How does cannabidiol’s (CBD) work?
CBD is thought to interact with receptors in the central nervous system, and some evidence points toward a calming effect brought on by CBD. It may also serve as an anti-inflammatory and may produce pain-relieving effects that help with pain management.
What are Cannabis Concentrates and How Do You Consume Them?
Cannabis popularity and use continues to spread. People are starting to learn about all of the different cannabis-based products and how they’re used. This includes cannabis concentrates. Many people are familiar with flower, vapes, and even edibles, but they may not know much about concentrates. Today we’ll take a look at cannabis concentrates including what they are, and how you use them safely and enjoyably.
The world of cannabis concentrates is quite diverse. They come in different textures and you can consume them in a variety of ways.
What are Concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are created by distilling down desirable parts of the cannabis plant. This means they include all the cannabinoids and terpenes of the cannabis flower without the bulk of the plant material itself. Essentially, you’re getting a higher quantity of cannabinoids and terpenes from concentrates in an ounce-to-ounce comparison to the cannabis flower.
These terpenes and cannabinoids are what’s responsible for the unique effects, smell, and flavor experienced with cannabis use. These components are found throughout the plant in frost-like appendages known as trichomes. The highest concentration of trichomes are most noticeable on the buds of the cannabis flowers. Concentrating this down allows users to experience cannabis in another way.
Is There a Difference Between a Concentrate and an Extract?
Cannabis concentrates and cannabis extracts are actually two different products. Concentrates are described above, whereas extracts are specific concentrates that are made using solvents. This means that all extracts are concentrates, but not all concentrates are extracts.
For example, to create vanilla extract alcohol is used as a solvent to pull the flavor from vanilla bean pods. The same can be done for cannabis. In fact, that is how Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is created. However, other solvents are used as well. For example, supercritical CO2 (a fluid state of carbon dioxide) is used for cannabis wax extracts, while butane is used for Butane Hash Oil (BHO).
Concentrates that are made without the help of solvents are instead created using either physical or mechanical means. Trichomes are removed and gathered to create concentrates such as dry sift, kief, and rosin.
Because concentrates and extracts have such a wide variety of textures it can be difficult to tell them apart just by looking at them. Thankfully, dispensaries make it easy to identify which is which with clearly marked packaging.
How to Consume Cannabis
There are a variety of ways to consume cannabis extracts and concentrates. To decide which method will work best for you, it’s important to first think about what you wish to accomplish during and after your experience.
Pre-filled vape pens are a quick, easy way to use cannabis concentrates or extracts. These all-in-one pens consist of a pre-filled cartridge and a battery. The battery activates the heating element. This heats the concentrate into a vapor to be inhaled. The pre-filled cartridges cannot be refilled but depending on the type of pen you may be able to reuse the batteries.
You can also use a refillable version called a dab pen. These tend to provide a more customizable experience because you can fill it with any type of cannabis concentrate. You get to enjoy the customizability and portability all in one device.
Most people who use concentrates vaporize them using a dab rig. Heat is applied to the nail, which is a dab rig equivalent to the bowl for a bong. The concentrate is then directly applied onto the heated surface. It instantly vaporizes into a vapor that can be inhaled. Typically, dab rigs are glass, and the nail is usually either ceramic, glass, quartz, or titanium. Traditional dab rigs are heated with a torch. However, e-nails that are more user-friendly have now hit the market.
Dabbing is when you heat a concentrate or extract to a temperature high enough that it vaporizes. This creates a very potent vapor that is inhaled by the user. It’s the most common way to partake in concentrated cannabis and is the primary reason that many concentrates and extracts are referred to as “dabs.”
Adding powdered kief concentrate to your bowl can help increase the strength of smokables in an easy way without the need for extra tools. The concentrate adds both flavor and potency.
Many people are now using edibles made from cannabis concentrates or extracts. There are store-bought options, or you can opt to make your own at home. Edibles are an easy way for consumers to use concentrates without the cost of any extra equipment. Depending on the dose, they give a potent, long-lasting high similar to dabs.
The primary difference between inhalable concentrates and edibles is the time it takes before you experience your high. When inhaled, you’ll experience a near-instant effect. Whereas edibles may take two or more hours to provide the same effect.
Concentrates are also available in topical options, which provide the same relief but in a targeted way and without the commonly associated high feeling of using cannabis.
Before you dive into using concentrates, it’s a good idea to learn how to decode the names. Often times the plant material that was used to make the concentrate or extract is listed first, followed by the strain of cannabis plant, and something about the texture.
Input materials include the cannabis flower buds, leaves, stems, or some combination of these. Different input materials create different cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Quality also plays a significant role in both the flavor and potency of the concentrate.
- Nug run means a dried and cured flower
- Trim run means dried leaves
- Whole plant indicates that the entire plant was used
- Live resin means that the cannabis was not dried but instead was flash frozen
Different strains of cannabis plants hold different properties. Speak with someone at your dispensary who’s experienced in what strains tend to have what effects in order to get the product best suited for your wants or needs.
The texture description might be the most confusing part of the name. Simply put, this part of the product name describes the appearance and texture of the concentrate. It’s not necessarily a descriptor of how it tastes or the effects it will have. Here are some of the texture descriptions you’ll see on concentrates:
- Budder and Badder mean slightly oily with a soft texture (similar to butter). These concentrates are generally easy to handle and tend to be in the color range from yellow to orange. This type of concentrate is easily spreadable and can be spread on a joint or blunt, or easily used in a dab rig.
- Crumble is a more brittle version of budder/badder. It is more of a crumbly consistency. It is still the same color range of yellows and oranges but with a matte finish as opposed to looking glossier.
