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Health Risks Associated with Solvent Extracted Cannabis Concentrates (& How to Avoid them)

The primitive way to smoke cannabis is through the use of dried cannabis flowers. Similarly to tobacco, it has been employed by the generation of smokers and cannabis enthusiasts. In fact, certain pre-civilization eras had used cannabis through smoking.

Mummified burial tombs in East Asia had discovered with remnants of cannabis pieces beside its resting place. Nevertheless, archaeologists dated the tombs way back 2000 to 3000 BC and acknowledge that ancient human civilizations had grown and utilized cannabis for smoking.

However, as times change, smoking has been an impractical and inconvenient medium for cannabis use. Laws had change and strict implementations were mandated for cannabis use. Consequently, smoking is quite ‘visible’ and easily noticed when in public or even in homes.

Moreover, health risks on smoking with any form had been reported by different scientific journals. Lung deterioration and liver damage are just a few of the implicated complications mentioned with smoking.

That is why a lot of cannabis enthusiasts have to find new and modern ways to use cannabis discreetly and to at least stay away from health risks.

One of the most popular forms of cannabis for use as a substitute for smoking dried flowers are concentrated. This form yet seems engaging and quite good at first doses has still been perceived to be unhealthy for human consumption. What’s wrong with these concentrates Then, were here to explore and find out more regarding the risks that one could face upon using these concentrates.

What are Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates are a general term referring to cannabis products with a suitable or nearly pure chemical composition. This is quite similar to obtaining the concentrated fruit juice such as orange through extractive processes.

Concentrates though typically viscous and liquid could exist at other forms as well. Depending on what type it is, cannabis concentrated often vary also in color and composition. There are those exhibiting light yellowish, colorless, and green colors.

Mainly, cannabis concentrates are extraction of specifically potent or active cannabinoid compounds. Amongst the cannabinoids, the most commonly obtained are the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

As known, these cannabinoids are major aim during every use or smoke of cannabis. Each of these holds a unique chemical composition that is considerably likable to human perception. Apart from that, it holds health benefits that several cannabis patients are looking for.

Extracting these concentrates will ensure maximum consumption of these cannabinoids. Furthermore, it’s more effective and considerably therapeutic as to its general purpose. These concentrates eliminate the possibility of ingestion any unnecessary and toxic chemicals that could potentially much more risk health.

Concentrates commonly have 40% to 80% cannabinoid content. However, there are extreme cases that go beyond that range. In fact, the highest percentage extracted cannabinoid could get at 98%. It should also be expected that as it will get more concentrated, it will also be more expensive to buy. The process of extraction highly concentrated cannabinoid is quite tedious and demanding. Thus, it should be relatively very expensive to compromise for the quality and the effort on extracting it.

Types of Cannabis Concentrates

There is actually different kind of weed concentrates. The classification of these concentrated depends on various parameters.

Basically, there are three major considerations on the division of these concentrates:

  1. Consistency of the concentrate

This refers to the phase of the concentrate. It could be solid, liquid, or in between both. It also includes the viscosity and color of it. Furthermore, its overall physical characteristics are what to be considered in this factor.

  • Method for Extraction

The process of extraction also differentiates to each concentrate. The extraction method to be chosen depends on what chemical content will be obtained. Common methods for extraction include the use of carbon dioxide, butane, heat, and even pressure.

  • Part of the Plant Utilized

While most of the concentrates came from bud where the cannabinoids are mostly accumulated, there are other types of concentrates that use other plant parts such as leaves or resin glands to extract cannabinoids.

Consequently, there are various distinctions of cannabis concentrates. However, we’ll be giving you only a few of the best selling concentrates that you could use. This includes the following:

  • Trim Run

These are the weed concentrates that comes from non-bud parts. Respectively, these consists of those referred to as ‘waste’ by several growers. This includes extracts of stems, leaves, and tiny nugs.

Unlike any other concentrates, this possesses a lower cannabinoid content. It doesn’t have a strong aroma and won’t give you much ‘high’ or relaxing effect as opposed to what another type of concentrates could deliver.

However, if you’re looking for a cheap option to experience occasional ‘high’, then this concentrate type is the best option.

  • Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

As literally, its name denotes, this concentrate is generated through the use of butane as an extracting solvent. This type of concentrate has been popular for its high THC extraction content. Nonetheless, this concentrate is also used to create other types of concentrates including nug run, hash, and shatter.

However, extraction through the utilization of butane is somehow not convincing to several cannabis enthusiasts. The dangers of inhaling butane aren’t clearly something to get worried about. It’s a toxic chemical most especially when consumed at high concentrations.

