Everything you need to know about ways to consume cannabis extracts like oil, shatter, budder, sap, and isolate.
Cannabis extracts are a growing segment of the cannabis market as consumers begin to discover their versatility and health benefits when compared to traditional forms of cannabis consumption.
Here, we look at the different ways you can use your cannabis extracts, but first, let’s learn a bit more about what cannabis extracts are and how they are made.
What is Cannabis Extract?
Cannabis extracts entail a wide category of products that includes any extract of the cannabis plant, including extracts from marijuana and hemp. These extracts contain high levels of cannabinoids like CBD and THC, much higher by weight than the dry cannabis flowers, leaves, or stems. Hemp extracts will contain higher levels of CBD, while marijuana extracts have higher levels of THC. The high concentrations of cannabinoids in cannabis extracts mean that you can vape less and less often than if you were to smoke dry flowers.
Cannabis extracts are created by passing a solvent through finely ground cured or fresh cannabis material, including the flower, leaves, and stems. When made with fresh flowers, extracts are sometimes called live resin. Common solvents include safe choices like CO2 or solvents like butane, hexane, and more that can be toxic if not properly purged from the extract.
Marijuana extracts can also be made by hot pressing fresh or dry marijuana buds, allowing the flower’s oil to squeeze out. When created this way, extracts are called rosin.
It is possible to buy pressed rosin commercially, but home rosin pressing kits have made rosin a common DIY cannabis extract. All that is needed to make rosin is heat and pressure, so it can even be crafted with no more than parchment paper and a flat iron.
Once extracted, cannabis oil can be processed into a number of different forms, like shatter, budder, wax, vape liquid, sap, and more. It can even be filtered down to isolate the cannabinoids, creating incredibly pure THC or CBD crystals.
Because of the various forms they can take, cannabis extracts are versatile enough to be used in ways like vaping, dabbing, making edibles, and boosting the potency of cannabis flower in joints or pipes.
Vaping is a trending way to use cannabis extracts due to the portability and discrete nature of most cannabis extract vapes. The ability to vape cannabis on your own terms is a big selling point for vapes over other forms of consumption.
Vaping cannabis extracts works by heating the extract to its vaporization point, releasing cannabinoid loaded vapor that you can inhale. Cannabinoids and other active compounds are rapidly absorbed through the lungs and into the bloodstream.
The most common vaporizers for cannabis extracts are vape pens. These highly portable vaporizers combine rechargeable batteries with a heating element and mouthpiece for a discreet, easy to use way to enjoy cannabis extracts.
Some vape pens are designed to be used with cannabis extracts like shatter, wax, sap, isolate, and similar extract forms. You can learn more about vaping wax or shatter like marijuana extracts here.
Other vape pens are made to use a vape liquid or oil. These pens sometimes come with refillable cartridges or “tanks”. These refillable cartridges can be filled with cannabis extract infused liquids like CBD Vape Liquid from Dixie Botanicals®. You can get started vaping CBD with our CBD Vape Starter Bundles.
It is also possible to purchase prefilled, disposable vape cartridges that fit most 510 threaded batteries. These prefilled cartridges are available in both THC and CBD infused vape oils. THC vapes can be purchased at your local medical or recreational marijuana dispensary if you live in a state where marijuana has been legalized. CBD vape cartridges from Dixie Botanicals® made from hemp are available now for purchase in the Medical Marijuana, Inc. store.
Find your best vaporizer here.
Another way to enjoy cannabis extracts is by dabbing them. Dabbing is a form of vaporizing and works on much the same principle as vape pens in that the extract is applied to a heating element in order to cause its vaporization.
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Dabbing is traditionally more popular among more experienced cannabis consumers because it requires a set of specialized hardware to get started. However, anyone can take advantage of the benefits of dabbing, including robust, flavorful vapor and an increased potency that means you can consume less and do so less often.
In order to get started dabbing, you’ll need a few tools, including a torch similar to those used to make creme brulee, a specially equipped water pipe called a dab rig, and a surface that can be heated like a titanium or ceramic nail or a quartz bucket.
To dab your extract, you will first fill your water pipe until the downstem is cover with water. Next, load your dab onto your dab tool. Remember, you won’t need much. It is best to start small until you know how you will be affected. Then, using your torch, you’ll heat your nail or bucket until it just starts to glow red. Allow it to cool for a few seconds, then carefully dab your extract on the hot surface while inhaling from the dab rig’s mouthpiece.
Adding to Cannabis Flower
Some consumers use cannabis extracts to boost the CBD or THC potency of their favorite cannabis flower or other smokable dry herbs. This can be done in a couple ways.
First, cannabis extracts can be added on top of marijuana flower in a pipe before smoking. When lighting a bowl that has been topped with cannabis extract, be careful, as it may flare up, creating a large flame. Instead, hold your flame just above your pipe’s bowl as you inhale. This will partially vaporize the extract. The rest may melt, coating your flower. Use care as you finish smoking your pipe, as the extract may continue to increase the flammability of your flower.
It is also possible to add cannabis extract to a joint or blunt. Some users will add their marijuana concentrate to their marijuana flower or other dry herb as they roll their joint or blunt. This works best if you have a messy extract like oil or a crumbly extract like honeycomb and isolates. It is also possible to add cannabis extract to the outside of a joint or blunt, sometimes called twaxing.
This method works best when you have a sticky extract like shatter or sap that will hold to the paper of your joint or blunt. Like when you add cannabis extract to your pipe, adding it to a joint or blunt may cause it to flare up or burn unevenly, so take care when using this method.
Cannabis extracts can also be used to infuse foods and beverages with cannabinoids like THC or CBD.
Because cannabinoids degrade when exposed to high heat, it is not recommended that you cook with cannabis extracts using temperatures above 375 degrees F. However, with vaporization points as low as 315 degrees F, some loss of potency can still occur when cooking with cannabis extracts.
For that reason, it is often suggested that cannabis extracts be added to foods and beverages after they are cooked. This will reduce exposure of cannabinoids to high heat and minimize loss of potency.
Remember that it is best to use cannabis extracts that have been decarboxylated if you are looking to consume CBD or THC, rather than their non-carboxylated forms CBDa and THCa. This is especially important when using extracts with THC since THCa is non-psychoactive.
Powdered THC or CBD isolate powder are exceptionally suited for infusing cannabinoids into your favorite foods or beverages because they can be sprinkled and mixed into foods without separation.
Want to learn more? Visit our Cannabis 101 page for all the basics.