The origins of the holiday 7/10 are steeped in hearsay and conjecture, but all can agree the celebration is meant to highlight some of the more refined and sometimes exotic expression forms of our most beloved flowers. If Cannabis flower were grapes, then concentrates would be akin to wine- boasting refinement processes and highly selective methods for growing certain cultivars as well as taking the best parts of profiles we love, then enhancing and elevating them to heights our fore-smokers would take pride in. 

Lemon Cookie OG Cold Cure Live Resin | Smokey River Cannabis

One of the most prevalent and accessible forms of concentrate available would be Resin. These products are also known as BHO and can be either live or cured- meaning that the source material used in extraction was either freshly harvested and frozen specifically for extraction, or the material was dried and cured as normal. After the curing process, they’re exposed to process specific solvents to extract all of the psychoactive elements. These are the products that come to mind for many when they think of dabs, and can vary in consistency from crumble to a sauce of terps and even full “diamond” formations. While these products can vary greatly in appearance, what they all share are full spectrum effects supplied by the abundance of naturally occurring cannabinoids within the source extraction material. This is where many concentrate enthusiasts start- resin is relatively easy to approach in terms of both price point and availability. This allows users to experiment with their form factors and start to discover the profile distinctions between their favorite flower and its extracted equivalent.

Exploring further into the more niche and connoisseur markets we find a strong affinity for solventless products, which are concentrate forms created without the usage of any chemical procedures. Extraction processes for these products utilize water, natural trichome structures, gravity, cold temperatures and various curing processes to deliver concentrated products with both high potency and unmatched flavor profiles. 


VIBE’s Gelato Live Rosin

The most popular of these forms would have to be Rosin. Rosin creation is a multi step refinement process which really drives home the metaphor of winemaking. The process starts with taking high-quality raw plant material and slowly introducing it to an ice-cold water bath which is used to produce water hash. This process is kept between 32-38F and the vessel is gently agitated to promote a washing machine motion. The goal in the process is to remove as many trichomes from their stalks on each bud as possible while minimizing any excess plant material. The resulting wash is then sifted through a series of screens that sort the material by micron size, separating the hash into different trichome grades. 90 microns is the ideal size for rosin creation, and so the lesser grades are collected for edible and other infused product creation. After collecting and drying the hash, it’s placed into micron bags and compressed between heated hydraulic plates until the trichome structures rupture, spilling out the gooey goodness that we know to be Rosin. This initial product is known simply as Fresh Press, and from here you’re able to dab it as is or cure it using various techniques resulting in different consistencies and profiles. Rosin, while best enjoyed dabbed at low temperatures, is also often found in vaporizers and edibles providing users their preferred extraction methods with ease.

Solventless products are most beloved for providing the purest expression of the plant’s essence that’s available. It’s also preferred by users looking for a more natural connection to the plant, and many connoisseurs praise the flavor profiles achieved in high-quality Rosin offerings. Rosin also holds a special place in the culture as it relates to art, making itself most prevalently known in the glass and music communities. While Rosin is the new kid on the block in relative terms, solventless products have been enjoyed for time immemorial on an international level, and have special places in many cultures and histories. Keeping all of that in mind, it’s also the area that is most heavily explored by connoisseur markets, as we see age-old products like Piatella resurface and new expressions of known materials such as thumbprints, jams, and hash holes.

solventless shatter |

Now we come to the end goal of all processes, where all roads lead: the dab. There are many ways to enjoy concentrates; be that vaping, consuming edibles, or using electronic devices. However, there’s one method that is always considered king, the good old butane torch with a quartz banger. The perfect dab lies somewhere between 500-600 degrees depending on your material- placed gently into the clear crucible and sealed with a glass cap (and love) on top. This creates a pressure in the chamber that allows maximum vaporization efficiency of the materials… Which in plain english means more flavor and intense effects that you’re searching for. Perhaps one of the most interesting results of the solventless and concentrate culture in general is the relationship to the glass art world, and how it continues to pioneer and inspire new expressions and creativity in the space. In this space you can find anything from the silicon bong your roommate has had since college, to classical pieces of art with tens of thousands of dollars- but can still be used to enjoy your favorite rosin! With a culture that evolves just as rapidly as the form factors and expressions themselves- it’s safe to say concentrates have become a staple of the cannabis world.

However you find yourself enjoying the holiday this year, take some time to reflect on where your product comes from and who made it. Chances are there was more than a little bit of love and care that provided you with the terps you’re about to enjoy!

Joshua O’Toole

Joshua O’Toole, Manufacturing Consultant of STL Cannabis Services, has experience across a variety of license types  in both hands-on processes as well as data analytics, he strives to create a space for both consumers and industry professionals to experience cannabis through a new perspective. His passion focuses on solventless production and cultural impacts but has stretched across the market into many fields including retail and cultivation.

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