But nonetheless, a lot of its manufacturers continuously reassure that they concentrate are butane free and ain’t harmful in any other way. But still, there are a few cannabis users who are hesitant with this claim.

VIDEO: Intro to Butane Hash Oil

Video Source; VICE

  • Propane Hash Oil

Another solvent extraction method using propane. Its product is somehow buttery and creamy with a high terpenoid level incorporating strong and desirable aroma. However, similarly to butane, its still viewed unsafe and a lot of cannabis users are doubtful on utilizing this.

  • CO2

Prominently known as superfluid fluid extraction, this process is solvent-free without hints of any toxic and potentially unsafe additives. This concentrate is reliably very expensive with rich flavor possessing a lot of terpenes on its background.

Its CO2 name is coined from the process of using carbon dioxide for extraction. Nevertheless, the process uses specialized equipment forcing carbon dioxide into a container full of cannabis buds. As the process continues, the cannabinoids will be picked up and get liquefied. After it’s done, the residue will be left and put in a separate container as needed.

  • Shatter

A highly concentrated extract, this is preferably one of the purest to use. Its basically obtain through processing the concentrates obtained through the Propane and Butane Hash Oils.

Generally, this concentrate has a glass-like appearance, resembling a caramelized sugar at first glance. Mostly, it couldn’t be used for smoking as it will evaporate at high temperatures. The only way to use this concentrate is through a vaporizer.

  • Dry Sift

This is the residue left or the waste in excess during weed grinding. It’s the powdered one filtered through kief or hashish. Though discarded, this residue still contains scarce cannabinoid concentration. This amount could get you still into a relieving or mild ‘high’.

This powdered residue is most often dried for use to add during vape, smoke, and cooking cannabis-infused food products.

  • Crumble

Derived from the butane hash oil, this cannabis concentrate is made from solidifying the oil through heating it into lower temperatures through an oven. Crumbles are conveniently softly textured yet easily crumbled upon use.

Otherwise, crumbles are quite potent. It comprises a lot of THC and other cannabinoids. However, it could only be utilized through vaporizing or infusing it through various food products.

  • Full Melt

This is referred to as a hash using water, ice, or sieve process. It has typically a unique texture similar to sand and brown sugar with a dark yellowish color incorporated. Nonetheless, it has an incredible potency with the highest form of hash to maximize the cannabinoid and terpenes content.

Though this process is complicated and the concentrate is difficult to find. Its considerably the best concentrate to use during vaping or dabbing.

  • Wax

Also called honey for its texture and color, this cannabis concentrate is definitely one of the most popular used by a lot of cannabis enthusiasts. It’s relatively very expensive and difficultly handled. It’s highly potent with the use only of vaporizers and dab tools to inhale or consume it.

  • Budder

Molded and colored similarly to butter, this concentrate is most consistent and considerably pure that could even reach at 99% cannabinoid value. However, it’s very costly with difficult processing. Cannabis extracts have been lashed repeatedly until it will appear solid and buttery as it should be.

  • Sap

A chocolate-like texture, this cannabis concentrate is usually utilized indoors as it easily gets melts most especially during on a hot day. To use this concentrate, it has a reliably high potency with an excellent taste during use.

  • Rosin

Also called weed wax, this solid cannabis concentrate is produced by exposing the buds into heat and pressure. Its an easy process and could be extracted via a hair straightener. All you have to do is press the cannabis chunks and apply heat into it.

  • Kief

Using a weed grinder, you’ll directly obtain kief. All that you have to do is rub cannabis buds repeatedly into the grinder. Small uniform cannabis pieces will be ground and these are referred to as kief. Nevertheless, kief is not highly cannabinoid concentrated and are used commonly to make joints for smoking.

The Advantages of Using Concentrates

Well, concentrates are quite popular these days rather than dried flowers. Though more expensive as the latter, concentrates are reliably purchased by a lot of cannabis enthusiasts. Its most often preferred over dried flowers because of few reasons. This includes the following;

  • Concentrates contain more cannabinoid content

As it’s processed to extract specifically an active cannabinoid component, it manifests a good satisfying experience as its more concentrated. Using this treatment will help you avoid ingesting or inhaling any unnecessary impurities or toxins in the background.

Apart from that, it will really give you a solid ‘high’ and a purely intimate aroma. It won’t have any mix of flavors as compared to when smoking cannabis.

  • Flexible Use

Cannabis concentrates could be utilized for different purposes. Consequently, one could also smoke through some types of extracts. Other options include dabbing and vaporizing. You could also infused it to any food or drinking products.

