What’s on the market, from kief and CO2 oil to BHO
- What’s on the market? Info about kief, BHO, water hash and others
- How should I smoke this shatter? Ways to consume concentrates
- Are concentrates right for me? On potency, expected effects and more
Types of Concentrates
Many know concentrates as simply “hash,” but most of what is in today’s shops bears little resemblance to the traditional hand-collected, mechanically-separated hash that has been produced for thousands of years throughout the world. Most older cannabis users know hash as the blond- or black-colored bricks smuggled into the United States and Europe from places like Lebanon, Nepal and Morocco, which for the most part was only passed around among the more serious cannabis users of the era. While some shops and infused-product manufacturers do make hash using semi-traditional methods, the majority of concentrate producers have moved into solvent-based extraction techniques, where the essential oils of the plant are stripped using either a specific chemical solvent or a combination of heat and pressure. Let’s break down the most common types of products:
There are various techniques used in the production of water hash, and the resulting products have many forms (bubble hash, solventless wax, ice wax, among others). The basic principle is this: plant material (either dry or fresh-frozen generally) is mixed with cold water and ice, then agitated manually or mechanically in order to break off the now-brittle trichome heads. This solution is then filtered through specifically-sized screens to remove anything undesirable, leaving behind a relatively pure finished product that typically tests between 50 percent and 80 percent THC. The most common way that water hash is extracted is using a series of microscreen fabric bags (generally referred to as “bubble bags”) which remove various grades of product according to the size of particles they allow through.
Most water hash processes result in a golden to brown-colored product with a granular consistency, but the newest trend in high-quality water hash is pressing it with heat between pieces of parchment paper, which results in a taffy or shatter-like consistency which can be very light in color and almost clear in the highest quality extractions. The best water hash rivals the best solvent extracts in potency, terpene content and general beauty. However, it takes a special combination of quality plant material, proper extraction technique and post-extraction handling to achieve this level of quality. Water hash products are available through many retailers and are also often used in edibles, but definitely make up a smaller piece of the concentrate market than solvent extracts.
*Shatter made using “BHO” butane hash oil extraction.
Note: Other hydrocarbons such as propane and hexane can be used in much the same way as butane, though the final product is different in color and flavor when using different solvents. Many manufacturers are starting to use blended gases to create signature products tailored to their desired consistencies and flavor profiles. Also, when fresh-frozen whole plants are extracted instead of dried plant material, that process is called “live resin.”