Cannabis concentrates come in many forms. Also referred to as dabs their names vary based on the extraction method used, the type of cannabis used, and the consistency. If you’re new to concentrates, many of the words on packages in the extract section of your dispensary may sound confusing. For example, “BHO trim run wax” fills you in on the method used, the type of cannabis and the consistency.
You may have heard of wax. The name wax is given to concentrates that are somewhere between a solid and a liquid. Not all wax is made the same, though. One can be made with butane, and the other could be made with just heat and pressure. The former would be considered Butane Hash Oil or BHO and the latter is made with the Rosin Technique.
It may seem a bit confusing, but we’ll go over every type of cannabis concentrate there is and the differences between them.
Butane Hash Oil (Extraction Method)
Butane Hash Oil or BHO is hash oil that was extracted from cannabis using butane. Most forms of concentrate can be extracted using the Butane Hash Oil method. The name says nothing about the consistency, however. You may end up with something oily, waxy, or solid like glass.
Butane extracts the concrete oils, waxes, cannabinoids, terpenoids, and sometimes chlorophyll from cannabis plants. The butane is then purged from the solution because it is harmful to inhale butane. It can cause irritation and damage to the throat or lungs.
This method is ideal for mass production by professionals. However, it is the least safe way to extract cannabis oils at home. If you don’t want to accidentally set your house on fire find another method or leave it up to the guys with the Ph.D.’s in chemistry.
Trim Run (Type Of Cannabis Used)
If your concentrate is labeled “trim run” that means it was made from the trimmings of the cannabis plant. It’s a good way make sure no part of the plant goes to waste. Trimmings are less potent, so a large amount is used to match the potency of full nug extracts. Many claim the difference in potency is negligible.
However, the flavor is where trim run falls short. Trim run contains more chlorophyll which has a less pleasant taste than extracts made with the main part of the plant. Trim run won’t smell as much as an extract made with full nugs because the trimmings of cannabis do not contain many terpenes.
Terpenes are responsible for the smell and flavor that cannabis provides. When combined with THC and other cannabinoids they also provide medical benefits. The biggest selling point of trim run is that it will get you about as high for a much smaller price. Most people ingest weed to get high not for flavor, so trim run is worth looking into.
Nug Run (Type Of Cannabis Used)
If you feel like something is missing from your dabbing experience it is probably nug run. Most people unknowingly smoke trim run because that is what most concentrates being sold are made from. Nug run extracts are intended for cannabis concentrate connoisseurs that wanted something more than just a high. Nugs have the most terpenes and trichomes you can find in the cannabis plant.
They’re rich with terpenes providing a more flavorful, less harsh smoke than trim run. The chlorophyll from trim run irritates the throat and lungs. Some users say it gives them a “peppery feeling” in their mouth and throat. Nug run and trim run describe the parts of the cannabis plant that the oils are extracted from.
Rosin Technique (Extraction Method)
This extraction method is less convenient for mass production but much safer to do at home than butane extraction. Rosin tech requires no solvents so you can dab it without worrying about whether there is any remaining butane in your extract.
You can make dabs at home safely using a hair straightener. It’s as simple as sticking a nug in some parchment and using the hair straightener to squeeze. Just make sure your hair straightener is set to a low temperature or your dabs will vaporize before your eyes. Then, you’ll be left with flattened marijuana pucks, no dabs, and a stinky room.
There are now rosin presses that can be set to an exact temperature and do the pressing for you. This is allowing enough production of rosin for retail sales. Some people just feel more comfortable with no solvents entering the equation.
You’ll probably burn your fingers before you gather a gram of dabs using only a hair straightener. Rosin presses are helping to produce much more rosin, but BHO is still the preferred extraction method if you want the highest yields.
Live Resin (Type Of Cannabis Used)
Live Resin is currently trending in the dab community. The method utilizes freshly frozen cannabis over the cured material. The advantage to this process is that it preserves THC and terpenes that are lost during the curing process.
As a result, the live resin has a much stronger aroma and flavor than BHO made with the dried material. Frozen buds can be extracted with various methods. The rosin technique results in what extractors are calling “Live Rosin.”
