Cannabis Concentrates – What’s in a Name?

Posted: March 3, 2014 in Cannabis, DIY, Politics, Science
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hey readers, I’ve got another great cannabis themed blog for you today discussing the various types of cannabis concentrates out there on the market. This isn’t one of my usual cannabinoid profiles but it is just as necessary. Doing a quick Google search I can tell there is a ton of misinformation out there  about concentrates and I hope this post can help clear things up.

A couple notes before we start, pre-empting some questions. While every purity rating given is in THC ever type of concentrate listed here can be made from CBD-rich cannabis making the resultant concentrate also CBD-rich. A method of vaporizing cannabis will be discussed called dabbing, this method is usually done with only super melt hashes but in actuality you can dab anything over 55% THC. Dabbing involves super heating a titanium “nail” with a small blow torch and dropping a hash of sufficient purity onto it, which causes the hash to vaporize.

The Concentrates

Kief.

Kief – Kief is the term for the trichomes of the cannabis plant once they have been removed from the plant. Usually kief is obtained during trimming when it falls off the plant and can be gathered with a mesh screen. Kief can also be made with a machine resulting in exponentially more potent kief, more accurately labelled a kief-melt (a play on full melt hash). Kief generally is between 10-25% THC but at Harborside we’ve had kief test upwards of 55% THC, which makes it potent enough to be dabbed. Kief is always dry sieved cannabis, without any water processing.

Hash.

Hash – Hash can be made through many different methods, the simplest being pressing kief and resin together with ones fingers to make so-called “finger hash,” perhaps the oldest form of concentrated cannabis known. Hash tests a little more potent than most kiefs but not quite as strong as bubble hash, usually between 15-35% THC. Aside from the method of creation, hash is distinguished from bubble hash by the fact that it burns rather than bubbling up.

Bubble Hash.

Bubble Hash – Bubble hash is a water-based hash that is made using a series of bubble bags filled with freezing cold water and ice cubes. Bubble bags are a series of increasingly finer mesh bags that trichomes pass through creating various qualities of bubble hash in each bag level. The trichomes are dislodged from the plant by being frozen then smashed off by the ice. This type of hash gets its name because it bubbles rather than burning, but it doesn’t melt like a full melt hash. These hashes range in the 20-45% THC range.

Full melt hash. Not always this color but always this consistency.

Full Melt Hash – Full melt hash is the highest quality of bubble hash, it is what you find in the bottom bag that has passed through every purity grade. These hashes while still being cold water derived more resemble the oily super melt concentrates I will discuss below. These hashes get their name because unlike bubble hash they do more than just bubble, they melt fully into a liquid form. These hashes range in purity from around 45-70% THC. Here is one method to make full melt hashes that can test nearly 70% THC, without any sort of a chemical solvent used.

BHO/Super melt, this one looks like melted shatter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Melt Hash – Super melt hashes are not made with bubble bags and usually use some sort of a chemical solvent, though so-called solvent free varieties exist. They are called super melts because they  melti super-fast from a solid form into a vapor form, sublimating without fully being a liquid. This is a result of the purity of the product and method of use, not a result of the chemical solvents. Commonly used solvents are butane, isopropyl alcohol, and CO2. Common slang names are ISO hash, Butane Honey Oil (BHO), shatter, wax, oil, dabs, and numerous more.

These hashes contain between 55% THC on the low end to over 90% THC on the high end, most are between 55-80% THC. While these hashes can be made by anyone in their garage the best ones are coming out of scientific grade laboratories; you won’t find someone making 90% pure hash in their bathroom. The most common method of use is dabbing, effectively freebasing cannabis. Many in the medical community have expressed concerns over people getting over-medicated and more serious health concerns, such as lung collapse, resulting from dabbing.

A Note on Super Melt Hash Legality: IT IS ILLEGAL TO MANUFACTURE ANY CONCENTRATE THAT USES A CHEMICAL SOLVENT. Unfortunately state law on this issue lags behind medical cannabis as a whole and the creation of super melt concentrates is regulated under the same law as meth labs. As you probably know making meth is very illegal, a felony; in the eyes of the law making super melt concentrates is also a felony. Be very careful if you are making BHO or any other concentrate, especially is traveling through local areas that are tough on medical cannabis rights. Individual state laws may be different but this is written with California laws in mind.

To quote directly from California state law: “Section 11379.6(a) states: Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance – shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or seven years and by a fine up to $50,000

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