I am going to talk all about concentrates – what they are and how to incorporate these products into your own medicinal cannabis program.

Let’s start by defining this word, “extraction”. Simply put, this is when the components within the cannabis, that hold medicinal value, are removed from the extraneous plant material. They are then collected into a concentrated, highly potent form. Products that have gone through an extraction process are called concentrates, or an extract.

There are so many products that fit into the category of a “concentrate”, such as suspension oils, hash, rosin, honey oil, shatter, wax, cherry oil, phoenix tears, budder, etc.

It is really important that if you wish to use concentrates, (even more important if you wish to extract at home) you become very familiar with the different extraction processes, and even how that specific extract is meant to be consumed. 

The word “concentrate” is very broad and can confuse new cannabis patients. This confusion can actually cause some danger to you if you are not doing your research in advance.

Some methods of extraction are extremely flammable and explosive, and have been banned in the Cannabis Act regulations. Please do not put yourself or others at risk by attempting to extract using these methods.

Today, we will focus our attention on Suspension Oils. This is the only type of extract that Canadian Licensed Producers are able to prepare and sell to Canadian cannabis patients; therefore it is the only concentrate product currently legal to sell in Canada. (Adjustments to this section of the legislation are expected during 2019)

These oil products are activated for oral consumption. This means that dried cannabis has been decarboxylated, which is a critical step for any cannabis product that is meant to be eaten. Decarboxylation is how you remove the carboxylic acid group attached to cannabinoids in the raw (bud) form, thus allowing our liver to properly filter and make use of the cannabinoid. If a human orally consumes cannabis that has not been decarboxylated, the set of effects within our endocannabinoid system will be very different and non-psychotropic.  

Once the decarboxylation process is complete, the resin is removed from the plant material. This is most often (but not always) done using super-critical CO2. This will strip the trichomes from the plant resulting in a very potent, sticky and sap-like product.

Next, the extraction artist will dilute the resin with some type of a carrier oil. Commonly used carrier oils amongst LP’s are MCT, coconut or even olive oil. The lipid content (fat) contained in these oils help your system process the cannabinoids contained within.

Important note: LP’s are required by law to dilute their oils to no more than 30mg/mL of THC. If you are extracting at home, please be aware of the potency of your finished product. 

These products can be swallowed on their own or added to a meal or a drink, like a smoothie. Once ingested, effects can typically be felt between 45 minutes to an hour later, and can often last for up to 8 hours. Start low and go slow with dosing…once you get on this ride, you’re there for a while!

Important note: DO NOT vaporize these products. The lipids contained in the carrier oil can cause damage to our respiratory system. Lipid pneumonia is a risk associated with inhaling these products. These products are only for oral consumption.

Are you interested in making these products yourself? There are ways to do this at home, with varying levels of difficulty. I highly recommend looking into a product called the Levo II. This is the ultimate DIY oil infusing machine. It has settings that will dry and activate (decarboxylate) your herbs taking care of a rather temperamental and critical step in the process. The Levo II really does make this a “set-it-and-forget-it” experience. You can even bottle it right out of the infusion reservoir. Ensure that you store your suspension oil in an airtight, preferably glass bottle. This will keep the product at it’s freshest for the longest.


— Andrew Post, LP Relations

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