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The Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Concentrates: Wax, Shatter, and More

What Are Cannabis Concentrates?

Definition and Extraction Process

Cannabis concentrates are highly potent extracts derived from the cannabis plant. They are made by extracting the plant’s cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, along with other beneficial compounds, using various extraction methods. The result is a concentrated form of cannabis that offers higher levels of potency compared to traditional flower.

Appearance and Texture

Cannabis concentrates come in different forms and textures. They can be sticky, solid, or even runny, depending on the extraction method used. Common types of concentrates include wax, shatter, budder, and oil. The appearance and texture of each concentrate can vary, but they all contain a high concentration of cannabinoids.

Different Types of Cannabis Concentrates


Wax is a popular cannabis concentrate known for its sticky and wax-like consistency. It is created by extracting cannabinoids using solvents like butane or CO2. Wax is versatile and can be consumed in various ways, including vaporization or dabbing.


Shatter is a translucent concentrate that has a glass-like appearance. It is highly potent and can contain up to 80% or more THC. Shatter gets its brittle texture from the extraction process, which involves purging the solvent from the concentrate. It can be broken into pieces and consumed by dabbing or vaporizing.

How Are Cannabis Concentrates Made?

Extraction Methods

Cannabis concentrates are made through various extraction methods that involve separating the desired cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material. Common extraction techniques include butane extraction, CO2 extraction, and solventless extraction. Each method has its own advantages and produces different types of concentrates.

Purging and Refining

After the initial extraction, the concentrate is typically purged to remove any remaining solvents or impurities. This process ensures a clean and safe product. Depending on the desired consistency, concentrates can undergo additional steps like winterization, filtration, or distillation to further refine the final product.

Benefits of Using Cannabis Concentrates


Cannabis concentrates are highly potent, containing much higher levels of cannabinoids compared to traditional cannabis flower. This means that users can achieve more pronounced effects with smaller doses. Concentrates are particularly popular among experienced users looking for a more intense and immediate experience.


Due to their high potency, cannabis concentrates provide an efficient way to consume cannabis. Users can achieve desired effects more quickly and with fewer inhalations or doses. This efficiency also extends to storage, as concentrates require less space compared to larger quantities of cannabis flower.

How to Consume Cannabis Concentrates


Dabbing is a popular method for consuming cannabis concentrates. It involves heating a dab rig, typically with a torch, and placing a small amount of concentrate onto a heated surface, which instantly vaporizes the concentrate for inhalation. Dabbing provides a fast-acting and potent experience.


Another common method for consuming concentrates is through vaporization. Vaporizers designed for concentrates heat the material at a lower temperature, producing a flavorful vapor that can be inhaled. Vaporization offers a smoother and more controlled experience compared to dabbing.

What to Consider Before Trying Cannabis Concentrates

Tolerance and Experience

Cannabis concentrates are highly potent, so it’s important to consider your tolerance and experience level before trying them. If you’re new to cannabis or have a low tolerance, it’s recommended to start with smaller doses and gradually increase as needed.

Quality and Source

When choosing cannabis concentrates, it’s crucial to consider the quality and source. Look for products that have been lab-tested to ensure they are free from contaminants and accurately labeled for potency. Purchase from reputable sources to ensure you’re getting a safe and reliable product.

Cannabis Concentrates and the Law

Legal Status

The legal status of cannabis concentrates varies depending on your jurisdiction. In some places, concentrates may be legal for medical and/or recreational use, while in others, they may be prohibited or subject to strict regulations. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations in your area before purchasing or using cannabis concentrates.

Compliance and Safety

When purchasing cannabis concentrates, ensure that you are buying from licensed and reputable sources to comply with local laws. Additionally, prioritize product safety by looking for lab-tested concentrates that are free from contaminants. Adhering to legal requirements and prioritizing safety will help you navigate the use of cannabis concentrates responsibly.

How to Choose the Right Cannabis Concentrate for You

Consider Your Preferences

Take into account your personal preferences and desired effects when choosing a cannabis concentrate. Different concentrates offer varying potencies, flavors, and effects. Research the characteristics of different concentrates, such as wax, shatter, and more, to determine which one aligns with your preferences and desired experience.

Start with Low Potency

If you’re new to cannabis concentrates or have a low tolerance, it’s advisable to start with products that have lower potencies. This allows you to gauge your tolerance and gradually increase the dosage if needed. Starting with low-potency concentrates also minimizes the risk of unwanted side effects.