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Explore the Diverse World of Cannabis Oil and Concentrates

February 26, 2014
An example of marijuana 'shatter', a type of concentrated marijuana extract.

“Concentrate” is becoming an ambiguous word in the cannabis industry. It could refer to the wax you vaporize, the tincture under your tongue, or the orally administered THC-free cannabis oil that’s changing attitudes toward cannabis everywhere. The future of cannabis is steering toward these potent concentrated forms, especially as the therapeutic potential of non-smoking methods is realized by the public.

Explore Different Cannabis Concentrates

Under the umbrella of cannabis concentrates falls any product procured through an extraction process. Solvents (e.g., butane, CO2, ethanol) strip compounds from the cannabis plant, leaving behind a product with cannabinoids packed in every drop. Some types of extracts test as high as 80% in THC, while others are rich in non-intoxicating compounds like CBD deliver an altogether “high-less” experience.

To help refine your cannabis experience, watch Regina in Leafly’s Concentrates 101 video to learn about the different types of concentrates. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will introduce you to some of the most common extracts found in today’s legal cannabis market.

We’ve also listed out the different types of cannabis concentrates below.


Kief, a form of concentrated cannabis
Also known as dry sift or pollen, kief is made up of the resin glands found on the trichomes of cannabis flowers. These glands contain the terpenes and cannabinoids that bring a diversity of flavors and effects to various cannabis strains. Kief is commonly used to make hash, or you can collect kief in a grinder and sprinkle it onto ground cannabis for more potent consumption.


Hash, a type of cannabis concentrate

One of the oldest players in the cannabis game is hash, a concentrate made by compression of the plant’s resin. The powdery kief that coats your cannabis flowers can be collected and pressed together to form hash, or solvents like ice water or ethanol may be used to more effectively strip the plant of their cannabinoid-loaded crystals. Though not as potent as BHO and other cannabis concentrates, hash remains a staple of cannabis culture around the world.


What Is Hash and How Does It Relate to Cannabis?

Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

Butane hash oil (BHO), a type of cannabis concentrate

BHO, or butane hash oil, is an extremely potent concentrate popularly consumed for dabbing and other vaporization methods. Cannabinoids are drawn out of the plant through butane extraction, which leaves behind a wax that will either maintain its sticky consistency or harden up, resulting in a crumbly “honeycomb” or a glasslike “shatter.” Because its THC content stretches up to 80%, BHO is a popular remedy for chronic pain and other intractable symptoms. Always be sure that your oil is lab-tested for purity, as improperly purged BHO may contain traces of butane.


What Does Good BHO Look Like? Dabbing and Hash Oil Myths: Part One

CO2 Oil

CO2 oil, a type of cannabis concentrate

Hot on the market is CO2 oil, a concentrate made possible by expensive botanical extractors that use pressure and carbon dioxide to separate plant material. This method, called supercritical fluid extraction, is one of the most effective ways of reducing cannabis to its essential compounds. The amber oil it produces can be vaporized in a variety of ways, one of the most popular being portable vaporizer pens. Among the industry’s best sellers are disposable cartridges containing CO2 oil and a medical-grade solvent called polypropylene glycol, which gives the oil its liquid consistency.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), a type of cannabis concentrate

In 2003 a man named Rick Simpson treated his skin cancer using a homemade remedy made from cannabis. By soaking the cannabis in pure naphtha or isopropyl alcohol, the therapeutic compounds are drawn out of the plant, leaving behind a tar-like liquid after the solvent fully evaporates. Also known as Phoenix Tears, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) can be orally administered or applied directly to the skin. Many other businesses now sell their own renditions of the Rick Simpson Oil, some of which are high in THC while others contain only non-intoxicating compounds like CBD.


Tinctures, a type of cannabis concentrate

Up until its prohibition in 1937, tinctures were the most common form of cannabis medicine in the United States. A tincture is a liquid concentrate procured through alcohol extraction, which pulls out many of the plant’s beneficial cannabinoids. A few drops under the tongue may be a sufficient dose, but patients can safely apply more as needed. Tinctures, which are now available in a variety of flavors, are a great way for patients to medicate without having to smoke.


