannabis suppositories are a preferred option in instances where one has undergone or is waiting to undergo surgery. Therefore, they are not allowed to ingest anything. They are also effective in the cases where a patient needs immediate relief from pain, e.g., women experiencing menstrual cramps.

What Equipment Do You Need to Smoke Concentrates?

As noted earlier, smoking – in all its forms – is one of the most common methods of consuming marijuana concentrates. Dabbing, vaping and smoking all require specialized equipment. Below is a look at some common tools and equipment for smoking concentrates

1. Dab rig

A dab rig is the most popular dabbing equipment. Also known as an oil rig or concentrate rig, the dab rig is an advanced model of the water pipe. It has a nail where the concentrate is placed. Once the nail is heated, the concentrate vaporizes, and the consumer can inhale the vapor.

With so many different brands, models and sizes of oil rigs in the market, it can be confusing for a marijuana consumer looking to purchase one. Some factors for consideration when buying an oil rig include:

• The number of people who will be using it at a go
• Type of concentrate to be “dabbed.”
• Its water volume capacity
• Durability
• Whether it is portable.

Oil rigs are available in different sizes ranging from small ones that fit on the palm to big ones that sit on coffee tables. While smaller rigs hold less water, they are preferred because they preserve flavor. On the other hand, larger rigs have a high-water volume, but they allow for loss of flavor.

When buying bigger oil rigs, pay attention to the base area to ensure it is wide and sturdy so as to prevent it from toppling over when dabbing. With proper market research and a sense of one’s preference, it is easy to find a suitable dab rig.

2. Torch

The torch heats the dabber nail. Blow torches, butane torches, and hand torches are the most common nail-heating torches in the market. Some dabbers come with an electronic nail that can be adjusted to keep temperatures at a desirable level. Dabbers with an electronic are generally more expensive than their counterparts.

3. Vaporizers (vapes)

A vaporizer heats up the concentrate to appoint that the concentrate releases active THC ingredients for the user to inhale. The mechanism of a vaporizer is such that the concentrate itself does not burn.

There are different types of vaporizers in the market categorized broadly on the basis of their portability: desktop vaporizers and portable vaporizer. The most common type of portable vaporizers is vape pens.

4. Health stone

A health stone is a porous stone that soaks up cannabis concentrates that are in the form of oil, wax, and liquids. Once it is heated, it releases smoke that the user inhales either directly or using a pipe. The health stone can be placed in a bowl for easier handling.

5. Bong

A bong is a specialized water pipe that was traditionally used to smoke dried herbs but has since found use as a tool for smoking marijuana concentrates. It is made of a water pipe on one end and a stem with a nail on the other side. The concentrate is placed on the nail and lit up, the smoke descends the stem arm and infiltrates the water before coming up to the mouth of the water pipe where the user inhales it. The water absorbs any large cannabis particles in the smoke preventing the user from inhaling them.

6. Joint

A joint, also now as a spliff or jay is a roll of cannabis flowers usually rolled up like a tobacco cigarette. Joints come in different width and lengths. One can buy one or make one by rolling some cannabis concentrates in a paper. To smoke, light one end of the joint and puff from the other end.

7. Hot Knives

The hot knife method is the simplest, cheapest and easiest method to smoke a concentrate. While there are specialized hot knives for smoking marijuana concentrates in the market, you can make do with your kitchen knife.

Place the knife over the stove until it is hot enough. Put off the stove and place some dab on the hot knife. The concentrate will combust upon impact with the hot knife, and you can inhale the smoke.

Is A Bong Like A Dab Ring?

The dab rig is an evolved model of a bong specially made for consuming marijuana concentrates. There is one major structural difference between a bog and an oil rig:
A dab rig has nail where the concentrate is placed. The nail heats up and vaporizes the concentrate for the user to inhale. On the other hand, a bong has a bowl where the concentrate is placed. The concentrate is directly lit with a lighter.

A dab rig more convenient and safer to use than a bog. In terms of price, dab rigs are more expensive than bogs. Bogs can be used to smoke a variety of dried herbs while dab rig is only used with concentrates.

What does a dab rig include?

Dab rigs come in different shapes, colors and sizes. However, despite the difference in design, there are fundamentally made of the same part. These are:

1. A water pipe.

It holds water that dissolves big particles of marijuana concentrate from the vapor before the user can inhale it.

2. The nail.

The nail is the surface on which the dab is placed. The nail gets heated and transmits that heat to the concentrate hence vaporizing it. There are different types of nails for use with different types of oil rigs.

The nails can be categorized on the basis of whether or not they are mechanical or electronic. Mechanical nails are heated up manually using a torch. Electronic nails have a control box that is used to regulate the amount of heat on the nail at any one given time.

Dab nails can also be categorized on the basis of the material used to make them. Common dab nails materials include titanium, glass, quartz, and ceramic. Titanium dab nails are durable, and they heat up quickly and consistently. However, if made from low-grade titanium they pose a risk to human health.

Glass dab nails are preferred because they do not interfere with the taste of the concentrate and they are easy to clean. On the downside, they break easily when subjected to extremely high temperature.

Quartz dab nails have similar characteristics to glass dab nails. However, they withstand high temperatures better. Their disadvantage is that their cool off fast.

