What You Need to Know about Cannabis Extracts

    Posted by Diane Campbell on Apr 6, 2015 12:30:00 PM


    With the growing legalization of marijuana, concentrates have proliferated on the market and enjoyed a boom in popularity. With all of the new varieties available, however, it can be hard for someone new to the world of cannabis extracts to know where to start. Understanding the basic differences among the different types of concentrates will help you make a choice that will best fit your preferences for consumption, effect, and purity.

    Cannabis Extracts 

    Color & Consistency

    The most obvious differences among the different kinds of marijuana concentrates are their color and consistency. Cannabis extracts can be found in a variety of consistencies and colors that range from black to blonde. Color can be an indicator of quality, and different consistencies lend themselves to different modes of consumption.

    Kief, which is simply trichomes (resin glands) that have been removed from the dried herb, is powdery and can appear blonde to green, depending upon how much plant material is shaken loose with the trichomes. Generally speaking, the purest kief will have the lightest color. Kief is easy to sprinkle on top of bud in a bowl or mix into a joint, and it can be pressed to form the simplest type of hash.

    Bubble hash is another simple hash that is also essentially pressed trichomes. What makes it “bubble hash” is the use of ice water to extract the oils from the plant.

    Hash oil has a consistency that is similar to honey and is also referred to as honey oil. Hash oil can be black to blonde. As with kief, a lighter color typically indicates better quality. Hash oil can be drizzled over bud to enhance its potency, or it can be dabbed, vaporized, or consumed as an edible. If the hash oil has not be decarboxylated, then it needs to be heated in order to be psychoactive as an edible.

    Waxes and budders are actually forms of hash oil. The product is whipped during the final stages of the process, adding air and creating a waxy or smooth golden or amber product that is easier to handle than traditional hash oil. They are best dabbed or vaporized. 

    Shatter, named for its glassy appearance and fragile texture, is a highly refined form of cannabis oil that contains less plant material than the other varieties. It is gold to amber in color and best consumed in a vaporizer or by dabbing.


    Extraction Method

    Concentrates can be made either through a physical process (kief and bubble hash) or use of solvents. Typically, oils, waxes, and shatters are made using some type of solvent, although solventless waxes (such as “ice wax”) are now available.

    Butane, CO2, hexane, isopropyl alcohol, and ethanol are commonly used solvents for making cannabis concentrates. Many users prefer CO2 extraction because CO2 is completely nontoxic and environmentally friendly. Other solvents are less expensive to use than CO2, but the producer must take great care to remove all residue from these solvents before the product reaches the consumer. Always make sure that your concentrates have been lab tested to ensure that it is free of solvent residue. For more detailed information about extraction methods, solvent removal, and lab testing, see the Cannlabs website. They provide a great synopsis of the science, pros, and cons of each method.



    In general, the different forms of marijuana extracts are similar in that they are all concentrated forms of cannabis, which means they are highly potent. Because it is more highly refined, shatter tends to be the strongest among the concentrates. What influences the effect most is the type of marijuana from which it is derived. Indicas deliver more relaxing, full-body effects and are commonly used to treat insomnia, anxiety, pain, and muscle spasms. Sativas, on the other hand, tend to provide more uplifting, cerebral effects that can stimulate creativity and are often used for treating ADD, fatigue, depression, and other mood disorders. Indica-sativa hybrids combine the effects of both of these strains.

    CBD (cannabidiol) content also influences the effect of marijuana and its concentrates. Many medical patients specifically seek out high-CBD cannabis products because CBD offers medicinal benefits without psychoactive effects. CBD has also been found to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, making it particularly desirable for those who want marijuana medicine without a pronounced high.[1]


    Nature’s Gift Shop in Pueblo West carries a wide range of marijuana concentrates, ranging from simple kief to cutting-edge CO2-extracted oil. Come in to check out our current selection of cannabis extracts, vaporizers, oil rigs, and more. Our welcoming staff is always happy to answer your questions and help you make an informed choice that fits your personal preferences. While you're here, pick up a $9.95 gram of the bud of your choice. Just click the link below for a downloadable coupon.

    Choose Your Gram  

    The Nature’s Gift Shop blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice a qualified health care provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of anything you read on this website.

    [1] "5 Must-Know Facts about Cannabidiol (CBD)." Leaf Science. 23 Feb 2014. Web. 1 April 2015. 

    Photo credit: Andres Rodriguez

    Topics: concentrates