Beginner’s Guide To Concentrates
As a noob coming into the space of high-end concentrates, you may encounter a plethora of very specific terms that might confuse the shit out of you at first. BHO, SHO, IWE, HTFSE, HCFSC, there are so many acronyms, it’s easy to get lost in the sauce. You see, hash nerds are very anal. Everything has to be properly labeled and mentioned in the description. It’s kind of like wine and wine nerds, but even worst.
Seeing as how some concentrates can cost up to $140 a gram, you might want to know what some of these terms mean. Most people have heard of bubble hash and BHO, perhaps even rosin. Some are still confused with the whole wax/shatter/crumble situations but most people don’t really care, they just want something affordable that comes in a nice package. However, if you want to take it to the next level and dive deeper into the wonderful world of artisan cannabis concentrates, we are here to make it a bit easier. Peep the facts…
Trichomes can be extracted in many ways; be it dry sifting on screens, ice-water washes, using high pressure and a bit of heat or separated with solvents like alcohol, butane, propane, and Co2. They can also be extracted from fresh material and dried material. This is why there are different terms to show the end consumer what exactly it is and how it was extracted.
They are divided in to two big categories: Solvent extraction and Solventless extraction.
Let’s begin with the solventless section first. When hash or oil is referred to as “solventless” it means that no solvents (outside of water and ice) were used to make the product. These are usually more expensive and rare to find though since the popularization of rosin this has been taking over as the main form of extraction in the game. But before we go into rosins, let’s start with the head honcho.
Full Melt Dry Sift 99% clean:
At the very top of the solventless list is the infamous 99% pure dry sift. This is the cream of the crop. It is very rare and very expensive if you can even get your hands on it. Without going deep into the tech, this is a very simple method where you bounce dried buds over different sizes micron screens then you clean the kief to 99% pure trichome heads using static tech or maybe your own secret tech…… This is the most unadulterated form of hash where you simply use the force of gravity to sever the trichome heads from the stock using a screen. Once cleaned to 99%, it’s unlike anything else in its class. That’s only if the starting material was fire, to begin with. Though it is the simplest method of extraction it is by far the rarest on the market right now due to the time it takes to clean and the small yields it produces. This stuff is usually exclusively head stash and I’ve only seen real 99% clean sift available only once at one shop in Vancouver and it was $140 a gram. Shoutout to Sunrise Wellness.
Bubble Hash, AKA Ice Water Extraction (IWE):
One of the most popular ways of making hash is using really cold water, ice and bubble bags to sift out the different sized trichome heads. This technique has opened a new door for cannabis lovers around the world. Over the years, this bubble hash movement has evolved into an entire section with specific terms and a five-star rating system (sometimes seven stars) which grades the quality and melt factor of your hash.
Ideally, you want what we call “full melt”, which is hash that fully bubbles with clear domes and melts on your nail or banger leaving as little residue as possible. A five-star full melt bubble hash is supposed to be fully dabbable, producing large clear domes when melting and leaving behind little to no residue. One star bubble is one that does not melt but rather catches on fire. A three-star bubble is one that melts but not enough to dab without getting your nail all chazzed up. A seven-star bubble is something that melts so clean you can barely tell it was bubble hash. Seven-star hashes are very rare and consequently very expensive when available.
The cannabis can be processed dried or harvested fresh and then frozen, a method known as Fresh Frozen or FF. When you see something labeled as WPFF it stands for Whole Plant Fresh Frozen which means that the material used was the entire plant (sans roots, stock, and big stems).
This usually gives a really light colored concentrate rich in monoterpenes which have not yet been cured out during the drying/curing process. The concentrate still has the smell and essence of the live plant.
If the material was grown and processed by the same team it can be specified as “single source”
High-quality bubble hashes are typically separated by different micron-sized screens which are often indicated in the label. The most common ones are 45µ, 73µ, 90µ and 120µ with the 73 and 90 being the most popular ones. If the hash is referred to as being “Full Spectrum” it means that all sizes of trichomes are present in this hash from 45-120 sometimes even the 25 µ and 160µ bags.
Then there are pulls. Making ice water hash is basically sieving with freezing water. You got your first pull, second pull, third pull and sometimes a few more. This is also indicated by some of the hash makers.
So when you see something labeled as a single-sourced, Seven Star WPFF IWE, first-second pull, 73-120µ, it means it’s a super high melt factor whole plant fresh frozen, ice water extraction containing the first and second pull heads from the 73, 90 and 120-micron bags. Oh yeah, and it was grown and processed by the same person/team. It also probably means that this concentrate is dank as fuck.
Not all bubble hashes melt the same, even when processed perfectly. Much depends on genetics and also how it was grown. So when bubble hash is not melty, you can always use this simple trick to turn your 3 stars into a 6 star….
