Explore the ultimate guide to cannabis concentrates. Learn everything you need to know about various concentrates and how they are made.

What To Know About Cannabis Concentrates

Concentrates offer a potent and versatile way to experience the benefits of cannabis. From the glass-like clarity of shatter to the granular texture of live resin sugar, or the crystalline allure of THCa isolate, each type of concentrate offers a unique experience shaped by its extraction process and cannabinoid composition.

This blog will help you understand the different types of concentrates, how they’re made, and the ways you can use them, so you can make an informed decision about which one’s right for you. Whether you're looking for intense potency, rich flavor, or a specific consistency, SunMed offers a cannabis concentrate that fits your needs.

What Are Cannabis Concentrates?

Concentrates are a potent, condensed form of a cannabis plant’s trichomes, the sticky, crystalline hairs visible on most high-quality flower. These trichomes contain most of the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The extraction and purification of these compounds results in a product that typically contains cannabinoid percentages ranging from 40% - 90% THC. By comparison, the most potent buds on the market average approximately 30% THC.

In addition to their robust cannabinoid profiles, most concentrates include high terpene levels, which combine to offer a more intense experience. Terpenes create the signature aromas and flavors that appeal to cannabis connoisseurs, and they contribute to the overall potency of THC and CBD via the entourage effect.

How Are Cannabis Concentrates Made?

The extraction process for concentrates typically involves using solvents like butane, propane, or pressurized CO2 to isolate cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. Other techniques involve sifting out trichomes mechanically or using intense heat and pressure to squeeze out the plant’s resin.

After extraction, residual solvents are removed and the remaining material is processed at different temperatures and lengths of time depending on the particular process being employed. Different treatments like agitation or whipping are performed in the final stage to create distinct end products.

While extraction methods vary slightly between concentrate types and even different manufacturers, it’s often the post-extraction process that’s responsible for each concentrate’s unique texture, color, potency, flavor, and aroma.

How To Use Cannabis Concentrates

The most popular way to consume concentrates is through dabbing: i.e. placing a small amount of concentrate on the nail of a bong-like device called a dab rig to inhale its vapors. Vaporizing is generally the preferred method rather than burning because it protects more of the concentrate’s terpenes and cannabinoids, typically producing a more intense, flavorful, and aromatic experience. However, most concentrates are versatile and can be added to flower or oil as a topper before smoking, vaping, or otherwise consuming to increase the potency and enhance the expression of the original product.

What Is the Shelf Life of Cannabis Concentrates?

Like any cannabis product, concentrates should be stored in a light- and air-proof container to protect their flavor and potency. Most concentrates are better preserved when stored at cooler temperatures. With proper storage, you can expect the following shelf lives:

  • Shatter and Wax: 6-12 months

  • Hash and Rosin: 12-18 months

  • Oils and Tinctures: 1-2 years (or longer if alcohol-based)

Remember that the expiration dates on the individual packages may vary from these recommendations, and that you should follow the written expiration dates accordingly. 

Live Resin vs. Cured Resin Concentrates

With some exceptions, most concentrates are made with either live or cured flower. The difference between the two lies in the post-harvest process. Live resin is a pure, potent, and flavorful full-spectrum extract made from flower frozen immediately after harvest, rather than buds that have been dried and cured. Consequently, live resin generally preserves more of the plant’s unique terpene and cannabinoid profiles. Live resin can be consumed in several consistencies, including as oil in carts or in concentrate form. Cured resin concentrates made with flower that's been cured or dried after harvest will generally have fewer terpenes and a less pronounced aroma.

What Are the Different Types of Cannabis Concentrates?

The term "cannabis concentrates" encompasses a wide variety of products, each with its own unique characteristics, consistency, and method of consumption. What they have in common, however, is that they’re all known for their purity, potency, and the enhanced effects they provide compared to traditional cannabis flower. Here are some of the most common offerings:

Batter

THC batter with a yellow color and creamy consistency in a white product container

Batter, also known as budder or badder, is a cannabis concentrate recognized for its creamy, butter-like consistency. This texture is smooth and easy to handle, making it a popular choice among concentrate enthusiasts. One of the cleanest and most sought-after concentrates, it’s extremely pure and potent with a terpene-rich profile. This high terpene content provides a rich, flavorful experience, making it a favorite among those who appreciate the nuances of different cannabis strains. Effects from batter can be more intense than flower and settle in faster. Its creamy consistency, high THC content, and rich terpene profile make batter a popular choice for both recreational and medicinal users.

Sugar

THC sugar with a grainy texture in a white product container
Sugar's wet, thick, and sticky consistency is similar to sugar covered in syrup or honey. Sugar concentrates are highly potent and flavorful, often containing between 60% and 90% THC, providing strong and long-lasting effects. This concentrate is processed to allow the crystallization of THCa without damaging the terpenes, resulting in rich and complex flavors that make it a favorite among connoisseurs. Whether you're exploring new forms of concentrates or looking for a flavorful addition to your collection, sugar provides a distinctive and rewarding option.

