Guide to Cannabis Concentrates for MMJ Patients
Published on Aug 16, 2021
If you live in a state that has legalized marijuana, there are a lot of options when it comes to how you want to consume your cannabis - both for medical marijuana (MMJ) patients and recreational users. If you're an MMJ patient, cannabis concentrates can be a great option. They offer variety in both concentration, flavor and consumption methods. Keep reading if you want to know more about MMJ concentrates, where they're legal, how effective they are, and how to use THC concentrates and get an MMJ card.
Where is Medical Marijuana Legal?
Medical marijuana was first legalized by the state of California in 1996. The next states to follow were Alaska, Oregon, and Washington in 1998, Maine in 1999, and Colorado, Hawaii, and Nevada in 2000. Since then, a total of 36 states have legalized medical marijuana. Most recently, Mississippi voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize medical weed in November 2020 (which would have increased the state total to 37), but the state's supreme court overturned the vote in 2021.
What are the Medical Benefits of Medical Marijuana?
Since the 1970 Controlled Substance Act, Marijuana has been classified by the federal government as an illegal Schedule I substance: highly addictive with no medical benefits. The 37 states that have legalized medical cannabis highlight the fallacy of the federal government's stance. Because of its illicit status for the last 50+ years, not many scientific studies have been conducted to measure the medicinal properties of cannabis, but what has been done shows promise. Along with overwhelming testimonies from cannabis patients and users, early studies suggest that cannabis may have many medical benefits. Some of these benefits include alleviating symptoms of epilepsy, glaucoma, ADD/ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia. While also treating the side effects of cancer treatment and conditions associated with HIV/AIDS, reducing chronic pain, anxiety, depression or even muscle spasms. The list of medical benefits goes on and there are likely some that we're still unaware of that research will hopefully uncover.
What are Cannabis Concentrates?
The medical benefits often associated with cannabis are not exclusive to smoking- concentrates can be just as effective. Cannabis concentrates are exactly what the name suggests; they are products that contain concentrated amounts of the various chemical compounds within cannabis, such as THC or CBD, CBN and CBG. There are over 400 unique compounds within cannabis, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Some concentrates will only contain a specific few compounds (THC being the primary component as the main psychoactive compound in cannabis). CBD is also commonly extracted, since it's federally legal, isn't psychoactive, and offers many similar medicinal benefits as THC. The more THC there is in a concentrate, the more of a "high" you'll experience. Higher CBD levels, however, will lower THC's psychoactive effects (and CBD alone will not cause a high at all).
What are Full-Spectrum Concentrates?
While CBD and THC concentrates provide medicinal benefits, they are not as effective as full-spectrum concentrates that are comprised of almost every compound within the original cannabis plant. Each compound within cannabis, as far as we know, has unique properties; and while they are often useful independent of one another, they are most effective when used together. This phenomenon is called the entourage effect. When the entire profile of the original plant is extracted into concentrate form, the effects are much more poignant. Full-spectrum concentrates are less common and cost more, but you may find them to be the best cannabis concentrates available.
What are Different Types of Concentrates?
There are many types of cannabis concentrates, all offering different experiences and intensity levels. The primary types are BHO concentrates, solventless concentrates and solvent-free concentrates. BHO (butane hash oil) concentrates are made using butane and are more likely to contain residual gas from the extraction process. Solvent-free concentrates use solvents like butane and ethanol but have been distilled and purified to the point where residual solvents cannot be detected by lab tests. Then there are solventless concentrates, which are created without the use of solvents entirely. Instead, they often use high levels of heat and pressure to extract the desired compounds. Solventless concentrates are not only the safer option but they are also considered the most "pure" and provide a more consistent full-profile, high-potency experience.
How to Use Marijuana Concentrates
Dabbing, wherein a concentrate is heated and vaporized using a specific dab rig, has become increasingly popular. Even though dabs can be intimidating, there are a few simple dabbing etiquette tips that will keep things easy. When dabbing with a rig, the result is a fast-acting high that is often high-potency and THC levels (although, CBD distillates can also be used for a non-psychoactive dabbing experience). Vape pens are another popular way to consume concentrates. Vape pens either vaporize concentrates via conduction or convection methods, and they can use a wide variety of concentrates, from shatter and crumble, to wax and oils.
Edibles and tinctures are also an option, wherein you simply ingest an infused oil or infused food. This method is slower-acting and results in a fuller body-high than other consumption methods. The primary benefit to all these concentrate consumption methods compared to smoking flower -- even dabbing and vaping -- is that much less smoke is consumed and it's easier on your lungs. Additionally, methods like edibles, vape pens and tinctures are low-profile and offer a discrete cannabis experience.
How Can You Get a Medical Marijuana Card?
If you think you could medically benefit from cannabis concentrates, the first step is to get a medical marijuana card. A great place to start is by registering with Leafwell, the leading telehealth platform for cannabis. Through Leafwell, you'll get an appointment with a licensed physician that will help you understand whether you qualify and get the recommendation you need to apply through your state's program. Then, once you've got your MMJ card and you're wondering where to buy concentrates, just check out Where's Weed for your local dispensaries' menus and offers!
Do you use MMJ concentrates? Let us know your experiences and what your favorite consumption methods and strains are in the comments below!