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Edibles have seen the most significant change in the cannabis industry. Their evolution is owed to the vital role of concentrates and the techniques employed to create them.
Join us as we investigate marijuana’s journey from seed to harvest, and from extract to edibles.
What Are Concentrates?
Concentrates are extracts of compounds found in cannabis. These extracts can contain a mixture of compounds, such as THC, CBD, terpenes, lipids, and other cannabinoids. They can also single out specific compounds, such as an isolate of THC or an isolate of CBD.
Their forms are many, and depending on their extraction technique, they can appear liquid, glass-like, or sugary. Their potency is unrivaled in the cannabis industry, ranging from 40-99% THC.
No other product is as variable as cannabis concentrates, and their niche has only begun.
Concentrates can be utilized in many ways. They can be smoked in conjunction with cannabis flowers or tobacco. Vaporizers have become one of the most popular methods to smoke cannabis extracts.
The most appropriate and simplified method for utilizing extracts is by vaporizing it on an “oil rig,” a small bong-like tool that replaces the bowl with a metallic nail that users heat with a handheld torch.
Small golden drops are placed on the nail, and they’re immediately vaporized as you inhale.
Using concentrates in edibles is rapidly becoming the most prominent uses in the marijuana industry. With so many straightforward and intricate recipes, edibles have become exciting to the cannabis community once again.
Extracts allow professional chefs and home-cooks alike the flexibility to create any meal into an edible. This new found freedom has opened edibles’ door to a new horizon, which is expected to grow as more states and countries legalize cannabis.
How Are Concentrates Made?
Concentrates are made in many ways. From a bird’s eye view, they can be separated into two categories: solvent-less and solvent-based. From there, these two categories can be divided even further by the equipment used and steps taken to reach their final product.
Solvent-less extracts are bubble hash, hash, rosin, and dry-sift. Let’s look at each:
Bubble-hash is a unique product because it’s extracted via cold water which is why its alternative name is ice water hash. This method uses fine mesh screens to filter trichome glands only while leaving the rest of the plant to be discarded.
Trichomes are denser than water, so these tiny glands sink to the bottom of a bucket to collected.
Once collected, these pure THC glands are dried in freeze dryers to retain potency and taste. Bubble hash is an excellent alternative concentrate to be used in edibles.
Many in the cannabis community have begun to cook with solventless extracts to avoid exposure to potential contaminants from solvent-based products.
Although they are a perfect alternative concentrate on solvent-based methods, they are not as economically feasible. This is because bubble hash tends to be expensive because of limited quantities.
Rosin is a solvent-less extract that uses pressure and heat to extract the essence of the cannabis plant. This method retains all cannabinoids and terpenes found in flower.
Largely automated food-grade presses crush whole plants, and the result is a fine layer of papery wax.
These can be used in edibles as well, and since they are solvent-less, are a great alternative while cooking edibles.
Hash and Dry Sift
Hash is one of the oldest forms of smoking cannabis. To this day, specific regions still practice the method of rubbing their hands-on cannabis flowers rapidly. This technique leaves the hand caked in THC resin, which is then scraped off and rolled into small hash balls.
Dry sift is a newer method, which takes dried cannabis buds and trim and tumbles them in containers that have fine mesh screen to filter out trichome heads. The result is a mound of lightly colored trichome glands.
In many parts of the world, the hash is still consumed directly. These can also be mixed into transport vessels such as oil or butter, to infuse into edibles. This method isn’t as common for using in edibles today.
They are difficult to dose accurately, making the experience of edibles a hit and miss.
The legalization of cannabis has had a profound effect on not only allowing you to use marijuana recreationally but also in the way products are produced.
No longer are producers allowed to use solvents in outdoor environments or sell products that haven’t been tested for contaminants.
These new regulations have put concentrate producers under a microscope, and this will ultimately benefit the end user with added safety.
Now that we’ve got the health concerns out of the way concerning solvent-based concentrates, this is the most popular method for infusing edibles because of their ultra-potent THC levels and for their ease in dosing.
THC Isolate Oil
THC isolate oil is by far the most potent cannabis extract with its mind-boggling 99% THC content; this oil is the most efficient concentrate to use in infusing edibles of all kinds.
The process it undergoes is through rinsing the plant in an ethanol bath and then distilling the resulting liquid through a series of pressure chambers.
The distillation process strips the liquid of all cannabinoids except THC. Even terpenes and lipids are removed, resulting in a scentless, tasteless, and incredibly potent end product.
This solvent-based extract is the standard for infusing edibles. The edible won’t taste or smell like weed, which is a significant benefit when dosing discreetly.
Many chefs don’t want their prized recipes to be tainted by the skunky smell of cannabis, and this isolate oil is being used to allow the food’s content to shine.
THC isolate oil is bio-active, meaning it doesn’t need to be cooked to feel the effects. This makes it best for recipes that don’t involve heat, such as salads, pesto, cereal, smoothies or any other “cold” method.
If cooking with heat, it’s easily mixed with various oils or butter to prepare them as you usually would
Shatter is what started the concentrate craze, with enthusiasts creating the butane-based extract in their living rooms or garage.
Thankfully, the days of DIY shatter are over, and the clear majority of retail shatter is professionally produced and purged of all solvents.
The end product is a hard glass-like piece of wax, usually honey-gold or light amber. It’s transparent and smells slightly of cannabis.
It’s made in closed loop systems, which utilize butane to strip the THC and terpenes from the plant material. The end result is purged over and over until every last gas molecule is evaporated from the wax.
Shatter is another popular extract to use when infusing edibles. Its high potency (60-80% THC) allows for easy dosing, and its stable structure makes it simple to work with.
Shatter is perfect for cooking recipes that require heat. It melts readily in oils and butter, which makes it a breeze to use in the kitchen. Anything that you can prepare can be infused with this golden wax to send your meal into the clouds.
The Most Convenient Method For Infusing Edibles
Of the methods listed, solvent-based THC isolate is the most efficient method for infusing edibles. Their record-breaking potency and ease of use make them the perfect candidate for creating the best quality edibles.
Although some may be concerned that they’re solvent-based, it’s important to look at the test results generally found on the bottle. This should show that the resulting product doesn’t retain any solvents and its THC content.
As the edible trend continues, it won’t be a surprise to see restaurants entirely dedicated to cannabis-infused meals. Thanks to groundbreaking extraction techniques, edibles are widely accessible and safe to use.
As always, we recommend that you dose sparingly, as everyone will react to cannabis-infused edibles differently.