A variety of cannabis- and cannabidiol-containing substances are now available in retail shops and dispensaries, and the myriad options available can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. And whether you live in a state that has ended the prohibition on the recreational use of cannabis, or your doctor has recently suggested that medicinal marijuana may be helpful for treating your symptoms, many cannabis novices are not sure where they should start. Seemingly every shelf is full of plants, dried flowers, edibles or concentrates, and many new-combers need a little help getting started.
What Are Concentrates?
Concentrates are exactly what they sound like: concentrated extracts of cannabis plants. As a goofy, but apt example, consider orange juice concentrate. A can of the stuff has all of the “essence” of orange juice, without anything that essential to the substance (in this case, water). Most orange juice concentrate is re-constituted with water before being consumed, but cannabis concentrates are not.
What Is the Important Stuff in a Concentrate?
Carrying on with our orange juice analogy, the important components of the juice are things like flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, natural flavors and fiber. When talking about cannabis, the important things are chemicals called cannabinoids. These are the active ingredients in cannabis.
Some of the most important cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD), among others. Tetrahydrocannabinol is primarily responsible for the mind-altering effects of cannabis, as well as many of the pain- and inflammation-reducing qualities of the plant. Cannabinol and cannabidiol provide a number of other benefits, including the ability to promote sleep, reduce inflammation and anxiety. Additionally, some research suggests that cannabidiol helps to counteract the effects of THC.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the cannabinoid most recreational users are seeking, but cannabinol and cannabidiol are more important for many medicinal users.
What Does This Mean for Patients or Consumers?
Whereas cannabis consumers or medical marijuana patients of years past had relatively few options for recreational fun or symptom relief, their modern counterparts benefit from considerable technological advances. Historically, raw cannabis was smoked, or more rarely, made into edibles by such consumers and patients. A small number employed hash – a primitive concentrate – to meet their needs, but modern concentrates were not yet available.
Accordingly, modern consumers and patients are able to access better products than their predecessors. These products are required in smaller quantities to achieve the same effect as a raw cannabis product normally would.
Are Concentrates a Good Idea for Novices – The Answer
Concentrated cannabis products are – as the name suggests – concentrated. They are primarily comprised of cannabinoids and contain virtually nothing else. This means that most users, particularly novices, require very little of a given concentrate to achieve the desired effect.
Accordingly, as common sense would dictate, novices should tread lightly when entering the world of concentrates. Patients should definitely consult with their doctors and recreational users should consult with their budtenders before making a selection and partaking in one of these concentrated cannabis products.