Cannabis tinctures 101: What are they, how to make them, and how to use them

photo credits: Morgan200, Symic, subsetsum, Tha Goodiez, add1sun via photopin cc

  • sl64

    You guys should merge this article with the one on solventless concentrates, could be confusing for someone who only sees one of them

  • Richiee

    Does cannabis oils help stop dystonia spasms *spastic tortocolits)

    • disqus_bFVHzTHo3Z

      I would say yes but not in every case for sure. Some patients have had change in posturing relatively quickly. I would try different the three different types of oil, rso, Dragon Tears/High terp extract, harmony strain or a 1 to 1 cbd to thc strain. God Bless it is not something that is comfortable I hope with cannabis and a good Doctor relief can be achieved. The other thing would be brain implantation but you need to talk to a high quality Neuro and Surgeon and see if that is even a viable option without the medical history No one could say.

  • Robert Gerus

    Got to get me some of that stuff

  • Vincent J Moceri

    Hello I smoked bho everyday from a dispo for several months my throat became damaged and I talked to the people at the dispo they claim my throat is burned from heating the banger to hot but. My throat is getting better but not all the way back. I was curious about the quality of the meds and had two extracts lab tested one was a shatter the resdide ppms were 61 Isobutane, 58 n-Butane, 998 Isopentane, 35 n-Pentane, 50 Acetone, 5 heptane, 30 n-Hexane, 5 Cyclohexane, 25 2-methlypentane, 51 3-methlypentane total of 1318ppm. I also had some else lab tested sold as “co2 extract crumble” these wee the ppms,47 Isopentane, 10 n-Pentane, 13 Acetone, 7 Isopropanol, 5 n-Heaxne for a total of 82 ppm with no n-Butane.
    Could the ppm in these be hazardous to my health and is the second really a co2 extract can anyone tell me please?

    • Mike Singer

      First, don’t use hangers. They are made out of a variety of metals and chemicals. Mostly, very harmful when heated at high temps. Even steel can have side effects. A tempered glass is best. Or a tempered steel nail. Oil is very hard on lungs because the oil is still present in smoke and adhears to your lungs like soot. Buy a vaporizer!

    • Vincent J Moceri

      Hey so my throats all healed. I would get the banger/nail hot enough so I would get all the oil in one hit everytime, no much left. I think I just burned my throat from over heating. Anyways the residual solvents ive posted about here mostly likely did not do the throat damage alone. the ppms are actually rather low, although I’m curious about the 998 ppm Isopentane and the reason all these residuals are in there are from a process called “open-blasting” from what Ive been told. Anyways I’m better and dabbing again, also I don’t use metal nails/bangers it gives the dabs a nasty taste I always tasted the metal in every hit of a metal one. so I only use quartz bangers/nails.

  • If you are going to set up a cannabis extraction business start with financial modeling

  • Josh Derickson

    The best oil on the market is by far made by Quanta. Their oil is polarized to energize the THC molecules… makes you high and not stoned. Also causes for less anxiety or paranoia. Shoutout to anyone else who’s part of the Quanta fam!

    • Elise Roche

      how do I get some? It says on their website and facebook they arent available till June 15?

      • Josh Derickson

        You can sign up for their collective here and get it before then.. Are you in CA?

        • Elise Roche

          Yes, I found all the information I needed. Thanks!

    • Slappyhappy

      Is Quanta near SD, CA

    • Elizabeth

      how does th high but not stoned work and feel? i want to be able to rid my
      sel;f of anxiety and sleep well i have terrible insomnia people have told me the cbd oil is useless

      • Jean Luby

        THC helps with the insomnia and anxiety I am being told by Doctor.

  • Jess Heron

    Isopropyl alcohol mentioned irresponsibly. (very sad)

    • alain

      Hi what solvent do you recommend we dont all have access to ethenol here in europe

      • You can use ICE water and really aggressive stirring ( large electric hand drill motor and Paint stirrer) then you need a (“Bubble Bag” which can be had on-line) remove all the branches and flower from the mix, dump it (Ice Water Mixture) through the bubble bag’s fine mesh. What you are left with is condensed Kief/Hash with water. Let the water evaporate from your mix, install some in a pipe, and light!

    • Slappyhappy


    • Hector

      you do realize that after the alcohol is evaporated….youre left with water…..

      What exactly is irresponsible about it?

      Do you even chemistry?

  • Annette Wilson

    My precious sister has what her doctor is calling “Grade 4 bladder cancer”. They removed it and everything else around it (female organs, part of her bowel, many lymph nodes, etc.) then said, “I got it all but, only went as far up the one ureter as possible so as not to lose her left kidney”. So, I’ve heard about the product and someone whose friend had remarkable results from using it! (Pancreatic cancer).
    I’m overwhelmed by all of the data on this. Please, would someone tell me what may be the best one for her? Thanks so much.

