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Meds Concentrate Misconceptions


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Shattering 4 misconceptions about cannabis concentrates

The public perception of cannabis has improved dramatically over the past several years. People now more than ever are beginning to explore and learn about what the plant has to offer. But unfortunately, not all cannabis products have received the same warm embrace that the plant itself has.

Perhaps the most misunderstood and often misrepresented cannabis products are concentrates. Wax, shatter, dabs, oil, and resin are just some of the concentrates on the market, and some media outlets have likened these to hard narcotics such as crack cocaine.

Perpetuating misconceptions about cannabis concentrates damages retailers, consumers, and curious outsiders by spreading misinformation about a well-regulated and safe product that can be manufactured and consumed responsibly and without a great deal of risk.

The truth is, there are many misconceptions about cannabis concentrates. Here we’ll shed some light on them.

Misconception #1: Smoking Concentrates Is Inherently Unsafe

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The Extraction Process
Even though it doesn’t look like flower, a concentrate is still cannabis. With concentrates, the desired element isn’t the green plant material itself, but the oil and resin stored in the trichomes on the surface of buds. These include, but aren’t limited to, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, and the terpenes responsible for providing the flavor and aroma of that particular strain.

A cannabis concentrate is made by extracting the resin from the plant matter, leaving behind a “concentrated mass” of cannabinoids and terpenes. Processes include using diluting agents or solvents such as butane or propane, which must be purged before the concentrate is safe to consume. This is standard across all legal markets. Concentrates can also be made through solventless means.

Concentrates aren’t deadly, as they are nothing more than a concentrated form of the constituents contained in the plant. How concentrates are manufactured and what is contained in them is heavily regulated by the legal marketplaces they exist in.


There is a great deal of misconception around the safety of using cannabis concentrates as well. Many claim that the use of torches or blistering hot nails likens the practice of dabbing to doing hard narcotics like crack cocaine.

This is not true. With proper instruction and guidance, the use of these tools isn’t any more dangerous than operating a stovetop. Furthermore, there are many ways to enjoy cannabis concentrates without ever having to use a torch or nail. Concentrates can be used to make edibles, or they can be mixed in with flower to heighten the euphoric experience.

It’s important to know that although cannabis concentrates are safe, it is always important to source these products within regulated markets and by licensed producers and retailers who must adhere to strict guidelines. This is the only way to ensure you get a safe, tested product.

Be sure to educate yourself on a product or consumption method before taking part to ensure the safety of it. This includes learning to use the tools involved as well as understanding how to dose correctly.

Misconception #2: Cannabis Concentrates Give a Stronger Euphoric Experience Than Flower

It is often assumed that cannabis concentrates have elevated levels of THC, and that they will get you more high than smoking the same equivalent in joints.

If you consume an equal amount of cannabinoids through flower as through concentrates, your body will process them the same. The difference is that a little bit of concentrate is the same as a lot more flower. Concentrates have potency levels in the 45 – 99.99% range, whereas flower has potency levels between 10 – 30%. Safely dosing (or titrating) is important.

Potency levels and chemotype profiles vary in both concentrates and flowers. It’s important to understand how to properly read a cannabis package label and to use that information to safely dose a cannabis product, no matter what form it’s in.

Misconception #3: Concentrates Are Full of Harmful Chemicals

A major misconception revolves around the potential dangers of using solvents for extracting and manufacturing cannabis concentrates.

Many extract manufacturers rely on chemical solvents such as butane, propane, or hexane to produce extracts such as shatter, wax, and various oils. These solvents tend to have a stigma around them because of their volatile nature—some can be highly explosive on their own—and partly to their controversial history of being used unsafely to produce extracts in an unregulated environment.

Today, all markets that allow for the manufacturing of these concentrates have strict regulations dictating how solvents are used, how much solvent can be left over in a final product, and information is presented to consumers through labelling and packaging.

Dangerous practices have no place in a regulated market. Volatile chemicals used in poorly ventilated or otherwise unsafe extraction conditions can lead to injury. These chemicals must be handled by properly trained professionals in safe and sterile laboratory environments.

