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The variety of cannabis has expanded tenfold as states adopt medical marijuana laws and regulations. Concentrates are a category that seems to add new versions every day.
A cannabis concentrate is a potent form of cannabis. Through the use of solvents, cannabinoids and terpenes are removed from the plant. What is left is a dark, viscous extract with high potencies of cannabinoids. At the MÜV Grow and Processing Facility, ethanol is used to efficiently remove unwanted plant material while leaving the terpene profile and cannabinoids intact.
For this week’s MÜV Monday, the DocMJ Physicians met with the MÜV Team to continue the discussion of inhalation, specifically of concentrates and the benefits it may offer patients in the Sunshine State.
What is macrodosing, and what does it have to do with concentrates?
Macrodosing is a method through which high contents of cannabinoids are consumed in one dose. On average, a vaporizer cartridge may dose roughly 5 mg per 5-second inhalation. Concentrates have a different measuring method.
Within the MÜV Products line, concentrates are dosed out by size. A grain of rice is roughly equal to a 25 mg dose of cannabinoids. That is five times the dose achieved by using a cartridge and vaporizer system. As with other inhalation methods, the onset of these effects is immediate.
Why are there so many forms of concentrates?
Concentrates are a cannabis connoisseur product of sorts. As Anna Vidal, Extractions Manager at the AltMed Grow Facility puts it: concentrates have “the same ingredients, just in a different package” – with the exception of MÜV Dry-Sift Rosin.
Concentrates (again, exception MÜV Dry-Sift Rosin) began as crude extracts. At the AltMed Grow Facility, the MÜV Team applies varying levels of heat and pressure to extracts in order to achieve the desired consistency of product.
- MÜV Shatter was the first concentrate available from MÜV Dispensaries in Florida. According to Vidal, strain-specific extract is poured onto slabs and placed in the vacuum oven to remove any residual solvent and to stabilize the concentrate. The result is a flat, hard concentrate – it varies in color due to the terpenes present in the strain, though it’s typically more golden. The terpenes present also affect the consistency of the product. Shatter shatters like glass in its most stable form: think of cracking the top of crème brûlée. This concentrate can also be a snap-and-pull consistency, which is akin to pulling a piece of taffy in half. The stability or color of the concentrate does not attribute to the product’s overall effectiveness.
- Think of MÜV Blue as the cousin of MÜV Shatter. The key difference is, when these products are still in extract form, the liquid extract is agitated and whipped up, says Vidal. Whipping the extract gets air into the product. This agitated extract is then placed into the vacuum oven, where it will rise and dry, similar to a souffle or cake. From there, the concentrate will have a honeycomb shape to it, and is drier and crumblier, when compared to Shatter. Blue has a more three-dimensional surface compared to Shatter – as a result, the concentrate will smell more fragrant, though terpene content is the same as found in Shatter.
- The MÜV Gold line features a Tier 1 and Tier 2 of product. The Gold concentrates begin as a crude extract as well but are subjected to heat and pressure at different levels depending on the tier, says Vidal. This application of heat and pressure allows THCA crystals to form – larger crystals in Tier 1 due to the low heat and pressure and the accumulation of THCA over time, and smaller, more uniform crystals in Tier 2 due to higher heat and pressure, and the induced crystallization of THCA in a short amount of time. The full spectrum, all cannabis derived terpenes and other cannabinoids are then reintroduced to the crystals after removal of all residual solvent, to make a viscous, highly flavorful concentrate.
- MÜV Rosin is a special concentrate, due to its composition. Instead of starting with an extract, Rosin begins with the dry-sift, frequently referred to in the cannabis community as kief, of the plant. Dry-sift is primarily composed of small plant matter and trichomes (little mushroom-shaped glands covering the cannabis plant that contain terpenes and cannabinoids). One strain is processed at a time, says Vidal, to keep the product strain-specific. Heat and pressure is then applied to the collected kief to force out the desired oil, which is “then thoroughly mixed together, and cured to achieve desired consistency of the final product,” according to Vidal.
MÜV Rosin and MÜV Gold products are going to be the most flavorful, with high terpene counts, due to the minimal processing of Rosin, and the reintroduction of the original liquefied terpenes to the THCA crystals in Gold. The primary difference between these concentrates is the
Where do distillate and RSO fall in this range of concentrates?
