Your journey through the world of cannabis may have started with a traditional sample of pre-rolled flower – in layman’s terms, smoking a joint. For other’s a pair of butter knives and a ball of Moroccan hash may have been the go-to experience. Fast forward to 2022 - since the legalization of cannabis in 2018 there has been a rapid expansion of innovative products in local shops like the Due North Cannabis Company.
One of the broadest and fastest growing categories is cannabis concentrates. These purified forms of cannabis contains higher THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content. They come in a range of formats, differentiated by extraction method, consistency, flavour, and effects. And according to Robert Carroll, co-owner of the area’s Due North Cannabis locations, it’s one category that generates a great deal of interest from multiple sources.
“Concentrates are the number one area where customers and new employees tend to have the most questions,” said Carroll. “These products come in many forms and can be used in a range of products such as pre-rolls, edibles, topicals, and vapes. For instance, infused pre-rolls are new to the scene in 2022 and vape pens have exploded in popularity due to their high potency, convenience, and discreet nature. We also offer more artisan concentrate products such as live resin and rosin that preserve the unique expressions of the plant in a more purified form.”
Cannabis concentrates are refined versions of the compounds found in cannabis. These products isolate the valuable cannabinoid-rich features called “trichomes” and in some cases elevate the naturally occurring flavours and smells. Carroll says that for any consumer looking for a nuanced experience there are a variety of high potency options. With that in mind, Due North Cannabis Co. would like to offer this brief “guide to concentrates” to share some basic information about the products available to cannabis consumers looking to elevate their experience.
Hash and Bubble Hash
These classic concentrates are made from the resin glands (trichomes) of the plant, but their preparations differ. Bubble hash is made by using ice-water, agitation, and a series of filters to isolate the trichomes. Traditional hash is typically made through a manual or mechanical friction and compression process. These substances have a long history in countries such as Morocco, Egypt, India and Nepal and were made popular in the 60’s and 70’s in North America.
BHO and CO2 Oils
Cannabis concentrates are typically organized into two categories: solvent based and solventless. To create higher potency concentrates the most popular methods involve the use of a solvent such as Butane Hash Oil (BHO) extraction or CO2 extraction. BHO is a form of extraction involving the use of a solvent (butane), heat and pressure to extract the compounds of the cannabis plant. Butane is removed throughout the process and the extraction becomes a yellow-gold coloured oil. CO2 extraction follows a similar method but is often considered a safer process and is less risky for consumers.
Depending on the heat, humidity, and the way it’s stirred BHO and CO2 oil have several forms; including honey oil, wax, shatter, crumble, budder and oil. Each of these products has varying degrees of consistency, transparency, and potency. In most cases they are consumed with a specialized cannabis accessory such as a dab rig or vaporizer. These products are also added to pre-rolls, topicals, edibles and other infused products.
Resin and rosin set the standard for concentrates containing a higher degree of flavour and effects. Resin is produced using hydrocarbons (such as butane) to strip away the essence of the strain away from the raw plant material and is typically considered the most flavourful concentrate experience. Rosin on the other hand is created through a solventless method where bubble hash is heated and compressed between two metal plates to create a resinous and malleable product. When the word “live” appears before resin or rosin it is referring to the fact that the plant material was extracted from a freshly harvested, flash frozen plant as opposed to bud or “flower” that has been harvested, dried, and cured. Resin products are typically described as honey-like where rosin appears to be amber or white.
Distillates and Isolates
The most purified forms of the cannabinoids found in cannabis are distillates and isolates. Distillates are derived from a solvent-based extraction process that continues to remove the plant waxes, volatiles and contaminates from the oil. This specialized distillation process creates a more refined and purified form of cannabis oil with a higher degree of potency. The isolation process takes it to the final step of removing all but one compound to create a white crystallization also known as an isolate. Many medical marijuana patients prefer cannabis distillate and isolates because of its purified nature, versatility, ease of use, and potency. These products are also used to infuse other products with a very specific cannabinoid profile such as THC-free products containing only 100% CBD.
You can learn more about cannabis concentrates at Due North Cannabis Co. Visit one of their cannabis cabins in Churchill Plaza, Pine Plaza or at their new location at 710 Second Line East. They also offer free pickup and delivery at their website duenorthcannabis.com. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for new product updates and daily deals.