With the rise of the medical and legal marijuana movement, a wide range of cannabis concentrates (such as BHO) have been quickly gaining in popularity thanks to their ease of use and convenience. Because concentrates are much more condensed than loose leaf cannabis, many medical marijuana patients should consider using concentrates with a vaporizer to maximize portability (you can easily take your medication any time you need it!). Since there’s a wide array of vaporizers and vape pens that can handle an even wider array of concentrates, I decided to write this guide to highlight the different types of cannabis concentrates out there, and give you some of my tips on how to best vaporize them! The first thing that you should know about cannabis concentrates is some of the key terms involving concentrates, which are:
- Trichromes: Fine elements which stick out from the cannabis plant and contain psychoactive compounds. These look like crystals on high quality bud and are where hash comes from.
- Resin: Slang term used to describe the oily substance which is extracted from trichrome heads.
- Kief (also known as Kif, dry sift, powder, or crystals): Raw and unrefined resin collected from the trichrome heads of the bud.
- Turpenes/Turpenoids: The compounds responsible for the aroma and flavor of cannabis. Different strains vary greatly in their turpene compositions. Turpenes are also important because they can alter the high you get from THC.
- Cannabinoids: Chemicals which are structurally similar to THC and are found within cannabis. Aside from THC, the rest of the cannabinoids are useless for most people.
Once you have a general understanding of these definitions, the next thing we need to do is distinguish between the two main types of hashish, which are hashish’ and ‘hash oil’, which can then be broken down into more categories. Both hashish and hash oil are produced by separating cannabis resin from plant material, but hash oil is extracted through the use of a solvent. Hashish generally has a higher CBD content (especially coming from certain areas like Afghanistan and Pakistan). First we’ll take a look the various forms of hashish, and then move on to hash oil.
The Major Types of Hash
The earliest and most primitive form of hashish, handrub hash is made by taking cannabis colas (the big buds on plants), and massaging them to build up a layer of resin on your hands. This is the most basic form of hashish, and it usually has the lowest purity of any form of hash (although there are exceptions such as Himalayan Charas, which are said to be quite pure).
Sieved hash is a form of hashish which is produced by grinding buds and placing them over screens of diminishing sizes (a simple form of sieved hash can be made by collecting kief in a 4 piece grinder) and then compressing the kief together. This form of hashish is the most common variety available through most black market distribution channels in the Western world. If you live in a Western country and have purchased hash on the black market before, this is most likely what you’re getting. In medical and legal marijuana markets, a wide variety of screen sizes are used to make sieved hash depending on the strain of cannabis. It of higher purity than handrub hash, and its potency depends on how well the kief is strained. Like handrub hash, making sieved hash is a time consuming and labor intensive process, and is sometimes more expensive than other varieties because of this.
Developed within the past 30 years as a way to make hash, Bubblehash has become highly popular in many places around the world. Starting with a large bucket filled with water, cannabis is then added to the bucket (along with ice) and stirred for about thirty minutes. The mixture is then strained through specially designed bags with different size screens (kind of like how sieved hash is made). This method works because cold water freezes parts of the cannabis that you don’t want, and the constant stirring knocks the resin into the water, which is then strained out. Bubblehash is popular because its one of the easiest ways to obtain a high quality hash product from a large amount of cannabis at once (handrub and sieved hash take a lot of work to produce!).
Since these types of hash are mostly solid, you can vape them in most vaporizers including those designed for loose leaf (sandwich your hash in between some loose leaf to prevent it from getting runny). You can also use vape pens designed for concentrates, but e-liquid tanks don’t work well (use them for DIY cannabis e-liquid instead!).
The second major category of concentrates, hash oil is made by using a solvent to dissolve resin from the rest of the cannabis and then separated. Hash oils are categorized depending on the type of solvent used to produce it, and a range of solvents can be used. When properly made, hash oil has the advantage of producing a high quality product with few impurities. Hash oil should only be produced by those highly familiar with solvent extractions, as they can be highly dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
As the name implies, BHO is hash oil which is extracted through the use of butane as a solvent. BHO results in a high quality and potent product (commonly referred to as ‘dabs’), but the extraction process can be extremely dangerous if performed incorrectly or in a poorly ventilated space. Most consumers in medical and legal regions have access to professionally made BHO via their local dispensary.
Quick Wash ISO Hash (QWISO)
Also known by the name isohash, QWISO is a type of hash oil made by using isopropyl alcohol for the solvent. Isopropyl alcohol is cheaper to make than BHO and easier to make large batches of, but it is of lower quality than BHO. You can make QWISO fairly easily at home, just take a look on Google and you’ll find some good guides.
Created by a mysterious man known as ‘BudderKing’ from BC, Budder is made from a supposedly secret method which produces the highest purity of any hash product. However, from what I’ve learned, Budder is merely BHO which has had air whipped into it to change the consistency and lighten color. Many ‘special concentrates’ in certain areas are merely just budder, and it is about the same quality as BHO.
Vaporizing Hash Oils
Since hash oil tends to be very runny, I don’t recommend using it directly in loose leaf vaporizers (unless you sandwich just a small dab in between loose leaf). Many vape manufacturers produce accessories designed to work with oils (such as the Ascent Oil Jar and VapeXhale nail kit), and these often produce excellent results. You can also use most vape pens to vape hash oils, and even e-cig tanks (providing your oil is liquid enough!). I also highly recommend picking up a silicone oil pad to make working with your oil much easier!
Hopefully this guide helps to get some readers more familiar with concentrates and their potential applications. Although I’ll always be a big fan of savoring loose leaf bud, I feel that concentrates are a great thing because they offer even more choice and versatility to suit everyone’s needs. If you have any suggestions or improvements to make, feel free to contact me and let me know so I can update this guide!