The World of Cannabis Concentrates
What are Cannabis Concentrates?
If you’re looking for quality cannabis concentrates, there are two key features your product should have. It should be thoroughly purged of all solvents and contaminants, and it should be made with quality cannabis nugs, not leftover trim. Trim contains fewer terpenes which contribute to the flavor of marijuana, and some say it even has an unpleasant chlorophyll taste to it. If you’re paying for the top shelf, you expect it to be as potent, flavorful, and safe for consumption as possible. Butane Hash Oil is the most commonly extracted form of concentrates, and here we show you how you can employ your senses to tell quickly if your BHO is real as “fire” as your supplier claims:
One of the best ways to tell if your extracts have been properly purged is to simply look at it. If the product is green or very dark in color, it is a sign of leftover contaminants and considered low-quality BHO. Does this mean that clarity means quality? Clarity alone doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s a good indicator.
When the concentrate is amber to yellow in color, usually see through, this usually means it has been properly purged, and there are slim to no contaminants in the end product. Looks can also help you determine whether the texture of your concentrate (oil, budder, shatter, etc.) is what was advertised. For example, shatter which is the easiest to handle concentration, usually costs more so if you’re paying for shatter make sure you’re not being handed something that looks oily or waxy in appearance. Although sight can help you determine the consistency and purity of your dabs, you’re still going to need to employ your other senses for more certainty and to determine whether or not you’re getting nug run or paying top dollar for some inexpensive trim run.
One of the best ways to tell if you’re being handed trim run or nug run extracts is to smell it. Hold it up to your nose, if it’s nug run, it should have that familiar sweet scent usually found in a bag of weed. If it has slim to no smell, it was probably made with trim or low-quality product. The drier the plant is allowed to become, the more terpenes get lost.
Trim tends to be drier than full compact nugs, so they contain fewer terpenes leading to less smelly and flavorful extracts. Users have reported higher levels of contamination from trim run extracts as well, so even if you don’t care for flavor nug run may still be the healthier option. Most of the time the smell test will allow you to tell whether the concentrate is trim or nug. However, some trim run can pass the smell test in which case you can use the taste test to confirm.
“According to Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, 90% of what is perceived as taste is actually smell. That means that a solid whiff of your concentrate in question should be a good indicator of how said concentrate will taste. That’s two senses in one… you should always smell your concentrates before you buy! A stronger smelling concentrate is bound to have more flavor and be more enjoyable than a mild-smelling concentrate.” – Marijuana Concentrate Buyers Guide.
Taste is a good way to make sure your concentrates that passed the smell test is nug run. Users of trim run extracts have reported a “chlorophyll” taste, and High Times notes that trim “leaves still contain chlorophyll, which will adversely affect the taste of your finished product.” Others say trim has a “peppery” taste that causes more irritation to the throat than nug run. If your concentrates tastes like chemicals or anything unpleasant, this is usually a sign that there’s something wrong with the batch of concentrates, and you should not ingest it. For people relying exclusively on extracts to medicate, you may want something more pleasant to toke on every day, and nug run is the answer. For those who don’t mind the lack of flavor and want to save some money, trim run when properly made can be nearly as potent as nug run.
The last test is hearing. When doing a low-temperature dab or even using a vaporizer pen, you should not hear any sizzling. Make sure to use a tool even if its shatter when doing a hearing test because even the perspiration from your fingers can cause an extra sizzle. Sizzling, cracking, and popping are signs of remaining butane, water, or other contaminants. Some people refrigerate or freeze their less stable concentrates without properly storing them. This can lead to water contamination from frost attaching to the extract. The hearing test is a good way to find butane in concentrates that look clear in appearance.
Finally, if you want to test for butane remnants without having to ingest the product, try the heat test. Just put the flame of your torch or lighter above your concentrates, to heat the product enough to make it bubble. If any of the bubbles that start to form spark or ignite, you know you still have some leftover butane in your concentrates.