Concentrates or Flowers: Which is Right for You?
Even if you’re new to or have limited experience with cannabis, no doubt you’re familiar with flowers – that’s the medical marijuana industry terminology for traditional cured cannabis. If you’ve been into a dispensary lately, you may have noticed that the concentrate counterspace has exploded. Where once there were only a couple of waxes or budders to choose from, now there’s everything from vape pen cartridges to creamy budders with strains ranging from CBD (no THC) to 80%+ THC. If you’re considering sampling concentrate offerings, here are four considerations:
- Terminology: Waxes, budders, shatters, crumble; concentrates go by many names, but mostly the name refers to the consistency of the finished product. What you really need to know is how the concentrate was extracted. Many extraction processes use solvents and other toxins to create concentrates, so the truly health-conscious should look for solventless extracts. Before you delve into the world on concentrates, be sure to bone up on your vocabulary.
- Delivery: When it comes to flowers, your choices are limited to combustion and vaporization. Combustion, such as smoking a joint or using a pipe, burns the plant matter to release the beneficial compounds. This is what leaves the black, gummy residue inside your smoking gear. While smoking cannabis isn’t nearly has unhealthy as smoking tobacco, some of that residue makes it into your airway and lungs. Vaporization, on the other hand, heats the flowers below the point of combustion but enough to release the compounds in a vapor. You’ll find that while vaping does still product a residue, it’s not nearly has pronounced as that from smoking.
Concentrates open an entire world of delivery systems for cannabis. Vape pens heat up oil contained in cartridges. They produce far less odor than smoking or vaping flowers, plus they’re portable and easy to use. But, that’s not the only option. You can try everything from tinctures (placed on the tongue in drops) to edibles (extracted cannabis infused into a variety of food products). Most enticing are the little golden pots of budders and waxes. You can purchase a special vaporizer that’s capable of handling oils and thicker extracts or you can go the route of a dabbing kit, which consists of a water pipe, nail, dome and heat source, often a butane torch. If that sounds a little too intense for you, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from. Take some time to explore the methods that work best for your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask your local budtender for advice!
- Flavor: Cannabis in its natural state is packed with flavor due to its terpenes and other compounds. When the THC is extracted, most of the flavor is stripped in the process. To combat this, many processors add flavors after the fact. Some of these flavors are natural; some aren’t. When choosing an extract, you should always strive for the purest possible. If you’re truly looking to experience the complex flavor profiles of cannabis, which is as wild and varied as those found in wine, then flowers are for you. If your main concern lies in convenience or straight medication, you’ll find extracts offer more smokeless, convenient ways to dose.
- Potency: The THC content in marijuana flowers ranges from nearly nothing (CBD strains) to potent powerhouse strains with more than 25%. Concentrates, on the other hand, can test in the stratosphere at 80% or more! For this reason, it’s critical to be careful with dosing. Be sure you know the potency before you begin, start with small doses and don’t overdo it!
If you do consume too much, don’t panic. Check out these tips.
Today’s cannabis industry is producing new products and ways to enjoy this miraculous plant every day, so get out there and explore!