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If you’ve been getting high for any amount of time at all, you will know that there are scores of different types of cannabis concentrates available out there. I would even hazard to say that there are as many types as there are people (or companies) making them.
Still, I won’t muddy the waters here. For the purposes of this list, we’ll explore 14 different kinds of weed concentrates that you can use in your personal vaporizer. These concentrates are also popularly called dabs.
The classification we’ll be looking at here relies on three different factors:
- Method of extraction – how were the active ingredients ‘pulled out’. This can be with either CO2, butane, or without any additives (using just heat and pressure).
- Part of the plant used – the whole cannabis plant can be used when making concentrates. However, the best parts are often the buds (flowers), which contain resin glands. Some types of concentrates will use exclusively them and will, therefore, be differently named.
- The consistency of the concentrate – your concentrate can be either very liquid or as solid as they come – or anything in between the two. The two most obvious examples would be your run-of-the-mill cannabis oils and shatter (which has a glass-like consistency).
Now that you have an inkling as to why there are so many types of weed concentrates on the market, let’s dive into the specifics of each one of them.
Note: I will not cover every possible type in this post – that would take forever to read (and to write). Instead, I’ll focus on those that are more commercially available or otherwise more popular (great potency, clean extraction, and things like that).
Trim Run (Part of the Plant Used)
Large operations make massive amounts of weed concentrates of various types. Naturally, after the fact, they are left with what someone would call waste – stems, leaves, tiny nugs, and so on. Instead of discarding all of that, they make a lower quality concentrate. Concentrates made from these trimmings are all called ‘a trim run’ (a production run – goods produced using the same procedures, processes, or conditions), regardless of their consistency (they can be waxes, oils, or solids).
Trim run doesn’t contain as many beneficial cannabinoids as other types of concentrates. Still, that isn’t to say that it doesn’t contain any. The way to recognize trim run (and distinguish it from the more potent nug run) is by smelling it. If there isn’t much of an aroma, you’re probably dealing with trimmings.
Trim run offers a decent high, especially if you’re an occasional user. Where it falls short is the taste – trim run has more chlorophyll and will often leave a peppery flavor in your mouth. Still, if you’re using it to get high and not to enjoy the flavor, it should do the trick. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the cheapest types of THC concentrates on the market currently.
Nug Run (Part of the Plant Used)
Similar to trim run, the nug run is used to describe a type of weed concentrate that’s made from using specific parts of the marijuana plant – the nugs (or nuggs, nugzz, or however else you want to call them). Basically, these are high-quality nuggets of buds and flowers, which are extremely rich in terpenes and cannabinoids.
A nug run is very flavorful and extremely potent. Connoisseurs appreciate it because the taste is unparalleled – it just doesn’t get any better than this, which is why it’s also dubbed ‘the nectar’. The downside, however, is that concentrates made from this high-quality material tend to be pretty pricey.
Butane Hash Oil (Method of Extraction)
Butane hash oil (BHO) is created with the use of butane, which acts as a solvent and extracts all those juicy cannabinoids and terpenes. The process is not complicated but it is dangerous (and shouldn’t be tried at home unless you really know what you’re doing). BHO is very popular with users because it’s possible to get concentrates that are very high in THC. BHO is also used in the production of a number of other concentrates, such as nug run, hash, budder, shatter, and more.
Because the extraction is done with butane, some people don’t feel comfortable using those types of THC concentrates. The rationale here is that any amount of solvent is unacceptable when it comes to something that’s inhaled. I tend to agree but I also know that manufacturers take extreme precautions when it comes to getting rid of butane from their finished product. That said, BHO has a slightly harsher taste, so if you suffer from any lung afflictions (or just like a smooth ride), I’d skip it in favor of concentrates that have been produced using other extraction methods.
Propane Hash Oil (Method of Extraction)
PHO again describes the extraction method only this time, we’re talking about propane and not butane. Everything else is pretty much the same. Some people prefer it because it can be made into a pretty good budder (kind of creamy/buttery concentrate) with vigorous whipping. Experienced PHO makers note that, depending on the strain, it’s possible to get more terpenes and fewer residuals by using propane.
CO2 (Method of Extraction)
CO2 extraction, also less commonly known as supercritical fluid extraction, is solvent-free, mess-free, and very expensive. It’s also very popular with pros because the product is completely without toxins (unlike, as I’ve said, is the case with butane and propane), while retaining a terpenes-rich flavor.
CO2 cannabis extraction is done with the use of specialized equipment. In short, CO2 gas is forced multiple times through a container that has cannabis in it. As it passes through the plant, it liquifies, picking up cannabinoids and terpenes. Once the process is complete, the residue is left behind in a separate dish.
As I’ve said, CO2 extraction is very costly but it does result in some of the best types of weed concentrates out there. It’s usually used by serious manufacturers who create high-end products because the technician at the helm needs to be well-versed when it comes to various temperature and pressure settings.
Dry Sift (Method of Extraction)
Good, old kief is known to everybody who has ever owned a weed grinder with three compartments. It’s that powder-like substance that collects in the last compartment (it usually takes ages to get an ounce of it) and it’s very potent. If you don’t know what it is, think again – the more common name for kief is hashish.
