It's almost hard to keep up these days, with new and improved products coming out weekly. We have all heard the term "concentrate" and some of us have tried it a time or two but what is it exactly? Simply put, concentrates are extracts of the cannabis plant that result in a highly concentrated, sticky matter. The different names like sap, shatter, crumble, wax, honey, etc refers to the concentrates texture and purity. Some concentrates are better compatible with dabbing while some are better with a vape pen. There are even edible forms of concentrate that are put into tinctures. Ask you budtender what's best for your preferred method.
Now down to the process...
BHO: BHO is made by blasting bud in a tube with a pressurized solvent. While the same process can be done using propane or hexane they all result in a little different flavor, purity and consistency. The problem with butane is that it is toxic to the human body. At the end of the extraction process the BHO is required to be evaporated from the product. Unfortunately many people attempt to make BHO resulting concentrates that can be detrimentally harmful to your body. In Oregon it is required that concentrates are tested for solvents and impurities so do yourself a favor and only buy BHO from dispensaries and not your neighbor Chad.
CO2: Is an environmentally friendly way to extract many things like cannabis, perfumes, tobacco and so on. It is also less dangerous than the BHO method eliminating the potential for explosions. CO2, under heat and pressure can be converted from a gas to a liquid, to a solid. The CO2 is passed through the cannabis extracting it's terpenes and trichomes and then sent through a separator. The CO2 naturally evaporates at room temperature making CO2 concentrates a more tasty, healthy choice.
Rosin: A solvent-less extract made using heat and parchment paper. The bud is pressed between the paper and exposed to medium heat for various amounts of time.
Kief: The fine dust or trichomes on the cannabis buds are sifted from the plant using drums, machines or grinders. This is the most unaltered method of smoking higher concentrates of THC.
Hash: Is extracted many ways. Most commonly in ice water where the trichome glands of the plant fall off and are isolated and gathered to form globs of hash.
RSO: Better known as "Rick Simpson Oil." RSO is extracted with heat and alcohol. It can be ingested or used topically. Made famous by Rick Simpson himself for resolving his his skin cancer by applying it topically.
Winterization: This is done after a concentrate is extracted. The product is washed in alcohol then froze for 48 hours. This process is sometimes done once or repeated to purify the oil. The downside is many terpenes are eliminated. The upside is the product is more pure and concentrated. I wouldn't recommend it simply because terpenes have many health benefits themselves. This can be especially damaging to high CBD products.
While smoking in any form will take a toll on the lungs I would suggest avoiding concentrates that are made with solvents such as butane, propane, alcohol and so on. Rosin, kief and hash are the most natural process's with CO2 coming in second. I would also suggest to concentrate lovers to try vaping. Vaporizing burns concentrates below the temperature of combustion but high enough to extract the THC/CBD. This creates a cleaner, less harsh smoke. Another hot tip when it comes to smoking flower or joints is to use a hemp wick so that you avoid the inhalation of BHO from a lighter flame.