As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, so do the consumers. In fact, many cannabis consumers today have evolved into connoisseurs with sophisticated pallets demanding a higher standard in their cannabis products. This highly-competitive market forces extraction engineers and producers to look for the next big thing in cannabis. Full-spectrum concentrates are a perfect example of the evolution of a cannabis product designed to impress the connoisseur.
The concept of dabbing, or vaporizing cannabis oil extracts is not new. In fact, certain resources report this consumption method originated more than four decades ago. Products like wax and shatter are fairly common place in most dispensaries today; however, with the legal market proliferating, better refinement technologies and improved processes are leading to premium full-spectrum cannabis extracts.
What are Full-Spectrum Concentrates?
Although quite potent in THC, the process of making cannabis concentrates like wax and shatter can often destroy or dilute terpenes in the plant material, which, in turn, dilutes the experience for the consumer. Terpenes are proteins found in plants which give them the familiar aromas and flavors, such as citrus, pine, or berry. Without the terpenes, extracts not only lose their aroma, they lose their flavor. Full-spectrum concentrates preserve these compounds for full flavor and for the benefit of what is called, "The Entourage Effect."
The Entourage Effect
Consumers are starting to learn these other cannabinoids and terpenes play an important role in the effects caused by cannabis. Not only do they contribute to the cerebral effects of the plant, but research suggests they may be key players in the medicinal effects produced within the body, as well. A well-known example of the Entourage Effect is the ability of cannabidiol, CBD, to prevent the cerebral effects of THC, thus allowing patients to medicate without overwhelming cerebral effects.
Terpenes also contribute to the effects and benefits of the cannabis plant, and because they are not exclusive to cannabis, the benefits of terpenes have been thoroughly researched. For example, linalool, which is common to cannabis, lavender, and more than 200 other plants, is thought to be relaxing, sedating, and even contribute to pain and inflammation relief. Many different types of terpenes are common in cannabis, including limonene (lemon or citrus scents), humulene (earthy, sage aroma), pinene (smells like a Christmas tree), and myrcene (musky odor) – each with their own set of benefits and effects.
Products like shatter, wax, and distillate typically contain a high amount of THC with lesser amounts of the minor cannabinoids and only trace amounts of terpenes. While high THC content used to be the most appealing factor, especially for recreational consumers, most consumers today prefer the blend of cannabinoids and terpenes for a richer, fuller flavor and a broader range of benefits.
The Full-Spectrum Advantage
Full-spectrum cannabis extracts preserve the entire profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other lesser compounds, yet removes things like fats, waxes and lipids. The final extract separates into two types of exquisite, top shelf products called High Terpene Full Spectrum Extracts (HTFSE) and High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extracts (HCFSE) which are rich in flavor, highly potent, and loaded with potential health and wellness benefits.
New consumers should approach these products with caution. As highly potent products, dosing should be kept to a minimum and slowly built-up over time. Large doses with potent THC concentrates can lead to unwanted side effects.
High Terpene Full Spectrum Extracts (HTFSE)
HTFSE is not live resin, although the two are often confused. Also known as "Terp Sauce," a true HTFSE is produced from dried, cured flower, whereas live resin is produced from cryogenically frozen, fresh plant material. HTFSE is a viscous, clear liquid typically containing 13 percent or higher terpene content with 45-70 percent cannabinoid content.
HTFSE can also be confused with High Terpene Extract, or HTE, which is generally low in cannabinoid content. HTE is most commonly used as a flavor additive and potency booster for bowls, blunts or joints.
High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extracts (HCFSE)
The other product produced as a full spectrum concentrate is high cannabinoid full spectrum extract. Similar to HTFSE, terpene content in this product is very high, often exceeding 20 percent, however, THC potency can reach levels as high as 90 percent or greater.
Highly sought after by cannabis connoisseurs, HCFSE is a solvent-free, pure-plant extract. After undergoing a vacuum purge process, over time, the THCa starts to solidify into its natural crystal form and create large, crystal formations in the sauce, which look like diamonds. Thus, the term "Diamond Mining" to describe the process of collecting the biggest crystals from the terp sauce.
Full-spectrum concentrates bring out the best of what the plant has to offer in a condensed, highly-potent extract, which also provides the consumer with a rich, full-bodied flavor most representative of the original plant. Medical patients will appreciate the broad range of beneficial compounds, while recreational consumers will enjoy the potency and full-featured cerebral effects provided by the golden extract.