Concentrates are exploding in popularity. Seemingly every dispensary or retail shop carries their own favorite products, whether they are butane hash oils, CO2-extracted products or ice-water extracts. This popularity — along with the increase in new cannabis customers, who may not be accustomed to vaping or smoking cannabis – has led many to ask the question – can you use concentrates in edibles?
Take a Step Back: What Are Concentrates
When you want to indulge in cannabis, you are not really interested in the bulk of the plant. Most of it is useless from a recreational or medicinal point of view; the flowers are the most important part of the plant. This seems intuitive enough: You don’t grind up a whole cannabis plant and pack it into a bong. You remove the flowers, grind them up and put them in a bong.
But in reality, the flowers have a lot of stuff you don’t want either. They – like most other plant tissues in the world – are primarily comprised of cellulose, which is about as pharmacologically active as a bran muffin. What you are after is the cannabinoids – the active ingredients in marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most commonly sought after cannabinoid, as it produces many of the medicinal properties of the plant and nearly all of the psychoactive ones as well. However, for the record, other cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are also desirable in some cases.
These cannabinoids are located in the trichomes of a cannabis flower. You know – the little clear sacks or “crystals” that fall off of buds. Therefore, many try to extract these trichomes which can then be ingested without all of the unnecessary stuff. The end result is a very strong product, called a cannabis concentrate or extract.
Using Concentrates in Food
Concentrates have a number of benefits over raw cannabis when making edibles. For example, concentrates are easier to use in most recipes, as you don’t need to make a cannabis butter first or otherwise alter the cannabis. You just purchase some concentrate from your local dispensary and get to work.
Secondarily, concentrates are much, much stronger than raw cannabis. This means that it takes very little of it to make a high-quality batch of brownies or candy. Combined with the fact that most concentrates do not contain very many terpenes – the ingredients that give cannabis its characteristic flavor and odor – you won’t taste the concentrates very much when you are making edibles. Your brownies will taste like brownies, not pot-infused brownies.
But this also represents a serious issue: You must use caution when including concentrates in edible products. Not only are concentrates much stronger than raw cannabis, you won’t taste it very much in your edible. Therefore, it is quite easy to over-indulge, leaving you stuck on the couch for 8 hours, contemplating the reason – the real reason, man – that dinosaurs had such short arms.
The takeaway: Yes, you can use concentrates in edibles, but you must use caution when doing so.