Dry sieving is a method of extraction that’s pretty similar to what happens in a grinder. You take buds and other plant material and rub it over a fine mesh. Those small, hair-like particles that collect underneath are called trichomes – they are where the marijuana plant stores a bulk of its terpenes and cannabinoids. You can either use the kief directly (smoking it or using it in your vaporizer) or create other kinds of cannabis concentrates with it.
Full Melt (Method of Extraction)
Full melt is a derivative of hash that can be made by employing a water and ice or dry sieve process. The end result is outstanding, regardless of the method you use. It’s a cross between sand and brown sugar when it comes to texture, but the potency is out of this world – with full melt, you get the highest level of terpenes and cannabinoids out there. That’s the main reason why it’s so difficult to find. Full melt is super clean – solvent-free, without any contaminants. The best way to use it is with a vaporizer or a dab rig.
If you’ve ever encountered a glass-type concentrate that puts you in mind of caramel candy, then you know what shatter is. Its glass consistency is where the name is derived from (shatter – get it?). It’s mostly created from BHO and PHO extracts and has high levels of THC and CBD.
Shatter is noted for its extreme purity, although there are variations here as well. It’s difficult to guess the quality of shatter just by looking at it – it can be transparent and low (well, lower) on THC and CBD, or murky but still have a high content of active substances. Still, if you’re buying shatter from reputable manufacturers, it will most likely contain 80% or more cannabinoids.
Shatter can’t be smoked easily because of its high evaporation point. Generally, you will have to use either a butane torch or a nail rig that you can heat up to 600 F before you can vaporize shatter.
Crumble is yet another type of cannabis concentrate that’s made from butane hash oil. It’s made by purging the oil in a vacuum oven for quite some time (at lower temperatures for the best results). During that process, crumble develops a soft consistency (much softer than shatter) but it’s still brittle enough that it will crumble when handled.
Because it’s difficult to handle, crumble is often used in vaporizers or dab rights. If you’re looking for something that’s highly potent, but still flavorful, it might be your best bet – this type of weed concentrate contains a lot of THC and other cannabinoids.
A cannabis concentrate that closely resembles honey is called wax. Even if you’re not a concentrate buff, you’ve probably seen it before – wax is easy to come by and it’s one of the most popular dabs in use. BHO and PHO are both a type of wax (although there are other types as well).
Wax concentrates have a very high content of THC and other cannabinoids (much higher than regular buds or trim runs) and need to be handled carefully. If you’re not used to vaporizing something so potent, the best advice I can give you is to start slow. Because wax is very runny, it’s difficult to handle without proper tools. The most common way of using waxes is with the help of either a dab rig or a personal vaporizer. Generally, waxes are around 4X more expensive than the buds they were extracted from.
With the texture similar to that of chocolate, sap is one of the weed concentrates that is difficult to work with, especially on a hot day. That’s why it’s advisable to use it only indoors, in well ventilated and cool areas, where it won’t melt. Much like chocolate, sap will melt if handled with fingers, which is why I recommend using a tool when dealing with it. Sap has a similar potency to the best waxes out there so if you’re a beginner you need to be careful when using it.
Pull and Snap (Consistency)
If you like your concentrates a bit on the runny side but you still want to be able to handle it by hand, pull and snap is the way to go. This type of weed concentrate is similar to taffy, meaning that it’s pliable enough to be molded by hand, but you won’t make too much of a mess with it.
Pull and snap gets its name from a distinctive way you separate little dabs of the material – you simple pull and twist it until it breaks away. You can then roll it into a little ball to use in your vaporizer or a dab rig, or flatten it out and smoke it.
Probably the cleanest and the most sought-after concentrate on this list is budder. It gets its name from the fact that it closely resembles regular butter in its consistency. Budder is extremely pure and potent – 90% THC and 99% purity on average. It’s notoriously difficult to make since it has to be vigorously whipped during the purging process. That’s partly the reason why budder is so freakishly expensive.
Rick Simpson Oil
Rick Simpson Oil (or RSO) is a widely known type of THC concentrate that used mostly for medicinal purposes. Unlike regular medical concentrates, it is made from female plants that have over 20% of THC and buds and leaves are both used. This means that RSO has a high percentage of THC in it, which causes the users to experience various psychoactive effects.
RSO is mostly used in form of small pellets that are then placed under the tongue where they can be easily absorbed. Alternatively, they can be swallowed or vaporized. Most users recommend a low dosage at first, especially if you’re not used to THC.
Which Type of Cannabis Concentrate Is Your Favorite?
Of course, these are by no means the only types of concentrates available to vapers. We haven’t even touched on live resin or ice water hash, or plenty of others for that matter. Still, these are the most popular ones.
How many of these concentrates do you know about? Personally, I didn’t know about quite a few – at least, I didn’t know that they have official names – so it took a bit of digging to assemble this list. Drop down to the comment section to let me know which concentrate is your favorite. I’m itching to try a few for the first time and would love some input!