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What Are CBD Concentrates?

While CBD oils are by far the most popular way to use cannabidiol in Europe, CBD concentrates are a new set of products going down a storm in the United States, especially favoured by those looking for high doses. 

Cannabis concentrates have ridden the legalization wave hitting American states at the moment, and they are one of the fastest-growing categories in the legal marijuana market.  

Initially, a small niche within the illegal cannabis market before state legalisation, the category has morphed to above $3bn globally in 2018 alone.

With the 2018 farm bill legalising hemp in the USA at the federal level, smart business owners have applied the same methodology to hemp with extraordinary results. 

As a direct consequence, concentrates derived initially through the extraction of high THC cannabis are now available as hemp derived CBD concentrates. Bringing a wide assortment of different CBD extracts to market for consumers to use without risking intoxication. 

So what are the different types of concentrate? 

Types of Hemp Extract

Concentrates are actually the base of any CBD oil you might use today. If you look at the label it will show that the bottle contains a form of hemp extract combined with a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil.

However, these CBD products can be used undiluted too. Although, care has be taken to ensure right CBD dosage.

You can split CBD concentrates into the following main buckets: 

  • CBD Distillate
  • CBD wax
  • CBD crumble
  • CBD shatter
  • CBD crystals and Isolate.

Related Read: Best CBD Concentrates

Usually, the CBD content varies between 45% – 99.9% CBD, dependent on the extraction method. 

CBD concentrates also have the ability deliver a broad spectrum of cannabinoids without tasting or smelling like hemp, especially distillate concentrates and crumble which are near tasteless/odourless. 

Let’s run through the list of concentrates in more detail below:


Distillate is a prized resource in the CBD community and is considered the creme de la creme of CBD concentrates for its potency, versatility, and neutral taste.

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 referred to as a synonym for cannabis oil, as it is a pure extract formulated 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 referred to as vaping cannabis oil.


CBD wax is potent and soft. The phrase wax refers to the consistency more than anything, being soft and like wax! It can come in several formats, but most popular are via CO2 extraction, or via winterization.

Winterization, is an extraction process which purifies the CBD by removing waxes which are 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 (around 200c), and inhaled.

Other purposes include, adding wax to a carrier oil for sublingual use and to a cream for topical use.

CBD Crumble

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 flavor 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

CBD Shatter is usually a thin slab of concentrated cannabidiol; above 95% potency. Formulated from crystallized CBD isolate and frequently infused with terpenes to added flavor 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 flavored dose with no THC.

CBD Crystals and Isolate

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.