Shatter

3 pieces of shatter with glass-like consistency and holes
Known for its glass-like appearance, shatter is a hard, translucent concentrate that breaks apart easily, or "shatters." This concentrate is derived from cured cannabis and noted for its extreme purity and stability. The consistency is thin, clear and glass-like with a noticeably gold or amber color. The stability and purity of shatter make it a popular choice for users seeking a reliable and consistent product. Shatter is one of the most potent cannabis concentrates, often containing THC levels ranging from 70% to 90%. This provides strong and long-lasting effects.

Diamonds & Sauce

THC diamonds and sauce in a white product container

 

Diamonds & Sauce is a premium cannabis concentrate that combines the purity and potency of THCa "diamonds" with the rich, flavorful profile of High Terpene Extract (“sauce”). High Terpene Extract (HTE) is a live cannabis extract that has a thick and sticky consistency similar to honey. HTE combined with HCE (High Cannabinoid Extract) to provide rich flavor and a robust entourage effect. The end result is a product rich in terpenes with cannabinoids testing as high as 99.99%.

THCa Isolate

THCa isolate powder in a white product container
THCa Isolate is one of the most potent concentrates, providing a nearly pure form of THCa. THCa isolate is a highly potent concentrate, containing up tp 100% THCa cannabinoids, and comes in a white, crystalline powder that has a consistency similar to table salt or raw sugar. The isolation process ensures that the final product is free from other cannabinoids, terpenes, and impurities, providing a highly pure concentrate. To unlock its psychoactive effects, THCa isolate must be heated, transforming it into THC. It’s often used as a topper to add a potent boost to flower or other concentrates.

Crumble

One piece of THC crumble with a yellow color
Cannabis crumble is a popular concentrate celebrated for its unique texture and potent effects. Typically appearing in shades of light golden to amber, this extract has a dry, crumbly consistency, making it easy to handle and measure. Crumble retains the rich terpene profile of the original cannabis strain, providing a flavorful and aromatic experience with notes that may include citrus, pine, earthiness, or floral undertones. Its potent effects and rich sensory profile make it a standout choice for both seasoned users and newcomers to concentrates. As with THCa isolate, crumble must be heated to unlock its THC content.

FAQs about Cannabis Concentrate 

Are Cannabis Concentrates Safe?

The solvent-based extraction needed for many cannabis concentrates is a delicate chemical process that requires careful procedures and precise laboratory conditions. That’s why it’s even more important to purchase concentrates from a licensed producer like SunMed. All our products are subject to strict lab testing for purity, both internally and by the state of Maryland.

Are Cannabis Concentrates Stronger than Bud?

The most potent buds on the market today average about 30% THC. Cannabis concentrates, on the other hand, typically range from 40% to up to 99% THC, making them almost always considerably stronger. 

What Is the Strongest Form of Cannabis Concentrate?

THCa isolate is the strongest form of cannabis concentrate, with a purity level that approaches 100%. However, THCa isn’t the same thing as THC. On its own it isn’t psychoactive. Rather, THCa needs to be heated through vaping or smoking  in order to convert the THCa into THC.

What's the Difference Between Dabs and Concentrates?

All dabs are concentrates, but not all concentrates are dabs. “Dabbing” is a method of vaporizing cannabis concentrates. When you’re using this method, the concentrate you use is often called “a dab.” However, some concentrates (such as oils and tinctures) typically aren’t used as dabs and are instead consumed other ways (by using a vape or by adding them to edibles, etc.). 

Is It Better to Smoke Flower or Concentrate?

The choice between smoking flower or concentrates mostly comes down to preference and experience level. Concentrates are extremely potent, so you’re probably better off starting with flower if you’re new to the world of weed. However, if you’re familiar with cannabis and its effects and you’re looking to expand your horizons, concentrates are the way to go. You might want to consider using a little concentrate as a topper for flower to begin with so you can experiment with its effects before jumping right into dabbing. 

What Concentrate Has the Best Terpenes?

The best terpenes are a matter of preference (some people love limonene, others love pinene), but the concentrates that do the best job of preserving the terpene content of their originating strains are definitely live resin batters and sugars. Live resins are made from plants that have been flash-frozen rather than dried and cured so that the terpene content is preserved in the extraction process.

Experience World-Class Concentrates from SunMed Growers

Ready to seek new heights? SunMed Growers offers exceptional cannabis concentrates extracted with precision in our state-of-the-art labs. Our premium cannabis caters to various needs, from pain relief and anxiety reduction to pure relaxation.

Why Choose SunMed Growers?

  • Precision Extraction: Our concentrates are crafted using advanced extraction techniques to ensure the highest purity and potency. We maintain strict quality control measures to deliver exceptional products every time.

  • Variety of Products: Whether you're looking for the creamy consistency of batter, the crystalline beauty of THCa Isolate, or the potent combination found in Diamonds & Sauce, SunMed Growers has a wide range of concentrates to suit your preferences.

  • Lab-Tested Quality: We prioritize safety and quality. All our concentrates are lab-tested to ensure they are free from contaminants and have accurate cannabinoid profiles.

Where to Buy Cannabis Concentrates

Visit our website to explore our full range of concentrates and find a dispensary near you. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help you find the perfect product to meet your needs!