What is Cannabis Concentrate?
Before we get into how to make cannabis concentrate, it’s important to first understand what cannabis concentrate is. Like any other type of concentrate, cannabis concentrates are the byproduct of the refined materials of the plant. That is, they contain all of the desirable parts, such as the cannabinoids and terpenes, without including the rest of the flower.
This makes for a more potent punch, as there are considerably more terpenes per ounce. Some byproducts you may have heard of include shake, leftover material that falls off of bud during processing, and trim, which is what is trimmed from buds after harvesting. After a successful harvest, you may find yourself asking what to do with shake and trim. Learning how to make cannabis concentrate with the shake and trim is one answer.
The first step to any type of cannabis concentrate production is kief extraction. While there are many ways to go about collecting your kief, the most effective way is by purchasing a cannabis trimmer. Bladeless trimmers work by tumbling your kief and gently knocking off the leaves without impacting the structure. Other ways to collect shake and trim include using a silkscreen, or for smaller operations, a multi-chambered grinder.
After you collect your kief, the process becomes more specific to the type of concentrate you are interested in making. When people think about how to make cannabis concentrate, they often think about dabs, but dabs can come in many forms. The main types of concentrates you may hear about are wax, rosin, shatter, and crumble
Wax, commonly known as BHO, or Butane Hash Oil, is the most powerful form of marijuana concentrate. It is common for batches to reach concentration levels of 90%. The reason behind BHO’s potency is that during the extraction process, a very pure version of butane gas passes through the cannabis, which is in a sealed cylinder. This cylinder separates the raw plant material from the cannabinoids and terpenes.
An early method of BHO production, which is still used in certain markets, is open blasting. Because the equipment involved has been deemed flammable, however, many people have opted for closed-loop systems. The closed-loop system is safer because there are no openings for gas leaks, for the butane solvent is loaded into a pressurized tank. Once this is complete, the cannabis is stuffed into an extraction tube where high-grade butane passes through, extracting crystals as it passes. While this system is considerably safer than open blasting, strict precautions must be taken to avoid incidents.
If you are exploring the cheapest method of how to make cannabis concentrate, you may consider producing rosin. Rosin is the most affordable of all the cannabis concentrate production methods, as there is no lab equipment necessary to make it; all you need is a hair straightener and some parchment paper.
The process of making rosin is simple: first, fold a piece of parchment around your flower, and heat your hair straightener up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. While opinions differ around the exact heat, professionals generally agree that a temperature of 150-300 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. When the straightener has warmed, firmly press it over the parchment paper with the flower inside.
The more pressure that you apply, the more rosin will come out, but typically you don’t want to press longer than 6-7 seconds. Also, the higher the heat, the less time you’ll need to press it down. Once you have completed this step, you should see some rosin building up against the corners of the parchment. To collect it, use a dabber tool, razor, or a card of some sort.
Shatter is very similar to wax, save for its consistency. It is made through a process that causes it to have an almost glass-like texture and thickness. The process of making shatter at home is a complex one that can be exceedingly dangerous if precautions are not taken. You should always do your research and secure the proper equipment before making shatter. To begin, you must refine the shatter and then strain the butane. Straining will allow you to remove the plant matter from the trichrome liquid. Finally, cook the strained butane hash oil in a vacuum oven at 91 degrees Fahrenheit for 16-30 hours. You can find a complete step-by-step guide here.
In the cannabis concentrate world, crumble could not be more different than shatter. Because it is distilled at a lower temperature, it has a softer consistency, more reminiscent of damp sand than glass. To make crumble, take your dried plant matter and mix it with a solvent of your choice, so that the solvent can extract terpenes. When complete, separate plant matter from extracted terpenes and then add a low heat to vaporize away the solvent. When the solvent has vaporized, you will be left with a concentrate ready for use
The question of how to make cannabis concentrate really boils down to what type of concentrate you’re after. Of the four types of concentrates discussed, the major differences are the moisture remaining in the product and the heat level used in the process. Whichever concentrate you decide to go with depends upon personal preference: the potency of the product and the way in which it is consumed are the primary differences. The next time you find yourself asking what to do with shake and trim, you may already know the answer.