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The Ins & Outs of Cannabis Concentrates

For many, the perception of cannabis is intrinsically linked to its traditional method of ingestion – smoking it. But that’s selling this amazing plant far too short. The power of medicinal cannabis lies in its cannabinoids, and those are just as accessible through cannabis concentrates – and then some. If you’re new to concentrates, this is a great place to start.

Potency & Effects

THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana (the “high”), is present in varying amounts in the average cannabis flower – usually between 5 and 28% percent. Compare that to concentrates, which are aptly named. These products are essentially condensed extracts, making them far more potent, with THC levels that can vary between 20 and 60 percent, and even up to 90.

Of course, more THC doesn’t automatically make a product better. Using medicinal cannabis means using as much as is needed for relief, without going overboard. That’s why it’s a good idea to begin experimenting with cannabis flower for pain relief. If you’re unable to effectively manage your symptoms there, moving on to concentrates is another option.

Other Benefits

If the smoke, odor and mess associated with smoking cannabis are unappealing, concentrates definitely offer a tidier method of consumption with far less muss and fuss, making them a highly discreet alternative. Concentrates also offer a rapid onset of effects, and different kinds of concentrates mean quite a bit of flexibility in consumption.

Cannabis tinctures, for example, work sublingually (a few drops applied beneath the tongue) but can also be added to dressings and sauces to infuse meals. Tinctures can be very accurately dosed for just the right amount of relief.

Other forms of cannabis concentrates include sap, capsules, edibles and topicals – quite the range for anyone looking for the benefits of cannabis minus the smoke and odor.

The Downside to Concentrates

This is one instance in which rigorous quality control is a must. In areas without strict pesticide regulations, impurities can be found in cannabis concentrates to a far greater extent than in conventional flower. Improperly processed concentrates can also contain solvents as a result of the extraction process. Dispensaries maintain laboratory records, so don’t be afraid to ask your budtender for reassurance that you’re buying a clean, safe product.

It’s also a good idea to inquire about full-extract concentrates. These concentrates contain not only the cannabinoids of your preference (THC, CBD, or both) but also the terpenes, for more effective medical benefits. Some concentrates are heavily processed, and it’s important that consumers are clear on what they’re getting.

Concentrates also tend to be more expensive than traditional flower, so bear that in mind as well.

Are Concentrates Right for You?

If marijuana flower doesn’t appear to making any headway for your condition, ask your local dispensary staff about concentrates. They can recommend products on the milder end of the potency spectrum for a safe starting point.

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