Over the past decade, technology has been making its mark on the weed industry. Ever since the early days of legalization and medical cannabis, technology has been making inroads into how we grow, extract, distribute, market, sell and consume cannabis in all its many forms.
Traditional methods of cannabis consumption used to be through the combustion of the dry herb, be that as a joint, in a pipe, or a bong of some kind.
Evidence of these smoking utensils dates back to ancient Asia, and there were even Scythian gold bongs discovered that dated back to around 400 BC. Cannabis concentrates existed in ancient times, with hashish the most common type, which is made by collecting the trichomes surrounding the buds of the cannabis plant together and mashing it into a sort of sticky goo.
Technology has turned extraction into a high-tech industry, gone of the days of manually rolling cannabis between your fingers. Instead, today large and very expensive machinery is used in laboratory-like conditions to get the best-refined extracts possible.
Recent extraction methods use solvents to pull out the cannabinoid compounds of the cannabis plant, such as THC and CBD.
These substances are extracted using a solvent such as carbon dioxide, propane, or butane. These solvents dissolve the solid into a liquid solution and, in doing so, separate the compounds in the cannabis from the plant material. These are then further processed to remove the solvent and leftover plant materials leaving a concentrated extract. These extracts have names often reflecting their physical properties such as wax, crumble, budder, shatter, terp sauce, and many more.
Concentrates are much more potent than cannabis. With the growth in the legalization of recreational cannabis, this market which grew 40% last year, is delivering an easy way to medicate and enjoy the benefits, be they medical or recreational.
These cannabis extracts can be vaped, applied as a tincture, or easily added to food and beverages. By far, the most common method of consumption is to vape them.