Ceramic dab nails are easy to clean but considerably fragile. They break when exposed to high heat.

3. Torch

Though technically not part of the dab rig, a torch is required to heat non-electric nails.

4. The Dome

It is placed on top of the nail to trap the vapor as it vaporizes. It is an optional part that can be removed in some dab rigs.

5. A dab tool/dabber/wand.

It is a rod that is used to pick up the concentrate and place it on top of the nail. They are available in different material including glass, titanium, stainless steel, and quartz. Some are designed like pencils, and others like a scooper.

6. Reclaimers

They are accessories that are used with dab rig to collect the concentrate that remains and keep the dabber clean. They also serve a protective role by creating a safe distance between the joint and heating element.

7. Carp carp.

The carb cap is used together with a dab rig to preserve the flavor of the concentrate. Ideally, when dabbing, you want to allow the vapor to cool down for a bit to avoid inhaling extremely hot vapor down your throat. However, in the process of cooling, the vapor can lose some of the flavors. A carb cap is placed over the nail to create an oven-like atmosphere that allows the vapor to cool down gradually without letting the flavor to escape.

8. Hash screens.

These are essential if you are dabbing hash concentrates. The screen is placed on the nail to allow hash to melt smoothly without staining or sticking on the nail.

9. Ash catcher.

It is an oil rig accessory that is attached to the water pipe. It filters smoke and concentrates debris that may otherwise fall into the water pipe making it smelly and difficult to clean.

10. Dropdowns

They serve as adapters that enable you to convert your dab rig joints to different sizes and genders. They also have a protective purpose of creating distance between hot nails and joints.

Why Do You Need to Season A Nail/Banger?

When you buy new cookware, do you cook with it immediately? Most likely, you clean it up before you can use it. The same case applies for new dab rig- you need to clean it.

Seasoning is the process of cleaning new dab rig nails to remove the factory taste and any grease that might be on the nail. While titanium and quartz nails require seasoning, nails made of glass and ceramics do not.

To season your quartz and titanium nails, fill a large container with ice-cold water. Carefully, pick up the nail with a pair of pliers. Using the torch, heat the nail until it is red hot. Dip the red-hot nail in the ice-cold water and swirl it in the water until it cools off completely. Remove the nail from the water and dry it up. Repeat the process at least three times.

To ascertain that the nail is adequately seasoned, dab some concentrates on the nail and inhale the vapor to see whether it has an unusual taste.

How Do You Handle and Store Concentrates?

The ultimate goal of properly storing cannabis concentrates is to preserve their flavor and potency by keeping them away from light, heat, air, and moisture. The form, consistency, and type of concentrate will determine the most suitable storage forms.

Below are some tools for properly storing and handling concentrates:

• Silicone jars. They are suitable for storing concentrates in different forms and consistencies for a short period. Silicone jars are not hair tight. Therefore, they do not keep concentrates in good condition for more than a week. When buying silicone jars for concentrates storage, go for medical grade silicone bags as they are sterilized and will not contaminate your dab.

• Parchment papers. They are ideal for storage of shatter. Ensure the paper is big enough to cover the size of your shatter completely. Like silicone bags, parchment papers are not air-tight; therefore, they are only suitable for short-term storage.

• Glass jars. They are ideal for long-term storage of the wide range of concentrates consistency including budder, wax, and crumble. For optimal storage effectiveness, vacuum and seal the jar and place it in a cool, dark and dry place.

• Freezing works best in hot environments. Place the extract either in a glass jar or wrap it with a parchment paper and put it in a freezer.

• Dab rag. While it may not be essential, a dab rag is placed under the dabber to avoid portions of the concentrates dripping on the floor or table and leaving the weed-smell in your house. When purchasing dab rag, go for a washable one and ensure it is large enough to accommodate the rig and containers of concentrates.

How much marijuana concentrate should I start with?

While some marketers indicate the THC levels of their concentrates products, some do not. In the case of home-made concentrates, it can be difficult to tell how much THC is in your dab. There is no set standard for determining how much marijuana concentrate you should start with as a new consumer. However, a number of factors come into play:

1. Have you used any form of marijuana before? If so, what is your tolerance level?
2. For what purpose are you taking marijuana concentrates? Recreational or medicinal?
3. The type and potency level of the concentrate of your choice.
4. The frequency of intake.

New concentrate users should start with low-potency concentrates on testing their tolerance. If your body responds well, then you can build up to higher potency dabs and in larger amounts. If you are using dabs for medicinal purposes, you should seek guidance from your doctor on dosage, frequency and type of concentrate to use.

While the high number of cannabis concentrates in the market make the dabs readily accessible at an affordable price, look out for substandard concentrate products. Such products are manufactured using shoddy methods and therefore are likely to have solvent residues or could be contaminated. Find a certified and reliable supplier whose product quality you are guaranteed of.


Cannabis concentrates continue to gain popularity both for medical purposes as well as recreational use. Marijuana concentrates manufactures are faced with the challenge to refine their extraction methods so as not to compromise on quality and safety of the extracts.

If you are new to marijuana concentrates, it is advisable that you start with a lower dose. While not all concentrates have high potency, even the mild ones usually have higher THC levels than cannabis flowers. As your tolerance for THC increases, you can gradually increase your dosage. The most suitable method of consuming concentrates basically comes down to individual preference.