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Demystifying Cannabis Concentrates

Demystifying Cannabis Concentrates

Have you found yourself entranced by beautifully displayed amber pots of cannabis concentrates during a recent dispensary visit? You’re not alone. Concentrates are one of the fastest-growing market segments in the industry. However, if you’re new to extracts, you might find the labeling a little confusing. What’s the difference between resin and rosen? Why are some crumbly while others are viscous? We’re here to help!

What are extracts? Extracts or concentrates are any oils containing concentrated chemical compounds of the cannabis plant like THC and CBD. There are many types of extraction processes and solvents that can be employed to remove these compounds from the plant material. The quality and purity of an extract depend both on the quality of the cannabis used and the extraction method. Prepared properly, cannabis extracts can be just as flavorful as flowers and many times more potent.

What’s the Difference Between Rosin, Resin, and Shatter?

Often the name of the cannabis extract will contain the strain it was made from and a reference to the consistency of the end product. For example, a very hard, clear extract made from Purple Haze would be labeled, “Purple Haze Shatter.”

Cannabis Oil Extracts

Cannabis concentrates that retain transparency throughout the extraction process are oil extracts. Based on the technique used, temperature and moisture levels, these extracts vary in consistency.

Shatter is the hardest and driest form of oil extract.

Shatter concentrates are made by liquefying and then re-solidifying the trichome crystals that coat cannabis buds (which house the THC and other cannabinoids) in a process using a solvent. The result is a brittle yet sticky, very potent concentrate that resembles amber and shatters easily when cold and melts when heat is applied.

Pull-and-Snap is the mid-range of oil extract. Pull-and-Snap is still clear but has a taffy-like consistency that “snaps” when pulled apart.

Sap is the softest of the transparent cannabis oil extracts and has a sticky, runny consistency like syrup or tree sap.

Rosin refers to an extraction process that utilizes a combination of heat and pressure to nearly instantaneously squeeze resinous sap from cannabis. It has gained popularity as a solvent-less way to create shatter-like melts. All that is needed to create rosin from cannabis is heat and pressure.


Cannabis Wax Extracts

Extracts that become opaque during the concentration process are wax extracts. This occurs when the molecules are agitated during extraction. Like shatter and sap, waxes also have varying consistencies based on the technique and temperature used to create it.

Budder is the softest wax extract. It has a sticky, creamy texture.

Honeycomb is an opaque extract similar in texture to waxy honeycomb. This is the mid-range of the wax extracts in terms of consistency.

Crumble is the driest form of cannabis wax and can typically be broken apart easily for dabbing.

Other Types of Extracts:

Kief is dry, powdery pollen made up of the resin glands found on the trichomes of cannabis flowers. This resin contains compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes, which are responsible for the potency, effectiveness, and flavor of each unique strain. Kief is typically used to make hash.


Hash is one of the oldest cannabis extracts. Made from the powdery pollen of the cannabis plant known as kief, hash is a concentrate made by compression. It isn’t typically as potent as today’s modern extracts but remains popular in many cultures.

Live resin concentrates are made using a freezing process on freshly harvested cannabis plants. As much of the plant’s flavor and potency are lost during drying, flash-freezing fresh cannabis prevents this loss and results in highly potent, flavorful, connoisseur-grade extracts.

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Note: It’s important to only purchase cannabis concentrates, including vape cartridges, from a licensed dispensary. When you purchase products on the unregulated or “black” market or from unlicensed delivery or retail locations, you run the risk of exposing yourself to harmful unknown contaminants. Black market vape cartridges are suspected in multiple cases of lung disease and illness.