Currently, oils are the most popular way to use CBD in Europe. However, looking at the US usually gives an indication of what method might pick up interest here in Europe next.
As with anything in the states, product mixes across the pond are much more varied. Partially due to market maturity, partially due to the legalisation of cannabis in multiple states, allowing research to flourish and compounding the assortment mix. Lately, a significant number of of US based brands are starting to focus on concentrates. In the US these include high THC or CBD concentrates, with many meeting in the middle. This is in particular due to the fact vaping and dabbing is fast becoming a popular way to consume CBD (and in the states THC). For the purpose of this post we will talk about CBD concentrates only, given the illegality of THC in Europe outside of medicinal use. But what exactly are these products anyway?
You can split CBD concentrates into 4 main buckets: Distillate, wax, crumble, shatter, crystals and isolate. Usually, the CBD content varies between 45% – 99.9% CBD, dependent on the extraction and distillation method.
Concentrates are popular in particular with individuals who require a high dose of CBD and or want to feel the effects quickly. Especially as all of them can be vaped and consequently felt near immediately, with an efficient absorption rate due to high bioavailability. Concentrates also have the ability deliver cannabinoids without tasting or smelling like hemp, especially distillate and crumble which are near tasteless/odourless.
Distillate is a prized resource in the CBD community, and is considered the CBD creme de la creme of concentrates for its potency, versatility and neutral taste.This is one of the primary reasons our CBD oil uses distillate. So how is it made?
Creating distillate requires an additional step of filtration versus developing a standard hemp extract (aka concentrated CBD oil). Hemp plant matter is placed through CO2 extraction (the gold standard of extraction), safely separating cannabinoids, terpenes and essential oils from the plant; leaving behind hemp extract. This oil is then distilled, removing chlorophyll, reducing other cannabinoid content (usually removing THC), and usually terpenes (frequently re-added at the end improving the profile of the oil) without the use of any solvents.
Distillate is can also be reffered to as a synonym for cannabis oil, as it is a pure extract forumalted from cannabinoids.
Once distilled, the liquid becomes viscous and crystallises as it approaches a purity beyond 60% CBD. Distillate can either look something like honey, a thick yellow to dark yellow liquid or completely clear; depending on the level of refinement.
CBD distillate is frequently used as a base for broad spectrum CBD oils, edibles and in pre filled vape cartridges. Using distillate it is possible to create CBD edibles with no taste of CBD and with easy measure of dosage. Vaping distillate is favoured over vape juice simply because it usually contains no additives and offers a stronger dose in each draw; often reffered to as vaping cannabis oil.
The phrase wax refers to the consistency more than anything, being soft and like wax! It can come in a couple of formats, most popular are via CO2 extraction, or via winterization.
Winterization, is an extraction process which purifies the CBD by removing waxes which is thought to be damaging if vapourised, turning the extract into a purer form. In order to do this, hemp extract is soaked in alcohol and then lightly heated. It is then frozen for a minimum of 24 hours, permitting the cuticle waxes to be separated and removed from the end product. Leaving a soft wax like substance in the range of 50% – 70% CBD.
Wax is frequently used in dab pens, where a small needle size ball of wax is placed in a specialised vape pen, heated to a temperature which vapourises the wax (around 200c) and inhaled.
Other purposes include, adding wax to a carrier oil for sublingual use and to a cream for topical use.
Usually CO2 extracted and distilled, crumble can feature up to 99% CBD and usually contains 0% THC. You probably guessed, but to confirm it is a soft texture which crumbles on touch or heat.
Depending on the product, crumble sometimes features added terpenes from food grade material. This can add a specific flavour or potentially an effect depending on the profile.
Crumble is frequently used for dab or concentrate pens, but it is also used for adding to edibles. Being so potent, if weighed out correctly, it is easy to dose an edible effectively using CBD crumble.
CBD Shatter is usually a thin slab of concentrated cannabidiol; above 95% potency. Formulated from crystallised CBD isolate and frequently infused with terpenes to added flavour and effect.
While shatter does not contain the variety of cannabinoids crumble might do it is popular in US states where cannabis is not legal, and the terpene infusions prove popular with those seeking a high flavoured dose with no THC.
CBD naturally starts to crystalise if above 60% potency. CBD crystals are simply pure rocks of CBD isolate. These crystals can be infused with terpenes easily and are thus favoured with people who dab for flavour.
Isolate is the most pure form of CBD, usually around 99.5% – 99.9% CBD and a white powder. All terpenes, other cannabinoids and plant matter are absent from isolate, which is why it features near 100% CBD.
Isolate is frequently used in cosmetics and for creating vape juice. Next time you buy a CBD eliquid, take a glance at the ingredients, odds are it features CBD isolate!
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nature & Bloom and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention for any disease. Nature & Bloom products have not been evaluated by the MHRA.