MÜV Cannabis Distillate is an activated cannabis concentrate. Cannabis distillate is a refined cannabis oil containing pure cannabinoids and almost nothing else. MÜV Cannabis Distillate is going to be classified as a hybrid for this reason, because there are no terpenes driving strain-specific effects. Activated distillate can be vaporized through dabbing techniques, as the distillate is too thick to effectively vaporize in a vaporizer cartridge, or by consuming orally. Oral consumption will convert the THC to 11-hydroxy-THC, which is significantly more psychoactive than THC. With oral consumption, remember the mantra: start low and go slow.
The MÜV RSO is what’s called an exhaustive extraction, meaning that it includes the THC, CBD and terpenes, but also the fats, lipids, chlorophyll and other plant material. This is going to be a truly medicinal product, says Jackie von Salm, Ph. D. and Director of Research and Development at AltMed. It can be consumed directly under the tongue, on food, or topically.
It should be noted that it helps to have some food in the stomach when consuming cannabis orally. Having a light meal high in healthy fats, such as avocado or nuts, will help the cannabinoids break down more effectively as the body digests the food and cannabis together.
Why would someone choose RSO over distillate? Is there a specific set of symptoms that are better addressed with RSO over distillate or other concentrates?
RSO is going to be a highly sedating product, with some patients reporting cerebral effects. For this reason, many patients have reported success in managing sleep schedules with RSO, according to Dr. Salm, as well as intense pain management due to the body effects.
What concentrates are considered full spectrum? Is full spectrum better?
Full spectrum products are sought for their therapeutic compounds present. THC and CBD are the beneficial cannabinoids that first come to mind when considering cannabis. But – there are far more cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant than just the two.
The cannabinoid content of a full spectrum extract is going to be higher – meaning, there will be more cannabinoids present than just THC and CBD. In addition, the terpene profile for the cannabis plant remains intact, allowing for strain-specific effects.
The MÜV concentrates are all full spectrum, apart from the MÜV Cannabis Distillate. Because there are no terpenes present in the distillate, it cannot be considered full spectrum.
What devices are necessary for use with concentrates?
Concentrates necessitate the use of high temperatures in order to vaporize the cannabinoids. This can be achieved with a dab rig, or a water pipe with a special bucket designed to be heated with a blow torch or e-nail, or by using concentrate pens. Concentrate pens are a popular option, due to the ease of use. Patients simply need to choose their dose, drop it into the bucket feature of the concentrate pen, and vape. MÜV Dispensaries carry two concentrate pens: the Dip Devices Dipper and the G Pen Nova LXE.
One of the benefits to concentrate pens is the ability to choose from preset temperatures. For the Dip Devices Dipper and the G Pen Nova LXE, those temperatures are set at blue (low heat), green (medium heat), and red (high heat). It is interesting to note that the lower heat level used, the higher the flavor profile.
A few words from Florida medical marijuana doctor, Dr. Cheryl Fee MD MBA of DocMJ
Concentrates are processed Cannabis consisting of cannabinoids and terpenes with high
potency, rapid onset, high bioavailability, intermediate duration, with enjoyable aromas and
flavors. Concentrates are my favorite and products of choice.
When choosing concentrates, price may be an issue, as some of the newer concentrates may be
priced in the higher range, or the products that are in shorter supply may also be more
expensive. Concentrates have a variety of textures and colors, and can be used in several
different ways, depending on your preferences.
Shatter has a brittle glass texture, and has a snap-pull and almost sometimes elastic
consistency. Crumble is more like a honeycomb and is more matted consistency, and patients
describe it as “cleaner”. Rosin is essentially solventless hash oil shatter and preserves terpenes.
Extracts are a specific type of concentrate that refers to trichome collection, either mechanical
extraction or chemical extraction. RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) is produced by ethanol extraction and
then re-mixed with plant material, generally recommended for oncology patients.
Full Spectrum Products refer to the products that contain similar agents to the plant. The
benefit of full spectrum is the Entourage Effect, that of the synergy of CBD and THC working
together. Full spectrum refers to the combined action of phytocannabinoids, cannabinoids,
terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils, among other agents. Benefits are seen most commonly
in pain and inflammation, anxiety and nausea and vomiting.
Whether a patient is using concentrates, RSO, or Full Spectrum products, I feel that their results
are improved by using CBD multiple times a day for at least a month, and supplementing with
medical Cannabis to their desired effect. I usually stress the legal and vocational ramifications,
and assist them identify best strains for their conditions. After that, finding a convenient,
friendly dispensary always makes their next step easier. Thank you for asking my input on this
This concludes the discussion between DocMJ and MÜV on medical marijuana consumption methods.