A professional extractor examines a sheet of "shatter" THC concentrate. (Brennan Linsley, Associated Press file)

Why marijuana concentrates are cause for confusion

Marijuana concentrates are a complicated issue in the ever-expanding weed marketplace.

The compact containers of golden-hued THC concentrates are a key component of Colorado’s retail marijuana scene, giving customers another consumption option in the array of dried flower, edibles and tinctures on store shelves.

However, there are perception issues among people unfamiliar with these potent substances that come in many forms and under many names, from shatter to wax, honey oil, live resin, budder, taffy and others. (Check the Cannabis Lexicon for related concentrate definitions, including carb cap, closed-loop extraction, CO2 extraction, dabs, nug run and rigs, to name a few.)

Adding to the stigma surrounding concentrates are the special pipes and other equipment sometimes used to consume concentrates, including “oil rigs” with nails for dabbing, and the extraction processes that can be volatile under certain circumstances.

While the commercial manufacture of concentrates in Colorado is tightly regulated by the state Marijuana Enforcement Division and requires high-dollar equipment, new limits have recently been imposed on certain methods of home extraction in the wake of news reports of residential home fires and burn injuries stemming from the use of flammable solvents.

Why marijuana concentrates are cause for confusion
Packages of shatter marijuana concentrate made using ‘BHO’ butane hash oil extraction. (Joe Amon, Denver Post file)

In the above video, marijuana editor Ricardo Baca has a concentrate conversation with University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin and Cannabist writer and photographer Ry Prichard. The trio discuss why concentrates are such a complex issue under the law, the common views of concentrates that are misguided and more.


Concentrates 101

Part 1: What’s on the market? Info about kief, BHO, water hash and others
Part 2: How should I smoke this shatter? Ways to consume concentrates
Part 3: Are concentrates right for me? On potency, expected effects and more


Watch: More videos on YouTube about marijuana in Colorado and beyond