What Is Cannabis Oil?
There is some confusion surrounding the term cannabis oil. Some medical patients and recreational consumers think of it as an edible product. Others associate it with dabbing. Yet more assume it refers to vape oils. All of these definitions could be considered accurate, but they all refer to slightly different products.
To complicate matters further, there are also multiple grades of cannabis oil. Green oil is an edible form of cannabis oil. Cherry oil and honey oil are both intended for smoking, vaping, or dabbing, not eating. The primary difference between the latter two oils is potency. Honey oil is extremely strong. Some time ago, the street name for oil was 710, as when you read this upside down it spells oil. For those interested in producing their own cannabis oil at home, we carry and entire selection of potent 710 seeds for sale online.
How Is Cannabis Oil Made?
Edible cannabis oil, or green oil, is made by decarboxylating ground bud and infusing it into a carrier oil. Hemp, MCT, olive oil, and butter are all good options. This process is relatively simple and can be performed at home.
Cherry and honey oil are smokable concentrates made using the BHO extraction method described above. This form of concentrate manufacturing creates oils far more potent than hash. Cherry oil usually has THC concentrations of 65 to 70 percent, while honey oil can contain as much as 90% THC.
What Is Distillate?
Distillates differ from most cannabis concentrates in that they are not full-spectrum extracts. They usually contain just one or several of the active components found in cannabis plants. Both THC and CBD distillates can play a valuable role in managing complex health conditions. It is rare for recreational consumers to use distillates, though, since they do not tend to pack the same potent psychoactive punch as other concentrates.
How Is Distillate Made?
Distillate manufacturers use a combination of freezing, decarboxylation, heat, and vacuums to separate various cannabinoids from the plant material. The process relies on the fact that every cannabinoid has a slightly different boiling point.
What Is Shatter?
Shatter is a concentrate that has the consistency of glass. It is known for its extreme purity and often boasts cannabinoid concentrations of 80% or more. Aside from its unique texture, what sets shatter apart is its high evaporation point. Shatter is difficult to smoke, but it is perfect for dabbing.
How Is Shatter Made?
There are many solvent-based extraction methods that can be used to produce shatter. The most popular methods are BHO and propane hash oil (PHO) extractions. CO2 extractions can also produce high-quality shatter.
What Is Wax?
Wax is one of the most popular concentrates used in dab rigs and handheld vaporizers. It has high cannabinoid concentrations, and it is relatively easy to come by. Wax is much runnier than most other concentrates, so handling it requires proper tools. It is also quite potent, so those who are new to concentrates should start off slow.
How Is Wax Made?
Wax starts out as shatter, so technically, it has also made using BHO or PHO extraction. The primary difference between wax, shatter, and oil is consistency. Wax gets its unique consistency through the introduction of extra agitation, or whipping, during the manufacturing process.
What Is Budder?
This concentrate gets its name from its consistency, which is very similar to that of real butter. It gets its reputation from its impressive purity and incredible potency. Budder often boasts THC concentrations of 90% or more. Depending on the manufacturer, budder may also be referred to as frosting, icing, or badder.
How Is Budder Made?
Budder starts out as wax. Manufacturers then take the refinement process one step further by aerating the wax even more, to produce a highly potent concentrate with a unique, creamy texture.
What Is Crumble?
Like budder, crumble is technically a form of wax. It has a very different texture and consistency, though. This dry concentrate has a consistency similar to that of sand.
How Is Crumble Made?
Crumble is made by whipping shatter, just like budder. Instead of a creamy texture, manufacturers are going for a dry but equally potent product. They get it by exposing the whipped shatter to low temperatures in a vacuum oven.
What Is Sap?
Sap is a sticky concentrate with a very low melting point. Even handling sap by hand can cause it to melt, so users need to invest in a dab rig or specialized tools if they want to try sap. Its potency is similar to that of wax, meaning it is very high.
How Is Sap Made?
Sap is made from rosin. Manufacturers simply create rosin, then decarboxylate it to convert the THCa to THC. This creates the sticky concentrate marijuana aficionados have come to know and love.
What Is Pull and Snap?
Pull and snap has a consistency similar to that of taffy. It is not quite as runny as sap, but it is still pliable enough to make handling it easy and mess-free. It gets its name from the technique used to prepare the concentrate for smoking, dabbing, or vaping. Users separate out what they want by pulling and twisting a piece until it breaks off.
How Is Pull and Snap Made?
Pull and snap is made from shatter, making it yet another type of BHO or PHO extract. It is similar in color to traditional shatter but without the inconvenient brittleness.
What Is Rosin?
Rosin is a potent solventless concentrate. It is popular among both medical patients and health-conscious recreational consumers since it never comes into contact with any kind of chemicals or toxins. Plus, it is stronger than hash and kief and can be used for dabbing.
How Is Rosin Made?
Unlike most modern extracts, rosin is made using a mechanical extraction process, not solvents. Manufacturers use a combination of pressure and heat to squeeze the cannabinoids and other active compounds out. It can be made from buds, but most rosin starts off as dry sift hash.
