Solvent or Non-solvent: Choosing an Extract

Cannabis concentrates, commonly referred to as cannabis extracts, are significantly more potent than your standard marijuana buds. Their applications as medicine have proven to be effective for patients suffering from all sorts of ailments. When made properly, a cannabis concentrate is reminiscent of the cannabis strain it was extracted from in terms of smell, taste, and effects. We can separate cannabis extracts into three major categories based on their extraction method and whether or not solvent is used:

A non-solvent extraction methods uses no solvent to separate the cannabinoids from plant matters, resulting in 100% solvent free products.

 
Kief – Kief is a simple form of concentrate made by breaking trichomes away from dried plant material through filtering screens. It is considered a lower-quality extract with THC contents ranging from 20 to 60 percent.  Kief is best used to pack up the punch while smoking or vaporizing flower.

non solvent dry sift

Dry Sieve / Dry Sift – Dry sieve is a refined version of kief that has been run through a series of screens to filter out plant matters so that only the trichome heads remain. Pure dry sieve will melt completely when exposed to heat so it will work perfectly with most vaporizers. For best results, press the dry sieve together into shape.

Rosin – Rosin press uses heat to melt the trichomes and squeezes it out of the plant with pressure. It is a simple and affordable technique that allows anyone to create quality solvent-extracts in a matter of seconds. Depending on the temperature used, the end product is a form of resin which comes in a variety of consistencies.  The lack of solvents makes rosin the healthiest choice of the modern cannabis extracts.


Solvent based extraction methods usually yield higher THC content, in the ranges of 80-90%, making it a popular choice for many medical marijuana patients suffering from sleep disorders, chronic pain, and other intractable symptoms.

Grape Ape Slabz shatterButane Hash Oil (BHO) – This type of cannabis Concentrate uses butane as the main solvent. Honeycomb, budder, crumble, sap, and shatter are some of the terms used to describe the different textures achievable in the final product after purging. Temperature and other variables during the entire process contribute to these different consistencies. Due to some unhealthy ingredients present in butane, you should always make sure that your product is lab tested for purity as it may contain traces of butane, pesticides, and contaminants.

CO2 Oil – Carbon dioxide is supercritical fluid under pressure and can be used for extracting concentrates, with low toxicity after evaporation as carbon dioxide is a pure chemical substance. It is a standard extraction method in the food and herbal supplement industries, as well as being a common food additive. CO2 oils tend to be regarded as cleaner than their BHO counterpart and have a clearer appearance. These are sometimes prefilled into various vaporizer pen for dabs and you can also use a dab rig.

Live Resin – Live resin is made by using solvent to extract active compounds from marijuana flowers that are flash-frozen at the height of their potency instead of going through the normal dry and cure process, which loses more than half of a cannabis plant’s terpenes. These terpenes, sometimes called essential oils, are fragrance molecules responsible for the scent of marijuana, and enhance the effects of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Live resin retains more aroma and flavor of a fresh harvest and does not necessarily produce more concentrated cannabinoids. You can really appreciate the terpene flavor profiles.  Thicker waxier live resin is sometimes produced, while it sometimes comes out in a darker gooey form known as terpsauce.


Solvent-free concentrates are first extracted with a solvent, but a short path distillation process completely removes any traces of it. The result is a highly transparent solvent-free product with zero parts-per-million (ppm) residual impurities, and a high THC content of up to 99%.

Fire Rock Pineapple THC Distillate

Distillates – Distillates, or “The Clear” and “The Pure”, usually comes in a syringe due to its runny consistency.  One of the most versatile cannabis extracts, terpenes are generally lost during the distillation process and must be reintroduced back into the concentrate, which will lower the THC percentage in the final product and give it a less solid form. You can easily enjoy vaping distillates and they can also be used to prefill cartridges of vaporizer pen for dabs.

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