4 Popular Varieties of Solventless Concentrates
The world of solventless concentrates continues to grow at a rapid pace. What used to be a niche is now emerging everywhere in the industry. With so many products to choose from, selecting the right concentrate SKU for yourself can be a complex, yet fun process.
To help you out, here is a guide covering 4 common varieties of solventless concentrates, what to know about each type, and some pro tips on consuming them.
Full Melt Hash
Full melt or six-star hash is arguably the leader of the concentrates pack. While this type of hash is simply the fully intact trichome heads, true full melt is typically considered to be only trichome heads typically ranging between 73µm to 120µm. Full melt is loose, similar to sand, especially when kept cold, but greases up almost immediately at room temperature.
Pictured: full melt ice water hash extracted by Nikka T. at Essential Extracts (Instagram: @nikka__t and @essentialextractsllc)
As such, many cannabis connoisseurs consider full melt to be the premier item. Though, hash that is lower quality than full melt can be mislabeled or mistaken as so, which could substantially alter a person’s perception of the product.
True full melt offers a cannabinoid and terpene profile that gives off the live essence of the plant in the form of a clean concentrate.
There are a couple of ways to make full melt. The most common method would be utilizing freshly frozen cannabis and washing it into ice water hash. Another popular way is by using a dry sift technique to isolate the trichomes from the plant material.
Meanwhile, mislabeled full melt is often actually half melt, or four or five star hash or kief. The name comes from its ability only to melt halfway, leaving residue on your banger. Unlike five and six star, it can include contaminants, plant particles, and the trichomes may either be too small or too large to be considered full melt. Usually, it is best to use your other micron grades hash (below 90, or above 120) for pressing rosin, food-grade applications, or creating products like topicals or balms.
There are a few pieces of equipment you will need to make full melt. Freeze dryers have been considered to be game changers by top names in the space and award-winning producers. Utilizing a freeze dryer provides producers with shorter dry times while evenly removing the moisture from the ice water hash.
A standard freezer will also be useful for storing your full melt. The concentrate can be stored in an air-tight container to keep the product fresh for later dabbing. Producers often store all of their ice water hash in freezers prior to pressing it into rosin. This helps preserve the flavor and consistency in the trichomes for months.
Leaving your hash out at room temperature will cause it to "grease up" and form into a cakey consistency. Once this happens, you cannot get the sandy consistency back. Many producers and connoisseurs recommend only taking it out when you are ready to dab or press it. Otherwise, let it chill and stay in its current state.
From here, the hash can be scooped out and vaporized onto the banger as is. More commonly though, the melt that is being dabbed is gathered onto a small piece of parchment paper. This way, you can lightly press it between your fingers to create a uniform "hash-flag" that will melt evenly on your banger. Full melt hash is usually almost entirely free of contaminants, and leaves little to no residue on your banger.
Pictured: ice water hash half intact, half pressed into a hash flag. Image from Instagram: @simpsonsolventless
Speaking of dabbing, there are a few pro tips that make your full melt consumption experience one to remember. There are various ways you can dab full melt. The traditional quartz banger method as well as using a device like a PuffCo Peak both work great with full melt. Regardless of the process, the main tip is to dab at low temperatures. Typically, you’ll want to aim between 315°F and 425°F. Doing so avoids any combustion while maintaining the concentrate’s complete profile. Another common way to enjoy full melt is to add it onto a bowl as a topper or roll it into a joint.
Keep in mind, whether smoking or producing full melt, treat it with care. This is a delicate concentrate and should be handled as such from production to consumption.
Flower, Dry Sift, and Hash Rosin
Rosin is a natural, terpene, and cannabinoid rich concentrate that is about as versatile as it is potent. Producers can make their own rosin at home or in the lab, though some people still use the old era hair straightener method. Depending on your expected throughput, your operation can utilize a commercial rosin press such as the Longs Peak press and press 80 or more grams of hash or over 40 grams of flower at one time. Small batch and home producers may want to consider our Helix series. The Helix Pro 5 ton manual rosin press is capable of pressing over 20 grams of hash or 12 grams of flower per cycle, with no air compressor required.
Pictured: flower rosin pressed from Girl Scout Cookies whole nugs on the Longs Peak rosin press
The source material for rosin can come from three places; whole cannabis flower, dry sift, or ice water hash (aka bubble hash). Those wondering how to make rosin should keep in mind that the process does vary depending on which material you use. For example, some say additional pressure is required when working with flower then when pressing hash. Though, it is true that pressing hash requires prior steps and more finesse. Dry sift is somewhere in between, depending on its level of quality.
Depending on the process, rosin can come out in a variety of textures, offering ample options for consumers and patients. As we know, different temperatures affect the consistency of our final rosin product.
Pictured: live ice water hash rosin batter pressed at 200°F
Regardless of the name you choose to call it, budder/batter consistencies are one of the most common outcomes when pressing rosin on the lower temperature range.
Rosin shatter is created by pressing your starting material at higher temperatures between 210°F and 220°F typically. The end result resembles broken glass that snaps apart. While traditional shatter uses solvents, making rosin shatter eliminates the purging cycles and leaves consumers with a solventless, highly potent experience. This consistency isn't always a surefire one to produce, as the more terpene rich your material is, the lower the viscosity of your rosin, which will not lead to rosin shatter.
