Sauce is a cannabis extract with a sticky, liquid consistency. Sauce extractions are known for high levels of terpenes, which give them incredibly robust flavor profiles.
Sauce is typically produced using a unique process designed to create a two-component final product: cannabinoid-rich crystals with high levels of THC suspended in terpene-rich oil.
More about sauce
Cannabis extracts are often named for their appearance, texture, color, and malleability. This is why you'll see extracts with names like shatter, badder, crumble, sugar, and oil.
Sauce is no different. This extract's unique combination of crystals plus terp sauce gives it a viscous consistency similar to marmalade.
Beyond consistency, sauce is recognized for its isolated cannabinoids and high terpene content. Because the terpenes and cannabinoids have been separated from one another, they may not be evenly distributed throughout the final product. As a result, two different dabs from the same sauce may deliver two very different terpene and cannabinoid levels and thus two different experiences.
How sauce is made: the basics
The extraction process is roughly the same as that for making other solvent-based extracts. Like other concentrates, solvents used for making sauce include butane, propane, ethanol, and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2).
Sauce can be made using either cured or fresh frozen flower, harvested from any marijuana strains. If sauce is made from cured flower, it will generally have fewer terps. And if sauce is made from fresh flower that's been frozen, it is technically a type of "live resin" and will generally have a stronger flavor profile.
How does making sauce differ from other extracts?
The central goal of making sauce is to allow the major cannabinoids, especially THC, to crystallize and separate from the terpenes. This makes sauce quite different from other extracts.
While extracts like shatter, budder, or wax aim to keep cannabinoids and terps fully integrated and uniform in color, texture, and potency, sauce exhibits varying levels of uniformity while still fulfilling its intended purpose — high potency and flavor.
The solvent removal process takes much longer with sauce than with other extracts. While making shatter typically involves purging most of the solvent in a closed-loop system and immediately placing the extract into a vacuum oven for 24 to 72 hours to remove all residual solvents, the process for making sauce can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks to complete. That's because rather than purging out all solvent at once, sauce producers purposefully leave solvent in the mixture for a longer time, to allow THCA or CBDA compounds to crystallize.
Additionally, extraction technicians manipulate the temperatures used throughout the process to control how long it takes for residual solvents to evaporate to create small or large crystals.
When the process is complete, and all solvents have finally evaporated, extraction producers are left with the final product: sauce which contains a combination of crystals rich in cannabinoids and oil rich in terps.
What is live resin sauce?
Live resin sauce is made from fresh plant material that was frozen immediately after harvest, rather than dried and cured flowers, thereby leaving intact higher levels of terpenes. For this reason, consumers who prioritize terps and flavor tend to like this type of sauce more than other concentrates.
What is live rosin sauce?
Live rosin sauce is made from fresh frozen plant material in a two-part process that starts with sieving the fresh frozen plants in liquid nitrogen to create dry sift, then pressing the resulting sift at low temperatures.
The terp-rich concentrate is placed under conditions that promote crystallization, to allow cannabinoids like THC to separate from the rest of the concentrate. Live rosin does not use solvents, but the end product is roughly the same as that of solvent-based sauce.
Common sauce products
Depending on the size of the cannabinoid crystals and the overall consistency of the sauce, the crystals, also referred to as diamonds, can be completely separated from the terpene-rich sauce. This process is sometimes referred to as diamond mining.
Terp sauce is usually composed of more than 50% terpenes, though all minor compounds from the extracted plant are still present and contribute to its effects. Terp sauce is sometimes packaged in vape cartridges. These cartridges are called sauce carts.
Because the distillation process employed to make distillate for vape cartridges removes all of the natural plant terpenes, some extractors will blend terp sauce with raw distillate to produce strain-specific vape cartridges. The goal of a strain-specific vape cartridge is to reintroduce the flavor and effects of the original strain back into the final extract.
Is all sauce full-spectrum?
While its exact definition remains a highly debated topic, the term full spectrum refers to a cannabis extract that retains the original composition of compounds present in the cannabis plant's trichomes, minus the fats, waxes, and lipids that hold them together.
Because most extraction processes tend to remove, or denature, some of these compounds, full-spectrum is used to designate extraction processes that leave all chemicals intact, most importantly all cannabinoids and terpenes.
Not all sauce successfully retains all compounds in the final product, so not all sauce is full spectrum.
What do HTFSE and HCFSE mean?
Full-spectrum sauce from cured plant material falls into one of two categories: HTFSE (high terpene full-spectrum extracts) or HCFSE (high cannabinoid full-spectrum extracts).
HTFSE is the liquid-like portion of sauce that always contains more than 50% terpenes. The HCFSE portion of sauce consists mainly of cannabinoid crystals surrounded by some terp sauce.
Frequently asked questions
What are sauce carts?
Sauce cartridges are vape pen cartridges filled with sauce. All carts are used for vaping, and include some type of cannabis concentrate, but sauce carts contain sauce specifically.
Are saucey carts real?
Yes, "saucey carts" are real, but they may or may not be sauce cartridges.
Unlike the more generic term sauce cart, which refers to any cartridge containing sauce, Saucey carts are specific to the brand Saucey Farms.
What is a live sauce cartridge?
A live sauce cartridge is a cart filled with live resin sauce, as opposed to a cart filled with regular sauce.
What are sauce pens?
Sauce pens are any vape pens that vaporize sauce instead of any other type of cannabis concentrate.
In general, sauce is known for its high terpene content, which makes it an incredibly flavorful concentrate.