By Luke Sumpter

Modern breeders have done an amazing job maximising the CBD content in cannabis flowers. But, although concentrations of 20% and above hit the mark for most smokers, some CBD lovers are constantly chasing higher and higher levels of the cannabinoid.

Concentrates are nothing new in the cannabis world. In fact, herbal enthusiasts found ways to enhance the cannabis experience thousands of years ago by lumping together as many trichomes as possible. As technology continues to grow in the cannabis field, exponentially more potent concentrates are becoming available on a consistent basis. With CBD in particular being so popular, CBD concentrates offer a whole new way for consumers to benefit from the versatile, non-psychotropic cannabinoid.

What Are CBD Concentrates?

There are a whole host of different CBD concentrates offering a variety of tastes, textures, and effects. These products are created by extracting CBD, terpenes, and other targeted phytochemicals from high-CBD cannabis flowers. By removing these molecules and leaving substances such as chlorophyll, wax, and cellulose behind, the end product contains far superior levels of cannabidiol than any raw flower.

What Types of CBD Concentrates Are There?

Old-school cannabis smokers dreamed of what we have access to in the modern era. The ability to walk into a coffeeshop or dispensary and browse through a catalogue of extracts and hash remains a luxury that we often take for granted.

While some venues might only offer a limited range of CBD concentrates, in reality, there are many different ways in which the cannabinoid can be extracted and turned into substances that can be smoked, vaped, dabbed, or eaten. Check out some of the most popular below.

  • Wax

As a thick, viscous substance, CBD wax goes down particularly well in dab rigs and vapes. Wax features a darker colour than many other concentrates and contains an array of synergistic phytochemicals apart from CBD, including terpenes and flavonoids. Wax also contains other components from the cannabis plant that underpin its unique texture, including natural waxes and sterols.

Manufacturers craft CBD wax using several different extraction techniques. Butane extractions work well to capture the target phytochemicals. However, supercritical CO₂ extraction remains the industry gold-standard for producing clean, high-quality concentrates. The resulting potency is somewhere between ~65–90% CBD, giving consumers great bang for their buck.

  • Budder

As its name suggests, budder shares a similar texture to butter! This creamy and fluffy concentrate can be vaped or dabbed with ease and offers silky smooth hits that go down a treat. Manufacturers create budder by purging CBD extract using high temperatures and increased air pressure, and by whipping the substance vigorously, to remove the solvent. Like wax, budder is usually created via butane or CO₂ extraction; thus, its potency is around the same as well.

  • Crumble

Crumble—another butane/CO₂-derived extract—features a unique texture that many cannabis users enjoy. By removing less moisture from the extract, manufacturers manage to create a similar product to wax. However, the increased water content makes crumble much less viscous and more solid. This texture makes the concentrate easier to handle and less sticky to work with—great for vaporisers.

  • Shatter

Shatter boasts a satisfying consistency that snaps and cracks under pressure. The concentrate is translucent and looks and feels like glass. When exposed to heat, it melts and turns into a honey-like substance ideal for dabbing. Manufacturers avoid agitation and crystallisation post-extraction to create a final product with pleasing aesthetics that connoisseurs love.

  • Live Resin

Live resin stems from buds that are frozen directly after harvest. This cooling process preserves many of the volatile terpenes that otherwise degrade during drying and curing. Creating concentrates from these frozen flowers results in a “live” resin loaded with flavour. This type of concentrate really captures the terpene profile from the flowers used in the process.

Live resin can reach a potency of around 90% cannabinoids, and it's often used in a portable vaporiser to supply high levels of CBD in just a few puffs.

Live Resin
  • CBD Isolate

The process of creating CBD isolate separates CBD from almost everything else in the plant. High-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) passes CBD extract through a column that isolates CBD from the array of other molecules. This method creates 99% pure CBD crystals alongside minimal levels of terpenes for a potent cannabinoid experience.

CBD Isolate

What Are the Benefits of CBD Concentrates?

