The cannabis plant can be processed in a dozen different ways, producing something interesting and useful with each process. These different methods range from processing the plant fibers into hemp material, to completely refining cannabis flowers into golden, crystalline extracts.
What is Cannabis Extract?
A cannabis extract is a chemical reduction that isolates the cannabinoid elements of the plant from the rest of the plant material. A solvent is used to dissolve broken-down cannabis flowers until only the desired THC, CBD, terpenes, and flavonoids remain. This creates an extremely potent variant of cannabis because all of the ‘filler’ of the plant material has been removed.
Difference Between Cannabis Extract and Concentrate
When talking about extracts, a common question raised is “Is this a concentrate?”. From a technical perspective, you could say that extracts are “concentrated” cannabis elements, however, a cannabis concentrate is actually significantly different.
A concentrate is derived from mechanical processes, like ice-water hash, which is concentrated mainly through pressure and exposure to cold – mechanical processes. An extract is derived with use of a solvent – a chemical reaction separates the plant material from the cannabinoid molecules leaving the liquid or crystal extract behind.
The Many Ways to Use Cannabis Extracts
Cannabis extract ranges in consistency from drippy oil, to smooth butter, to brittle shatter. The one thing they all have in common is liquifying and then vaporizing when heated – and mixing well into other substances to make some truly fantastic cannabis experiences. Once you have a cannabis concentrate (or a lovely collection to try), you can enjoy your extract in a surprisingly wide variety of ways.
You can “DIY” your extract products or explore the various ways extracts are used to make infused cannabis products. Without further ado, let’s sate your curiosity and possibly inspire a little DIY baking with the seven ways you can use cannabis extracts.
1. Dab Your Extract in a Dab Rig
The most popular way to make use of cannabis extract is to dab. Dabbing is a connoisseur’s preferred method to toke, involving ornate and beautiful glass rigs designed specially to heat cannabis concentrates and channel the vapor cleanly to the lungs. Start with a dab rig and identify the nail, or the glass cup designed to be heated with a small blow torch. When the nail is glowing hot, drop a tiny dollop (it takes very little for a good high) onto the nail and inhale it through the mouthpiece. This is a direct and clean way to enjoy cannabis concentrates very efficiently. Just be cautious of rolling too large of dab-balls so not to blow through your supply while simultaneously blowing your mind.
2. Vape the Extract in a Vape Pen
Very similar to the dab process is vaping cannabis extracts. Vape rigs, including vape pens and box mods, are designed to electronically heat coils and transfer that heat through a capable material. Liquid vape with e-liquid vaporizes the liquid through a wick; you can make your own cannabis e-liquid with concentrates.
Alternatively, you can get a ‘dab head’ for your vape rig which includes two to four exposed coils. For this method, you will drop your dab ball onto the coils, pop on the cap, then fire up the atomizer. The coils will heat up, melting then vaporizing the dabs inside. The cap will help channel as much of the vapor into your lungs as possible.
3. Cooking Edibles with Cannabis Extract
Cannabis concentrates are the ideal ingredient for making tasty edibles. The most popular way to work cannabis into meals and goodies is to make ‘weed butter’ which is even easier to make with concentrates than starting with leafy buds.
Extracts can be used to make sweets, snacks, and even cannabis-infused beverages. You can buy pre-made edibles that are usually made with extract, or you can make your own edibles at home. Just be sure your recipes don’t involve cooking after you add the cannabis. Too much heat will give your oven the toke instead of you. Instead, make low-heat recipes or add your cannabis ingredient at the end (ex: icing on cupcakes).
4. Infusing Joints and Bowls with Cannabis Extract
For liquid cannabis extract, one of the most enjoyable (yet tricky) methods of enjoyment is enhancing your joint or blunt. When rolling your own or preparing a cone, deposit a line of extract oil down the length of the paper, then fill and roll your joint. When smoking extract-enhanced joints, expect a slightly different burn that may form a runner along the oil line due to a slightly different paper consistency. Joints and blunts can really pack a kick when enhanced with just a little extract.
You can also deposit extract onto a leafy bowl in any kind of pipe or bong you prefer. From dab balls, to shatter sheets, to drops of extract oil, a little glisten of extract on top of your leaf will make your bowls stronger and burn longer.
5. Mix Extracts Into Cannabis Tinctures
The CBD trend introduced tinctures as a method of cannabis enjoyment and some have really taken to the style. If you enjoy high-flavor drops under your tongue to absorb your cannabis, then you can mix your own tinctures using cannabis extracts. Start by choosing your tincture carrying liquid and find an extract that is closer to oil than shatter. Once you’ve selected your liquid carrier, flavor your tincture for that taste bud punch we’ve all come to know, love and enjoy your own homemade cannabis tinctures.
6. Make Your Own Cannabis Topicals and Cosmetics
Another DIY approach is to mix your own cosmetics and topical treatments. Cannabis is often used for topical skin care because it contains a surprising amount of compounds that are good for the skin. Cannabis can also achieve some degree of pain relief, skin soothing, and muscle relaxation for some people who use topical cannabis.
Making your own creams, lotions, soaps, and other cosmetic products allows you to decide how strong your topicals are and every ingredient within. Keep it natural, give it your favorite scents, and boost your topicals with other skin-healthy ingredients.
7. Fill Supplement Capsules with Extract
Finally, you can even make your own cannabis-supplement pills by filling capsules with cannabis extract. Empty gel capsules can be bought in bulk to make your own vitamins and supplements. If you want a subtle (and somewhat unusual) way to enjoy your cannabis extract in public, making capsules is a great option.
Planet 13 Dispensaries
Cannabis extracts are a powerful and versatile way to enjoy your favorite strains of cannabis or start your exploration into the wonderful world of marijuana. Come in and find your favorite products at our Planet 13 locations, or contact us today to chat about your journey and the next strain you want to try. Planet 13 has locations in Las Vegas, as well as a Santa Ana dispensary.