Since Oklahoma legalized medicinal marijuana, a slew of new products have hit the marketplace. This includes things that may sound weird and scary to the typical joint smoker or vape cartridge hitter – things like shatter, butter, diamonds and wax.
We turned to our friend and bona fide concentrates expert Landon Sharp, Chief Lab Technician with Rancho Pura Verde, to give you the legit scoop on some of these forms of cannabis.
Q: In the most basic terms, what are cannabis concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are simply an extracted and concentrated form of the cannabis plant. What is being done is a condensing down of all of the “good stuff” from the plant. Simply put, the cannabis plant is reduced down to a higher potency of cannabinoids and terpenes. Concentrates can range from 60 to 99 percent THCA, whereas top shelf flower may be in the 20 to 30 percent THCA range. So more bang for your buck.
Q: How are they made?
Concentrates can be made by a variety of techniques, but Rancho Pura Verde specializes in high purity hydrocarbon extraction. Our process utilizes hydrocarbons (propane, butane etc.) to break down and strip the cannabinoids and terpenes away from the cannabis plant material, leaving them fully bonded with the solvent. Once the liquid solvent has stripped all of the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material, a variety of pumps are used to remove the liquid, with only the concentrate remaining.
Some patients have shied away from concentrates because they falsely believe they will be smoking the solvents used in the extraction process. Every single concentrate produced by Rancho Pura Verde is put through a variety of processing techniques and rigorous testing to ensure patients are medicating with 100-percent pure cannabis concentrate.
Q: Explain the different types of products on the market?
Cannabis concentrates are an ever evolving science, but the most common products on the market today are wax; crumble; budder/badder; shatter; taffy; cured/live resin; sugar wax; diamonds; distillate; sauce; Rick Simpson Oil (RSO); bubble hash; and flower/hash rosin. Rancho Pura Verde produces all of these, except for flower/hash rosin and crumble.
The main thing to keep in mind is the names of the products come mostly from their consistency. The potency of any of the products will range anywhere from 60 to 99 percent, based on how they were extracted and processed.
Q: Why choose one type of concentrate over another?
I think that comes down to aesthetics — whatever form or consistency or type appeals to an individual. Different types of concentrates have different terpene retention, so a concentrate of the same strain might smell more strongly in sugar wax form, as opposed to shatter form. Much like exploring strains of flower, the look and the smell are generally what make a patient lean one way or the other on the forms of concentrate they prefer.
Q: Why would a patient choose concentrates over another means of medicating?
The higher potency in concentrates, which can easily be triple that of other forms of cannabis, is the biggest benefit and the reason many patients prefer them. With concentrates, you vaporize a small portion, rather than smoking a whole joint or bowl. This is especially handy, if a patient doesn’t like smoking or their lungs can’t handle it. Patients also tell me they like concentrates because they are discreet. Since it is vaporized — not smoked — patients don’t smell like burnt weed all day.
Q: Which form of concentrate should a beginner…begin with?
I would recommend wax, budder, or shatter for a beginner. The potency on these products is typically 60 to 90 percent THCA along with a great terpene profile. These three products are somewhat of a “staple” in the concentrate game, and they all provide a great high with great flavor…so any newcomer should absolutely give the basics a shot first. More experienced consumers should check out the sugar wax and diamonds, as they are typically higher in potency with great flavor to match.
Q: How do you…do it? What kind of paraphernalia is involved?
Medicating with concentrates is done through a very simple process called “dabbing.” The product is vaporize and inhaled using a “dab rig” or “oil rig” — a water bong with a metal or quartz bowl on it, as well as a little metal tool called a dab tool.
First, cut out your preferred size dab, something the size of a grain of rice for beginners. Then heat up the bowl on your rig using a torch. A good rule of thumb is torch the bowl for 30 seconds and let it cool for roughly 55 seconds before you place your pre-cut dab into the bowl and inhale. Pro tip: Do not dab while the bowl is red hot; low temp dabbing is the way to go.
Q: What should patients look for in a concentrate?
Some things to keep in mind are visual appeal, smell, potency, terpene profile and strains, based on what effect you are looking for. Visually, you want something that has a yellow golden, light golden, or light blonde color. That is how you know the concentrate was made from high quality, fresh cannabis plants. If it is brown or green or visually just looks dark, just say no. The smell should be complex and remind you of the strain it was extracted from. If something smells amazing it will most likely taste amazing.
Also, don’t go for a product just because it has a high THCA potency. Rookie mistake. For example: A 60-percent wax might not be the most potent, but based on the terpene profile, you could experience a more enjoyable high than with something stronger. Cannabinoids and terpenes work synergistically, which can greatly enhance your high. This is known as the entourage effect. And, of course, look for concentrates in the strains you have enjoyed the most, because you can expect all your favorite flavors and highs — concentrated.
We continue to be surprised by the level of product-sophistication, given the brief time Oklahomans have been growing and processing medical marijuana — and we can’t wait to see what these ganjapreneurs dream up next! You can find the full lineup of Rancho Pura Verde products — as we did — at an OKC Metro area Origins dispensary.
Landon Sharp was born and raised in Oklahoma. He received a Bachelors Degree in Film and Media Studies from the University of Oklahoma, where he was an all-conference high jumper on the track team. Immediately after college, Landon moved to Colorado to launch his career as a cannabis extractor and came back to Oklahoma after legalization of medical marijuana to oversee Rancho Pura Verde’s laboratory operations.