In the news these days, there is a lot of talk about cannabis concentrates – potent extractions which strip desired properties from the cannabis plant. Once extracted, these concentrates are processed and take many forms before being given to patients.
Studies have shown this gooey sticky substance to reduce tumor cells in cancer patients, and others regulate ailments such as epilepsy, ADD, and autism in adults and children. Zero THC and high CBD concoctions are traditionally taken under the tongue or mixed with food.
Recreationally, consumers prefer high THC concentrates aka dabs, oils, wax, shatter, BHO, or budder because it reduces the side effects of traditional pipe or bong smoking. The concentrate is heated to a very high temperature, and the vaporized smoke is inhaled through cigarette-type pen, or new accessory such as an Oil rig.
Prices for concentrates currently available at most Seattle-area medical dispensaries range from $25 to $50 per gram, with THC potency reaching as high as 80% or more.
There are a lot of names for basically the same process – it is the solvent that makes a difference. For example, “RSO was originally made with Naphtha,” according to Fritz Chess of Eden Labs. Naphtha is a light hydrocarbon, much like butane and propane, and toxic if not properly purged. There are several companies saying they make RSO with ethanol extractions – but this is not true, and patients should know exactly what solvent is used on each “pull”.
“Isopropyl is also used in some concentrates, but said by some to do a very gross thing in the human body…like weaken the egg walls of Fluke worms in the body resulting in outbreaks internally that may actually cause cancer.” According to AC Braddock, Eden Labs CEO.
Concentrates are extremely dangerous to manufacture, which is why the State of Washington wants to regulate the process and sale of concentrates. There have been several reported accidents of kitchen and garage fires.
Beginning in the early 90s, Fritz experimented with Coldfinger ethanol extractors and quickly moved to Sub and Supercritical Co2, building his first system in 1997. This year Fritz is being touted as being the “outlier” in the market with the development of the Hi-Flo that was released this year.
While the studies are still coming out, it seems that carbon-dioxide extraction is the safest and cleanest way to make concentrates for both medical and recreational markets. Production equipment can be purchased from $40,000 to $200,000.
Original Reporting MJNN Contributing Editor Morgan