Marijuana flowers are always fun to smoke, but there are times that you’ll want something different. Just like alcohol that comes in many forms; wine, beer, whiskey, etc, there are also lots of ways to enjoy marijuana. Hash, BHO, rosin, shatter, etc. Each kind offers a unique experience that is well-appreciated by many in the cannabis community.
If your home growing journey has made you into a bonafide marijuana enthusiast, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a lot more experimentation you can do with your buds. Yes, you can make marijuana flower derivatives like extracts similar to those you can buy at dispensaries, at home. It may take a bit of effort to make them yourself, but trust us, the feeling of accomplishment when your experiment goes right and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor is something else.
- Why should you process your marijuana flowers?
- Using a whole, homegrown marijuana plant
- Different ways of consuming your home grown marijuana
- Different types of marijuana preparations, extracts, concentrates
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why should you process your marijuana flowers?
Why put in the extra effort to further process something that’s already perfectly usable? There are a few obvious reasons why people to make extracts and concentrates out of flowers:
- Extracts are much more potent – One of the main reasons why people make extracts is to increase the concentration of cannabinoids per dose. A dab will hit you way faster and harder than a puff from a joint.
- You can make extracts out of weed bits – If you have some leftover “shake” or weed bits lying around, you can totally make extracts out of it so that nothing goes to waste.
- Extracts are easier to keep – A gram of concentrate is roughly equivalent to ⅛ ounces of flower. This means you can easily keep a tiny vial of highly potent marijuana concentrate in your pocket instead of a bag of weed.
Increasing the potency of your marijuana does not come without a cost. In most processing methods, terpenes, essential oils and other flavonoids get lost. What commercial manufacturers typically do is to put back flavor and aromatic compounds separately into the mix later on, but this is often too complicated to do at home.
Using a whole, homegrown marijuana plant
Even way back during ancient times, various cultures already knew that every part of the cannabis plant was useful. Come harvest time, new growers get too focused on their cannabinoid-rich flowers that they don’t notice how much leftover material they’re discarding. Let’s look at the parts of the cannabis plant that typically gets thrown out and how these can still be used.
- Popcorn buds – These are small pieces of bud no larger than a popcorn that rarely make it into the curing jar. Of all the leftovers, these have the highest levels of cannabinoids and just as good as your bigger nugs. These are good for rolling, vaping, rosin extraction, making cannabutter or oils and the like.
- Fan and sugar leaves – Fan leaves are the main leaves of your cannabis plant while sugar leaves are smaller ones that are trimmed off the buds during harvest. Sugar leaves have trichomes on them. This means they’ll still contain a fair amount of cannabinoids but would hardly be good for smoking so you’re better off using them in edibles, raw juicing, teas or for making extracts. Fan leaves will have even less, but you can still use them as you would sugar leaves, and they can also be used as rolling paper when dried properly.
- Stem and roots – The stems and roots of your cannabis plant won’t have cannabinoid levels that would get you high, but they still contain a lot of compounds that have medicinal value. You can soak the stems in alcohol or oil to make tinctures or medicinal oil or decarboxylate them for making cannabutter or oils. You can also shred them to make mulch for your current batch of plants.
Different ways of consuming your home grown marijuana
Now that you’ve grown your own weed, you can use it in whatever way you want. There are however, a few tried-and-tested ways that will allow you to enjoy it to the fullest. Here are the most popular ways to consume your home grown weed.
This involves burning your weed with fire or dry heat to vaporize cannabinoids and other desirable compounds. However, burning weed also creates a lot of toxic compounds. Some of the most popular ways to smoke cannabis would be to roll it into a joint or pack it into a pipe and light it up.
Vaping came into popularity since it is thought to be a safer alternative to smoking. Instead of being burned, the moisture and oils in the weed are merely boiled to the point of evaporation which results in the formation of fewer harmful compounds. The vapor is also cooler and easier to inhale compared to smoke.
Most vape devices are also versatile enough to use extracts and concentrates like wax, oils etc. This is another advantage that’s turning more and more marijuana users to vaping.
Dabbing can be considered as a subcategory of vaping since it uses conduction heating to turn concentrates into vapor.
Humans have also been consuming marijuana as food and drink since ancient times and is also the most convenient and universal way to use cannabis. Ingesting cannabis through the digestive system also gives a different kind of “high” that acts more on the body rather than the head.
Marijuana oils and extracts are typically used in edibles but you can also use flowers as is in your recipe, though this will impart a strong taste.
It’s no secret that cannabis, particularly hi-CBD strains are used for topicals since it can help with localized pain and various skin ailments. Instead of using your precious buds, you can save excess plant material like weed bits, leaves, roots, etc to make cannabis oils and salves.
Different types of marijuana preparations, extracts, concentrates
There are so many ways to prepare and process marijuana. However, some methods are just too costly, tedious, dangerous and even illegal to do at home so what we’ll discuss below are only the ones that are practical for the purposes of home growers.
Kief is nothing more than the trichomes that got extracted from your flower. It is the easiest concentrate to make and retains a lot of desirable cannabis compounds. In fact, the residue left in your grinder is basically kief. There are also other ways to make kief, such as pushing ground flower through a sieve or using an ice water bath. Practically any method that removes the trichomes from your flower can be used to make kief.
Kief is typically used to increase the potency of any weed preparation. You can sprinkle some in a packed bowl or joint, press it into hash, or use it in making moon rocks.
Hash is basically kief, or a mass of trichomes that has been pressed together, typically into a ball, block, or sheet. Since the hash making process involves heat and pressure which alters the plant material physically and chemically, hash has a different smell, flavor, and effect from kief.
Hash can keep for a few years if stored properly. You can use hash to spike your weed or by itself as a concentrate.
When you extract all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other desirable compounds from cannabis plant matter using pressure and heat, what you get is a golden brown-colored sticky substance called rosin.
Rosin can easily be made at home since you don’t need solvents. In fact, you can make it out of hash that won’t burn easily just with a hair straightener and some parchment paper. Rosin is typically used on dab rigs or vapes.
Cannabis oil is somewhat a broad term that can include solvent-extracted concentrates like Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).
Cannabis oil is typically made by soaking marijuana plant material in a carrier oil. This is then gently heated so that it can be infused with the desirable compounds from the cannabis, most of which are fat-soluble. The end product is more suitable for use on edibles or topicals rather than vaping or smoking.
RSO on the other hand, uses solvents to extract compounds from the cannabis material. The result is a highly concentrated extract which is taken orally often for medicinal purposes. RSO can be vaped but only if the solvent used is not flammable.
Shatter is another type of highly concentrated marijuana extract like butane hash oil (BHO) that is produced using solvents. As its name suggests, it is a hardened type of wax that can be shattered. This translucent, dark amber-colored extract is often used on dab rigs but can also be used to spike anything.
Frequently Asked Questions
This depends on how you prefer to take your marijuana. If you want an easy, flavorful experience, you should smoke or vape your cured buds. If you want a fast and very potent hit, use concentrates.
Shatter is made using a solvent-based process, which can be dangerous and requires some expertise. If you want to make a potent concentrate that doesn’t use solvents, you can just make rosin or wax which just requires heat and pressure.
Although there are now a lot of other subcategories of extracts and concentrates, most would generally fall under the categories we’ve mentioned. Some of these can only be properly produced with commercial equipment safely and economically and are therefore best bought from the dispensary rather than made at home. However, this just goes to show that the marijuana you’ve grown can be prepared in a lot of different ways and it is only up to you which kind you’ll enjoy the most.