What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Photo credit: Seed Supreme

The beautiful thing about the cannabis plant is its level of diversity. There’s always more than one way to enjoy it’s therapeutic benefits. 

Cannabis concentrates are incredibly popular and load the shelves of most recreational and medical dispensaries. And there’s good reason for it. Anyone who’s smoked concentrates will tell you just how potent these extracts can be. 

Before diving deep into the various types of concentrates, let’s go over what they are and how they’re made. 

What are cannabis concentrates?

Concentrates are concentrated masses made of cannabinoids and terpenes with high levels of THC and/or CBD. These chemical compounds decorate the cannabis flower in brilliant crystal structures, AKA trichomes. This part of the plant is how extraction technicians create cannabis concentrates

How do you make concentrates?

There tends to be some confusion in understanding the difference between an extract and a concentrate. What sets them apart is how they’re made. 

Creating cannabis extracts always requires the use of solvents, but concentrates can be made through both mechanical separation and chemical extraction, i.e. with solvents. Weedmaps puts it best, “While all extracts are concentrates, not all concentrates are extracts.”

Physical Separation

Mechanical separation is also called physical separation. This involves physically removing the trichomes using methods like sieving, or with heat and pressure to squeeze all of the cannabinoids and terpenes out of the plant. Ice-water extraction is another common practice. 

Chemical Extraction

Solvent-based extractions are highly efficient and are the preferred choice for most cannabis companies. The four main solvents used are butane, propane, ethanol, and carbon dioxide (CO2). 

Think of it like this: the solvents help ‘wash off’ the trichomes and all the other beneficial cannabis compounds, leaving behind nothing but naked trim and flower. Another process is then performed to remove the solvent from the extract so it’s safe to consume. 

Just how many cannabis concentrates are there?

The concentrate menu is filled with products created from different strains in various forms. There’s even ones made solely of CBD.

With so many concentrates to try, you’re bound to find one that can provide the relief you’re looking for. Here’s a complete list of the cannabis concentrates available to you!


Shatter has a hard-candy consistency resembling amber-colored glass. As its name implies, the material will easily shatter and break apart into little pieces. Cannabis experts believe shatter is the purest concentrate. It’s made through butane extraction and then filtered again to ensure a high potency level. 


Wax almost looks like actual candle wax and is light-yellow or gold in color. It usually has a gooey texture, but it can be more brittle by altering the extraction process. You’ll more than likely need some kind of dabbing tool to handle the wax since it can be super sticky. 


This is what you get when wax is made to be dryer and resembles actual honeycomb. The consistency changes based on the heat and moisture levels used during extraction. 


Rosin is a solventless concentrate that uses heat and pressure to squeeze the cannabis buds. This produces a thick, sappy stream of gold that’s chalk full of aromas and terpenes. 

Live Resin

This concentrate has quickly become a favorite for people who like to dab or vape their cannabis. Live resin is extracted from cannabis that has been immediately frozen after being harvested, which preserves as much of the natural terpenes as possible. It’s terpene content is even higher than shatter and rosin.


Budder has a soft texture that resembles cake batter or butter. It also has a high terpene profile and a ton of THC. Some results show it can be as high as 80%! Budder falls under the wax category and most certainly the creamiest of the waxes.


Hash is an old school concentrate made from kief, or dry resin. The kief that’s collected is then pressed into a block and is usually brown, green, or sandy colored. Hash is still more potent than regular whole flower and can be smoked alone, but is often mixed in with other bud.


Distillate is a cannabis oil that can be mixed in with edibles, topicals, and cannabis products, or taken on its own. The extract is stripped of any and all compounds except for one. This is normally either THC or CBD. Although the terpenes and other cannabinoids are removed, distillate can still be highly potent. 


Crystalline is similar to distillate where it’s a concentrate that consists of only one kind of cannabinoid. These are either THCA, CBDA, or CBD as these are the only cannabinoids that can take on a crystallized form. While these don’t give you a real high, crystalline is typically added to edible recipes. However, dabbing THCA will give you an intoxicating effect. 

How should you consume cannabis concentrates?

Not everyone who uses cannabis is a dabber or has a huge glass rig with a mini blow torch. Even though dabbing is the most common method of consumption for concentrates, there are other ways to indulge in this type of cannabis product. It’s up to you to decide which option will address your needs best.

Some of the things you can do to enjoy the different concentrates include:

  • Topping off a flower product
  • Smoke with vaping pens
  • Mix into edibles or other everyday food
  • Consume the oils orally 
  • Use a glass, silicone, or electric dab rig

No cannabis concentrate left behind!

Cannabis consumers aren’t slowing down on trying all the different concentrates out there. These choices give you a clean, potent-punching high that will never leave you questioning if a product worked or not. With so many cannabis strains and the latest and greatest extraction technology, concentrates are only going to get better.

“I’m Alyna, a writer from Florida and strong advocate for the mental health community. Through my writing and advocacy, I hope to add an educating voice that helps the with mood disorders learn to navigate life in a calm and self-fulfilling way. I consume Cannabis as a means to understand and connect with the world.“

Written By: Alyna Paparazzi 

Edited by: Veronica Castillo

Sponsored by: