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Flower vs. Concentrate

This lesson is a part of an audio course Medical Cannabis Basics by Harmony Tarrant

Flower vs concentrates, it's like espresso or coffee, shots, or beer, is a battle of the dark ages!

I will say that cannabis is subjective, and everyone reacts differently and has their own personal preference of what works best for them.

What is the difference between flower and concentrate?

First, the flower is what is referred to as the "whole-plant" medicine. This means that all the cannabinoids and terpenes are intact, which gives you what is called the "entourage effect". Simply put, the entourage effect is when multiple cannabinoids and terpenes work together to relieve ailments or for recreational users, get balanced all body high. Like when a hybrid can make you calm but motivated at the same time. The flower is made just by any other plant; you put a seed in the soil, take care of it, and boom! You've got a cannabis plant with buds/flowers growing out of it.

Concentrates—Like we've talked about before—is a concentrated form of cannabis. Concentrates take one cannabinoid and extract it from the plant. Now instead of breeding 20% of the cannabinoid, in concentrated form, it is now 90% of that cannabinoid. Concentrates are made by an extraction process, and unlike cannabis, buds can have a variety of "looks".

Concentrates are a lot more complex to make than just growing a plant. Concentrates take an extraction method; people usually extract cannabis oil through hydrocarbon extraction, ethanol extraction, or supercritical CO2 oil extraction. The processes are similar with different extraction methods creating different concentrate consistencies.

"The process of making butane hash oil starts with a tube containing the cannabis plant, and a vessel containing butane or any other hydrocarbon that you may be using. Some people also mix two types of hydrocarbons, i.e. propane and butane, to increase polarity and get a more thoroughly extracted final product. The hydrocarbon is then pumped into the flowers of cannabis, which draws out the cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBA. The cannabis-infused solvent is collected in a separate vessel. At this point, the extracts aren't safe to use, because the solvent may also contain certain pesticides that were used on the plant, and of course, it is still mostly hydrocarbons. The mixture is heated to eliminate these unwanted toxins. However, this has to be done at a specific temperature, so that the hydrocarbons are evaporated, and the cannabis extracts are the only thing left behind. Excess heat can ruin the final product so be very careful, and monitor the temperature continuously to make sure everything is in order. After the butane is evaporated, you will be left with a golden substance, the consistency of which will depend on the temperature at which it was prepared. This substance is BHO, and it is ready to use. It can be used in its current state, or you can also crystalize it to create shatter, which is a popular glass-like cannabis extract." —CannaTechToday

I have found that cannabis in the bud or flower form is a longer high, and it incorporates the whole body. This means you can feel tingles in your body, relaxation, and euphoria in the brain.

Cannabis in a concentrate differs by being hard, instant, and fast hitting. This means that concentrates are a lot more potent than the flower, so it will hit you harder than the flower. Concentrates are also instant; while cannabis flower can take a few to several minutes depending on if you smoke or vape your buds, concentrates hit you as soon as you exhale. However, they don't last as long. Concentrates if inhaled feel like they hit you and then they go as quickly as it came. Concentrates also feel more "focused" of medicated. This means instead of feeling it through your entire body; you can feel it mostly in your head, or in the part of your body that is in pain. It's an instant head change.

The methods of consuming flowers, you may be familiar with. You can smoke it through a bong or pipe, you can also smoke it through joints, you can vaporize it through a dry herb vape, or you can eat it by turning it into butter and baking with it, or getting an edible at your local dispensary.

The methods of consuming concentrates are very similar. You can smoke some concentrates through a "rig"; this is a bong and instead of a bowl is usually a metal "dish" so to speak—kind of looks like a very small pan—you put the contrate in there and heat it up to a high temperature either with a blow torch or an e-rig which is a metal ring that hugs the metal dish and heats it up electronically with a box battery controlling the temperature. Some people put concentrates as a bonus with their bowl or joint; either putting the concentrate on top of a bowl, or inside a joint or covering the outside of the joint in the concentrate. You can also vape concentrates through a cartridge or pod which is usually filled with distillate or live resin. There are also vapes that can handle concentrates just like dry herb vapes. I should also note that oils are a type of concentrate as well. Such as CBD oil, and there is also THC oil, and ratios of both. Oils are what you put under your tongue usually, so there is no inhalation or long waits for edibles to kick in. The effects should take hold from 10-30 minutes, depending on your body.

In the next lesson, we will be talking about the different types of concentrates, what they are and what they do.

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Written by

Harmony Tarrant

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