Monday, August 15, 2022

Marijuana Concentrates: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Concentrates, generally, are manufactured by extracting THC, most commonly by using a solvent such as butane.

If you have ever stepped into a legal cannabis retail store, you may  have noticed the huge shelf space reserved for various marijuana concentrates. Shatter, butter, wax, ice hash. The names are a bit daunting if you are new to the concentrate culture.

And the intoxicating effect can be absolutely dizzying if you don’t do your homework first. Before you try concentrates here’s a primer:

What Are Concentrates?

Concentrates, generally, are manufactured by extracting THC, most commonly by using a solvent such as butane. The end product is a potent oil often referred to as wax, honey, shatter, budder, crumble or butane hash oil (BHO).

As the name suggests, these are highly concentrated forms of cannabis. The THC content is exponentially higher than most anything else you’ll find at a retail outlet.

The THC levels in most concentrates can reach 70-90 percent THC. For context, a typical marijuana joint contains about 15 percent.

The Good

Most doctors would consider concentrates an acceptable method for administering medical marijuana, but there are many patients who prefer this route because it is more affordable, faster to relieve pain and longer lasting.  For those dealing with severe or chronic pain or intense nausea may find concentrates effective.

Cost is another positive factor for purchasing concentrates. Sure, the upfront cost is much higher than buying dried flower. But a small amount goes a long way. And the effect of concentrates is longer lasting.

The Bad

There is very little wiggle room when it comes to dosage. I can’t stress this enough. Start slowly. Don’t try to keep up with others in the group.

For most newbies, one hit of concentrate is sufficient for an enjoyable, long-lasting high. But two hits may result in an awful experience.

It takes a while for your body and your brain to adjust to the rush of THC to the system.

Light-headedness, dizziness, blackouts and disorientation are common side effects of using concentrates. Other possible side effects include a rapid heartbeat, paranoia and hallucinations.

If you feel any of these symptoms, hydrate, lay down and close your eyes. Remember, you can’t suffer a fatal overdose from cannabis — and that includes concentrates. But you can harm yourself if you should fall down. It is intense, but not deadly.

The Ugly

When you read negative stories about concentrates, it usually about an apartment or house exploding. These news events have nothing to do with ingesting concentrates. The stories almost always detail an uneducated person trying to manufacturer the concentrate. Butane is one of the most common solvent utilized to extract the THC from the plant. Butane is highly flammable and requires sufficient ventilation.

So you no doubt have read a lot about the hazards of butane honey oil (BHO). Do yourself and your neighbors and the fire department a huge favor: NEVER under any circumstances try making it at home.

Should You Try It?

It is not recommended for newcomers to marijuana. If you have an understanding of how your body reacts to cannabis, give it a try. It’s a different experience than smoking or vaping dried herb.

Paul Armentano, the deputy director of NORML, cautions that it is riskier than smoking a joint. “When a product is more potent, and when the route of administration is conducive to people experiencing a very strong high very quickly, then one can argue that the risk of abuse goes up,” he said.


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