Marijuana Concentrates: What are They?

Marijuana Concentrates: What are They?

Marijuana concentrates are high-potency products formed through a variety of extraction methods. From wax and shatter to hashish and oil, the products have concentrated cannabinoid profiles, and some processes might remove for the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for a non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) oil that many conservatives states have even legalized for medical use.


The most popular marijuana concentrate is hash, a product produced by compressing stalked resin glands, also known as trichomes, from the marijuana plant. A variety of techniques may be used to create hash, which is found in solid or resin-like form. Hash contains high concentrations of THC, and it may be used by placing it in a vaporizer, combining it with tobacco, eating or placing in food. Some hash is also available in powdered form. An 19th-century Parisian group called the Hashish Eaters Club—which included literary giants like Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo—were among the more famous hash advocates.

Butane Hash Oil

This type of hash is created whenever cannabinoids are drawn from a cannabis plant by using a butane extraction method. A low-temperature purge must later be performed in order to remove any traces of butane oil from the finished product. After purging, a wax-like substance that may appear sticky and crumbly, or harden into a glasslike shatter, is left behind. Butane hash oil (BHO) can contain THC content at around 80 percent, and it is often used to treat chronic pain.  

CO2 Oil

Expensive botanical extractors that use a combination of pressure and carbon dioxide go to work separating plant material in order to form CO2 oil. This is known as supercritical fluid extraction, and it is one of the most effective ways of reducing the essential compounds in cannabis. The method produces an amber-colored oil, which is then combined with a medical-grade solvent to provide it with the same consistency as a liquid. This allows CO2 oil to be placed in disposable cartridges for use in portable vaporizer pens.

Rick Simpson Oil

This concentrate is named for a man named Rick Simpson, who created the oil in 2003 in order to treat his own skin cancer. Cannabis is soaked in pure naphtha or isopropyl alcohol in an effort to draw therapeutic compounds out of the plant. Once the solvents have completely evaporated, a tar-like liquid will then be left behind. This tar-like liquid can be applied directly to the skin, but some people nonetheless choose to take it orally. Rick Simpson oil concentrates vary—some contain no THC whatsoever, while others contain very high concentrations.


Before being prohibited in 1937, cannabis tinctures were a very common form of medicine. Tinctures are liquids that are formed through alcohol extraction, which allows certain beneficial compounds to be pulled from the plant. Most tinctures require just a few drops underneath the tongue and may have flavoring added to make them more palatable. Tinctures have been successfully used to reduce the effects of cancer treatment as well as by those with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

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