Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 21, 2022

Wherever you are in your cannabis journey, you must have gotten curious about cannabis concentrates and their potency at some point. Even though concentrates have been around ever since the 1940s, they’ve improved in both form and potency and reappeared on the market some years ago, quickly gaining in popularity, especially following the legalization of cannabis in some states.

Concentrates are currently the highest quality cannabis products that you can find since they only contain the good stuff. They’re cost-effective, given that a little goes a long way and can get you high quickly, and the smoke is a lot smoother than a joint.

In this article, we’ll talk all about concentrates, specifically focusing on how to use THC concentrates. Let’s satisfy your curiosity about these cannabis products and dive right into it.

What Are Cannabis Concentrates?

Cannabis concentrates are forms of cannabis that contain only the most important compounds found in cannabis, namely, the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and others) and terpenes. To become a concentrate, the cannabis plant goes through a series of extraction processes that remove all the unnecessary sugars, starches, chlorophyll, and other ingredients, and only isolate the active compounds.

The result is a highly concentrated final product that contains very high CBD and/or THC levels, incomparable to dry cannabis flowers. This is why only a tiny amount of cannabis concentrate can get you just as high as smoking an entire joint. In fact, THC concentrates can reach overwhelming concentrations of THC – anywhere between 60-80%, and some can even go over 90%!

There are many different types of cannabis concentrates depending on the extraction method and the texture of the concentrate. They also come with varying cannabinoid ratios, or isolated cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrates.

Solvent vs Solventless Extraction Methods

There are two main extraction methods used to produce cannabis concentrates – solvent and solventless methods.

The solvent extraction method uses a solvent to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from the rest of the plant material. The most commonly used solvents are butane and carbon dioxide (CO2), but propane and ethanol can also be used. 

The resulting products from a butane extraction can have different textures, depending on how they’ve been processed. They include shatter, budder, sap, live resin, sugar, crumble, wax, and others, and together they belong to the umbrella term Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

CO2 extractions are usually called CO2 oil, ethanol extractions are called Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), and propane extractions are called Propane Hash oil (PHO)

Solventless extraction methods, on the other hand, don’t use chemicals, but process the plant matter via mechanical or physical means to extract the trichomes. The resulting products are dry sift, rosin, and kief.

How to Use THC Concentrates

THC concentrates may be more versatile than you might think. Most weed users immediately think of dabbing, but truth is, they can be used in many other ways. 

Top Your Dry Cannabis Flowers to Boost Their Magic

Topping dry cannabis flowers with a THC concentrate, also known as t-waxing, is the simplest way you can use concentrates. It will boost the potency of the dry herbs and give you an elevated high. Sure, it’s not the ideal way to use a THC concentrate, but it’s a good enough introduction for beginners who want to try this cannabis product.

However, remember that with t-waxing, concentrates burn slower and you will have to take many puffs in order to smoke them (which can be frustrating and it’s not very cost-effective). 

Despite this, it’s still a good foray into concentrates. You don’t need any equipment other than a lighter for your joint, plus, it’ll give your joint a nice aroma.

Use a Vape Pen or a Vaporizer to Get a Solid High

Of course, vaping had to be included. These devices have come a long way since they were first invented, and now there are many models on the market optimized to vaporize concentrates as well. Therefore, if you want to use a vaporizer, always go for models that were made specifically for this purpose, also known as dab pens. 

Alternatively, you can also buy pre-filled vape pens that come with a battery and a replaceable cartridge filled with cannabis oil.

Both vape pens and vaporizers are great for THC concentrates because they allow you to control the temperature. Also, they not only give you a more flavorful smoke, but you also get to experience different effects by heating the cannabinoids and terpenes at different temperatures. Vaping at a lower temperature will give you a more flavorful, milder high, while higher temperatures will get you even higher.

If You’re Ready for an Intense Experience, Dab

Dab rigs are the real MVP these days, but they’re not for those new to the cannabis world. Saying they are the perfect method to consume concentrates may sound like a bold statement, but it’s true. Typically, when cannabis aficionados talk about consuming THC concentrates, dab rigs are what they have in mind, which is why weed concentrates are also referred to as “dabs.

Dab rigs vaporize the concentrate at a very high temperature. The vaporization makes the smoke light and smooth, which is why it’s easy to get carried away. But don’t let the fluffy white clouds fool you. Dabbing will get you high in minutes and the experience will be one to remember.

Dabbing involves heating the nail on the dab rig with a blowtorch and then using your dabber (a dab tool) to place a small amount of THC concentrate directly on the heated nail. The dab will start vaporizing in a short while, and you should inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece. These devices are typically made of glass, while the nails are either ceramic, glass, quartz, or titanium.

Alternatively, Try an E-Nail

If you’re serious about dabbing and would rather use it as your primary method of cannabis consumption, then it would be a good idea to invest in an e-nail or electronic nail.

E-nails are a lot more pricey than standard nails, but make for a smart investment for three reasons. First, they simplify the process by eliminating the need for a torch and a standard nail so you’ll have less stuff to tinker with; second, since they’re electronic, they’re much safer than using a torch so frequently (using torches is the most hazardous part of dabbing); and third, e-nails give you complete control of the dabbing temperature, which is the best feature if having a flavorful smoke is important to you.

Please note that e-nails are still producing extremely high temperatures and should be operated responsibly and with caution.

Or, to Make It More Simple, Use a Bowl

If you already own a bong or a bubbler, you can upgrade it with a concentrate bowl attachment. You can find these in most dispensaries or head shops. You’ll also need a glass wand to vaporize it because it’s the safest way to heat a concentrate. 

Glass wands vaporize the concentrate immediately upon contact. They are the safest burning tool option because they won’t burn the concentrate and won’t produce any toxic chemicals when lighting it (unlike butane lighters).

Finally, Try a Health Stone

A health stone is another great complement to your bowl piece. Health stones are porous rocks that can be placed into your bowl. The THC concentrate is put directly on the health stone and it’s heated with a blowtorch.

Health stones are a fairly new hit, and they’re really convenient. They don’t produce any harmful vapors when heated and they’re suitable for trying concentrates of various different textures because their surface is gritty and holds them well.

Can I Eat THC Concentrates?

Most types of concentrates aren’t ready to be ingested because they need to be decarboxylated in order to produce any effects, which is what happens when you heat them. If you were to eat some, you’re unlikely to get high. 

Plus there’s the issue of safety when it comes to ingesting solvent-based concentrates. Most of them should be safe and without any significant amounts of residual solvent in them, but since their safety regarding ingestion hasn’t been scientifically backed up, it’s best to not try it.

Solventless concentrates, though, can be mixed in cannabutter and cannabis oil to make edibles (like magic brownies). However, you’ll have to be very careful with dosing as you know that concentrates are a lot more powerful than dry herbs.

Conclusion – Though Not for Beginners, Marijuana Concentrates Are Very Exciting for Seasoned Users

Marijuana concentrates are definitely a very interesting way to experience weed. Not only do they offer a more intense high, but they’re also much more flavorful and the quality of the smoke is incomparable to the smoke from a joint or a bong. It’s definitely unique. Whatever type of concentrate you choose to try, be careful, as they are potent. If you’re a beginner, we’d definitely recommend you skip the concentrates until you’ve built up some more tolerance.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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