How to Use Concentrates

Consuming cannabis concentrates, which is more commonly known as “dabbing,” has become popular due to an increased efficacy, lack of combustion, and the wide variety in terms of selection.

This guide will explain what concentrates are, break down some of the most common types of concentrates, and explain how best to use them, including dosage recommendations. By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll be able to identify, purchase, and consume concentrates with ease.

What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Concentrates, or “dabs” as they are sometimes known, are cannabis products with highly-concentrated amounts of cannabinoids, which often double or triple the potency of raw cannabis flowers. One dab of cannabis concentrate can have the same effect as an entire joint or bowl, depending on the person’s tolerance.

Concentrates are extracted using water and ice, solvents (hydrocarbon solvents such as propane, butane, hexane), or mechanical separation (including temperature and physical agitation).

The extraction process retains cannabinoids while dispensing of unused plant materials. In some cases, cannabis concentrates can be refined to offer cannabinoid content of more than 99%.

Types of Concentrates

One of the most common distinctions that you’ll see on the market is “live” and “cured” (which may  simply not be labeled as live). Live resins, also known as Fresh Frozen or Fresh Frozen Whole Plant, are derived from plants that were freshly harvested and frozen immediately. Cured resins are derived from buds that were allowed to dry and cure. Within these two categories, you’ll see a wide variety of similar names and textures.

For some extractions, such as isolates, distillates and RSOs, the nature of the harvested bud is less relevant. For others, such as live sauces, SHOs, and batters, preserving the exact flavor, terpene and cannabinoid profiles from harvest through a variety of methods enhances the final product.

Types of concentrates extracted using ethanol:

  • Distillate
  • RSO

Types of concentrates extracted using hydrocarbon:

  • Wax
  • Sugar
  • Batter
  • Shatter
  • Live resin
    • Types of live resin include:
      • Sauce
      • Batter
      • Wax
      • Diamonds
      • Sugar
      • Shatter

Types of concentrates extracted using water, ice, heat, agitation, or pressure:

  • Kief
  • Bubble Hash
  • Dry Sift
  • Full Melt
  • Flower Rosin
  • Hash Rosin
  • Solventless Hash Oil (SHO)
    • Types of SHO include:
      • Live Rosin
      • Rosin Sauce
      • Solventless Diamonds
      • Batter
      • Wax

How to Use Concentrates

Concentrates are most commonly consumed using handheld vaporizers or specific water pipes designed for this purpose.

Vaping concentrates

Vaporizers that are pre-filled are among the simplest application for cannabis concentrates. They are simply attached to a battery and heated while inhaling.

Pre-filled cartridges that utilize concentrates often come in one of three formats:

  • Distillate
  • Solvent
  • Solventles

Note: Be sure to ask if anything has been added to the concentrate contained in the cartridge, as cutting agents may be harmful.

As an alternative to pre-filled vaporizers, handheld options that allow you to load your own concentrates can be used. These units give you more control over serving size and selection, as you can put any flavor or cultivar in your handheld vape as needed.

How Does a Cannabis Vaporizer Work?

Using dab rigs for concentrates

More commonly known as “dab rigs,” the water pipes designed for consuming concentrates range from small glass and quartz straws, to multi-thousand dollar functional works of art. The main components of these pieces are a nail or skillet (which is heated to release the cannabinoid-containing vapors), mouthpiece, and a water reservoir that vapor travels through (optional).

Read our tutorial on How to Use a Dab Rig

Cannabis Concentrate Dosage Recommendations

Each of us has a different endocannabinoid system, one whose sensitivities to certain cannabinoids will vary. Because of this, there is no universal recommendation on serving size nor universal effect that one can expect. For first-time and novice users, we recommend an amount no larger than the size of a pinhead.

Start with a small amount, gradually adding it to your heated nail or skillet. As you inhale, notice the effect that your serving size has on you. Cannabis concentrates can have an immediate impact, and signs of overconsumption include rapid temperature fluctuations that may induce sweating, dizziness, and faintness.

As you adjust to the different effects of concentrates, you may begin to develop a slight tolerance and can enjoy a larger amount of dabs or larger dabs when you choose to consume.

Finally, always check the label of the concentrate prior to dabbing. Potency may be indicated as percentage of cannabinoids, with other information such as cannabinoid profile or CBD ratio potentially included. Use this information to guide your serving size.

Ask Your Happy Valley Host About Concentrates

Concentrates should be treated carefully due to their increased potency and the immediate uptake of cannabinoids by your body. If you’re a first time user, we recommend taking a smaller amount than what you think you need. You can always enjoy more.

Ask your Happy Valley Host for cultivar recommendations that could meet your needs. Our Hosts are knowledgeable when it comes to the types of concentrates available, as well as their uses.

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