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The Extract Files

CATEGORY Hit Tips

LENGTH 6 MIN READ

AUTHOR Nora Lenhardt

Get a grasp on key differentiators and common misconceptions surrounding the increasingly popular cannabis extract market.

From vaping liquid extracts to dabbing something denser, you’re probably aware of the ever-expanding lineup of extract products out there. As they vary in potency, how they’re consumed, and price, we’ve extracted some basic information to know before delving into this diverse group of cannabis offerings.

“Concentrates” vs. “Extracts”

These two terms are often used interchangeably, creating confusion amongst even the highest of cannabis connoisseurs. Technically speaking, anything that “concentrates” compounds of the cannabis plant – through any multitude of methods – is a concentrate. The differentiation of “extract” comes into play when discussing the mode of – you guessed it – extracting cannabinoids from the flower. Using a solvent is the most popular way to do this.

To be considered an “extract,” the process must use either a) a hydrocarbon or alcohol-based solvent or b) carbon dioxide (CO2) combined with heat and/or pressure, to separate THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids from plant matter. Residual solvents are removed through a very precise process (i.e., flammable; do not try at home!), resulting in a cannabis extract that contains significantly higher amounts of THC and/or other cannabinoids than raw flower.

 

What are the most common extracts?

Now that we’re grounded in the broad land of extracts, there are more layers to unpack in terms of consistency, potency, and ways to consume. All these characteristics are dependent upon which solvent is used, and how much heat and/or pressure is applied during the extraction process. Below are some of the more popular forms of cannabis extracts, many of which we have in our current rotation:

OIL:

Pressure is used to turn the plant’s naturally occurring CO2 (in gas form) into a liquid; a solvent is then used to isolate its cannabinoids and terpenes. Most vape cartridges on the market utilize a CO2 extraction method, making it a relatively cost-effective option with potency levels between 50-70%. Butane, propane, and ethanol are also common. At Aeriz, we use different combinations of these chemical solvents to achieve a range of vape products.

WAX:

Named for its consistency, cannabis wax can come in a variety of “waxy” forms (budder and shatter, for example, are technically waxes). Its claim to fame, however, lies in its ability to retain more of the plants’ original cannabinoids and terpenes – and therefore – achieve higher levels of THC content. Waxes can be dabbed, vaped, or even added to a joint, bowl, or bong.

BADDER/BATTER/BUDDER:

Often noted to be slightly softer and tackier than wax, this bunch utilizes either butane, propane, or alcohol during extraction – along with high levels of heat – to form various textures. Generally, the extract is heated on a dab rig and its vapors are inhaled; some may opt to add to a pre-roll or bowl too. Cannabinoid content is generally between 70-80% and its effects are felt more quickly than smoking flower.

SHATTER:

Noted for its solid, translucent nature that cracks easily (like glass), shatter is often enjoyed by more experienced extract enthusiasts (budders are arguably easier to handle). Like many of its wax equivalents, it can contain up to 90% THC, making it one of the most potent extracts on the market.

SUGAR:

Made similarly to shatter, it gets its name because it resembles wet brown sugar. After a butane extraction method (in most cases), sugar wax is refined using heat purging and vacuum techniques. This essentially crystallizes the THC and CBD, giving it its signature texture and rich flavor profile. Because it is less sticky than other waxes and less delicate than shatter, it’s much less of an extract mess.

DIAMONDS & SAUCE:

Perhaps the most “mad-scientist” of them all, diamonds & sauce consists of pure THC “diamonds” floating in a sea of terpene-rich “sauce.” After butane extraction (generally) and the solvent is removed, the extract is stored in a dark room. Within a few weeks, the terpenes and cannabinoids separate; the “mined” THC diamonds and terpene sauce are purified individually before joining together again in the final product, which can top out at a wild 99% THC! Expert extract-ers choose diamonds & sauce for its obvious potency and the ability to customize their high with pure THC and flavorful terpenes.

Aeriz Live Resin Diamonds & Sauce

Why choose an extract?

More and more cannabis enthusiasts are turning to extracts because of their potency, convenience, quick onset of effects, and ability to retain the plants’ original cannabinoids and terpenes. After all, keeping those distinctive nuances intact is what elicits the full spectrum of coveted entourage effects.

Extracts are often three times as potent as raw flower – some, nearly pure THC. The high is also felt more quickly than smoking flower and can be more discrete than the smokey haze of a joint or bowl. Plus, there is the additional bonus of putting less smoke into your lungs with smoke and, instead, basking in the complex terpenes of your favorite strains.

 

Where should I start?

Looking to take your tolerance to a new level? Opt for a wax or oil first. While they can be powerfully potent, many start at roughly 40% THC. Waxes or budder are also easier to work with (compared to shatter) and can be either dabbed or added to raw flower.

What about non-“extract” concentrates then?

Understanding the slight differences in nomenclature is another sticky situation itself. As mentioned previously, all products that compound (or “concentrate”) cannabinoids and terpenes are in fact – concentrates. When done so with a chemical solvent, they are classified as extracts, but not all concentrates are made with a chemical solvent.

Concentrates can also be made via mechanical techniques (i.e., by hand or tools) or with other vegetable oils, fats, or water. In fact, humans have been creating cannabis concentrates this way for thousands of years, as evidenced by findings across multiple cultures dating back to 900 AD.

Hand-stirring fresh frozen flower in an ice bath is one of the first steps in creating our Live Hash Rosin.

Live rosin is an example of ancient techniques manifested in our current market. We create our Live Hash Rosin by separating trichomes from the rest of the cannabis plant via a hand-stirred ice bath. From there, different textures are manipulated through heat and pressure. Though technically considered a concentrate (not an extract) because no chemical solvent is used, we’ve opted to classify all our concentrates as extracts. So, before you @ us, we’re aware. “Extract” just has a nicer ring to it, and we’re all about delivering the magic. Take a hit of our Live Hash Rosin and you’ll see what we mean.

Glue Live Hash Rosin

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