Medical Marijuana Concentrates Are Available in Ohio!
While most patients recognize and are familiar with cannabis flower, the raw plant material of cannabis, those that have not been involved in the cannabis community recently may have never seen cannabis concentrates before! Cannabis concentrates are relatively new - aside from hash - and can be used using a multitude of different devices. In this article, we will discuss what cannabis concentrates are, how to use them, and the common types and forms of cannabis concentrates that you will find in Ohio dispensaries.
Currently, Ohio's medical marijuana program has available:
Firelands Scientific: Bubble Hash Live Rosin, concentrated vape cartridge in 0.5 grams
Grow Ohio ("Butterfly Effect"): concentrated oil syringes in indica and sativa options
Standard Wellness ("The Standard"): concentrated oil syringes in indica and sativa options, concentrated vape cartridge in 0.5 grams
Wellspring Fields: concentrated wax in budder/sauce, crumble, and live resin options
Buckeye Relief: kief in 0.5 grams and 1 gram options, live resin coming soon!
What Are Medical Marijuana Concentrates?
Cannabis oils, concentrates, and extracts, are umbrella terms that refer to any product derived from cannabis flower that is processed into concentrated form. Concentrates will generally be dominant in THC or CBD, or possibly a combination of both (depending on the strain and process used for extraction).
Cannabis concentrates will be much more potent when compared to flower. In Ohio, the THC limit on flower maxes out at 35%, while cannabis concentrates are allowed up to 70% THC content. For this reason, cannabis concentrates are suggested for those patients that are veteran cannabis users, and have developed a significant tolerance to THC. There are some specific conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and any type of wasting syndrome, that will also benefit from cannabis concentrates.
Generally speaking: for a potent and euphoric high, look for high-THC products; for a balanced and gentle high, try to find a product with an equal mix of THC and CBD; and for therapeutic relief without the high, you'll be looking for high-CBD, low-THC products.
So, now that we understand what cannabis concentrates are, let's go over what the different forms of concentrates are and how to use them!
What is Kief?
Ever wonder what that icy looking frost found across cannabis flower is? Those little tiny crystals are called kief (also called dry sift or pollen), and they are the resin glands on cannabis which contain the terpenes and cannabinoids that make cannabis such an impactful treatment option. While the entire cannabis plants contains terpenes and cannabinoids, the kief resin glands provide the highest content. The consistency of kief is quite similar to dust or sand, so you want to be careful when using kief as it is very easy to lose some.
Kief, processed by Buckeye Relief, is currently available in 0.5 gram and 1 gram options. While you are able to purchase kief, you can actually start to collect your own kief utilizing a 4-piece grinder that has a "kief catcher" as the bottom chamber. When grinding your cannabis, kief will naturally fall of the flower, and when the ground cannabis falls into the middle chamber there is a sift at the bottom that allows only the most finely ground cannabis and kief to drop and collect below. Most grinders come with a small shovel that can be used to apply the kief, and from there you can either start to collect kief or begin using it regularly to ensure that you are getting all of those medicinal terpenes and cannabinoids!
How To Use Kief
The most straightforward way to use kief would be to use it in a vaporizer. Many patients prefer to use a small dose of ground flower as a base so that the kief does not get lost. You can also use a kief/pollen press to press the kief into coins that will be easier to work with.
For those that are familiar with hash, kief can be used to make hash! Simply applying heat and pressure will change the consistency of kief to hash as the resin glands rupture. Pressurizing kief will darken the colors to closer to a brown/blackish color with a sticky consistency.
For those patients that are trying to get the most potent relief possible, Moon Rocks refer to the process of coating cannabis flower with concentrated oils/waxes and using the stickiness from the oils to coat the outside of the flower with kief. This is a relatively simple DIY concentrate that can be created in just a few short minutes.
Rosin is a solventless extracted concentrate that can be created simply by pressing kief with heat and pressure. The at-home method often utilizes a hair straightener and a vice to press rosin, but there are also commercial devices that allow for a higher-yield of return.
You can also add kief to cannabutter in order to increase the potency! Be sure to remember, that THCA must be converted to THC before it is bioavailable in oral form. To do this, the cannabutter (with kief) must be decarboxylated in the oven or crockpot to activate the THC.
What Are Concentrated Cannabis Waxes and Oils?
Cannabis concentrates can be created using a number of different extraction processes. The extraction process is simply the act of separating the cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis flower in order to be refined into different cannabis products. There are a variety of different extraction processes that cannabis processors utilize to make concentrated waxes. Depending on the techniques, concentrates can exhibit a range of different potencies, textures, and consistencies. The various forms are generally named based on how they were made and the appearance of the wax; for example, butane hash oil (BHO) refers to extracts that were created using the solvent butane, and shatter would refer to a consistency and appearance that is glass-like.
