For most cannabis products, and consumption methods – stoners know what’s up. Cannabis flower and edibles have been around for centuries, and let’s get real – even our parents and grandparents know how to enjoy a good ol’ fashioned joint or brownie from way back when.
But when it comes to cannabis concentrates – there’s a learning curve for even the most veteran of cannabis consumers. And with a new concentrate consistency or type on the shelf with every trip you take to the dispo – it can be hard to keep up with the ever-growing product category, too.
So, what’s the major difference between the most popular concentrates on the market today, what exactly is concentrate, and what should you know about modern-extraction methods?
Shatter, wax, crumble, and varying types of concentrates alike, are all just that – forms of concentrated cannabis. To make concentrates, the sticky-icky resin glands found on cannabis flower are extracted through a variety of methods. The major difference is that some concentrate types are extracted with solvents, while others aren’t.
Solvents like butane, CO2, and ethanol can bring transform flower into dabs in just a few steps (and some high-tech equipment). Cannabis extraction methods that use solvents used the compounds to agitate the flower to separate cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the plant material.
In solventless processes, pressure or heat isolate and separate the plant’s resinous oils, to form the final concentrate type. In the end, and no matter the extraction type, concentrate products have high THC levels at over 80%, making them the strongest way to get high.
Now that you know what they are, what makes every kind different?
If you know anything about concentrates, we guarantee you’ve heard of shatter. It’s the most popular form of concentrate today, thanks mainly to its looks. Basically, the cannabis shatter definition is a concentrate that has the appearance of glass that could ‘shatter’. People are so drawn to shatter’s aesthetic that art shows even feature sculptures made of it. But we’d rather smoke it, so let’s learn what shatter is all about.
Most often, the best shatter is made with butane. Its extraction process is almost the same as that of other wax varieties. However, blasters have to look out for agitated and crystalized oil, which will appear opaque instead of translucent.
Like our other fave concentrates, shatter can come in multiple consistencies. The sappier, gooier variety is made with decarboxylated (activated) THC, which is in oil form at room temperature. Sappy shatter can also contain more terpenes and CBDs than the brittle stuff, providing a delicious taste and smell. Because all forms of shatter have a hard composition, it’s perfect for tokers and vapers alike (or those wanting an uber intense bong rip).
Does shatter seem like the way to break into more potent highs? Embarc’s got you covered! Lime carries some uber tasty indica shatter. Enjoy the flavors of blueberry muffiny goodness as THC chillaxes you from head to toe.
“Wax” can seem like a pretty general term in the stoner community. Some people think of all concentrates as wax, however, only certain kinds fall under this umbrella. For the most part, budder and badders are the most popular types of wax dabs.
Budder is a wax concentrate variety typically extracted with butane or CO2. It’s made using a chemical solvent to “blast” through marijuana, extracting the THC. Then, it’s “purged” with heat and air pressure to remove those unhealthy chemicals. This same general process is used for creating crumble (which we’ll talk about next), but it yields incredibly different results. Badder also has a similar process but tends to be a bit more oily and loose than its counterpart. Think actual butter (or margarine) in comparison to cake batter, as for consistency.
This type of wax forms when the extracted cannabinoids start to crystallize, after being agitated during the extraction process. By purging it at a higher temp, a shatter-like concentrate can transform into a beautiful, fluffy substance that many of us love dabbing today. It should be noted that while budder isn’t necessarily more potent than other forms of concentrates, it has a more unique consistency. This form of wax is excellent for perfect dabs, euphoric vape hits, and delightful joint toppers.
Every toker has got to try some of the best concentrate brands, Almora’s epic badder. Their papaya extract has a tropical, fruity aroma, packed with a pinch of spice. It’s the perfect dab for a restful night of beauty sleep.
So, we know that crumble’s concentration process is similar to shatter and butter, but what is crumble wax and how is it different? Well, the pre-purged oil used for crumble usually has more moisture, a different temperature, and a thicker consistency. Some people even turn wax into crumble by purging for a longer time at lower heat levels, which preserves terpenes and makes for a delectable concentrate.
