Lab Tech with Oil

OIL Day is fast approaching! Do you feel out of the loop? Don’t.

The reason you’re still puzzling over the details is because this holiday is less than a decade old. Each year, there’s a little more clarity as the celebration takes shape…. But it’s still being refined.

Since this youngster of a holiday is but a few weeks away, it’s a perfect time to get ahead of the ball and sort out what we do know.  Let’s start at the beginning, and work our way through all the funky-named, golden-hued, cannabinoid packed substances that relate to…

July 10th: OIL Day!

Now known as the sister holiday to 420, 710 is a day for celebrating cannabis in its concentrated form. Why? Because July 10th = 7/10, and 710 = OIL if you turn it upside down. 🙃

The earliest Oil Day celebrations are said to have happened in 2012. The first official festival to honor concentrates was held on 7/10 (in 2013), putting an emphasis on the date and upping the holiday's popularity by a good fifty notches.

It’s important to know that “concentrates,” “extracts,” and “oils” have all become interchangeable terms for this recently popularized collection of cannabis products. Technically they are “extractions of concentrated oil,” but that’s a bit too cumbersome to say. For the purposes of this blog, we’re sticking with the term “concentrate.” Oil Day pays homage to all concentrates, regardless of their finished appearance, which is sometimes oily, and sometimes not. (More on that in a bit.)

Is Oil Day just for dabbing?

How a concentrate is consumed depends on the type it is. Many cannabis concentrates can be dabbed, thus some people alternately refer to 7/10 as “Dab Day.” While it’s a lovely alliteration that speaks to one of the holiday’s most favored activities -dabbing- we prefer the more inclusive term of Oil Day. Ingest as you wish!

More on dabbing…

When it comes to battling negative stigma, dabbing knows how it goes. Maybe it’s the blowtorch… or the rig its smoked with… or the fact that it’s just plain misunderstood.

To dab, you need to heat a cannabis concentrate to its melting point. (This happens on an already-hot surface to ensure the material doesn’t stick.) The resulting vapor is inhaled, most often through a dab rig, which looks a lot like a short water bong that’s fitted with a nail instead of a bowl.

While dabbing does mean that you can enjoy (much) higher percentages of cannabinoids -like THC- it doesn’t equate to recklessness. A fast-acting and highly potent dose means swift, effective relief for patients who need it, and an especially elevated experience for those who recreate responsibly.

But again, there are plenty of concentrates you can enjoy on Oil Day, even if you don’t dab.

So what’s all the fuss? 

Why concentrates? Isn’t flower or an edible enough?

It’s a bit like aromatherapy. You know, those essential oils in teeny bottles that your teacher-friend side-hustles during summer vacation? Smell a singular drop of potent peppermint or ylang ylang oil and you’ll see why everyone’s gone gaga for EO’s. That aroma’s intense! And hence, some would say, therapeutic.

Cannabis concentrates are no different; the effects, aromas and flavors can all pack a punch when consumed. They can be vaporized or dabbed alone, or they can be enjoyed along with other cannabis forms: atop a packed bowl, for example. It’s like adding fancy frosting to an already enticing cake. For some, the cake’s enough. Others point to the piece with the most rosettes and nod. Basically, you do you (responsibly).

Frosting, please!

When you smoke a cannabis concentrate, “just a dab will do ya” couldn’t be more true. But of course, there are many, many ways to create dabs, which result in different consistencies and potencies. Some concentrates are made with a solvent; some aren’t. They are available in liquid form, solid form, and everywhere in between. Which ones are which, and how do you choose? It can be overwhelming.

But here’s a little secret. The cannabis community is a practical bunch, and as a result, the terminology is descriptive by design. Let’s touch on some of the most common dabs available, and you’ll see what we mean.

Solvent-based concentrates Common method of consumption: Dab or Vape

Shatter is a popular one, mainly because it’s low-mess. This solid concentrate can be made with a Butane Hash Oil (BHO) solvent or a very cold ethanol. It looks like honey that’s been subjected to the powers of Queen Elsa. Give it a tap, and it shatters, like ice. Ahhhh, shatter. (It all makes sense now!)

Wax looks and feels like… candle wax. Of course, candle wax can be hard or soft, so there are some sub-categories here. “Budder” (or “Badder”) is the soft stuff, which resembles butter or cake batter.

Crumble can be broken up with your fingertips. Honeycomb is harder, and has holes, like everyone’s favorite bee by-product. Suddenly rather simple, right? BHO, cold ethanol and CO2 are the solvents used for all of these guys, too.

Crystalline, yet again, looks just like it sounds. It’s been super refined such that all the plant material is gone, and only crystalized cannabinoids remain. Crystalline is THCA -THC in its acidic form- which is the only way it can crystalize. Large THCA crystals are called diamonds; aptly named for their alluring appearance.

CO2 Oil gets its namesake from its unique extraction process, which uses CO2 as a solvent. While many solvent-based concentrates use BHO (as you learned above), CO2 is noted for being non-toxic, thus producing a highly-pure and considerably more “clean” finished product.

Sap: like shatter, but thick and stretchy! It can be created with BHO or CO2.

CO2 Distillate Vape Cartridges, by Curaleaf.

Solventless concentrates Common method of consumption: Dab or Smoke

Kief is the concentrated “sift” that naturally occurs at the bottom of your 3-tier flower grinder. It’s the fine powdery collection of trichomes that covered your cannabis nugget before you ground it up. These tiny particles, which give cannabis that frosted glow, serve as little hotels for terpenes and cannabinoids. A.k.a., they contain all the good stuff… which is why you don’t want to waste them! They can be sprinkled on top of what you’re smoking, or heated and pressed together to become…

Hash. It’s another one of those words that can mean different things to different people. But, true hash is kief that’s been squashed with enough pressure to form into a ball. (Then you pull off a bit and top your herb with it.)

Rosin takes hash a step further, with more pressure and the introduction of heat. Rosin, when made properly, is said to be similar to shatter, yet without the solvent. People love that it’s easy to make at home; you can actually create rosin by pressing flower with a hair-straightener! The result is a consistency that’s similar to sap.

Live Resin is a mid-potency oil, rich in terpenes, that is extracted from fresh or fresh frozen flower. The flash-freeze process retains the strain’s aromas and flavor, whereas most concentrates lose those valuable terpenes along the way.

Prefer to sip or swallow? 

Smoking, vaping and dabbing aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, if you’d rather take your cannabis IN a cup of tea, distillates or tinctures are options to consider for oral consumption. Distillates are concentrates; they totally count in terms of Oil Day. Tinctures are alcohol infusions… so they’re a different ball game. (But don’t let the celebratory logistics dictate your choice!)

A note on responsible use…

It would seem practical here to explain how to dab and just how much concentrate to use. Yet at Curaleaf, we know cannabis consumption isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. We’d much rather see you come into your local Curaleaf to work with a budtender, 1-on-1, to discuss the proper dosage for your desired effect. We would love to guide you towards the product that works best for your unique needs, and provide you with a personal consultation to ensure you have a successful, educated experience. Hopefully this primer on cannabis concentrates has you prepped and ready to ask all the right questions when you come to visit.

As with any holiday, safety is paramount to enjoying your celebration! We hope you have a happy, healthy, elevated OIL day. :)