Nowadays, marijuana users extensively use cannabis concentrates (also known as dabs) to vape. Cannabis concentrates are known by a variety of names such as wax, shatter, budder, hash oil, kief, rosin, moon rocks, crumble, resin, and oil. All feature high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In some, the THC concentration ranges from 60 to 90 percent. In addition to abundant THC, the concentrates are also brimming with flavorful terpenes.

Cannabis Concentrate Extraction Methods

When purchasing concentrates, you should consider the methods used to extract the cannabinoid-rich oil from the marijuana plant material. In many cases, butane or ethanol are popular extraction solvents. However, the chemical-based solvents used often leave a residue in the concentrate which not only interferes with the terpene profile but also may not be overly healthy, especially for medical marijuana users. Ideally, you should opt to purchase only solvent-free cannabis concentrates.

Medical Marijuana Users and Concentrates

Many medical marijuana users abstain from using concentrates due to the risk of solvent residue. Users with respiratory issues typically try to bypass inhaling even lesser amounts of butane reside. Also, concentrates that have been extracted with ethanol are exceedingly difficult to clear of the residue. Despite extensive purging, even trace amounts of ethanol are found in edibles and tinctures that have been extracted using the solvent.

Solvent Extraction Methods

A solvent-based extraction method involves extracting the marijuana plant’s cannabinoids and terpenoids from the plant material using a solvent such as butane or ethanol. In most cases, butane remains the leading solvent used in making concentrates that are used in vaporizes and dab rigs. In fact, the term ‘butane hash oil (BHO)’ has been widely coined due to the butane used during extraction. Ethanol is the most common solvent used to create concentrates that go into the manufacture of edibles and tinctures.

BHO Remains Popular

Nowadays, BHO is one of the most popular and widely available cannabis concentrates. In 2000, it rapidly rose to popularity because the method undoubtedly creates premium top-shelf shatter. It remains widely available in dispensaries. In the early days of BHO extraction, butane often exploded during the extraction process. In some situations, the blasts were so severe that extraction artists lost their lives. However, nowadays, modern BHO is created using what is known as a ‘closed-loop extraction method,’ which is safe and provides better filtration of butane from the final concentrate product.

What is the Butane Extraction Process?

BHO concentrates are made by filling a long, glass tube with natural marijuana plant material. The butane is then attached to one end of the tube and is blown across the plant material inside the glass tubing. This process is referred to as ‘blasting.’ The butane melts the trichomes found in the plant material and the cannabinoid oils drip out of the other end of the tube into a container. The cannabinoid oil goes through even further purging to remove as much of the butane as possible. The process of purging involves heating the oil in water so that the butane bubbles away and is released as gas. Once cooled, the BHO is then created into its final cannabis concentrates such as honey oil, nug run, shatter, budder, or a variety of other oil-based concentrates.

Supercritical Fluid Extraction (CO2) Creates a Pure Concentrate

Nowadays, people who are seeking pure cannabis concentrates are turning to supercritical fluid extract (CO2) which is completely solvent-free. CO2 extraction is entirely solvent-free and creates optimal flavors in the final concentrate. It is becoming the preferred method for cannabis connoisseurs and medical marijuana users.

CO2 Solvent Free Extraction Process

During the CO2 extraction process, the marijuana plant material is placed in a tube like the butane extraction equipment. However, instead of butane being forced through the plant material, CO2 is used. An extraction artist must gauge the pressure and temperature needed to preserve the plant’s terpenes. After use, the CO2 can return to the gas chamber to be cycled through again for future use which makes it an environmentally friendly method.

Ancient Dry Sieving

For centuries, the method of dry sieving has been used to create hash. The marijuana plant’s buds are rubbed briskly across a variety of screens. The rubbing process breaks away the trichomes from the plant material. The trichomes fall through the screen to create a rich substance that is used to create premium kief.

Extracting concentrates from the marijuana plant takes knowledge and talent. Trained extraction artists work to perform the function. Undoubtedly, solvent less extraction methods create a pure and refined product, but solvent-based concentrates remain widely available. You will simply have to decide which one meets your unique needs. When shopping in a dispensary, please remember that solvent-free cannabis concentrates are always considered top-shelf products due to their rich cannabinoids and intense flavor. This means that the items command an upscale price but provide unparallel purity.