How to save money with cannabis concentrates
We’d all love to have an endless cannabis budget to buy all of the flowers and other products our hearts desire. And not only from a recreational point of view, but also when people use cannabis medicinally, quality and potency are of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, these also have a much higher premium. Since these products aren’t cheap and aren’t covered by health insurance plans, it’s becoming increasingly important to find ways to save money without sacrificing that quality.
Enter concentrates. While some are more expensive, others are very affordable and incredibly versatile. To save money, my favorite types of cannabis concentrates are sprinkles, sugars, and chips – all affordable, effective, and easy to use in a variety of ways.
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Explained Concentrates – Streusel, Sugar, and Slivers
If you compare price points, you will find that “budget” concentrates are similar to top-shelf flowers, sometimes even cheaper. At my favorite pharmacy in Palm Springs, the concentrates I buy are $ 15-25 per gram, $ 45-75 per eighth, and so on. All of this corresponds to the national averages. Some of the higher quality flowers available at this store sell for well over $ 60 per eighth.
The real difference is in potency: around 20% THC for amazing buds versus around 80% for just decent concentrates (and if you’re in the mood for splurging, almost 100% for some sauces on the market); and the numbers are roughly the same for hemp flowers and CBD extracts. Despite similar prices, a gram of concentrate can last a lot longer than a gram of flower, which can save you a ton of money in the long run.
Some concentrates, like the sauces and badders, are waxy and not easy to handle, so they are usually only used with some sort of swab, nectar collector, or something similar. The firmer concentrates allow you to blot them off if you want, but you can also place them on the flower in your cups, joints, and blunts to make them burn slower and add flavor and efficiency. They can also be vaporized, which is the preferred method of consumption for the health conscious among us.
Sugar, sprinkles, and chips all have similar amounts of active cannabinoids – the main differences between the three are heat levels, moisture in the oil, and exercise used during the process; All of this leads to very different consistencies. Many users prefer streusel because the lower extraction temperatures help preserve more terpenes and natural botanicals, although this isn’t always the case and many are fans of chips and sugar.
Sugar was originally created through an accident when other types of concentrate were eventually “sugared”. This means that over time, various factors lead to the formation of sugar, storage, condensation, and lipid levels. For example, strains with higher levels of lipids in the trichomes (a more waxy cuticle layer) and hydrophilic strains that naturally attract water are more prone to sugar. Now that sugar is becoming an increasingly popular concentrate, extraction specialists have found ways to make it on purpose.
A little bit about winterization and dewaxing
While we look at sugar concentrates, it is important to dispel the myth that sugar concentrates are inferior or tainted as some may lead you to believe. They’re not goofed concentrates, they just went through a different chemical process after extraction. One of the main reasons some concentrates are less prone to becoming sugars is that the remaining plant lipids are often removed from the final product.
The process is known as “overwintering” or “dewaxing”. These terms are often used interchangeably, but this is incorrect. Although slightly different, hibernation and dewaxing are very similar and both use cold temperatures and a polar solvent to remove unwanted plant matter from the concentrates such as plant waxes and fats, often resulting in end products with a less than desirable appearance.
The reason many extractors choose to dewax or winterize their products is because some consumers find the taste of “natural” extracts harsh and overwhelming. However, this is entirely a matter of personal preference. While some skip the sugar, others prefer it to other concentrates, including me. The reason: it tastes better and still contains many important plant terpenes.
Just because a concentrate has been winterized or dewaxed doesn’t mean it won’t be sugary, although it is less likely to do so. When using the product medicinally, consistency is key and it is better to choose a product that is less susceptible to sugar, like diamonds.
Cannabinoid Tolerance and the Entourage Effect
There is one obvious problem with overusing certain concentrates: developing tolerance. As the saying goes, too much of anything can be a bad thing. THC causes tolerance because it works on the CB1 receptor, which will eventually be downgraded, causing a person to need more THC to get the same benefits. These receptors are, so to speak, oversaturated and a tolerance arises. At a certain point, increasing the dose or switching to stronger products will no longer work. Heavy THC users can attest to this.
There is good news, however, and that’s because of how THC tolerance actually works. It’s only temporary. So taking a short break removes the THC from your system and completely reduces the tolerance that has built up over time. Anecdotes suggest that tolerance takes much longer to develop than the reverse. Because cannabidiol does not directly attack the same endocannabinoid receptors as tetrahydrocannabinol, those who regularly use CBD extract do not develop tolerance like heavy THC users.
This leads us to another topic. If you use just one cannabinoid very heavily, not only is it possible to build tolerance, but you also miss out on all of the benefits of the entourage effect. Put simply, the entourage effect refers to the way different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together to provide health benefits that you can only get by ingesting the entire plant in its natural state.
Cannabis contains hundreds of different therapeutic compounds, most of which are removed when using products containing cannabinoid isolates. For this reason, it is important to use all of the plant mass. Concentrates are a great way to save money and increase the effects of your flower, but we shouldn’t be completely without natural cannabis flowers.
How to store cannabis concentrates
Proper storage is everything with cannabis products, and concentrates are no exception. To maximize shelf life and add to your weed budget, invest in airtight and light-tight containers that are as small as possible for the amount of concentrate you have. This will ensure that your concentrates will keep their flavor and potency for as long as possible.
Silicone and glass are the most popular materials for storing extracts. Silicone is great because you can remove any type of concentrate on or off it, no matter how sticky. Contamination-resistant medical silicone is very suitable as a short-term storage solution. Glass is also practical, mainly because it is airtight, a property that silicone glasses lack.
Remember, airtight is a must for long-term concentrate storage. Regardless of whether you use glass or silicone, it’s best to vacuum seal the jars and store them in a cool, dark place. Vacuum sealers are an inexpensive and convenient way to extend the shelf life of all of your cannabis products. They are suitable for groceries, flowers, and concentrates.
In a nutshell, cannabis concentrates are amazing. While I still use old-fashioned, regular flowers every day, I love using extracts to enhance my overall experience and save a bit of money in the process. If you stick to products like sprinkles, chips, and sugar, you can get all of the benefits of highly concentrated cannabinoid products without breaking the bank.
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