Smoking or vaping dried herb is almost mainstream now that the vast majority of people agree cannabis should be fully legalized, but dabbers are still living life on the wild side. Even in places where recreational use is a go according to statute, concentrates are illegal due to their potency and because making them on a large-scale basis can be nearly as dangerous as cooking meth Walter White style.
So welcome to a world that’s left 4:20 behind & moved on to 7:10 (that’s OIL upside down), where you heat your gear instead of your smokables and you get zooted not wasted. We can’t cover it all, but the following info will go a long way to helping you know what’s what when it comes to extracts:
Dabs … Extracts … Concentrates – Interchangable terms that all mean pretty much the same thing. Trim or bud is processed to separate the active chemicals from plant material to create a super-potent substance that’s guaranteed to light you up. Be warned – frequent dabbing can increase your tolerance & make mere flowers way less fun.
Trim – Not sure what to do with all those sugar leaves? Extracts, baby!
Shatter, Budder & Oil – Oh My! – Shatter is top of the list – it’s smooth, solid & has a clear, amber colour thanks to a double extraction method that removes practically all impurities. Spread thin, it easily cracks & “shatters” when handled due to its brittleness. Next is Budder. This type of extract is whipped to a butter-like consistency and has more flavour & slightly less potency than Shatter because it’s not as refined. Finally, oils are the most common & least potent type of extracts. They’re very sticky & much more difficult to handle than Shatter or Budder.
Full Melt – The highest quality extracts have virtually no impurities. When vaped, every bit melts leaving absolutely no visible residue behind.
Methods – 4 Common Ways
QWISO or Quick Wash, ISO – Frozen trim is quick washed with 99% isopropyl alcohol (also stored in the freezer). The cold temperatures stop the chlorophyll from being extracted along with the THC. Liquid is drained from the solids and allowed to completely evaporate in glass or silicone containers. This leaves a thin layer or extract behind that can be scraped up as-is or further purged with low levels of heat. This method is fairly safe, but the evaporating alcohol can become a fire hazard as flammable gas collects in low-lying areas.
BHO or Butane Honey Oil – Making extracts using butane is a very dangerous technique and can result in flash fires. For that reason, we won’t discuss here. Google at your own risk!
Ice Extraction – Bubble hash is made by placing a series of bubble bags (each one filters to a smaller micron level than the last) in a bucket, filling with trim, ice and water, then agitating the mix to separate the trichomes from the plant material. One by one, the bags are removed and the extracted bubble hash is scraped off the bottoms of the bags. This method can be messy, but it’s safe and results in high-quality concentrates.
Dry Sift – Ever notice all that golden dust in the bottom of your grinder? That kief, my friend, is similar to dry sift hash, but you can use a series of screens, each with a successively smaller micron rating like the bubble bags, to make larger quantities of dry sift hash. If you’re patient, you can separate all the crystals from the plant material and end up with some nice full-melt extract without using any solvents.
Let’s Get Down to Business!
Joints & Bowls – You won’t get the full benefits of vaping if you do this, but it’s perfectly acceptable to top off your bud with a small amount of extract in a joint or bowl.
Dab or Wax Pens – These ecig-like devices are not the most elegant way to dab, but they are the easiest & most affordable way for a first timer to try extracts. A dab pen is a fairly discreet, portable device that includes a battery, a special atomizer, a tube or globe to hold the vapor and a mouthpiece. You basically dab a drop of extract directly on the coil in the atomizer, push the button on the battery until the tube fills with vapor, then gently inhale.
Oil Rigs & Nails – Most oil rigs have a “nail” made of glass, quartz, ceramic or titanium. Some use a dome to trap the vapor, some don’t. The nail is heated with a torch until it’s hot enough to glow, then a dab of extract is placed on the nail to vaporize. If you don’t have an experienced mate to show you how to use your rig, it might take you a few times to get the hang of it.
While you’re at your friendly local head shop, don’t forget to pick up several small glass jars or silicone dab pucks made especially to hold concentrate – nothing sticks to those bad boys. And, you’ll need at least one good dab tool to transfer your extracts to your vape of choice. These stainless steel implements are impossible to miss – they look like they belong in your dentist’s office.
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