Leaf Nation Logo
Photo by Daniel Berman

Concentrates 101

The Leaf breaks down everything you need to know about concentrated Cannabis in this handy, heady guide.

When our neolithic ancestors first discovered the nutritious qualities of Cannabis seeds and began to forage for them regularly, they quickly noticed how sticky their fingers would get when they broke apart the flowers. It is from this sticky beginning that humans learned about Cannabis resin and began the process of refining and concentrating it into what we now know as hash. While generally speaking “hash” can refer to any number of concentrated resin products derived from the Cannabis plant, in today’s modern world we have developed a wide array of concentrated resin products that are worth understanding.

Starting Material
Fire in, fire out. The quality and cure of Cannabis being turned into concentrates.

Fresh Frozen Flower
Generally labeled as ‘live’ – flowers cut and flash frozen immediately after harvest. The quick cut and freeze time captures the resin at the point of harvest and is made directly from the fresh frozen resin. If the flower’s harvest was timed correctly, then this yields an extremely flavorful concentrate very true to the aroma of the living flower itself. 

Dried Flower
Flower that has gone through the normal drying process, but generally not the curing process. Many concentrates can be cured after extraction, and therefore many companies do not cure the resin beforehand. 

Primarily in the hemp industry, but also in large scale Cannabis companies. The waste plant material that accumulates in the harvest supply chain and typically added to edibles or topicals, but sometimes in lower quality concentrates and cartridges.  

The resin is collected by chemical means rather than mechanical. Ethanol, hydrocarbon and CO2 are the most common solvents utilized. 

Hard, flat and glass-like. Very common due to their relatively cheap price point and ease of use. Rigid oils that break apart like glass into chunks and can be dabbed or added to a bowl. 

Pull ‘n’ Snap/Taffy
Similar to shatter, but instead of breaking apart they stretch in a manner similar to caramel or taffy candy. Slightly more difficult to work with due to its sticky nature, but can be dabbed, mixed into bowls, and are commonly rolled into snakes and placed into joints and blunts. 

Oils that have not undergone the process of winterization – meaning that the fats, waxes and lipids of the plant still remain in the product. This creates a thick, moist and creamy oil that requires a tool to work with and is most commonly dabbed. 

A dry and dense oil that crumbles to the touch and is relatively less sticky than most concentrates. Often takes on a honeycomb or Swiss cheese-like structure and is generally more rare in the market.

Semi-crystalline oil that resembles an incomplete syrup or a thick, wet sugar substance. Typically dabbed and requires a dab tool to use. Most oils will age into a sugar as the THCa will crystalize over time.

Pure THCa crystals that have been allowed to form from pure Cannabis distillates. These achieve the highest potency of THCa, but generally lack any other type of terpene or cannabinoid. Often mixed with terpene-rich sauces and dabbed. 

Liquid oils left over as the THCa crystalizes out of solution. Typically very terpene-rich, flavorful and fragrant. Usually vaped in a cartridge or used as a dipping sauce for more solid dabs. Generally the most difficult texture to work with.

Rick Simpson Oil
Whole plant extract that has not undergone any type of refinement process. Deep green and almost black in color. Can be eaten straight, but often mixed with food or formulated into edibles. Robust and highly medicinal. Not often dabbed. 

The resin is collected by mechanical means rather than chemical. 

Created by running one’s hands along living plants in a field. Ripe and sticky trichome heads stick and accumulate over time, and the resin is then stuck together into larger masses that can be smoked on their own or mixed with flower.

Dry Sift/Beach Sand
Raw resin heads in their natural form. Using fine micron bags and screens, resin heads are knocked off the plant and sifted into a form that looks like a fine beach sand. Generally mixed with a smoking herb, but can also be dabbed.

Ice Water Hash
Utilizes cold water to knock off and collect the resin heads, rather than dry force. Plant matter is mixed with ice in large mixing containers and then filtered through micron bags to collect the resin heads. The hash is then dried to reveal the raw resin heads, then pressed and refined further, but can be smoked as is. 

Hand-Pressed Hash
Raw resin heads hand-pressed with a little bit of heat, creating a brick of more solid consistency. Most of the world traditionally smokes hand-pressed hash mixed with a little tobacco or Cannabis.

Temple Ball
Hand-pressed hash that’s been heated and rolled into spheres with an airtight oxidized coating. These balls are then aged to allow for slow chemical processes to occur which cure the resin and elevate the product. This process produces a terpene unique to hash called hashishene. 

Flower Rosin
Raw flower that is squished under a press and through a fine micron mesh bag. Generally contains contaminants from the plant material itself, but is preferred by some flower lovers due to its purity.

Hash Rosin
Raw, sifted resin heads placed in a micron bag and pressed to squish out the oil under controlled amounts of heat and pressure. Captures the most pure resin possible, as it leaves behind the waxy coating of the trichome. Typically yields the highest quality resin concentrate product possible.

Photos by @nwleaf

This article was originally published in the July 2022 issue of All Magazines.

View our archive on issuu.

Are you 21 or older? This website requires you to be 21 years of age or older. Please verify your age to view the content, or click "Exit" to leave.