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Cannabis Extracts – Everything You Need to Know

Cannabis extracts are widely praised for their therapeutic benefits, potency and flavour, but they’re often disregarded in favour of more conventional smoking options such as joints and vapes. This is unfortunate, as many of the differences and varying cannabinoid concentrations cannabis concentrates offer may be one of the most promising alternatives for relieving various medical conditions’ symptoms.  

Compared to more conventional cannabis consumption methods such as joints and edibles, cannabis extracts offer an easier, more accessible way to medicate.  Not only are cannabis extracts at least twice as potent as regular flower, but they’re also packed with beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes that could deliver a unique experience.

So what are cannabis extracts, and how do they differ from dried cannabis flower and joints? What’re the different types of extracts, and which one should you go for if you’re a beginner? If you’re a beginner to the beautiful world of extracts, here’s what you need to know about cannabis concentrates. 

What are Cannabis Extracts? 

Consuming cannabis in the form of dried plant material provides numerous benefits. It’s well-known for its ability to help alleviate nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy treatment, reduce spasticity from conditions like multiple sclerosis, and more. 

Many of these forms of symptomatic relief are attributed to the collective action of multiple cannabinoids, often consumed from the flower, burned to inhale the smoke. Yet, to enhance cannabis’s medicinal potential even further, producers have shifted to extracts. 

A cannabis extract is a highly concentrated form of the cannabis plant. It’s a collection of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds separated from the rest of the plant material.

Once removed from the plant, the compounds are extensively refined to create either isolate a specific cannabinoid, as in a cannabis oil or tincture, or a concentrate, such as weed shatter or weed budder.

For example, cannabidiol (CBD) tinctures are made by soaking cannabis plant material in alcohol with gradually increasing heat. This removes the CBD from the plant for use on its own. 

On the other hand, oil is typically extracted by subjected the cannabis plant to high heat and pressure using a solvent such as carbon dioxide or butane. Once the desirable components are removed, the mixture is then purged of the solvent and processed to create a concentrate cannabis product. 

Each of these methods separates, or “extracts,” the cannabinoid from the rest of the plant, making it much easier to use for targeted therapeutic treatments. 

Benefits of Cannabis Extractions 

Since cannabis concentrates present the active compounds in significantly higher levels than they naturally occur in the plant, the beneficial and psychoactive effects are much more powerful. 

One key reason why these products are so effective is that the cannabinoids are not only extracted from the plant, but they’re concentrated. Instead of combusting the plant’s lipids, fats and waxes, you’re consuming the cannabinoids and terpenes alone. This produces a much more focused, potent effect than regular cannabis flower. 

For comparison, a high THC flower strain might have a THC content of 30% to 35% on average. Cannabis extracts have a potency of 60% to 99%, depending on the extraction method used. 

An additional benefit that cannabis concentrates offer is that they offer more flavour. Since all desirable plant compounds are extracted and isolated from the cannabis plant, there’s less plant matter to dilute the flavour. This means that there are more terpenes, compounds responsible for the flavour and aroma of cannabis, present within the extract. 

Due to their intense THC potency, cannabis concentrates are known best for the following advantages

  • Reducing muscle spasms 
  • Soothing chronic pain 
  • Reducing nausea and vomiting 
  • Helping alleviate epileptic symptoms 
  • Improving appetite 
  • Managing and improving psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

In their 2016 paper overviewing scientific knowledge of cannabis edibles, Barrus and colleagues discussed the need for further research into extracts’ medicinal applications. While evidence exists to support all of the above health benefits, more is needed for scientists to develop a full understanding of concentrated cannabis products. 

Additionally, although many people prefer to smoke cannabis, an oral cannabis extract will likely produce longer-lasting, less intoxicating effects than smoked cannabis, especially for pain relief. 

[THC tincture picture] 

Oral extracts are also more accessible than smoking flower. While you might not be able to smoke a joint anywhere you’d like, dosing with a THC tincture is discreet, odourless and unbelievably easy. 

This is one of the primary reasons why oral cannabis products are more popular among medical users. 

Types of Cannabis Extracts 

cannabis extracts guide

There are many types of tasty cannabis extracts to choose from, each offering unique advantages depending on the production methods, cannabinoid balance, and more. Five of the most popular types include: 

Butane hash oil (BHO)

Butane hash oil, abbreviated as BHO, is a type of cannabis extract created through butane as a solvent. This resinous substance is made via a solvent extraction process to form an extremely potent product that can be gooey and sticky or hard and almost glass-like. 

Examples of BHO include:

BHO is the most well-known variety of cannabis extracts, and it’s what often comes to mind when extracts are mentioned. BHO extracts are available in various shapes, textures and flavours, so consumers have a lot of variety in finding the right product to suit their needs. 

BHO concentrates are usually consumed via dabbing or smoking 

High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE)

High Terpene Full Spectrum Extracts, or HTFSE for short, is an extract produced so that the majority of the plant’s natural terpenes are preserved. This process creates an aromatic and flavourful product.

Since the plant’s original terpene profile is preserved, these products are able to deliver a full-spectrum effect, providing the user with a more holistic experience compared to other types of products.

Examples of HTSFE products include:


Hash, also known as “hashish,” is a type of cannabis product made by separating the trichomes (the tiny “hair-like projections” responsible for making resin) from the plant. The cannabis concentrate is then compressed into blocks, used for oral consumption in small servings.


cannabis extracts rosin

If you want to avoid potential residual solvents in your extracts, then rosin is an excellent choice. Unlike other extraction methods, rosin uses only heat and pressure to isolate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant. The result is a rich, aromatic product that’s free of butane, carbon dioxide and other solvents. 


CBD tinctures and THC tinctures are concentrated extracts made by soaking the plant matter in a solvent to extract the beneficial compounds.

With cannabis tinctures, cannabis flower and other cannabis plant material are usually soaked and suspended in high-proof alcohol to extract the cannabinoids from the source material. Alcohol is the most common solvent, but other premium materials such as MCT coconut oil are commonly used as well.


Vape cartridges utilize CBD and THC distillate, a potent and versatile weed product that can be dabbed, vaped, or used in edibles and topicals. Distillates are made in safely controlled environments and are performed by professionals with proper equipment. The process is extremely dangerous and is advised not to be performed at home.

Distillate products offer a THC potency of 90% and upwards, making it one of the most potent products available on the market. However, their high purity means that there are little to no natural terpenes left within the product. Terpenes are often reintroduced back into the final product to provide distillate with texture, flavour and body. 

Cannabis Extracts – Making the Most Out of Cannabis

Cannabis is an amazing plant, even without any processing done to it. In its raw form, its fibrous stalks and leaves are used for everything from textiles to rope. With more and more countries legalizing the plant worldwide, innovations such as extractions are only going to get better.
If you didn’t know what cannabis extractions were prior to this article, we hope that we were able to shed some light on what they are, their benefits, and the many types that are available today. To sample some yourself, be sure to visit our partner online dispensary canada to get some mailed directly to your door!

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