All of the wellness centers I go to are starting to carry a wide variety of concentrates—hash, kief, wax, etc. Im interested in trying them, but I don’t even know where to begin. My brother offers me “dabs,” but I don’t know what it even is! Please point me in the right direction.
Fort Collins Colorado
Jacob, I have to say that I wasn’t sure the term “dab” was used outside of Cali, but you have given me my answer! Then again, you are in the home of the dab out there in Fort Collins. With Colorado being the only state that has a regulatory system for medical cannabis people have gotten quite serious about creating a plethora of pure concentration!
Medical Marijuana Concentrates Mean More THC, No Matter The Name
There are many different sub-types of concentrates, but they fall under four main categories: Kief, Hash, Wax, and Oil. All of which are made by agitating the cannabinoids to separate them from the plant matter, either by friction or using solvents. There are also a variety of slang terms being used to describe the action of smoking these waxy medical marijuana concentrates from an applicator, hot nail or skillet. People “dab” waxes, budders and even oils.
Concentrates are an excellent way to utilize all the cannabinoids provided by the plant; however, concentrated medicine is often a product of concentrated problems in the garden. I can not tell you how many times I have heard medical marijuana growers say, “The spider mites took over, lets make concentrates out of it,” or “We couldn’t kill all of the powdery mildew, lets make concentrates out of it.”
Because of this, you want to take care to know where you concentrates are coming from. If it’s from a wellness center or collective, demand that they test their medicine for safety and quality purposes! Make sure there are NO MOLDS and NO CHEMICALS before you concentrate too hard on concentrates!
Killer Kinds Of THC Concentrates
Kief is the most basic concentrate, and the essence of all the others. Kief is simply the resin glands/trichomes from the plant, shaken off and collected in dust form. If you have allergies, be careful with this particular concentrate. It can leave you sneezing and itching! The best use of kief, in my opinion, is as a solid addition to the inside of a good joint or blunt, but it can also be used to make hash.
Hash is the most ancient cannabis concentrate and probably the most widely used. At one point in the Middle East, hash was made by making slaves run naked through the cannabis fields and then scraping their bodies for all collected product. Ouch! Nowadays, most hash is being made using a process called cold water extraction, but can be as simple as pressing the kief into solid form.
Having your hash tested for potency and microbiological is key. Because hash is often made with water, it can become a breeding ground for molds if not properly cured. And due to its extended shelf life, hash can be stored for too long, causing the cannabinoids to degrade and transform. With that said, good cold water hash will have 35%-45% THC and very low moisture, if any at all.
Hash Oil, or sometimes called honey oil, is usually made with an isopropyl or ethyl alcohol, using agitation and evaporation. Don’t confuse this with Cannaoil, which is cooking oil infused with cannabis. Honey oil isn’t honey or oil really. It’s concentrated cannabinoids that were separated using alcohol as the solvent, leaving no room for bacteria to grow.
Hash oil was one of the first next-level concentrates to come onto the market, and often is used interchangeably with poorly purged waxes. Honey oil usually tests anywhere between 45% and 65% THC and, like hash, should have a very low moisture.
Wax is made using butane gas as the extraction solvent. While it is the most effective method to extract cannabinoids, it can also be the most dangerous! Make your own wax and risk blowing yourself up. “Dab out,” and you could be ingesting enough butane gas to light 20 bowls. For a more in-depth discussion of the cautions needed when making wax, check out this article.
Texture and color are key factors in determining the quality of the wax—the more golden and crumbly the better. Wax that is dark and contains liquid means there is more left over solvent and plant mater. Of the 20 waxes I sent into SC Labs to have a full potency, microbiological and chemical scan, six came back with unsafe butane or mercaptan (the stinky stuff added to natural gasses to make them smell) levels, but all of them tested higher than 70% THC!
All and all Jacob, I would say start with a little kief or hash on top of a regular bowl of medical marijuana buds to get your feet wet with concentrates. If you like that, then maybe ask your brother if you can take him up on that “dab” so you can truly see the difference.
Until next rotation,