Buying pre-rolls or dry flower and smoking from a pipe or bong is one thing — using cannabis concentrates is quite another. Concentrates have long been reserved for weed enthusiasts who need something more, and with especially high cannabinoid and terpene content, concentrates undeniably deliver. Now that cannabis culture is becoming more mainstream, cannabis concentrates are receiving more attention, and doja beginners are starting to take interest.
Care should be taken when venturing into concentrates. Those who are not adequately tolerant to THC and other cannabis compounds can have extremely bad reactions when sampling some of the purest, most concentrated substances. Even so, some concentrates are relatively safe for newbies, and they include:
Concentrated oils are rapidly becoming some of the most popular cannabis products — not just amongst concentrates but in the entire industry. The widespread approval of oils is likely due to their familiarity to better-known medicines, their seeming purity and their notable ease of use. There is no need to prepare or tinker with cannabis oils for them to be effective, and users don’t need to invest in expensive tools to use oils effectively.
The most straightforward way to use a cannabis oil is by dropping it under the tongue, where cannabinoids can rapidly absorb into the bloodstream and begin working their magic. Oils can also be vaped, and they can be mixed into food and drinks and encapsulated in neat pills — but these latter two methods require the oil to pass through the digestive system for absorption, which can delay the onset of effects and make dosage unpredictable.
It is worth noting that not all cannabis oils are created equal. Hemp oils, or CBD oils, ostensibly contain only non-psychoactive CBD — but because CBD is unregulated, many of these oils contain less CBD than they advertise, and they might also harbor dangerous ingredients like heavy metals or formaldehyde. Another type of cannabis oil called Rick Simpson oil, or RSO, does contain psychoactive THC, and because it is only available through dispensaries, it is a bit more reliable in quality.
Waxes are cannabis extracts created by saturating cannabis plant material (“nug” for high-cannabinoid flower and “trim” for lower-quality leaves and stems) with a hydrocarbon solvent, like butane or propane. The solvent strips the plant fiber of desirable compounds, like THC, CBD and flavorful terpenes, and then the solution is frozen, causing the lipids within to solidify and separate. The product is filtered to remove any residual solvent or unwanted plant material from the highly concentrated cannabinoids and terpenes.
Purification is the final step, and different types of concentrates undergo different levels of purification. Wax concentrates tend to require less purification — which makes them much more affordable and thus more attractive to beginner concentrate users.
However, it is worth noting that different strains of Oregon marijuana can produce waxes with different consistencies, and many can be thick, sticky and hard to handle. The best way to use wax is to mix it into a joint, called twaxing, but users can also vaporize it in a vape pen or a dab rig. The latter options will ensure the concentrate is most potent and flavorful because it will burn them at a much lower temperature than rollies or bowls. Users who plan to continue using concentrates might want to invest in a quality dab pen or rig sooner rather than later.
The simplest concentrate — and the concentrate that humans have been using for centuries — is kief, or the part of the cannabis plant that contains the highest percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes. Under a magnifying glass, users can see that the sticky, crystal coating on the outside of a nug is actually a cropping of tiny, clear, mushroom-shaped structures. These structures are called trichomes, and by extracting only their mushroom cap, kief is made.
Usually, regular cannabis users generate their own kief over time, as grinders helpfully collect the trichomes that fall off during preparation for regular smoking. However, users can make greater quantities of kief faster by the process of dry sifting, or they can buy pre-sifted kief at their local dispensary.
Again, a vaporizer comes in handy for using kief to its fullest extent. Users can invest in desktop vaporizers, which function a bit better than handheld vape pens. Vaporizers are almost always better than regular smoking because they don’t combust the plant material, which allows for a more pleasurable use experience.
Concentrates don’t have to be intimidating. By easing into concentrates with beginner-friendly options, most users can find products that suit their style and meet their interests.