What Is Live Resin?
Live resin is a highly specialized product made exclusively in labs. The primary difference between live resin and other BHO-extracted concentrates is its flavor and aroma. The process of making live resin allows a much greater percentage of the plant’s terpenes to be retained.
How Is Live Resin Made?
Live resin is made by using BHO extraction techniques using fresh, flash-frozen buds. The buds must be kept below freezing throughout the extraction process, which requires specialized tools and equipment for chilling butane. This advanced technology allows the buds’ trichomes to retain their structure.
How to Maximize Cannabinoid Production in Your Plants
Planning on branching out into manufacturing concentrates at home or in a commercial lab? That is great news. Consumer interest in concentrates is on the rise, so growers should be changing their strategies to keep up with demand. That means learning how to maximize cannabinoid production.
Start with Premium Genetics
The old axiom, “you can’t get water from a stone,” can easily be applied to cannabis extracts. If the plant does not have high concentrations of THC, CBD, and other beneficial cannabinoids, there is no way to turn its nugs into delicious, potent concentrates.
While every aspect of the plant’s growing conditions and life cycle can impact cannabinoid concentrations, the most important factor in determining THC and CBD levels is always plant genetics. Choose strains that are known for producing large, resinous, highly potent buds, and be sure to buy seeds from a reputable seed bank like Weed Seeds USA.
Choosing the Right Seeds
Indoor growers will have a far wider range of options when it comes to buying seeds. Indica, sativa, and hybrid strains all grow well in the right indoor environment. Outdoor growers need to check the climate requirements of each strain before purchasing seeds. As a general rule, sativas tend to require warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons than indicas and most indica-dominant hybrids.
Growers with exceptionally short growing seasons may also want to look into strains bred with ruderalis plants. This subspecies of marijuana has very low THC levels, but breeders often cross it with indicas, sativas, and hybrids to produce autoflowering strains. Unlike its better-known and more potent cousins, ruderalis is not a photoperiod strain. It enters the flowering stage on its own regardless of the light levels and is ready for harvest in a matter of mere months. Both indoor growers and outdoor growers in inhospitable climates often prefer autoflower seeds.
There is at least one other seed-buying important consideration that novice growers and those without much space should take seriously. Both autoflower and normal photoperiod strains can be purchased as regular or feminized seeds. Feminized seeds can be more expensive, but they are produced using advanced breeding techniques to ensure that 100% of them produce marijuana plants instead of hemp. Buying feminized seeds can help to maximize yields and reduce material losses. It also prevents the plants from accidentally getting pollinated.
Good Quality Soil
Every grower has a different opinion when it comes to soil-based versus hydroponic growing, in general. However, there is an almost universal consensus in regard to the benefits of growing marijuana for concentrate production in live soil. Organic growing poses some difficulties whether growers have outdoor gardens or indoor grow rooms, but it comes with a huge payoff. The cannabinoid and terpene profiles of plants grown in live soils tend to be better, especially for concentrate production.
Live soil contains many beneficial microorganisms that are absent in both hydroponic setups and chemically amended soils. They create an entire self-sustaining ecosystem that acts in symbiosis with the plants themselves to encourage optimal cannabinoid and terpene production. Plants grown in live soil produce clean, fragrant buds that can be used to produce potent, high-quality extracts.
When it comes to increasing yields, high-stress training (HST) tends to win out among experienced growers. For those more focused on cannabinoid concentrations, stick with low-stress training (LST) techniques. These techniques involve physically manipulating the plants without breaking any of the branches or stems. They still increase yields by exposing the plants’ leaves and buds to more light but do not place unnecessary stress on the plants that could negatively impact terpene and cannabinoid production.
The most popular LST techniques for indoor growing are Sea of Green (SOG) and Screen of Green (SCROG). While it is possible to apply these techniques to plants grown in outdoor gardens, they are not quite as effective.
Like all plants, cannabis plants require both macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. Every experienced grower knows that getting nutrient levels right is more a matter of quality than quantity. Giving the plants too many nutrients can burn them or make it difficult for them to absorb other vital organic compounds.
Live soil growers should only use organic nutrients. Man-made alternatives can disrupt the soil microbiome and undo all the hard work involved in creating healthy, living soil. Popular organic soil amendments and nutrients include:
- Bone meal
- Worm castings
- Bat guano
- And others
Cannabis plants need different nutrient concentrations during the flowering stage than they do during veg. During the earlier stages of growth, growers feed their plants high-nitrogen composts and amendments. In the flowering stage, that changes. Marijuana plants need less nitrogen, which fuels vegetative growth, and more phosphorous to aid in bud production.
Some organic amendments are richer in phosphorous than others. Kelp, bone meal, and high-P fish concentrate are all good sources of phosphorous to use during the flowering stage. Growers can also purchase specialized organic fertilizers and soil amendments. Just make sure to buy products specifically designed for the flowering stage of marijuana cultivation and keep in mind that a little goes a long way.