It can come in varying consistencies but the end product has a stronger flavor profile than most other types of concentrate. Smelling live resin is like smelling your fingers after touching a live, sticky, ready to harvest cannabis plant.
Oil is the runniest consistency of cannabis concentrate out there. It can get messy to deal with when dabbing resulting in sticky and smelly everything. One downside is that you’ll need to always have a tool when doing sap dabs. Other consistencies can be handled but good luck getting oil off your hands.
Oil shines when used for twaxing and moon rocks. Twaxing is when you add hash oil to a blunt or joint and smoke it. Moon rocks are cannabis nugs rolled in concentrate and then dipped in kief. The malleability of oil makes it perfect for coating nugs and making kief stick.
We recommend keeping any oily dabs inside a non-stick silicone container. If you leave it on just parchment paper some might leak out. Oils are better for indoor use because you might lose some or make a mess when taking some on the go. You’ll want something more stable if you’re going to travel with it.
Sap is a sticky but manageable concentrate consistency. Still better for indoor use but if it’s not too hot out sap can be used outdoors. This consistency will also be useful for twaxing and moon rocks because of its pliability. Sap is visually appealing and relatively easy to work with.
We still recommend a glass or silicone container, but for indoor use and short travel, parchment paper will get the job done.
Keep a tool handy because sap isn’t meant to be touched. Similar to chocolate, the heat from your fingers is enough to melt the sap onto them. Unfortunately, you’ll find sap is much harder to clean off your hands than chocolate.
Wax is somewhere between a solid and a liquid. It isn’t runny like a liquid nor is it hard like a more stable form of cannabis concentrate.
Wax is one of the least visually appealing consistencies out there. They call it ear wax because that is what it looks like. However, it is a favorite because it is one of the easiest to deal with. The more stable material can shatter into a million tiny hard to dab pieces.
On the other hand, oils can be hard to keep on a tool because they are more runny and pliable. So, wax offers something somewhere in between. We still recommend using a tool for wax because you’ll most likely squish and spread the wax on your fingers if you try to grab it.
You can’t see through wax. Oil becomes wax after being agitated. Before then, you can typically see through the product.
Shatter is the most stable form of cannabis concentrate. If you put it in parchment, hit it with something and it shatters, you’ve got shatter.
Shatter is pretty great for on the go dabbing. You don’t really need a tool you can usually break a piece off by hand and drop it in your nail. Unless there’s something wrong with it, most shatter is transparent and can be handled without a mess.
In shatter, cannabinoids, terpenes, and waxes mix in one phase that allows light to pass. Shatter can turn to oil from the heat of even room temperature. Once a concentrate is heated enough it becomes decarboxylated permanently altering its consistency.
That is why some shatter that has been left in the heat turns sappy and never goes back.
Pull And Snap (Consistency)
There is a taffy-like consistency between sap and shatter that people like to call “pull and snap.”
Pull and snap is a solid but not a very hard one. You can touch it, and you can even bend it as you please. You can easily roll a nice line of dab to put on a twax blunt with pull and snap. Or you can roll it into little balls for future dabbing.
Pull and snap is also great for portability and outdoor use. It is stable enough not to make a mess when placed in parchment paper or any anti-stick material.
The best way to describe this consistency is that it is moldable. Flexible to every kind of dabber. You can use a tool if you don’t want any oils from your fingers getting into your dab. On the other hand, you can roll it up and toss it in your nail without one.
Crumble is the driest form of concentrate out there. It looks like rocks or crumbly cheese.
You won’t be seeing through it like you would with shatter. Crumble is oil that has been agitated until crystallization occurs and the concentrate is no longer translucent.
Parchment paper is better for flatter concentrates. You don’t want to squish up your crumble so put it in a silicone or glass container with a lid.
You won’t need a tool for crumble. Just break some up over a folded piece of parchment paper and drop it in.
You can also break crumble up on top of bud in papers before rolling up to twax it.
Budder is like wax but less wet looking. It’s more like cold butter in appearance. Not so oily but also not solid enough to break or snap.
We’d say budder is somewhere between wax and crumble in it’s consistency. Budder is one of the easiest concentrates to use indoors and out. You’ll still want to use a tool because grabbing and dropping it won’t really work.
