Monthly Archives: March 2016

Let’s Talk Dabs – Dangerous or Dang-Near Perfect?

shatter

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.

Dabbing Essentials

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.

Want to know more? Check out these pages:

  • http://www.hightimes.com/watch/concentrate-basics-shatter-budder-and-oil
  • http://www.hightimes.com/read/tricks-tips-make-full-melt-dry-sift-hash
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIUhDt9Ky5w
  • https://www.everyonedoesit.com/blog/an-a-z-guide-to-dabbing-terminology-part-one/

THC-Generating Yeast? No Way!

thcbread

Yeast is all around us. It’s in the bread we eat, the beer we drink & so much wild yeast is floating in the air that you can create a base for sourdough bread just by letting your ingredients sit out for a day or two. Now, scientists have found a way to turn this ubiquitous, single-celled organism into a THC-making machine!

Don’t get too excited – not any pack of baker’s or brewer’s yeast will do the trick. You need a genetically modified version of the Pichia pastoris strain that’s typically used in research & bioengineering projects.

WHY: Natural THC produced by yeast would give researchers & patients a cheap, consistent & affordable source that’s better than synthetic THC and doesn’t involve all the complicated legal restrictions that come with cultivating cannabis. Researchers are also using yeast to produce CBD as well as a variety of other cannabinoids, terpenes & opiates.

HOW: You can go as in-depth into the research as you want by reading the actual study & what the New York Times had to say, but we’ve summed it up for you: Scientists have added DNA from other organisms to yeast (yes, they’re GMO) so that they produce the same enzymes as cannabis plants. Then, they feed them the precursor to THC (cannabigerolic acid). Next, the yeast use the previously mentioned enzymes to turn those precursors into actual THC. The goal is to continue modifying this yeast strain until the process starts with feeding simple sugars to the yeast, just like making alcohol.

WHERE IT IS NOW: Right now, scientists can only squeeze miniscule amounts of THC & CBD from large quantities of yeast, but they’re hard at work and progress is being made at an astounding rate.

WHERE IT COULD GO: They’re not there yet, but this could be the first step to large-scale, industrial cannabinoid production. When you consider how much cured bud goes into a single dose of Rick Simpson Oil or how much CBD an epileptic child may need to live symptom free, a cheap, readily available source or medicine that insurance would most likely cover could be a godsend, a literal life saver, for those who are in dire need but don’t have access or funds to get the treatment they need. On a lighter note, this could also be a cheap source of dabs for poor stoners if recreational cannabis is legalized on a widespread basis.

The Gorilla’s Thoughts: Cannabis is, and always will be, an all-natural product where the sum of the parts will never be equal to the whole. Lab-produced medicines have their place, and we applaud these researchers for work that could alleviate suffering, save lives and improve the quality of life for millions around the globe.

However, yeast, no matter how glorious, will never take the place of the magical herb known as cannabis that has served the needs of humankind throughout history. We’ll keep our flowers, thank you!