Rosin was popularized by @SoilgrownSolventless who used his girl’s curling iron to make his not so melty hash into something dababble. The result was the Rosin Revolution. Once people found out you can make instant dabs with a hair straighter, parchment paper and some pressure, the game changed forever. When people squished their first bud and witnessed the little pool of oil in the parchment, it was a revolutionary moment. If your hash or flowers have enough oil, with some pressure and some heat, you can squish that out using a little filter and parchment paper.
Here are some of the common terms you may encounter when you are looking at high-end rosins.
Flower Rosin. Self-explanatory here, this was simply squished buds.
Hash Rosin is specific to rosin made out of bubble hash and dry sift.
Live Rosin is rosin which was made out of fresh frozen bubble hash. Sometimes they will also include all the bubble hash specifics like the pulls and micron sizes.
There is also a way to separate the THCa and the terpenes using the rosin method. So when you see the terms Solventless Sauce or Solventless THCa it merely means these fractions were made without using any chemicals and that’s really fucking cool!
I personally believe that solventless is the way to go. I’m not here to knock on the solvent-based extractions; I think they can be really good when done right by people with proper training and expertise. So if you are new to the game, I would recommend doing a bit of research before diving in. Depending on where you live, your access to safe clean products might be limited. So before you buy “sauce” from some local guy you met on IG for $100 a gram, make sure you know what you’re getting in to.
The most famous solvent extraction is butane hash oil or more commonly known as BHO. Also referred to as wax, shatter, budder and crumble which only indicate the consistency of the consternates, nothing more. Not to say that these products can’t be “high-end” because they certainly can. However, oftentimes you find that type of BHO in the mids section going from $25-$60 a gram.
The top shelf for solvent extractions is reserved for Live Resins or HTFSE/HTCFSE which stands for High Terpene
More recently, we’ve been witnessing the rise of C.R.C Tek (color remediation cartridge) which essentially is an extra filter that holds various compounds such as T-5 clay, Magnesol as well as Silica that help remove color and impurities, providing a translucent, terpene-rich type of extract. When properly done with top-shelf flowers, it is undeniably one of the finest most refined types of concentrates you can get on the market today.
However, teks such as C.R.C can often be abused in many ways. Some people may use this tek to polish terds and sell you a product that is made from mids but has the look of a premium extract. Also, many people may not know how to properly run this tek which can contaminate the product with unwanted compounds that are bad for your health.
Remember, the whole point of concentrates is to enjoy a more refined, cleaner product which is void of anything but cannabinoids and terpenes, as much as possible. So before you go in and start throwing your cash on expensive concentrates, PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are a lot of people who are pieces of shit and could give a fuck about their own mother, even less a custie’s health. People are finding pine resin in concentrates and all sorts of other fuckery, so BE CAREFUL. If health is your number one concern, I would strongly suggest looking into the quality of the product you’re thinking of purchasing before going in.
For all you lazy stoners who won’t bother reading 2k word article, I got you. I feel your pain so I made a simple guide bellow with most of the terms.
99% Sift= pure cannabis glandular heads that are 99% free of contaminants. Price: $80-$160
Full Melt Bubble Hash/Ice Water Extraction (IWE)= Hash that bubbles and melts, made with cold water and ice using different size
WPFF= Whole Plant Fresh Frozen.
Full Spectrum= Containing all sizes of trichome heads from 45µ to 120µ.
Single Source: Grown and processed in-house.
1st,2nd,3rd pulls = Indicates the number of spin cycles before pulling the materiel out of the bags.
Price is based on melt factor using the five or seven-star rating system.
3 star= $10-$30
4 star= $30-$60
5 star= $60-$90
6 star =$70-$120
7 star = $90-$200+
Please keep in mind that prices are based on my experience with dispensaries in Canada and some part of the United States. Anything above five stars is extremely rare and is not even found in places that have had rec and medical for years now. So before you go in the comment section telling people how you get seven-star for 40$ a gram retail, make sure to let us know from which place. Because if this is true, I will catch the next flight there and do a post about it. Trust me.
Flower Rosin = Rosin made with dried flower.
Hash Rosin= Rosin made from water hash or dry sift.
Live Rosin= Rosin made with hash made out of fresh frozen buds.
Live Resin= BHO made with fresh frozen flowers.
BHO= Butane Hash Oil
PHO= Propane Hash Oil
HTFSE= High Terpene Full Spectrum Extraction
HCFSE= High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extraction
C.R.C = Color Remediation Cartridge
Hope this helps people make sense of the concentrates world and the little differences between each one of them.
If you have any questions make sure to drop a comment below and we will do our best to answer them!