What Are CO2 Dabs aka Solventless Concentrates?

Happy dab day from Stuff Stoners LikeWhat are CO2 Dabs?

With the whole dab craze taking flight and elevating people to highs before only felt in dreams and on heavy doses of muscle relaxers, there’s tons of questions flying around regarding what all these different kinds of solventless concentrates are, and how they are made. Looking for information on how to smoke concentrates? We got that too! Luckily for you, SSL is on the case, so sit back, take some dabs, and enjoy this piece on cannabis extracts.

Looking how to make dabs without butane?

There’s several ways to make dabs without butane or solventless wax. Butane and other hydrocarbon extractions require lots of equipment to do it right and can be quite dangerous when not done properly, or with the proper equipment. People open blast still and that’s totally their prerogative, but, unless you have access to a lab full of gear, the stuff you end up with isn’t going to be all that great. That’s why people are always looking for other ways to make dabs without butane, outlined below are just a few. There’s rosin, which is probably going to be your best bet. At least if you want some solventless dabs that won’t sizzle and spit when you try to dab them.

how to make rosinHow to make rosin

What is rosin? Well if you’re looking for a good rosin definition follow that link back there for some in-depth coverage. Anyhow rosin was a thing a long long time ago, but has more recently made a resurgence in the populous hive mindstate. Grab your sisters hair straightener, some parchment paper, and some high resin holding weed. To make rosin you use the moisture that is left over in the plant material as the solvent, combined with the heat and pressure of your sister’s hair straightener, to squish the rosin out and onto the paper.

Of course you don’t have to use your sister’s hair straightener, and there’s even several companies now who make commercial sized presses. Just like with any dabs, I’ve had some good rosin, and I’ve had some not good rosin. What it comes down to at the end of the day is how much care and knowledge the operator has when they are performing the extraction. Not all of these machines are as dummy proof as people would like, and I think that’s a good thing. It still allows for a bit of artistry to shine through when it comes to making cannabis extracts. Thus defining what should sit at the top shelf and what should come out when your scavenger friends come over wanting to sesh.

Let’s define concentrate

The basic working definition we get from Google says that a concentrate is a substance made by removing water and other diluting agents. A concentrated form of something. In this case it’s the cannabinoids and, depending on how the extraction and refinement was done, the terpenes that we want concentrated down. So if you think about the cannabis plant as a whole, we can consider the fats, waxes, chlorophyll, and other things basically the diluting agents. We want to remove those so we will be left with the concentrated good stuff.

People have been clinging on the solventless concentrates or solvent free wax name as a way to market their cannabis oil for a while now. This also sparks lots of comment flame wars. Water is a solvent too you guys. It should all be solvent free by the time we’re dabbing it. As far as solventless extraction goes, it kinda sounds oxymoronic to me. Just like organic and gluten free have become actual selling points, solventless oil and solventless dabs was just another way to sell some oil.

Hashish definition

Everyone has their own extracts definition, from hash to dabs to waxes to honey oil. Cannabis oil extraction is a bit different than making hash, depending on who you ask. The term hashish has evolved to encompass many types of concentrated forms of cannabis. Depending on the region, it could be used specifically for one type or another. In my experience the hashish in the UK is completely different than what some would call hash here in the states. The Google definition just says it’s an extract of the cannabis plant. This is where we find helpful descriptors that further explain the type of hash one might be entertaining. There’s huge pockets of people who swear by, and only smoke ice water hash or other bubble hash or water hash types.

KiefA good kief definition

What is kief? If you’ve ever had a grinder and noticed the powder stuff in the bottom. That’s kief. It’s basically the trichomes and some plant material that gets left behind or trapped in the bottom of a grinder. Some people like to sift this then press it together to form finger hash. This is usually applied to a bowl of cannabis, either on top of, or in between the flower. I prefer in between so that the kief or finger hash doesn’t catch on fire. You can also use kief to bump up the THC content of your plant material when doing an extraction. Kief is also used as a topping for spliffs or joints. It’s good shit and definitely stuff stoners like.