It is also important to reduce the plants’ nutrients when they reach around the sixth week of flowering. This helps to prevent negative impacts on the plants’ terpene profiles. Feeding blackstrap molasses during the final weeks of flowering, on the other hand, can improve terpene production. This unusual but 100% organic amendment provides essential minerals, carbohydrates, and amino acids not found in most traditional organic plant foods.
All indoor growers know that adequate lighting is the key to producing high-quality buds. When it comes to growing marijuana for concentrate production, it is even more important to get the lighting right. The best way to go is to purchase full-spectrum, high-output LEDs. Not every grower can afford these expensive and often technologically advanced fixtures.
For those who cannot afford LEDs, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the plants will need access to UV-B light during the flowering stage. While high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps are effective for promoting vegetative growth, they do not produce sufficient UV-B light for the flowering stage.
Plenty of growers have produced decent bud using nothing but HPS fixtures, but that is not good enough for premium concentrate manufacturers. Including specialized UV-B lights alongside the HPS lamps increases trichome production since the plants produce extra trichomes as a defense mechanism when subjected to UV-B light. Increased trichome production means more resinous glands to secrete cannabinoids and terpenes, which further translates to better yields of kief, hash, or oil and seriously potent concentrates.
Grow Room Conditions
The benefit of growing marijuana for concentrate production indoors is that it allows growers to exert full control over the plants’ environment. The reason that is so important for plants destined to be turned into hash, oil, and other concentrates is that it allows growers to use environmental conditions to alter cannabinoid and terpene levels.
Let us assume that most growers attempting to produce highly potent, resinous buds for concentrate production already have some experience with indoor growing and dive right into the specifics. Just do not assume that means growers who are switching focus can afford to ignore the basics. Each high-potency strain still has its own unique set of growing requirements. If they are at odds with this advice, stick to what works for the strain.
Maintaining an optimal humidity range throughout the vegetative and flowering stages is essential for producing highly potent, aromatic buds. Getting these factors right is especially important when it comes to concentrate production.
Since most concentrates are already less aromatic than cured bud, growers who want to create premium products need to make up for that by giving their plants everything they need to boost terpene production. When it comes to humidity, that means keeping moisture levels low during the latest stages of growth.
Try to keep the humidity level around 50% RH during the earlier weeks of bud. About two weeks before harvest, bring the moisture level down to around 30% RH. This can be accomplished using dehumidifiers. Lower humidity in the weeks immediately preceding harvest helps to boost both trichome and terpene production. As an added bonus, it also reduces the chances of losing the crop to bud rot.
Providing good airflow in the grow tent or grow room is important no matter what strains growers are cultivating. When it comes to trichome production, it is essential. If the temperatures immediately surrounding the buds get too high, it can affect trichome production.
Most growers set the thermostats to below 80oF when the plants reach the sixth week of their flowering stage, but some forget that temperatures can vary throughout the room. Adequate airflow ensures consistent temperatures and helps to protect volatile terpenes and cannabinoids immediately preceding the harvest.
It is fine to follow the generally accepted temperature guidelines for each strain throughout the vegetative stage and even well into the flowering stage. A few weeks before harvest, try dropping the temperatures 5 to 10 degrees during dark periods. The change in temperature mimics cannabis plants’ natural environments and helps to boost trichome production. It also triggers beautiful color changes in cold-hardy strains prone to developing blue and purple hues.
Properly Flush Your Plants
Despite the proliferation of evidence that flushing plants leads to cleaner, smoother-tasting buds, there is still plenty of debate in the cannabis community about whether it is worth the effort. For some growers, maybe it is not. For growers who plan to use their bud and trim to produce concentrates, flushing is a must. It gives the plants the chance to use up any remaining nutrients, which encourages bud production, and helps to alleviate that unpleasant taste associated with lingering chlorophyll.
Growers using regular soil mixes with chemical amendments should flush their soil two weeks before harvest. For hydroponic setups, wait until a few days before harvest. Flushing a hydroponic system is a simple matter of replacing the nutrient solution with clean, pH-balanced water. Flushing a soil-based system involves over-watering the plants until the water drains out the bottom.
Harvest at the Right Time
Timing is everything when it comes to harvesting high-quality buds. Pull the plants down too early, and they will not have time to develop fully formed terpene profiles or convert sufficient amounts of THC. Wait too long, and the plants’ active compounds will start to degrade.
To tell when the buds have reached maximum flavor and potency, just look at the trichomes. They start out white, then change color as the flowers near harvest. The buds will have the highest THC levels when 70-90% of them have darkened.
Growers who cater to medical marijuana patients sometimes prefer to wait until 100% of the trichomes have changed color. At this point, some of the THC will have been converted into CBN, a less psychoactive compound with more relaxing effects. Either way, waiting until the plants are completely ready for harvest also comes with the advantage of optimizing yields.