Cannabis concentrates can generally be extracted utilizing two primary types:
Solvent extracted concentrates are most often used for commercial-sized processors looking to create large quantities of extract. Some of the most common chemical solvents used in cannabis extraction includes ethanol, butane, propane, and carbon dioxide.
Nearly all solvent-based extraction methods will require a process known as "purging". It is during this process that the remaining chemical solvents that were used for extraction are evaporated from the concentrate. Note: If a product is described as "solvent-free" it means that the chemical solvent has been completely removed; this is not the same as solventless extracts.
Whereas solvent extractions will utilize chemical compounds to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis flower, solventless extraction uses mechanical techniques that utilize pressure, heat, and filtration. For this reason, solventless extraction will be more labor-intensive compared to solvent extraction, and often will provide lower yields relative to solvent extraction. Note: although water is technically considered a solvent, solventless in terms of cannabis refers to extractions with no chemical solvents utilized.
Used for solvent-based extraction methods. This machine separates cannabinoids and terpenes from the flower.
This machine slowly swirls around the cannabis concentrates to further refine the oil. This machine pulls all contaminants out of the oil, and leaves behind pure distillate.
This is what the resinous juices released from cannabis look like under a rosin press. The oil being secreted will be collected and packaged for use.
Used for solvent-based extraction methods. This machine separates cannabinoids and terpenes from the flower.
Types of Solvent Cannabis Concentrates
BHO (or hydrocarbon extracts): also known as Butane Hash Oil, these concentrates are extracted using chemical solvents such as butane and propane to separate the concentrates from the flower. Hydrocarbon extracts tend to better preserve the cannabinoid and terpene profile of the strain being extracted.
CO2 Oil: this has been a go-to method for large-scale processors in recent years, as it has a reputation for being safer compared to BHO on large scales.
Distillate: this has become common in the surge of demand for concentrated cannabis cartridges. Distillate can be made from raw or crude extracts, and is further refined to contain only the essential cannabinoids and terpenes. Pure distillate is virtually flavorless, and requires terpenes to be reintroduced in order to pack unique taste. For example, Firelands Scientific's Lemon Skunk cartridge is pure distillate, with cannabis-derived terpenes from the strain Lemon Skunk reintroduced at the end.
Types of Solventless Cannabis Concentrates
Dry Sift: also called dry sieve, is a collection of kief that has been mechanically separated from the cannabis flower using mesh screens. The sand-like resin is then used to top a bowl, or to be pressed into hash or dabbable rosin.
Ice Water Hash: also known as Bubble Hash, is created by agitating cannabis flower in ice water, with the extracts being filtered through screen bags. Once it has been filtered, collected, and dried, what's left over is hash that can range in texture from dry and chalky to greasy and oily. The quality of hash is graded on a 6-star scale, with 6 being the highest quality and most refined; the highest grade is often called full melt or ice wax and can be dabbed, while lower quality grades are commonly pressed into rosin or smoked like traditional hash.
Rosin: this is a dabbable solventless concentrate that is extracted simply using pressure and heat to squeeze the resinous juices from the flower. There are three main types of rosin - flower rosin, hash rosin, and dry sift rosin, named after the starting material that was pressed.
How To Use Marijuana Concentrates
Now that we've discussed what cannabis concentrates are and how they are made, let's talk about how to use the different kinds!
All of the forms currently available in Ohio's medical marijuana program can be vaporized, depending on the vaporizer type that you own. While some vaporizers are only made for flower use, there are many vaporizer brands out there that have the ability to handle concentrated waxes and oils! Some vaporizers are even made specifically for concentrated oils, such as the G Pen.
To use concentrates in a vaporizer that handles both flower and concentrates, it is usually easiest to use ground cannabis flower as a base layer, and then applying the concentrate on top. From there, you can use your vaporizer just like you would with flower, but with that extra punch from the concentrates included.
This term may be brand new to patients that are just getting into concentrated cannabis products. An oil rig, in all technicality, works the same way as a water-pipe (or bong) would. Instead of a bowl head where the ground cannabis is placed, an oil rig has a quartz or titanium "nail" that looks like a little dish. The nail is heated, often using a blow torch, and the concentrate is then placed in the dish to vaporize and be inhaled.
It is important to note, that although some may think that this is considered smoking, if you wait for the nail to cool down to a temperature of 450-600 degrees Fahrenheit you will vaporize the concentrate; if you hit the nail at too high of a temperature, it will combust the concentrate, which is not ideal for terpene preservation nor health benefits. In order to remain constitent with heating temperatures, you can purchase an electronic nail, or e-nail (pictured furthest to the left) that maintains a specific temperature. Also, there are devices such as the Puffco Peak that are designed as portable concentrate vaporizers (similar to the middle item).
One of the most popular processed cannabis products across the country have become the concentrated vape cartridges. Cannabis vape cartridges are often made using distillate, although rosin and resin can be used as well, with terpenes added back in at the end. The vape cartridges requires a 510 thread battery, and all that you have to do is screw the cartridge on to the battery and start inhaling away!