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What are concentrates?
Concentrates are extracted forms of the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Commonly referred to as extracts, concentrates contain varying amounts of terpenes and cannabinoids, typically tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which are derived from the plant for medical and recreational use.1
For centuries, concentrates like hash have been used by the human race to expedite the process of unwrapping the therapeutic properties of the cannabis plant. A rich subplot to the history of cannabis, hash, as one example of a concentrate with both medical and cultural clout, has been incorporated into traditional and contemporary cannabis therapy.2
In recent years, concentrates have reportedly come to represent about half the products being consumed by recreational and medical users. Some market experts have suggested that, particularly in places where cannabis is recreational available, concentrates will soon make up an even higher percentage of the cannabis purchases being made. What that means, of course, is that figuring the particulars of concentrates is an important part of treatment for cannabis patients.
Produced using a variety of solvent-based, and solvent-less, extraction methods, cannabis concentrates represent a category that continually adds new names to its repertoire. Already, the roster of products that shape the space is expansive – hash and rosin, shatter and distillate, tinctures and CO2 oil.

The list of modern extraction techniques is nearly as expansive as the list of cannabis concentrates on the market today. Though one of the newest methods out there, supercritical extraction has quickly become the most safe and healthy means of extracting and consuming cannabinoids and terpenes. Produced using advanced technology, supercritical extraction allows concentrates to be mixed into carrier oils or used in popular pre-loaded vape cartridges.3
Concentrates can also be produced using a number of solvents, with butane and alcohol being the two most popular used in the cannabis space. While butane is used to made a product called butane hash oil, or BHO, alcohol is used almost exclusively in the mixing and making of tinctures for medical patients. Propane, ethanol and CO2, used in supercritical extraction, can all be used to prepare cannabis concentrates.

Solvent-less concentrates have been, and remain, popular options for patients and consumers of all stripes. Traditionally, solvent-less concentrates have been made with rudimentary techniques. Rub hash, for instance, is produced by rubbing fingers across resinous leaves and flowers of budding cannabis plants. In recent years, hash production has improved to include easy-to-use technology like bubble bags.
Perhaps the most popular new cannabis concentrate, rosin is produced with a press, under high heat and pressure. The result is a solvent-less extract that can rival the cannabinoid content of a concentrate like shatter, which is produced primarily using butane. For obvious reasons, rosin is a healthier option to BHO, particularly for people looking to medicate with medical cannabis concentrates.

  1. “Cannabis concentrate.” https://www.maximumyield.com/definition/4614/cannabis-concentrate-cannabis
  2. “Hashish: a short history.” https://www.narconon.org/drug-information/hashish-history.html
  3. "Overview of modern extraction techniques for food and agricultural sample." https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/bk-2006-0926.ch001

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