What are cannabis concentrates and how do you consume them?

Is there a difference between a concentrate and an extract?

You may have heard the terms concentrate and extract used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Extracts are a specific type of concentrate made using a solvent. So, while all extracts are concentrates, not all concentrates are extracts.

For example, vanilla extract is produced by using alcohol as a solvent to pull out the desired flavor component, vanillin, from vanilla bean pods. Alcohol may also be used to make a cannabis extract, as is in the case with Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). But other solvents may be deployed as well, like butane for Butane Hash Oil (BHO) and supercritical CO2 for cannabis wax extracts.

Concentrates made without the use of solvents are produced using mechanical or physical means to remove and gather trichomes. Rosin, dry sift, and kief are all examples of concentrates made without the use of solvents.

Since extracts and concentrates come in a variety of textures, you always can’t tell them apart just by looking at them.

How to consume cannabis concentrates

In the same way that not all concentrates are extracts, not all concentrate customers are dabbers. Dabbing is the process of heating a concentrate or extract to the point that it vaporizes, producing a highly potent vapor the consumer can inhale. Dabbing is the most common consumption method associated with concentrated cannabis, which explains why you’ll hear concentrates referred to as dabs. But these products can also be experienced via vape pens, tinctures, topicals, edibles, and more.

In order to decide which concentrates and consumption methods will work best for you, first consider what you’re looking to accomplish.

For a low-maintenance potency boost: top your flower

Adding powdered kief to your bowl or wrapping wax around a joint can up the potency of your smokeables with little extra effort. These methods don’t require any of the expensive tools necessary to dab, while still increasing the potency of your smoke and adding extra flavor from the concentrate.

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