Written by Kadircan Kana
Edited by: Patrick Thompson
Many people refer to cannabis extracts as “oil” or “wax”. But those are just a few of the many forms marijuana concentrates can take. Extracts made with solvents are called wax, budder, crumble, shatter and sometimes oil or sap. There are also concentrates made without solvents such as full-melt bubble hash, ice-water hash, and rosin.
To categorize these further, there are different “runs” that place the concentrates in categories according to their potency. At the bottom there is “trim runs” which are extracts made with the trim of plants, causing lower potency. There are also “nug runs” which are extracts made with the flowers of the plant, which causes higher potency. The top tier is “live resin”, the cream of the crop. When creating live resin, freshly harvested flowers are frozen at the peak of their perfection and used for extraction. This causes high potency and a flavor profile that is unlike any other concentrate.
How Are Extracts Made?
Extract makers choose from an array of solvents that each have their own special properties; the most common being butane, CO2, and propane. Wax and budder tend to look how they sound, almost resembling earwax and butter. During the purging process, the extract can start to “budder”, which causes it to lose its shatter-like consistency and become thicker, waxy and no longer see through. Another reason for the consistency of wax is because it contains more residual plant wax and lipids than shatter or crumble.
Crumble is essentially dry wax and gets its name from the fact that it can crumble into pieces when it is handled. It is often referred to as honeycomb wax because of the way it resembles honeycombs. It is not see through like shatter because it retains some plant wax and lipids just like wax does; but unlike wax it is often a dense(r) solid.
Although, wax and crumble usually have a low(er) THC percentage, some people prefer them over shatter. Wax and crumble tend to have a better taste due to their higher percentage of plant wax and terpenes. Terpenes are responsible for the taste and smell of the marijuana.
Shatter is usually favored due to its high potency. Shatter gets its name from its glass like consistency and the fact that it will literally shatter if you drop it. Shatter takes an extra step of refining to remove the residual plant matter, making it more dense and see through—unlike wax. This process increases the potency of the product and will lower the overall weight, taste and smell. Many extracts makers believe that is a small price to pay for the extra potency.