How hash is made aka ice water extraction

There’s several ways one learns how to extract THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes, but when we are talking about hash, usually, at least in my experience, we’re talking about using water as the solvent and low temperatures to make the trichomes detach easier with some agitation. The trichomes are where the majority of the cannabinoids are found. Sure there are still some in the plant material itself, but the more you try and remove those, the more fats, waxes, and other undesirables you will also bring out, which will then require more refinement.

So what’s the difference between hash and wax?

These days it seems like it’s all just different names for the same shit. It’s all dabs. Some people call it wax, while some people work hard at winterizing their material in order to remove the wax. What’s in a name? Apparently not a whole lot these days. But if you want to talk science, then there’s quite a few differences. As varied as the hash oil extractor that does the actual extracting, there’s so many names for it. I personally just call the shit dabs, but within that category there are different types. Distillates, budders, crumbles, isolates, and even mixtures of the two, which we affectionately call 2 erls 1 cup.

Depending on how the extraction is done, there will be fats and waxes in the majority of the dabs you take. Unless you are one of those people who only dabs distillates. Most distillates, when done right, should be completely winterized, which means the fats and waxes are removed, which gives it the appearance of being clear. It won’t be totally clear, as the majority of the distillates you see on the market are made with trim and super old, most likely moldy weed. I’ve read the older the material, the more of that yellow color you’ll find. But it also has to do with the temperatures used when refining. Distillate can be made with a few different types of machines, but the best distillate is generally made with a thin wipe molecular distillation unit, or wiped film unit.

You can make distillate with a short path, but the product these machines output tends to be not all that great. Then again, the price difference on a thin wipe compared to a short path table top type of unit is tremendous. Lot’s of investment.

Full melt hash

Generally the term full melt is applied to the best ice water extracts or other water hash methods. Generally you can’t dab this sort of stuff, unless it’s full melt. What’s the difference? Purity. The more plant material left over during the different THC extraction methods the less dabbable it will be. Full melt should, as the name says, fully melt into a puddle, making it the most dabbable of the bunch, but again, that’s going to depend on region and of course, how it’s made. What some people call full melt bubble hash in one place may not necessarily mean that’s what you’ll get in another. Full melt hash should not burn, it should bubble and melt. That’s a good way to tell the difference or know if you are actually getting the top shelf full melt bubble hash, or just some normal everyday hash.

co2 dabsCO2 dabs

Another one of the more popular cannabis extraction methods is the CO2 hash oil extraction. Just like the name implies, to make CO2 extracted cannabis oil, the process takes advantage of CO2’s supercritical and subcritical states in order to extract THC and other cannabinoids from the plant material. People like the CO2 oil extraction because they think that CO2 is safer than butane. I like to remind people that the dose makes the poison, and if an extraction is done right, and the purge is done properly, there shouldn’t be enough residual solvent to matter.

But if there is, CO2 is just as dangerous to dab than butane. Again, it’s all in the dose. People like to snub their nose at hydrocarbon extraction because before they knew better, someone talked them into spending a lot of money and giving up a lot of room space for a CO2 machine. So now, they have to defend it, otherwise they feel like they wasted a whole lot of money.

Granted, CO2 machines are awesome and have their place, but after going to all these conferences and seeing what the big CO2 extraction equipment companies were peddling, I sort of got a bad taste in my mouth for them. They see dollar signs and instantly their machine is the end all be all of cannabis extraction. That’s simply not the case, and more times than not, a CO2 extractor is not what is needed.

Again, it all comes down to what the end product or service is going to be. In my humble opinion, I feel like CO2 extractors should be used to get the terpenes out, and for doing some R&D, because of how you can move through a more broad spectrum of different terpene and cannabinoid fractions. But for an end product, I don’t know, I’m not all that into taking CO2 dabs. In my experience, CO2 honey oil all tastes the same. I understand why it was so popular, but I feel like these days there’s better methods for getting dabs in a vape cartridge.

Ever vape any Co2 dabs? How ’bout BHO? Actually what are you favorite solventless concentrates? Have you ever made one yourself? Let us know in the comments section below.

By Mat Lee

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