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Cannabis 101: How To Handle Your Cannabis Concentrates

It’s no secret at this point that cannabis concentrates have taken center stage in the legal cannabis industry. In fact, the popularity of marijuana extracts has grown to the point that concentrate-specific events like The Secret Cup are popping up throughout the nation at an incredible rate.

secret cup regionalHowever, the concentrate scene is developing rapidly and far too many people have failed to adapt as our knowledge surrounding concentrates has grown. So, in honor of this week’s upcoming Secret Cup festivities in the San Fernando Valley, I would like to offer a few key points to remember when handling your cannabis concentrates.

How To Handle Cannabis Concentrates

First, it should be stated that I’m mostly writing this piece in reference to butane honey oil (BHO). Although I often prefer to medicate with dried flowers, dabbing BHO during the day time allows me the opportunity to get the relief I need in a fraction of the time it would take if I chose to smoke or vaporize the flowers — at a fraction of the cost.

Accordingly, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly disappointed by budtenders, and even some hash makers, whom have: (A) a lack of knowledge about how to handle concentrates, or (B) little regard for the well-being of patients. This is especially true in regards to how concentrates are handled by budtenders at a number of collectives through out California.

1.) Gloves On Or Fingers Off

Most successful hash makers will tell you that they wear gloves throughout the entire process of producing butane honey oil (BHO). While there are a few reasons for this, a major part of their rationale is that it helps ensure that patients have clean, quality medicine.

“Touching them with your bare hand can transfer any oils and bacteria from your hand onto the concentrate.”

Concentrates are incredibly sticky by nature, and touching them with your bare hand can transfer any oils and bacteria from your hand onto the concentrate – not what I want to medicate with at all.

It’s for this reason that nothing infuriates me more when visiting a medical marijuana collective than seeing my budtender touch the concentrate with their bare hands. I don’t even want to smoke oils from my own hand, let alone someone that I barely know.

Instead, use gloves or a sheet of parchment paper when attempting touch concentrates, and it will spare us all the disappointment.


2.) Don’t Store Cannabis Concentrates In The Open Air

Another common issue that I’ve across when visiting collectives in Southern California is the common occurrence of allowing entire slabs of concentrate to sit in the open to be distributed to patients. Not only can this lead to a faster rate of degradation, but it raises the likelihood that dust or some other form of particulate can get caught in the slab.

While I would love to see collectives implement the idea of a “sample slab” that allows patients to see what their concentrate looks like, I believe this should be placed under a glass display, and not be intended for distribution.

Many leading concentrate companies have done well to package their products in a visually-appealing manner, so that they don’t have to rely on their collective partners to deliver with quality packaging solutions (i.e. Refine Seattle). However, collective owners should know that far better options exist outside of storing entire slabs of concentrate on a sheet of parchment paper, and weighing out the desired amount for each individual patient.

It’s common practice in the concentrate community to break each slab down and pre-package them into half-gram and gram samples. More often than not, these are placed onto parchment paper, which is then folded up and placed inside of a small mylar bag or an acrylic container – both much better options than the open air.

3.) Place Concentrates On A Non-Stick Surface

Given the consistency of cannabis concentrates (especially shatter), it seems obvious that you would want to make sure they stay on some form of non-stick surface – apparently it’s not so obvious for everyone.

“Parchment paper (preferably unbleached) offers a cheap and easy solution to this problem, but there are other options available as well.”

I’ve seen far too many SoCal collectives placing their concentrate directly on the surface of a glass jar, making it near impossible to enjoy the final remnants of each concentrate purchase. It simply sticks to the container.

Parchment paper (preferably unbleached) offers a cheap and easy solution to this problem, but there are other options available as well.

Companies like No Goo and Oil Slick have helped build an entire market based around the need for non-stick storage products, and their popularity is unlikely to fall anytime soon. In fact, RODAWG is preparing to release a slightly more functional non-stick storage device of their own this spring.

Point being, there are plenty of non-stick storage options available to collectives that can significantly improve the concentrate experience for patients – why not use them?

storage containers

As I mentioned above, cannabis concentrates are not going away anytime soon (and rightfully so). Washington State Legislature passed a measure last week that will regulate concentrates in the state, and they will continue to be used by patients in search of rapid relief. However, mishandling cannabis concentrates can detract from their overall quality and effectiveness.

As with any profession, it’s important to evolve with the times as knowledge about the proper care to take with concentrates becomes more available. After all, you can’t expect to win The Secret Cup when you’re stuck using the same outdated techniques.