The only downside to crumble is it can be hard to handle. Have you ever tried scooping a gorgeous dab of crumble, only for it to slide off the wand 100 times over? Once you can get the perfect hit, you’ll realize why so many tokers fight on through the failed scoops. If your middle name is “impatient,” use your crumble in a different way instead. Try shaving a bit of it into your portable vaporizer coil, or make it the cherry on top of your bowl.
Over at Embarc, Punch has got the perfect pack of concentrates to leave you dazed for days. Get the dab rig ready for some incredible crumble, THC-A, or live rosin! Their Four Loko collection will show you how awesome crumble can be.
Blow rockin’ rosin, cause we’re really gonna rock tonight! Though it’s probably the newest concentrate variety on dispensary shelves, rosin’s quickly surfaced as a fave for organic, and ‘clean’ potheads who avoid the use of chemicals, in any of their consumables, or processes. In fact, you can even make rosin yourself at home with top-shelf, highly resinous flower.
Producing rosin at home only requires some nugs, parchment paper, and a hair straightener. Before you get confused, no, this isn’t suddenly a beauty blog, and we’re not giving you a hair tutorial. The heat and pressure of the hair straightener pushes resin glands out of the buds and onto the parchment paper. This process will leave you with pools of THC oil for extra potent dabs.
In addition to becoming a DIY favorite, this solventless concentrate has become popular in dispensaries from coast-to-coast. Although, none of your preferred marijuana manufacturers are taking trips to Ulta for tools. Instead, they’ll use an industrial press that’s much bigger and more productive for large amounts of product. Commercial rosin is typically brittle and sticky, like some loosely bodied shatter, making it a bit difficult to play with and explore. Still, the comfort of dabbing a solventless concentrate is worth the hassle.
Who doesn’t want to channel their inner Beyonce’ during a dab sesh (or every task, ever)? Check out this Bootylicious rosin from one of our fave brands, 710 Labs. You’ll love the aroma of frosted cupcakes and freshly pumped gas as each smooth hit leaves your mouth.
Technically, live resin comes in a variety of types itself depending on its extraction method. But they all share one unique difference from every other concentrate –live resin is made with fresh, frozen flower versus flower that’s been dried or cured. With this method, you’ll experience much more intense flavors than a traditional oil, wax, or shatter since the plant is harvested at the peak of its freshness. This preserves oils, cannabinoids, and terpenes that can degrade over time during the curing and aging process.
While it is possible to make live resin with CO2 extraction, most, if not all, varieties you’ll see in your local dispensary run with butane. It should be noted that live resin’s strong flavor profiles give it a higher price tag than other types of concentrates. It may be a rare treat, but every once in a while, we promise it’s worth the splurge. Dabbing, vaping, and smoking on live resin is a unique experience, even for the most seasoned stoners in the game.
With live resin, you’ll find even more product types to choose from. In fact, at Embarc, we’ve got everything from live resin edibles and pre-rolls, to vape carts and extracts. If you’re known to carry a pen, like it’s one of your limbs, vaping on live resin will be your new BFF, too.
We recommend one of the best concentrate brands, Brite Labs’ Lemon Durban cart which has the energizing Sativa power to get you through the day, all while tasting deliciously refreshing terpenes. Those who prefer eating their weed to inhaling it should check out an equally delicious raspberry passionfruit live resin gummy from Emerald Sky.
Ask any stoner – the main benefit of concentrates is that they get you really high, really quick. While it might take a few joints to leave you feeling spacey, just one dab or vape hit can have you feeling like you took off on Space-X yourself.
On a more serious note, they contain all the healing qualities of cannabis we all know and love – but ‘high’ powered in potency.
There are several different ways to use concentrates, but the most common is, you guessed it, dabbing. Try shopping for a cool rig that doubles as decor! Get your torch ready and, bam! You’re dabbed up and ready to go.
Some of the concentrates we love to dab can be vaped, as well. Concentrated vape hits will be intense, but usually a bit milder than actual dabs. Lastly, we love sprinkling a bit of crumble, shatter, or your preferred concentrate into joints, bowls, and bongs which flower producers are taking note of with infused pre-rolls springing onto shelves, more than ever.
Phew! Now that you know the difference between wax and shatter and settled the debate on shatter vs. crumble wax…you can finally enter the dispensary without playing 20 questions with the budtender, or making a wrong purchase because you didn’t know “budder” and “badder” were two different things.