- Crystalline is crystalized cannabinoid. These crystals can vary in size from small rocks to powder. They’re generally a white to pale yellow color and vary in density.
- Sauce is very thick and gooey. Colors range from deep golden colors to mustard colors.
- Shatter is brittle and glass-like. It ranges in color from golden yellow to bright amber colors.
- Sugar refers to concentrates with similar consistencies to wet, syrupy sugar. It’s typically not a consistent texture and colors range from bright yellow to amber.
Thinking About Using Cannabis for Sleep? Here Are Some Things to Know – Your Guide to Better Sleep
As cannabis grows in popularity, more people are turning to it to help them sleep and improve sleep quality. Today, we’re going to share some information that will help you understand how cannabis affects natural sleep and can improve a number of sleep-related problems. Then you can decide if you’d like to consult with your doctor about using cannabis for sleep benefits instead of other prescription drug options.
Cannabis Helps Insomnia and Other Sleep Problems
Cannabis has been used as a sleep aid for centuries. It’s no wonder that so many people turn to it now to help with their sleep issues. Research has shown that cannabis can provide a relaxing, sedative effect on sleep. Naturally, being relaxed and under the influence of a mild sedative makes falling asleep much easier.
A recent study indicates that using cannabis can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep for individuals who have sleep problems, as well as those who don’t. For those who do have insomnia or difficulty falling asleep, cannabis use helped patients fall asleep 30 minutes earlier on average. Those who did not have a history of insomnia or difficulty falling asleep still fell asleep approximately 15 minutes faster on average.
Not only does cannabis seem to shorten how long it takes for people to fall asleep, but it also helps them spend more time in a deep, slow-wave state of sleep. This is the level of sleep believed to be the most restorative sleep stage. It also plays a very important role when it comes to daytime functioning and brain health. Since more time is spent in slow-wave sleep, less time is spent in REM sleep. Researchers believe that this is a result of the primary active ingredient in cannabis, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.
Cannabis Contains Many Different Natural Chemicals that Affect Sleep
While cannabis contains dozens of natural chemicals that impact sleep and sleep cycles, there are two primary players. These are cannabinoids and terpenes.
The cannabis plant and different strains of cannabis have over 100 different cannabinoids. Scientists are researching these cannabinoids to find out exactly how they impact sleep, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, seizures, cancers, and even reoccurring chronic pain. The three most well-known cannabinoids all have some effect on sleep.
One of the most commonly recognized chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant is CBD or cannabidiol. CBD does not cause mind-altering effects, but it does still help with relaxation. CBD is a great option for those who wish to enjoy many of the benefits of cannabis but without the “high” feeling. Many people have turned to CBD as a means of reducing anxiety, chronic pain and physical pain while also helping mental clarity and focus. It also can promote daytime alertness and reduce anxiety without having a negative impact on the typical sleep-wake cycle.
A cannabinoid just emerging into the spotlight is CBN or cannabinol. CBN has been shown to have a more potent sedative effect which is only enhanced when combined with its THC counterpart. Like CBD, CBN also has similar properties for relieving pain and inflammation. However, CBN tends to increase appetite while CBD suppresses it. Over time, the THC in cannabis slowly converts to CBN.
THC is probably the most well-known of all cannabinoids. It is the primary psychoactive chemical found in cannabis. THC is what causes the high commonly associated with cannabis use. However, THC also offers pain relief, reduces nausea, and has sedative effects. Not only does THC make it easier to fall asleep and provide better sleep quality, but there is some evidence that may suggest it can even improve breathing during sleep. More research is needed to fully understand how THC and nighttime breathing interact, but this could be groundbreaking information when it comes to the treatment of a common and dangerous sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea.
Time Spent in REM Sleep
When it comes to sleep, THC has been found to help the patients spend less time in REM sleep and more in slow-wave sleep. This means there is often less dreaming taking place while using cannabis. This is very helpful to those who experience disturbing nightmares or suffer from PTSD. Though after stopping cannabis or THC use, it is common to experience a burst of dreams called REM rebound.
It is important to consider how long you should use cannabis as all sleep cycles are important for healthy rest for both the mind and body, as well as brain function. Long-term changes could have long-term consequences as our bodies are designed to rely on all levels of sleep. It’s important to speak with a medical professional before making any decisions on cannabis self-medication.
While the different cannabinoids seem to hog a lot of the spotlight for their numerous health benefits, terpenes also play a significant role. Scientists are still learning about terpenes and how they affect sleep as well as your mind and body. However, the working theory is that they enhance the effects of the different cannabinoids.
Terpenes are very small, aromatic molecules found in cannabis. They’re what creates the unique smell and taste. However, they’re not only found in cannabis. In fact, they’re in a large variety of flowers, fruits, and plants. To date, scientists have discovered over 150 types of terpenes. Research has shown that these terpenes can impact mood, energy, drowsiness, and alertness.
Different Types of Cannabis have Different Types and Amounts of Cannabinoids and Terpenes
It is always best if you consult your doctor before you make any changes to medications or supplements. But you can use this information to help start a conversation with your medical care provider.
There are many types of cannabis and for the beginner, choosing one to start with can feel very overwhelming. There are a variety of strains available, and they have different effects on the mind and body. However, working with your medical provider and an excellent dispensary makes the decision much easier.
There are two primary strains of cannabis, called Indica and Sativa. You can also find a variety of hybrid strains. If you’re looking for something to help you relax and sleep then you may want to consider Indica. If you’re looking for something more invigorating or energizing, Sativa may be a better choice for you. However, these are generalizations, and they may not always be accurate. Your best source of information is from a knowledgeable person at a high-quality dispensary. They may be able to provide you with a strain that better meets your needs. Just don’t be afraid to ask questions.