A spoon-shaped tool is perfect for a big dab of budder, but a pointy triangular end will work for this consistency as well. Oil and sap can lead to a mess when packing a vaporizer pen. However, wax can be easily moved from container to pen without much of a mess.
Propane Hash Oil (Extraction Method)
Propane Hash Oil is just like Butane Hash Oil. If you swap out butane for propane, you got Propane Hash Oil or PHO for short.
One reason this method is preferred is that the consistency is typically budder. This happens because propane extractions require higher pressures which strip different ratios of plant waxes and oils than butane.
Depending on the strain you use, PHO can save more terpenes and filter out residuals. Propane also has a lower boiling point than butane and apparently the lower purging temperature results in the buddery consistency.
CO2 (Extraction Method)
CO2 extractions result in a liquid gold concentrate that can usually be found in a pre-filled cartridge for a vaporizer pen.
The advantage to the CO2 method is that it is safer than butane and propane-based extractions. CO2 oil comes out of the extraction machine with no harmful residuals or risk of toxicity.
This is because CO2 extractions kill any mold or bacteria present in the plant material. CO2 extracts are very viscous oils that are put in syringes to avoid messes. They can be dabbed straight out of a syringe of you can try your luck with a tool.
One major downside to CO2 extracts is the flavor profile. BHO and PHO have a stronger terpene content giving them better flavor profiles.
Rick Simpson Oil (Extraction Method)
Dabs can be made using alcohol as a solvent. Ground up bud is soaked in isopropyl alcohol or Everclear.
It doesn’t take long for the cannabinoids and terpenes to separate from the starting material. Soaking for too long will result in other undesired plant materials like chlorophylls and waxes dissolving into the mix.
One advantage to alcohol extraction is that you can make it safely at home. Make sure you properly evaporate the alcohol out before consuming. Purging the alcohol requires precise temperature control and patience.
The result is Rick Simpson Oil, which is usually in liquid tincture form. This oil is usually purchased by medical users because of its potent cancer-fighting abilities.
Dry Sift (Extraction Method)
One of the finest forms of cannabis concentrates out there is dry sift. Dry sift is made using different sized silk screens with varying microns to separate trichome heads from the rest of the bud.
A micron is a microscopic unit of measurement. Therefore, only the finest material makes its way into the final product of dry sift. It is a meticulous process that results in small yields making it highly sought after and hard to find.
When you do come across it don’t expect it to be cheap, even in legal states dry sift isn’t on the menu of too many dispensaries. People argue it is the most flavorful concentrate because it preserves terpenes to provide fantastic aromas.
Dry sift can vary depending on the sizes of the screens used. Some may contain a mix of trichome heads, stalks, and plant material. Expert hash makers can refine mixed material only to retain the trichome heads making it higher quality.
Dry sift is different than most concentrates in consistency. It is like sand in appearance but soft. Dry sift is typically stores in glass jars and can be poured out without using a tool when dabbing.
Ice Water Hash (Extraction Method)
Similar to dry sift, ice water extraction is a different method of getting the same result. Both methods aim to get the trichome heads off of the plant material. However, ice water hash uses ice and water to agitate the trichome heads off of the plant. This can be done by hand or with the help of a washing machine. Afterward, you’ll need to filter the material and water through a series of screens with varying microns. The purpose of the screens is to prevent any unwanted materials from making it through. Only the glandular trichome heads should make their way, though.
Finally, you must break down the hash into smaller pieces using a metal strainer so that it can completely dry. When all moisture is removed, the ice water hash is placed in an air-tight glass jar to cure. The result is similar in consistency to dry sift. Some people refer to ice water hash as bubble hash or ice wax.
Full Melt (Extraction Method)
Full melt can be made using the ice water hash method or the dry sift method. However, no stalks or plant material can be in the final product. True full melt is isolated trichome heads with no residuals. Full melt is essentially the highest quality bubble hash or dry sift you can get. The name full melt comes from the fact that it melts at the slightest touch of heat. When dabbed no residuals are left behind. This is the ultimate cannabis connoisseur’s hash of choice making it really expensive and hard to find. There is currently no higher quality concentrate out there.