  • Shadow Archer

    Is there a process to use Rosin to make RSO?

  • DCBC

    Sorry I have to say incorrect on the concentrates being more potent than the hash. Hash is a concentrate that can be stronger with a completely clean process with no solvent, really it’s cleaner if done right. My bubble hash is stronger than my BHO and tastes better too. It is also dependant on the strain.

    • Mike Singer

      Actually, this is correct. Some can be as high as 80-90% cannibinoids. Pressed hash is not much stronger than flower(15-25%)

      • Mike Singer

        Also, bubble hash is misnamed. It’s concentrate. Not hash.

        • DCBC

          Exactly and really as far as Hash goes it depends on how you make it and what from. Many ways that can do a clean job like dry sifting but are you sharing your farmer grade or your gentlemens grade, did you card it and clean the decapitated trunks out and bring it up to almost 100% crystal Like John Berfelo would or Mark the bubbleman. I wanted to try some supposedly Red Congolese bubble hash from our local dispensary and it wouldn’t even stick together, It was junk but they were calling it bubble hash.

          • Slappyhappy

            i found u got to make own, love making hash

          • DCBC

            Yes, that’s the only way the value+quality can be appreciated

  • Brad Yale

    I’ve just bought concentrates from them. The salesperson was nice and the order process is simple.

  • Susan Linck

    So much information ! What I want to know is what is the best delivery method and strain of cannabis for chronic insomnia.

    • Austin White

      MCT Oil as medium is very absorbable by the body …. a MCT/THC tincture in a small dose an hour before bed will help you sleep or get back to sleep … careful on dosage as the body is dormant at nite so too much the nite before and you may be lethargic the next morning ….

  • Austin White

    no discussion of concentrated residual heavy metals or residual toxins from nutrient uptake during growth … this is something people need to look at … extract type cbd and thc products are concentrated so therefore the non flushed toxins are too. This should be a concern for anyone looking to use cannabis for relief …. especially those with chronic health issues. note: don’t fall for the fact that organic nutrients were used during the veg and flower stages and therefore there would be not nutrient toxins …. traces of salmonella and fecal coliform is being found during testing in some product … even a tiny amount of these bacteria type can be extremely dangerous especially to someone who is already in a weak state due to illness.

  • Melinda Tanner

    Does taking the oil live anything in your blood stream that would make you fail a drug test.

    • You can test positive for THC there are trace amounts in CBD Oil. So check with employers and see what they are doing about marijana tests. I know in my area because the economy is in full high gear mode we have run out of people to hire so companies are relaxing the marijuana test simply because they need workers and all the test proves is you ingested THC in some form sometime in the last month.

  • Time to testify…

    -moves to front of congregation-

    My brothers and sisters………..HOLY CRAPOLA……………..

    My wife has suffered anxiety on a biblical scale for years. She has tried all the SSRI drugs. Nothing really worked as in a return to “normal” function. Most of the time she was flat, as in no emotions at all. Nothing was funny or sad, good or bad. She finally became agoraphobic to the point she would go to her business and work and struggle through the day then come home and not leave until she had clients again. First night she takes 500mg dose ten drops CBD under the tongue. Next morning we drive to my daughters house pick her up and go shopping all day and then out to dinner that evening. It has been YEARS since that happened. As importantly is she said she felt “normal”. She could laugh and cry at things that where funny and sad.


    I started the same dose. I went to the doctor, told him I was taking CBD he said cool, for a yearly physical. Now mind you I am a Vegan that walks 5k daily and practices Yoga and Meditation daily as well, oh I’m 58. Doctor says “dude your doing awesome….but.” You have

    Submandibular Lymphadenopathy. I’m like whaaaaaaaaaa? He tells me to chill out and watch them and if they change get back in to see him. Been a month now so I call him to let him know about the change. Bout the size of a dime. He’s like whaaaaaaaaa? Yep from a ping pong ball size to the size of a dime in a month.

    Can I get an AMEN!

    Oh and BTW some religious scholars are playing with the idea that maybe Jesus used CBD to cure epilepsy. As in anointing with them with holy oil!

    • No more bulls**t

      Preach it!

  • Adam

    My son has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Has there been any study’s to know whether cbd or some other form may help these boys?

  • Kevin Smith

    What about Rosin?


    What can I use in my refillable vape pen. Do I use oil or co2.

  • Kristal Joy

    hello, anybody using wax for infusions for edibles…