So, how do CBD concentrates weigh up against plain old flowers? Well, it turns out that dosing more CBD at any one time comes with some great benefits. Check them out below.

What Are the Benefits of CBD Concentrates?

  • Reduces Feelings of Nervousness

CBD can help to reduce feelings of nervousness and allow people to feel at ease. Taking CBD throughout the day helps to tame the nerves and becomes especially helpful before important meetings and events. Using CBD concentrates amplifies the effects of CBD flower thanks to such high levels of the cannabinoid alongside synergistic terpenes.

  • Exerts Soothing Effects

CBD exerts a soothing effect on the body that helps users unwind after long days and hard workouts. Opting for concentrates will maximise this restorative effect and create much more prolonged and noticeable results. As such, using CBD concentrates is a great way to harness the physical benefits of the cannabinoid, without getting high in the process.

  • Enhances Mental Clarity

Unlike THC, CBD does not have an adverse effect on mental clarity. On the contrary, you can expect a lucid, serene feeling after hitting a vape or dab of CBD concentrate. The effects plunge the mind into the present moment and encourage a productive, meditative, and relaxed mindset.

  • Ultra-Discreet

CBD concentrates used in vaporisers or edibles are discreet and great for enjoying on-the-go. Vaping CBD looks no more suspect than vaping nicotine, and no one will bat an eye if they see you unwrapping a CBD-filled treat.

  • Good Value for Money

Ultimately, CBD concentrates offer superb value for money when it comes to CBD content. Compared to CBD flower, concentrates give you a lot more of the cannabinoid in far less material, potentially helping you save money over time.

How to Use CBD Concentrates

CBD users have a variety of choices when it comes to administering their concentrates. Unlike smoking, most of these options preserve the terpene profile and really help the tastes of the concentrate shine through. Furthermore, a lack of combustion makes for a safe, often more enjoyable experience.

How to Use CBD Concentrates

  • Vaping

Vaporisers use convection or conduction heating, or both, to heat up CBD concentrates. Instead of combusting the material, these systems simply heat it up to the point at which CBD and terpenes begin to evaporate. This creates a gentle, smooth, and extremely tasty hit. Some vaporisers even allow you to select specific temperature settings to harness particular terpenes and benefit from the entourage effect.

  • Dabbing

Dabbing involves placing a dose of CBD extract on a red-hot nail and inhaling the resulting vapor. This method allows users to intake a large amount of CBD in one go, resulting in swift, more noticeable effects. Although dabbing is typically used to enjoy THC-rich concentrates, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying CBD in this way.

  • Edibles

When it comes to CBD edibles, your creativity is the limit. Use concentrates to add CBD to drinks, soups, cake, brownies, and more. Unlike using CBD flower, the flavour of the resulting edible will likely be much more enjoyable, and the dose more consistent. Though the effects of edibles take longer to set in, you’ll feel them for much longer than if you had dabbed or vaped.

Are There Any Risks to CBD Concentrates?

CBD is widely considered safe and non-toxic. The World Health Organisation deemed the cannabinoid to be well-tolerated and without potential for addiction, though they did mention the potential for some side effects and drug interactions. While the side effects are usually mild, they are still worth considering. Some of the most common are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhoea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue

Because concentrates offer much higher doses of CBD than flower, the chances of experiencing side effects may increase in some users.

Should You Try CBD Concentrates?

If you love CBD, we recommend giving CBD concentrates a go. Since they won’t get you high, you don’t have to worry about taking too much at once. Still, you should have a good grasp of how you tolerate CBD flower or CBD oil before trying out concentrates like wax and shatter. Once you know your dosing “sweet spot”, using concentrates serves as an excellent way to intake large amounts of CBD in a small volume of material.

External Resources:
  1. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain
  2. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors
  3. A Critical Review of the Antipsychotic Effects of Cannabidiol: 30 Years of a Translational Investigation - PubMed
  4. Cannabidiol as potential anticancer drug
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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