  • No Combustion Involved

As there’ll be no dirty smoke involved, you’ll definitely get clear and good effects upon using concentrates. It ain’t producing any toxic products that result from combustion. Nevertheless, this will lead to less respiratory symptoms.

Effects of Using Cannabis Concentrates

The effects of cannabis concentrate deeply vary according to what cannabinoid is it mostly contains. If its THC, then you’ll expect to get ‘high’ depending on the concentration of it. However, if we’re talking about CBD, then it’s a less intense and relaxing cannabis use.

In general, it has quite similar effects to using dried flowers. The difference is that you’re consuming a more concentrated and cannabinoid-present brand. To not get shocked or troubled to anything, its best to adjust doses first to prevent extreme paranoia upon use.

How CBD Oil Impacts the Body

Video Source: DoctorOz

Dangers to Health of Using Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates have been popularly used and sold by several cannabis dispensaries. It’s a multi-diverse cannabis product that has even used as an additive to other food, pharmaceutical, and hygienic products such as shampoos, lotions, and soaps.

A Concern with Cannabis Products

As we’ve known the marijuana craze is still not over, a lot of manufacturers have been obsessed to put cannabis concentrates or extracts as an additional ingredient. As news has come to spread with the plant’s therapeutic benefits, a lot of people had been interested in buying any cannabis-infused products.

However, it may seem to be flashy and very convincing, there are still risks in using these type of products. It’s important that you’ll be able to look carefully into its required dosage or treatment. Overuse of these products could be harmful most especially if your pregnant or having allergies. It’s best to seek consultation to a medical doctor or a cannabis expert before taking or using any cannabis products.

Apart from that, there are references who take note of how the use of cannabis products could increase the risk of stroke. A study conducted in the University of Auckland by Dr. Alan Barber reveals the interrelation of the use with cannabis products to increase the risks of getting a stroke.

Out of 160 controlled patients who experienced a stroke, about 80% of it has considerably smoked cannabis for a few times in their life. However, this information still needs more concrete study before making any conclusions.

Moreover, a related study was also established concerning cardiovascular risks. It has found through the research of Barbara Yankey at the School of Public Health at Georgia University concluded that the occurrence of heart diseases are likely to increase when using marijuana products.

VIDEO TITLE: Up in Stroke: Marijuana may raise stroke risk

Video Source: MDedge: news and insights for busy physicians

Vaping and Dabbing Risks

Apart from that, vaping and dabbing are known applications for cannabis concentrates. As its considered safer route than smoking, there are still risks that you have to know before deciding on doing this activity.

First of all, there’s no existing dosage requirement when using concentrates. Thus, it’s important that you’ll be able to take slow when utilizing these ones. It’s quite stronger than dried flowers that you’re mostly using during smoking.

If you’re a newbie, then its best to dose responsibly. Start with small amounts and through time, increase the dosage until you’ve reached the point that’s conveniently appropriate for use.

Another concern for using cannabis concentrates is its solvent use. There are relatively processes that involve solvent (butane and propane) for extraction. Though most manufacturers often denote that their concentrates are solvent-free, there’s a lot of doubt regarding that. There should be at least minimal concentrations remaining on the solvent from the extraction. If this so, it will be relatively toxic upon repeated consumption of the concentrates.

Aside from that, there are reports that risks of cancer are high when using these cannabis concentrates. A study conducted by the Portland State University in Oregon led by Dr. Robert Strongin had consecutively proved this idea.

Nevertheless, their main intention was only to study the chemical composition of the vapor produced by the common butane hash oil. It was originally focused on terpenes, the component that delivers unique aroma or fragrance to any cannabis product.

However, scientists found different else when conducting this research. Upon monitoring the activity of cannabis-derived terpenes including myrcene, limonene, and linalool, an increase of concentration with benzene is detected through vapor inhalation. As known, benzene is a highly carcinogenic chemical and a noxious pollutant in the air. Consequently, this is an alarming discovery as most people perceived that smoking is more dangerous as compared to vaping or dabbing. Otherwise, it appears that both methods are not good for health in each own different ways.

The Final Word

In all honesty, there’s no safe route to wellness in today’s generation. Everything we eat is mostly sprayed with harmful pesticides and the air we breathe is mix with pollutants. The only thing that we could do is to minimize these health risks and keep everything in moderation.

Similarly to using cannabis concentrates, exposure to its vapor is definitely hazardous to health. However, in comparison to the benefits that cannabis delivers to its consumers, it’s still definitely worth a shot. Let’s just keep things balanced, the best of both worlds.