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DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Concentrating on Concentrates 

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Finally, at the beginning of June, Oregon adults were deemed responsible enough to give concentrates and edibles (in small, restricted doses) a try. 

So now, we all can try and figure out what Dabs are. 

Broadly, concentrates are any cannabis product where the cannabinoids (the THC, CBD, CBG and so on) have been extracted from the plant material. 

The oldest form of concentrate is Hash or Hashish, the dry powdery kief that falls off the plant, was originally collected and pressed by Persians since around 900 AD. Back in those days, it was likely eaten, but theses days, most folks smoke it. 

In 2003, Rick Simpson created a homemade way of extracting the canabanoids from the plant by soaking the plant in isopropyl alcohol to treat his skin cancer. The resulting dark oil can then taken orally or applied on the skin. Rick Simpson Oil, or Phoenix’s Tears, are a great option for those who can’t or don’t want to smoke. 

Wildly popular since they entered the market are CO2 cartridges. The oil is extracted in an expensive machine that uses carbon dioxide and pressure to separate the plant materials and extract the oil commonly used in the sleek “vape pens.”

For those who love gadgets, dabs are where it is at. The necessary equipment is a “dab rig,” or as it looks a complicated glass (usually) bong-looking device, a dabber tool (a little metal skewer like tool), and a torch, usually butane. The one end of the “rig” is torched till the glass is glowing molten hot, then let cool for a moment. Then, the dabber tool is used to place a tiny bit of the sticky concentrate onto the hot end, and the user draws in with their breath on the other (not hot) end, the vapor that is created. The vapor at that point has traveled through the rig, cooled in the water that is in there, so it doesn’t burn the lungs. Why go to all this trouble? Some like ceremony of it all, but mostly, because of the potency. The legal limit for recreational concentrates is 1,000 milligrams of THC per container, as opposed to the 15 milligrams found in edibles. 

Some of the concentrates used on a dab rig are products such as Butane Honey Oil, where the canabanoids are extracted by using butane to strip the plant. Many people have found that they don’t want to consume a product that could potentially contain traces of the solvent, so other, solvent-less methods have been developed to create “shatter,” a brittle and opaque looking concentrate, or “wax” (slightly softer) or “budder” (almost like whipped honey butter). All these can be found at dispensaries, but an easy at-home method is to press a marijuana flower between parchment paper with a hot iron or even a hair-straightening iron.  


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