Pictured: solventless shatter pressed around 220°F
Keep in mind that consistency will be affected by several factors. This includes the age and quality of the starting material, its terpene profile and how the plant was cultivated. The plant characteristics is especially important. Always consider its terpene and cannabinoid profiles before producing.
When it comes to consumption, you can dab with a PuffCo device or you can use the glass rig method, which includes heating the nail to its desired temperature using a torch or e-nail.
In either case, be sure to aim for a low-temperature dab to avoid combustion and deterioration of the product. We suggest dabbing at temperatures between 315°F and 500°F. You can go above 500°F in some cases for a different effect but you should hold off on doing so until you have an understanding of how the process works. Many people will utilize the cold start method to maximize the flavor and terpene expression in their concentrate. This method is great because you can always go back and reheat your nail to vaporize the remaining oil.
Aside from dabbing, rosin can be wrapped around joints, infused into edibles, crafted into topicals or balms, and it can also be what goes in a solventless cartridge. No matter which method you choose, start low and go slow.
The realm of rosin is not strictly THC dominant, and CBD rosin is an option that is highly beneficial to producers and consumers alike. The need for high potency CBD is in demand and looks like it will continue to grow. Some even believe that the demand for CBD will outpace THC.
Pictured: CBD rosin pressed from flower purchased at Tweedle Farms
Like THC, CBD rosin is an incredibly versatile concentrate to work with. It can be dabbed, vaped, smoked, ingested, or applied to your skin. Producers can make CBD at home or in the lab. And thanks to the passage of the Farm Bill, almost any American can legally purchase and produce their own CBD rosin (there are just a handful of states that do not allow it as of this writing). They can also buy their own hemp for production. We recommend our friends at Tweedle Farms. They have stellar CBD cultivars that ship right to your house just about anywhere in the U.S.
When producing CBD rosin, our team recommends pressing CBD flower just as you would THC-rich cultivars. Aim for a humidity between 55% and 62%. Be sure to keep temperatures in mind when pressing. For example, using 210°F netted us a 19% yield on the raw press using a Helix manual press when using some stellar material. Keep in mind that this will fluctuate depending on the starting flower, the bags/filtration used and other factors.
When extracted properly, producers can now be creative with their CBD rosin. With the right processes in place, you can go on to create solventless CBD-rich vape cartridges, edibles, tinctures/ topicals, and more. This allows consumers to enjoy their cannabis in a discreet manner of their choice while experiencing a more extended experience. Keep in mind that the effects might take longer to onset.
Dabbing is the same. Those seeking a solvent-free, high potent CBD experience should approach their dab just as they would THC. Whether using a PuffCo Peak, a glass rig or any other method, heat the nail to proper low-temperature degree discussed above. Start low and go slow. While you won’t get high from CBD rosin, it sure can deliver a rush of relief to the system.
Vaping is already taking hold of a considerable portion of the cannabis market and that only continues to grow. Cartridges are beloved for many reasons, one of which being the on-the-go consumption that is much more discreet than most options on the market today. High quality solventless cartridges are naturally rich in flavor, cannabinoids, and terpenes.
Pictured: premium solventless hash oil cartridge made by Collin Palmer (Instagram: @vessellifescience)
Production of solventless vape carts is a process that requires skill and attention. It is imperative to know that you must master basic rosin extraction before you can go on to produce cartridges. Once you do, you can go on to experiment with further products. One common technique for solventless cartridge production is called "jar tech." Once the rosin is collected after the press, producers will put it in sealed jars to allow the concentrate to naturally separate over time, allowing the most viscous oils to gather at the top to be collected and used in cartridge making.
Low-quality cartridges can sometimes be masked with artificial terpenes pumped into the oil to give it additional flavor and aroma. Many companies have taken it in their hands to create all-natural cartridges that are free of any additives. They've turned to solventless rosin cartridges made from top quality flower to create a solventless vape experience. Instead of using chemicals, they rely on natural methods that only involve ice, water, heat, and pressure.
Some may think that any cartridge hardware will do the job. That is not the case. Different brands and designs offer a variety of options to work with. Several key factors influence how a battery performs and heats the oil inside. The resistance, or ohm, of the battery's atomizer is crucial. The lower the ohm, the more current flowing in the battery. A lower resistance ohm will generate more heat and, thus, more vapor in the battery. Because of this, many pens allow consumers to choose from several temperature settings. The same can be said of its wattage and voltage. Adjusting the voltage passing through the device can be done manually on most devices, which requires adjusting the resistance as well. Or, a variable wattage device allows consumers to adjust its wattage with the resistance adjusting automatically. We have found that by using a low setting and premium rosin vape cartridge, consumers enjoy a flavorful, unmatched vaping experience.
No matter what solventless product you are inhaling, it is always recommended to stick towards lower temperatures. Conveniently, many devices offer user friendly, adjustable technology that can be very useful for beginners. Lower temperatures can be much more forgiving as you have much more control over the effects and are able to reheat if needed. If you go in on a dab too hot, it won't vaporize properly, it will simply burn leaving you with an unfavorable flavor and a dry throat.
Though this guide doesn't cover every variety of solventless product, we hope it will provide you with a better understanding of solventless and some of its basic forms. If you have questions about the production or consumption of solventless concentrates, feel free to reach out to us. Be sure to keep in mind that our sister company PureCannalabs offers professional solventless extraction training.