Second-wave cannabis products, including extracts, concentrates and oils, are expected to start hitting the shelves in Canada in mid-December in most provinces.
But what exactly is a concentrate? What’s the difference between a tincture and an oil? How can one consume these newly-legal delights?
In preparation for legalization 2.0, we’ve compiled a list of common terms and formulas that you’re likely to encounter, in the hopes of making your next retail trip a little less complicated.
As with any kind of drug-related experimentation, you’ll want to “start low and go slow” when trying any of these options for the first time in order to achieve your desired effect.
The onset will vary depending on your method of consumption and other variables such as what food, beverages, and other drugs you have consumed, as well as your tolerance for cannabinoids.
A tincture is made by dissolving an extract of cannabis into alcohol. Tinctures will be legal in Canada, providing the alcohol content is minimal and/or that they are meant to be consumed a few drops at a time (as opposed to say, a weed-infused beer or vodka, which will still be verboten). Tinctures are relatively easy to make at home, making them a fairly accessible way to consume cannabis without inhaling.
How to consume: Tinctures are consumed sublingually by placing a few drops under the tongue. Tinctures can also be added to food or beverages, although it will take longer to feel the effects if consumed in this manner. The dose is easy to measure and adjust when using a dropper, making tinctures a good option for beginners.
Rick Simpson Oil
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is a viscous concentrate developed by Rick Simpson, who formulated the liquid to treat his own skin cancer lesions and subsequently began to widely distribute the eponymous concoction to other patients. RSO will be technically legal in Canada, but since “true” RSO is high-THC, the potency caps put in place by Health Canada mean that anything on the legal market will be a less potent version. RSO is, however, fairly easy to make at home with dry plant matter and household items such as a solvent, a rice cooker, and a fine cheesecloth or strainer.
How to consume: RSO can be consumed orally or topically. Consult a healthcare professional whom you trust before adopting any treatment regimen for cancer or other diseases.
True to its name, shatter is an often delicate (though highly potent) concentrate and can break easily into small pieces. Alternately, it can take on a gooier form similar to snow-chilled maple syrup (shout out to Quebec culture). It is translucent in appearance and ranges in colour from dark amber to light golden honey.
Shatter is made by combining cannabis plant material with solvents but should only be made in a lab designed for the purpose.
How to consume:
Shatter can be “dabbed,” a method of consumption that involves a water pipe known as a rig that has a flat bowl. Users preheat a nail (usually glass) with a small torch. A small amount of the concentrate is dropped onto the hot nail, at which point it vaporizes and can be inhaled through the rig.
Shatter can also be consumed in a vaporizer.
Hashish is a concentration of kief – aka the sticky crystals on the cannabis plant – that has been pressed into a solid form. The kief is derived from the tiny, hairlike glands called trichomes, located at the top of unfertilized and blooming female cannabis plants that produce cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), a psychoactive but non-intoxicating compound, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating compound in the plant.
Hash appears opaque and ranges in colour from a light caramel to a deep charcoal brown, and can feel soft and crumbly, pliable and clay-like, or extremely hard and brittle.
Hash is made by collecting and compacting the kief into a block, generally with a press. Another form, known as “bubble hash,” is made by submerging buds in ice water and sifting out the kief, which is dried and compacted.
How to consume: Hash is commonly smoked (via bong, pipe or joint), as well as dabbed or vaporized. It can also be eaten.
Many people like to spice up a joint or bowl with a dash of hash, as if a condiment. Planning on adding hash to a joint? If texture allows, roll the hash into a long stick instead of crumbling it into small pieces to avoid quick-falling, igneous-looking bits that inevitably end up burning holes in furniture, and loved ones. Try warming the hash slightly before rolling to increase its pliability.
Distillate is a type of concentrate that refines a raw extract to exclusively contain desired compounds, such as THC or CBD. A quality distillate should be nearly flavourless and test around 90% in total cannabinoids.
How to consume: Distillate can be added to topicals or edibles, or consumed in vape cartridges or disposable vape pens, sometimes with additives such as flavour or terpenes.