Cannabis Concentrates – What’s inside extraction based cannabis products?

As cannabis legalization has unfolded over these last months, the visibility and popularity of cannabis concentrates has increased exponentially. You might have heard them by other names such as hash, dabs, wax, and shatter among others. These concentrates offer different benefits to medical and recreational users alike when compared to traditional cannabis use. One of the main stated benefits is that they do not need to be traditionally smoked to receive the same benefits.

Concentrates are currently not very well defined and encompass a wide range of different products, but they generally refer to any cannabis product that is created through an extraction process. This process normally uses some type of solvent to release cannabis compounds that are then concentrated in another medium. The most commonly used solvents are butane, ethanol, and CO2.

Let’s briefly review the main types of concentrates. If you would like to know more details you can check out Leafly:

Hash: One of the oldest cannabis concentrates, hash is the compressed kief of the cannabis flowers. It is produced primarily with cold water or ethanol.

BHO (Butane Hash Oil): BHO is among the most potent concentrates available and is used in many dabbing or vaporizing utilizations. The Butane extraction process can bring THC potency up to 80%.

CO2 Oil: Also extremely popular for vaporizer users and in particular vape pens, this relatively new process is very effective at reducing cannabis to essential compounds. CO2 cartridges typically contain CO2 oil and the medical grade solvent polypropylene glycol.

RSO (Rick Simpson Oil): Named after the man who developed it to treat his skin cancer, this oil can be applied orally or to the skin. It originally was derived from hemp so there are versions with and without THC.

Tincture: Tincture is a liquid concentrate done through alcohol extraction that is normally administered under the tongue.

When reviewing these types of products from the perspective of organic, one can see some areas of promise and some areas of concern. Cold pressed hash for example, would offer no additional concern to organic consumers as the only ingredient in its production is ice water. BHO on the other hand, can have trace amounts of butane in it if the extraction process was not done correctly. Even if done in the right way, some organic consumers would still want to avoid it entirely.

The same oversight and guidance that we want to bring to cannabis cultivation should also apply to all concentrates ingested by consumers. Especially with regards to medical patients, the cannabis products that they buy should be as pure and clean as possible. Concentrates merely represent an additional refining phase to existing cannabis products.

Many questions remain as to how all of these components interact. Would organic cannabis concentrate products be more effective on patients from a medical perspective? Would cannabis treated with pesticide and inorganic fertilizers have compounded adverse health effects when combined with trace amounts of butane or other solvents? Here at OCA, we want to help provide you with answers to these questions and many more. What concerns do you have about concentrates? How do you see organic agriculture fitting within this equation? Add your voice to the dialogue by contacting us or joining our mailing list. Together we can create a future of organic cannabis options!

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