If a product is available on the shelf of a licensed cannabis retailer, it should be just as safe to consume as any other product on the shelf, according to the regulatory body that oversees it. This applies to all solvents and all product, i.e. wax, shatter, oil, etc.

Misconception #4: Making Concentrates at Home Is Unsafe

Using volatile solvents such as butane, propane, hexane, or any other hydrocarbon to extract a concentrate outside of a state-regulated laboratory is never and will never be safe. DO NOT attempt to use these potentially dangerous chemicals at home.

There are several ways to make cannabis concentrates that don’t involve the use of hydrocarbon solvents. With a little bit of knowledge and some inexpensive tools, you can safely produce solventless hash at home, outside of a laboratory setting.

These methods include:

All three of these techniques can be performed safely at home with little risk of injury. They do not require dangerous chemicals to produce, nor do they require advanced and expensive machinery. You do not have to have an advanced degree to produce these fine concentrates, and mastering these techniques can be fairly simple.

Dry sifting is accomplished by rubbing cannabis flower and stems through finer and finer meshes of micron screens on to some parchment paper. The trichomes will break off from the plant material and fall through the micron screen onto a surface where it can be collected and cleaned for consumption.

Ice-water extracts can be produced using cold water as a solvent to remove trichomes from plant material. In many methods, this procedure is accomplished by using various micron bags that are designed to match the size of different trichomes. Cold water is introduced to the material as it sits in the bags. As the water passes through each bag, it removes impurities and leaves behind high-quality concentrated trichomes in a paste that can be dried and enjoyed.

Rosin pressing uses a combination of pressure and temperature to squeeze oil out of flower. As a relatively new technique in the solventless extract field, rosin has seen many great advances over the last five years. Its popularity stems from the fact that with very little overhead, anybody can effectively produce a full melt hash oil using standard household hardware.

Extraction experts debunk 4 myths associated with marijuana processing​

Published 11 hours ago | By Kristen Nichols

Image of extraction equipment, process

(Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series about common myths in the cannabis industry. Read about common cultivation myths here and common lighting myths here.)
Cannabis extractors operate with scarce scientific resources or standards to consult, and much of their know-how is gained via word-of-mouth or from other industries.
Manufacturers on all levels of the THC spectrum have had to adapt techniques from food, pharmaceutical and even perfume companies to bring extracted cannabinoids to market.
“There was a lot of misleading information years and years ago, when we were all self-taught and the internet wasn’t as robust,” said Nate Ferguson, co-founder of Jetty Extracts in Oakland, California.

“You had to figure it out for yourself, and other extractors always liked to lead you down the wrong path because they would get so competitive.”
So it comes as no surprise that some cannabis processing methods are grounded more in habit than fact.
We caught up with some extraction experts to get their takes on the most persistent myths in cannabis processing – plus their takes on new technology that might not be ready for prime time.

MYTH 1: Stems + hot alcohol = hash.
There are still people out there trying to make hash using marijuana stems and hot isopropyl alcohol. Let us just put all that down to say they will fail.
Hash was originally made using mechanical separation of the trichomes (rolling in hands, beating with sticks, shaking in bags, etc.), not by boiling sticks in isopropyl alcohol.
I still don’t know why people think this will work – there’s hardly any THC in stems to begin with. Such is life.
– Tiffany Coleman, founder, Cassin Consulting, Lansing, Michigan

MYTH 2: Baking sorbents helps.
They do this to remove water that is adsorbed in sorbents (materials used to adsorb or absorb liquids or gases), because they believe the water prevents the chlorophyll from being able to attach to the sorbents’ surface.
What the water is actually doing is degumming the oil and improving its overall clarity by hydrating the hydratable phospholipids to allow them to further break down and be easily removed by the sorbents.
When they bake them, they are driving their bleaching process in a negative direction. These sorbents are loaded with a specific moisture content by the manufacturer for a good reason.
– Jorge Sanchez, co-founder, ChemTek, San Diego

