What are CBD Concentrates?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has become immensely popular throughout the world. Its use is increasing as more people are appreciating its widespread medical benefits. Currently, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of producers and sellers of CBD products active in the market, and their number is rising rapidly. Those involved vary from people who extract the product on a small scale for family and friends to pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, and certified cannabis producers. 

Despite the growing availability of cannabidiol, there are many uncertainties about the quality and safety of this ‘miracle’ cannabis compound. Now it’s no longer a question of whether the compound works – the central question is how to find quality CBD concentrates and how to use them for maximum therapeutic benefit. 

This overview article looks into CBD concentrates, how they are made and how to use them effectively. 

What is CBD concentrate?

CBD concentrates are a concentrated solvent extract made from the cannabis plant. There are about 80 cannabinoids (the active ingredients) in the cannabis plant. Concentrate producers harvest this chemical compound from the plant and create a substance made up of only these compounds.

CBD is often confused for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabinoid found in cannabis. The two cannabinoids are the most abundant compounds found in marijuana, however, they have different properties and benefits. THC is psychoactive – it is responsible for causing marijuana users to get high. CBD, on the other hand, does not cause a high and it counteracts THC’s psychoactive effects like rapid heartbeat, heightened anxiety and paranoia. 

How is CBD concentrate made?

Extracting the active ingredients from the cannabis plant can be achieved through a number of ways. However, there are three main ways to achieve this – agitation, CO2 extraction and liquid solvents extraction. 

• Agitation – this process involves spinning or shaking the plant material until the active ingredients are separated from the plant material. 

• CO2 extraction – CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide under extremely low temperatures and high pressure to separate the cannabidiol from the plant material. 

• Liquid solvents extraction – with this method, a solvent is used to achieve separation. Solvents used vary from innocuous ones (isopropyl alcohol, ethanol) to more harmful ones (naphtha, petroleum-ether) and even supercritical fluids (butane). The solvents used in the extraction process have a huge impact on the colour, taste, and viscosity of the final product. 

Types of CBD Concentrate Products

As the popularity of CBD concentrates continues to boom, so do the products and administration modes. Here are the different types of CBD concentrate products available on the market. 

1. Wax

This type of CBD concentrate is oily and paste-like and can be smooth or granular. It is produced using the CO2 extraction method then the extract is treated so that is becomes solidified and crystallized. The CO2 extraction method removes all the chlorophyll, toxins, and other unwanted compounds to produce the purest possible CBD concentrate (contains 60%-90% CBD). 

CBD wax can be dabbed or paired with a vaporizer. It provides instant relief from pain and other conditions. Users must, therefore, exercise caution when using it. Read more about CBD wax here.

2. Shatter

Shatter is in the form of isolated crystals. It has a transparent, amber appearance that looks like glass when cold and resembles thick honey when warm. This product is often dabbed or vaporized, but smoking it with marijuana flower is also possible. 
Shatter is an extremely potent product and is not recommended for the inexperienced.  Find out more about CBD Shatter here.

3. Live resin

Live resins are freshly harvested buds that have been cryogenically frozen. The freezing process is done immediately after harvest to preserve as many terpenes and cannabinoids as possible. The product is the most flavour rich of all concentrates. Like most concentrates, the live resin can be dabbed, vaporized or paired with flower.

4. Budder

This is wax that has been agitated mechanically or by hand at an extremely high temperature and air pressure. The process causes a molecular change in the substance changing its physical form to be more wax-like than oil-like. The result is a fluffy substance that has a texture akin to butter. 

5. Bubble Hash

Bubble hash is made by freezing trichomes, the structures that contain the majority of cannabis’s active ingredients and placing them in ice water. The mixture is then agitated and compressed through screen filter bags. This produces a hash-like granular paste. 

This product isn’t extremely potent when compared to other types of CBD concentrates. Additionally, it’s not the purest as it contains flavonoids, terpenes, and other compounds. Bubble hash can be used with flower or a hash bowl. It’s worth mentioning that it burns quickly and smoulders when ignited. 

6. Kief

Kief is essentially trichome dust – the trichomes are dried and cured then ground and sifted. The concentrate is packed with the flavour and has a potency of 20%-60%. This solvent-free concentrate can be paired with flower to enhance both cannabinoid and flavor intake. 

How To Make CBD Concentrate

The easiest way to extract CBD concentrate from the marijuana plant is with the help of high-quality alcohol. Other tools that you will need include:

• Dried and ground buds. 
• Silicone, wood or plastic kitchen utensils. 
• Several containers. 
• An electric heat source. 
• A cheesecloth. 
• A double boiler. 
• A glass temperature resistant bowl. 
• A mask to avoid breathing in the alcohol fumes. 

Directions

1. Place the buds in a bowl and pour alcohol until it is an inch above the plant material. 
2. Stir the content for about three minutes to ensure the alcohol extracts the resin. 
3. Use the cheesecloth to filter the solution. 
4. Put the liquid in a temperature resistant glass container then put in water in the double boiler. Heat the water until bubbles break continuously on the surface of the alcohol mixture.
5. Continue the process until the alcohol evaporates completely. 
6. The final result is a thick, tar-like compound. The compound will turn into a sticky paste once it cools. 

Things to Consider When Buying CBD Concentrate

1. Concentration

The concentration of CBD is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a CBD concentrate product. It denotes the strength of the product. The concentration you choose will depend on the amount of cannabidiol you want for your healing regimen. 

2. The manufacturing process

Due to the young age of the CBD concentrate industry, regulations and quality control behind the production of the product are very grey. Consequently, CBD brands use different extraction methods to process CBD from the cannabis plant. Some companies use cheap extraction methods that require toxic solvents like propane, hexane, butane, pentane, and other hydrocarbons. Other companies use more complex extraction and refinement processes that produce high quality, non-toxic CBD concentrate.
Opt for products that use safer extraction methods such as food-grade ethanol or CO2 extraction. 

3. Third party lab results

A high-quality CBD brand will always provide third-party lab results to their customers. Some provide the results on their website while others include them in the labelling. These lab results test for potency, residual solvents, pesticides and mycotoxins of the CBD concentrate. 

If a company is reluctant to share the results with a consumer, it should be a red flag and indicate that they have something to hide. 

4. The Source of The CBD Concentrate

Like any manufactured goods, one of the best ways to ensure quality is to use high-quality materials. The best CBD concentrate products are manufactured from organically grown cannabis plants. Chemically grown marijuana produce low-quality concentrates that contain impurities like fertilizers and pesticides that increase the health risk of consumers. 

Choose products with quality ingredients: no GMOs, thinning agents, artificial additives, corn syrup, trans fats or additives. 

CBD concentrates have become an interesting combination of a popular holistic medicine and a natural answer to drugs made of chemicals dominating the healthcare industry. If you’re looking to start consuming CBD concentrates be sure to go for a quality product. Additionally, start small and ease your way up to larger servings if desired until you find a CBD level that works best for you.

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