A cannabis extract is a concentrate produced with the use of a solvent. “Extract” and “concentrate” are sometimes used interchangeably, though this is technically incorrect. Not all concentrates are extracts, but all extracts are concentrates. The most common solvents used to make a cannabis extract include butane, propane, ethanol, and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2).
What is cannabis extract?
A cannabis extract is a specific type of cannabis concentrate. While concentrates can be made through both various mechanical processes and the use of a solvent, extracts are unique because they are made exclusively through the use of a solvent.
Details of the extraction process differ slightly based on the specific solvent being used. In general, the process involves combining cannabis plant materials with another chemical or substance in such a way that all the cannabinoids are stripped away from the plant matter. The plant matter is then separated from the cannabinoid-infused solvent, and the solvent is evaporated away or removed through some other mechanism What's left behind is a mass of highly-concentrated cannabinoids.
Types of cannabis extracts
Under the extracts definition outlined above, there are many different cannabis extract types and forms. Typically, cannabis extracts are named for their textures, which can range from liquid cannabis oil extracts to a dry, crumbly THC extract such as crumble. Some extracts are named after their specific extraction process. Here are some of the most common cannabis extracts on the market today:
- Crumble - a dry, crumbly cannabis extract.
- Wax - a cannabis extract with a relatively sticky, stretchy texture.
- Shatter - a cannabis extract with a brittle, easily snapped final texture.
- Budder - typically made using butane, budder is also “whipped” until it takes on a texture similar to butter
Other cannabis extracts are named for the extraction process used to create them. These include products like:
- Live Resin - one of the more recent appearances on the scene, live resin is extracted from fresh, raw plants instead of dried cannabis plant matter.
- ISO Hash - a cannabis extract produced with the use of isopropyl alcohol or ethanol serving as the solvent.
- Butane Hash Oil (BHO) - a cannabis extract made by using butane as the solvent.
- CO2 Oil - a cannabis extract made through the use of compressed CO2.
- Tincture - tinctures are technically an extract, as they use alcohol to pull out cannabinoids from plant matter to make a super potent concentrate.
How to use cannabis extracts
Most cannabis extracts must be consumed by dabbing. This requires a dab rig and a heating source, such as a torch. In short, consumers heat the nail of a dab rig and place a chunk of cannabis extract onto the hot nail where it will vaporize. From there, users pull the vapor through a water pipe and inhale the super-potent, cannabinoid-rich vapor. Edible or drinkable extracts like tinctures are much simpler—users simply eat them, drink them, or take them sublingually beneath the tongue.