MYTH 3: Leftover ethanol concentrates are unsafe.
When it comes to ethanol and hydrocarbon extraction, there’s often a fear of leftover solvent (ethanol or butane) in the finished product. People are concerned that it’s unsafe, even from facilities that take precautions.
The way these are purged – with the solvents placed under heat and vacuum agitation – after a given amount of time, the traces detected are well below the required threshold of parts per million.
Although there are trace amounts of alcohol in many things we encounter in everyday life, there are far less in extracts that have been exposed to heat and vacuum procedures.
These leftover concentrates are safe and validated by the vigorous quality-assurance testing done before the release of these products.
– Adam Chambers, product specialist, Prospiant, San Francisco

MYTH 4: You can’t get pesticides out of concentrates.
There is a myth that you cannot remove heavy metals or pesticides from concentrates.
The truth is, anything is possible given the appropriate solvents with liquid-to-liquid extraction or by utilizing activated filters, like activated carbon and running your tincture through this. That’s how they do it in lots of places.
And I’m convinced that people who have been doing it the old-school way – who winterized using micron filters and activated carbon – were doing this without even knowing that was the purpose.
Sure, it also helps pull out color and trap lipids, but it does so much more as well.
– Tiffany Coleman

NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME: Ultrasonic-assisted extraction.
The idea is to apply ultrasonic energy to the plant material while being extracted with a solvent (it doesn’t matter what the solvent is).
The ultrasonic energy is theorized to enhance the extraction by vibrating the plant matter, allowing the solvent to penetrate faster and/or remove more oil for a more complete extraction.
While the method has been proven to be feasible, all of the tests are on a small scale.
Utilizing it at a scale needed for marijuana or hemp is impractical, if not impossible.
– Andy Joseph, founder, Apeks Supercritical (now Prospiant), Youngstown, Ohio

We do ultrasonic (extraction), but we only do it at small scale. … It’s not our workhorse, and essentially it’s a way we can be a little more efficient in our processes.
It increases efficiency, absolutely … (but) I haven’t been approached to buy any large-scale ultrasonic equipment.
– Nate Ferguson

NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME: Color-remediation columns.
People think you can run inferior product through a CRC (color-remediation column) and it will be more appealing to the consumer.
But at the end of the day, the product is not better.
We don’t do it, and that becomes something you can sell against.
We’re not trying to hide old material by using CRC.
– Hunter Neubauer, CEO, Oregrown, Bend, Oregon
Kristen Nichols can be reached at kristen.nichols@hempindustrydaily.com.

Does Color Indicate Concentrate Quality?

Many people want to know how to pick out the best dabs. Some concentrate connoisseurs will tell you that top-quality concentrates have a bright golden color. At the same time, others might tell you that color doesn’t matter. So the question remains, does color indicate concentrate quality?

The short answer is no. Color does not indicate the quality of concentrates. This goes the same for cannabis concentrates like wax, sugar, and budder. It also goes for concentrates of other plants, like olive oils. Experts in the olive oil industry tell us that color does not provide an accurate reading of oil quality. The color of olive oil can differ depending on many factors. These can include everything from the type of olives used, to when they were harvested. [1]

The same goes for cannabis, but there are some caveats. Some extraction companies will use color remediation techniques to alter the color of their concentrates. These techniques are used to clean concentrates by removing pesticides, heavy metals, toxins, and any other harmful compounds. However, they can also be used to lighten the color of poor-quality material. [2]

Altering the color of the product benefits concentrate companies because most consumers are under the assumption that clearer oils mean cleaner products. It isn’t true, but because consumers are more likely to purchase lighter-colored concentrates, some companies will alter the color of their oil.

This doesn’t mean every light or golden-colored concentrate has been through color remediation. It just means that you can’t use the color of a concentrate as a way to judge its quality. The cannabis industry can take notes from the olive oil industry regarding the importance of oil color.

Companies should educate consumers about the different factors that can affect oil color. They should also focus on being transparent as possible about where their products are sourced from. Details about where and how plants are cultivated, harvested, and stored before extraction can be some of the best indicators of concentrate quality.


1- Does an Olive Oil’s Color Tell You Quality? No. But It May Tell You Other Things. California Olive Ranch. 2022. https://californiaoliveranch.com/do...-quality-no-but-it-may-tell-you-other-things/

2- A Color Remediation Cartridges (CRC) for BHO Concentrates. Luna Technologies. 2022. https://blog.lunatechequipment.com/color-remediation

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