A concentrate is a substance that has been made more potent because water or other substances have been removed. The substances targeted in cannabis concentrates are the cannabinoids of the plant such as delta-9-tetrahydracannabinol (THC – generally the most dominant cannabinoid, it is associated with marijuana’s psychoactive effects) and cannabidiol (CBD – the cannabinoid most associated with pain relief effects and seizure reduction).
Cannabis concentrates are created by extracting the cannabinoids from the plant; consequently, cannabis concentrates may also be referred to as cannabis extracts. They come in many different forms and have many different names such as cannabutter, shatter, tincture, or oil.
Concentrates date as far back as 2000 B.C.E. Some are used for oral consumption, others for topical application, and many for smoking or vaporizing. Even with so much history it is still a new world for so many people – especially with the emergence of ever evolving methods of extraction. With over 4000 years of evolution, many different methods of extraction have been conceived.
A solvent is “a usually liquid substance capable of dissolving or dispersing one or more other substances”. Solvents are used to strip the cannabinoids from the cannabis flower. There are four popular groups of solvents: hydrocarbons, alcohol, supercritical carbon dioxide, and lipids.
Solvents can be a very effective way of extracting cannabinoids; however, there are also many methods that do not require solvents including: dry sieve, ice water & agitation, and heat & pressure.
Every method of extraction results in a different product (either slightly or drastically) and each product has its own name as well as ideal consumption method.