What Exactly is Hemp Concentrate?
We’re used to seeing hemp products in the form of oils and flower, either to put under your tongue, or smoke in a pre-roll. But these days, after the legalization of hemp products in the United States through the Farm Bill of 2018, the landscape is a little more crowded. Hemp shatter, wax, concentrate, sap extracts, diamonds, budder, crumble, oil, and honeycomb… what are these new types of hemp products, and how exactly are you supposed to use them?
All those nicknames refer to CBD extracts, also known as concentrate. For those of you who are just dipping a toe in the non-psychoactive hemp universe, an extract is the glassy crystal, thick wax, or smooth oil that contains a high concentration of the naturally occurring cannabinoids in the hemp plant.
You can dab or smoke an extract, but lots of people also use these products in cooking or making drinks. Because hemp concentrates are so versatile and potent, they’re becoming popular with all sorts of CBD enthusiasts. There’s a hemp crystal and application for everyone, as long as you know what concentrates are, how they’re made, and how to use them.
What is Hemp Extract?
There’s no reason to be embarrassed if the term “hemp extract” feels like an abstract, hard to imagine substance to you. Extracts are among the most mysterious forms of CBD. But it’s really much simpler than it sounds.
Whether it takes the form of a wax, budder, crumble, shatter, or diamond, an extract is hemp oil, distilled. The form it takes depends on the concentration of terpenes, lipids, and moisture left in the oil.
People like extracts because they have such a long shelf life, amazing taste, high potency, and lots of terpenes. In fact, extracts are perfect for preserving terpenes and protecting the integrity of all the compounds we’ve come to know and love from high-quality CBD.
In fact, when SC Labs tests our diamond extracts, they zoom in to find a potent blend of CBD, CBDA, CBN, CBG, CBGA, CBOV, CBOVA, and CBC. Translation: Cali Vali’s diamonds are made up of 87.59% cannabinoid by weight, containing very low THC. All of those precious cannabinoids are preserved in what we call a “terpene sauce” that gives our extracts their distinct aroma and flavor profile.
Still confused? Think of extracts as a perfect blueberry jam. Imagine picking blueberries when they’re perfectly ripe and full of antioxidants, terpenes, and sweetness. To make those blueberries even more blueberry-ish, you can cook them down into a jam, a concentrated version of the blueberries that will last even longer than the blueberries themselves.
That is what extracts are like for hemp—the plant in its most delicious, potent, concentrated form.
The Art of Extraction
Hemp extracts might feel new to us, but historians say that cannabis concentrates have been around since at least the 1800s, before cannabis products were banned for sale in the United States. In fact, some say the CIA used a THC extract to interrogate suspects during the 1950s and ‘60s!
These days, our hemp extracts are a far cry from those early versions. And we know much more about what’s in our products than people did back in the day. (All Cali Vali products are compliant with the Food and Drug Administration’s 2018 Farm Bill, and contain less than 0.3% THC.)
Early on, people would pack hemp into a tube and heat it with an alcohol and activated charcoal solvent to evaporate and distill hemp oils. Now, we use a much safer and more scientific closed loop system with liquid butane or CO2 to extract hemp oil while carefully preserving cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cali Vali’s hemp extract is full spectrum, which means it contains all the beneficial cannabinoids that can be found naturally in a hemp plant.
How to Dab Hemp
Whenever anyone talks about “dabbing” cbd, they’re using shorthand to refer to vaporizing a very small, very concentrated amount of hemp extract. In the old days, hemp dabbers had to use a blowtorch, a bong, and a hot nail in order to dab. These days, things are a little more sophisticated.
Dabbers use one of two tools to consume hemp concentrate:
- A dab rig
- A wax pen or vaporizer
Which one is right for you? Well, a dab rig is a setup a lot of people use at home. Rigs are really efficient, which is the main reason people like to use them.
That said, if the word “rig” makes you think of those big oilfield contraptions, you’re on the right track. Rigs are just about as cumbersome as they sound, and work about the same way as a bong. They’re usually made of glass, they’re best used on a table, and they’re not super portable.
Hannah Grace gave our CBD diamonds a try in her dab rig.
Portable pens are another option for consuming CBD extracts. A vape pen is much less cumbersome than a dab rig, and more discreet, too. Dab pens typically include a wax atomizer, heating system, and battery. Lots of vape pens used with oils and cartridges are also compatible with wax and concentrates.
Some people say dab pens don’t feel as harsh on the lungs and throat as a traditional dab rig.
Cooking With Extracts
If smoking isn’t your thing, don’t despair. Lots of people prefer cooking with extracts. They’re great when dissolved into high-fat foods like butter, olive oil, ghee, or peanut butter.
Start small, take a whiff before you start cooking, and let us know what you make. This is by far the easiest way to consume crystals, and we can’t wait to hear what you think!