What Are Cannabis Concentrates?

Joe Evans
Joe Evans - Content Writer

Aug 02 2021 - 4 min read

This blog is going to answer all the questions you may have about cannabis concentrates. From what exactly are cannabis concentrates? How are they made? What forms can medical patients get them in? What makes them different from other cannabis products available at your local dispensary? Keep reading to learn the in’s and out’s of all things cannabis concentrates, making sure you have the best possible information before your next trip to the dispensary!

What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Traditionally, concentrates or concentrated products are the results of a product being broken down and refined to its simplest form. Take the grape or orange juice concentrates you can buy at your local grocery store. While the oranges or grapes you would find in the produce section are the raw, unconcentrated forms, those juices contain the flavors people are looking for without all of the pump, skin, vines, and organic plant material you would have to deal with if you were to try to juice an orange or grapes. The same concept applies to cannabis concentrates!

The waxes, infused oils, shatters, or resin products you can get at your local dispensary are the most refined and pure forms of the cannabis you’re going to get, packing all of the cannabinoids and terpenes into a more refined and often more potent form. In fact, cannabis concentrates typically have much higher levels of the cannabinoids everyone desires than in standard cannabis flower. On average, concentrates have between 50 to 90 percent THC levels, while the traditional flower usually comes in around 10 to 35 percent.

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For that reason, many consider cannabis concentrates to be the best bang for their buck. Aside from the change in form from the standard smokable cannabis flower, concentrates retain the flavors, scents, and even add some potency into the equation. So while the cost of buying some shatter, crumble, wax, or other concentrates might be a bit higher than the standard flower, you’ll be able to use less overall since it’s stronger.

So what forms do these concentrates actually come in at your local dispensary?

The Many Types of Cannabis Concentrates

With the evolution of the cannabis industry over the past two decades or so, there are a wealth of options and forms of concentrates that recreational and medical users alike can pick up on their next trip to the dispensary.

Here are a few of the most popular examples:

CO2 Oils

If you’ve ever taken a hard look at the thick and liquid-like oils in the standard disposable vape or pen cartridge, then you’ve likely enjoyed some CO2 oil. This method is popular due to the lack of need to use ultra-high temperatures to extract the cannabinoid compounds and terpenes from the flower itself. Not only does the process preserve some of the most delicate terpenes, which in turn gives the oils a rich scent and flavor, but it’s easy to use and vape for pretty much anyone.

Distillate Oils

Often referred to in cannabis enthusiast circles as crude extract, this form of cannabis concentrate oil is special for the high levels of THC and CBD compounds it retains. That means that this oil is about as close as you can get to the perfect blend of powerful cannabinoid effects with as little flavor as possible.

That’s why this type of concentrate is typically used in edibles like budder or batter, often used to make delicious edibles and other cannabis-infused foods.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

Named after it’s iconic creator, and early medical cannabis advocate and cannabis industry pioneer, this cannabis concentrate oil is perfect for those looking for massive doses of THC.

Typically odorless, applied topically or mixed into food or beverages, and extremely potent, this form of concentrate is great for those dealing with high levels of pain or managing issues associated with cancer.


Let’s break down some less fluid versions of the cannabis concentrate family, shall we? We’ll start with shatter, a murky and often amber-colored waxy compound created by heating and distilling cannabis flower down to its highest potency, purest form.

The shatter name usually comes from its glassy final form, where it’s often broken into shards like glass and sold in pieces. Many cannabis aficionados think that shatter resembles hard candy, like a jolly rancher or something similar.


While similar to shatter in the process by which it’s made, there are some key differences between wax and shatter.

First and foremost, the wax tends to be much softer, gooier, and stickier than shatter, which makes it perfect for dabbing. Next, it’s usually a light yellow or gold color and much more solid than shatter.

The Bottom Line

While concentrates are a form of medical cannabis that can often be overlooked by some who visit their local dispensaries, those in the know are able to take advantage and reap the many rewards.

Concentrates often allow buyers to get the best bang for their buck, with high doses of cannabis compounds in very small portions, and are easy to use with the right equipment. At the end of the day, cannabis concentrates are a great option no matter who you are or what ails you!

Written by
Joe Evans
Joe Evans

Joe Evans is a journalist, writer, editor and contributor for Leafwell. He has, to date, more than 5,000 articles published online under his byline on topics like cannabis, local and National news, politics, automotive news, sports, pop culture and even a cult.

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