Thanks to the explosive growth of the vaping industry, new and flavorful concentrates are constantly being developed and readied for consumption.
While simply using dry herbs may provide a decent experience, concentrates tend to be a cleaner alternative, providing stronger sensations, and offering up diverse and intense flavor profiles. If you’re interested in expanding your herbal experience, and are ready switch up from dry herbs to something a little more potent, concentrates are the way to go.
But before you get started, here’s a quick and dirty run down of what concentrates are, the various types, what to expect and how to use them safely.
They’re not all extracted the same way
Creating a concentrate involves extracting active ingredients from the dry herb that result in that feel and experience you’re looking for. The process also extracts and preserves terpenes, the flavor compounds that give your dried herbs their unique flavor.
These “actives” are generally extracted using either a secondary substance (like an oil) or a method that allows for pure extraction (known as “solventless extraction”).
Solventless concentrates, because of their purity and the difficulty involved in extraction, are generally more expensive. However, they’ll deliver a more flavorful hit than other concentrates.
Some solvent-extracted concentrates include:
- Oils (BHO, CO2)
Solventless concentrates include:
- Solventless shatter
Extracts from the flower are better than extracts from other parts of the plant
While active compounds can be extracted from either the flower itself or from the rest of the plant, the flower and buds are what contains the most flavor and actives you’re looking for, producing a smoother, brighter flavor than the remainder of the plant.
Extracts made from the flower only are called “nug run” extracts, while extracts made from other parts of the plant are called “trim run” extracts. Sometimes, trim run extracts are made using pieces of the plant that would have been thrown away, so their quality can be much lower.
If you’re purchasing concentrate labeled as nug run, make sure it’s from a reputable source. Because nug run extracts are more expensive, some will label an impure product as “nug run” just to charge more.
The concentrate type affects both flavor and physiological effects
There are a few ways to decide on the best concentrate for you. Different concentrates have different flavor profiles, purity levels, feel, burn rates and concentration of active ingredients.
Pick one that delivers the experience you’re interested in.
Flavor profile: Terpenes
The nuances in concentrate flavors are caused by natural phyto (plant) chemicals called “terpenes.” Different terpenes have different aromas and effects, from citrus (stress relief) to pine (creativity).
Some concentrates retain their terpenes (and flavor) when vaporized, while others don’t.
Concentrates most noted for retaining their terpenes include:
Intensity, Feel and Physiological Effects
Concentrates have differing levels of various active compounds, each affect your body and mind in a different way. If you’re new to dabbing, start with a concentrate that has a lower percentage of actives, since new users tend to overestimate the amount needed in a dab anyway. And remember, these concentrates, are, well… CONCENTRATED. Meaning they pack quite a punch. So go easy.
While all concentrates contain higher percentages of actives, some of the potentially lower-strength concentrate products include:
Higher-strength concentrates include:
The percentage of actives will also be partially dependent on how and where the plant was grown – some plants are grown to produce more actives than others.
Ease of use – from crumbly to sticky icky
Because the texture, some concentrate types lend to easy measurement (such as budder or oils), it’s easier to dab a small, consistent amount with these types of concentrate.
With other types, however, measuring the same amount over and over for a consistent hit can be a challenge. Shatter is particularly difficult to work with, since it needs to be warm enough to work with in order to measure out a dab. Wax’s gooey, sticky consistency can interfere with measurement. Taffy can be slightly easier to work with, but is still less precise than using oil.
After using concentrate, you might not want to go back to flower and dry herbs
Because concentrate immediately delivers an intense, clean, flavorful hit, flower pales in comparison. Not only that, the effects had from extracts are more intense and last longer than those from flowers and dry herbs due to increased concentration of active compounds (10-25% for flower versus 50-90%+ for concentrates).
While there are dozens (if not hundreds) of options for concentrate on the market, each is simply a combination of extraction techniques, plant selection, chemical concentration, and ease of use. Next time you’re shopping for an extract, keep these in mind, and you’ll be able to find the perfect concentrate for you.
And if you’re looking for a superior device to still enjoy those dry herbs, consider the Loto Lux Herb Vaporizer from Loto Labs: the world’s first induction heat vaporizer, providing an intense and powerful experience.