So Many Dabs… Let’s Concentrate on Concentrates!

Older heads may call it all “Hash” but today the variety of concentrates on the market is truly head spinning. Your average MOM has 100 varieties of dabs with increasingly convoluted names and descriptors.

For those of you who may not be fully acquainted with the subtleties of different extraction methods on the final product, this can serve as a primer to the topic. When we talk about extraction we mean, separating the essential parts of cannabis that gets you high from the parts that don’t. Let’s get it.

Solvent Based Extraction

The active compounds in Cannabis are oils. As such they can be stripped from the plant material using solvents. Many small-scale operators and artisanal extractors use butane or propane extraction technology to produce a light-coloured product with a rich terpene aroma. Using pressure, solvents and vacuum ovens, extractors can create different consistencies based on starting material or methodologies.

These solvents have a low boiling point that makes them ideal for extraction because they can be removed without damaging the heat-sensitive cannabinoids or terpenes. Propane has an extremely low boiling point of -43.6 Fahrenheit, and butane has a boiling point of 30.2 Fahrenheit. This is much lower than the boiling points of myrcene and delta 9-THC, which are commonly found in cannabis. Myrcene, for instance, has a boiling point between 331-334 Fahrenheit, while delta 9-THC has a boiling point of 314.6 Fahrenheit. This means that the solvents can be removed from the extract without damaging the important components of the plant.

Here are specific examples of types of different solvent based concentrates you will find on menus all around the world…


Like it sounds, glasslike, usually pale yellow. Cheap because the process is among the easiest. It is extracted from cured weed and put in a vacuum oven.

Live Resin

After harvest the plant material is either frozen to preserve freshness or run through extraction immediately. You may hear industry folks call this “Fresh frozen” too when referring to live resin. This makes for a wetter, more terpene rich concentrate.


Sometimes instead of a vacuum oven budder is whipped up over low heat, introducing air into the mix and fluffing up the product.


Some strains, especially when run frozen or wet, will have a lot of liquid due to high terpene content. This can also be poured off the top when creating diamonds. (see below) This is very terpene rich.


To make rock candy you saturate water with sugar and then manipulate the temperature to recrystallize the sugar around a stick. Diamonds are weed rock candy. Replace water with solvent and sugar with THC. Don’t use a stick. Usually diamonds come in a soup of their own terpene sauce. Sometimes they are taken out and sold separately.

Mechanical Extraction

Mechanical extractions use forces like friction, temperature and pressure to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from plant material in Cannabis plants. This form of extraction uses no solvents. (water could be argued as a solvent for certain terpenes or flavanoids, but we’re getting pretty deep there.) No butane or propane is used in this process. Many cannabis lovers claim the high is more full and similar to a flower effect from mechanical extraction.


The cream of the crop and hard to find in Canadian MOMS. This is bud, bubble or kief that has been squished in a press through filters at specific microns. The taste is great and no weird chemicals are used. Yield is terrible so the price is high.

Bubble Hash

Ice, water, agitation and filters at different micron sizes are used to separate trichome heads from marijuana. Color and micron information can provide a lot of context for quality.


You know, like the stuff in the bottom of your grinder? The dried trichome heads broken off and collected are hash at its most basic form.


This is by no means a complete list of words you’ll hear wooks say when talking about their concentrates, but if you know your way around these hashes, you’ll be more than primed to deal with ordering anxiety next time you’re confronted with a daunting list of ways to get blazed.

Now that you know what you’re dabbing, let’s get you up to speed on what you can use to enjoy these products in the next article. We can go through some “Rig” setups and get you something nice and “Functional”. That’s what all the cool kids call it.

As a quick side note, if you’re inexperienced with weed, take it easy on the concentrates. Less is more to start in most scenarios and this one is no different. The experience can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. Have fun and enjoy your dabs!

TL;DR: Wet = terps. // Mechanical = no ‘tane!


By Rico Suave, for Potsmart

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