How To Use Concentrates

Concentrate tools

Elevate Your High With This Guide to Weed Concentrates

Most people who were consuming weed before its legal days knew of a few concentrates, like hash or hashish, kief, and rosin. But weed concentrates have come a long way from pressing flower in a hair straightener and scraping parchment paper inside a freezer door.

Since their foray into the mainstream, concentrate extraction methods have evolved to create what feels like a million different concentrates in a million different consistencies. And although we welcome this advancement, it’s a little overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start.

So we put together this guide that goes over how to use concentrates, what defines each type, and the best concentrates for beginners. Because weed concentrates are potent, and you don’t want to dive into them without some background knowledge.

Weed Concentrates Explained

Cannabis concentrates are exactly what they sound like—a concentrated form of the cannabis plant. That means they’re all of the medicinal compounds (AKA cannabinoids and terpenes) and none of the extra plant material you consume when you smoke flower. This makes their effects incredibly powerful, clean, and tasty.

There are several ways to produce cannabis concentrates, but they’re all divided into two categories: solvent-based extraction and solventless extraction. You can get really deep in the weeds and explore the concentrates that are used in vapes, capsules, and edibles, but for the sake of this blog, we’re talking about concentrates you can dab or smoke.

Solvent-Based Extraction

Solvent-based weed concentrates are generally best for dabbing as their consistencies are waxier and less dry than those extracted without solvents. Solvents include ethanol, butane, propane, and CO2. If made with butane or propane, they can fall into the categories of Butane Hash Oil (BHO) or Propane Hash Oil (PHO), regardless of their consistency.

There are a few different solvent-based concentrates on the market right now.

Live Resin

Live resin is a special cannabis concentrate because it’s made from fresh frozen cannabis, meaning flower that’s frozen immediately after harvest and stays frozen throughout the extraction process, instead of being dried and cured.[1] Producers usually use butane or propane as the solvent, and it can come in a variety of consistencies including:

  • Caviars
  • Diamonds
  • Terp Sauces
  • Sugar 


Shatter is made with dried, cured plants and extracted using CO2, butane, propane, or a combination of butane and propane. It’s called shatter because of its clear and brittle consistency, like glass. Shatter is sometimes presented as more pure or potent than other concentrates because of its translucent appearance, but that’s not technically accurate. Its consistency has less to do with potency and more to do with the plant’s molecules being less agitated during extraction.[2]


Wax is a broad term for concentrates that have a soft and waxy consistency. They’re usually made using butane or propane, also known as hydrocarbon extraction.[3] At 253, we produce our wax through a hydrocarbon process using cured flower, trim or a combination of both. Wax can come in a variety of consistencies, including:

  • Butter
  • Badder/Batter
  • Honeycomb
  • Crumble
  • Cake icing
  • Sugar

Solventless Extraction

Weed concentrates made from solventless extraction include the old-school concentrates we mentioned earlier. Since there aren’t any solvents involved, these concentrates are produced using heat, pressure, or other sieve methods.

At this point in time, traditional hash isn’t super popular and often not readily available for purchase at dispensaries. But solventless concentrates in general are still quite common and favored because they can be either dabbed or smoked, depending on the type.


This is the same stuff that can be made by enclosing flower in parchment paper and pressing it with a hot hair straightener, except cannabis concentrate producers have refined the process to be a lot more effective and precise by using hydraulic presses with heating elements. The pressure extracts the compounds from the plant, and the heat creates consistency. Rosin is one of the dabbable forms of solventless concentrates as it’s usually waxy and sticky.


Kief is easy to make—it’s what sits at the bottom of your grinder from all the flower that’s gone through it. When you buy kief from a dispensary like 253 Farmacy, it’s made by sifting cannabis flower through different sized screens to shake the trichomes off the buds, which is where the cannabinoids and terpenes reside. Since this is a dry concentrate, it’s best to add kief on top of a bowl or sprinkle it over a joint and smoke it versus trying to dab it.

Bubble Hash

Called so because it bubbles when you smoke it, bubble hash is a solventless concentrate made using ice water. Flower is added to a “bubble bag” full of ice water. It’s then agitated so the psychoactive compounds freeze and break from the flower. Once they’re removed from the flower, they go through a series of screens to separate the compounds from the leftover plant material.[4]

How To Use Concentrates

Now that we know the common concentrate options, let’s talk about how to use concentrates.

There are two ways to inhale these cannabis concentrates—dabbing or smoking. Both require fairly similar tools, but there are some important differences.

Dabbing Concentrates 

Dabbing is a fancy word for flash vaporizing. To dab a concentrate the old-fashioned way, you need a dab tool, a rig, a torch, and a timer. Or you can splurge and purchase an e-nail, which dials in the time and temperature for you.

  • Dab tool or dabber: This is the tool you use to drop your concentrate into your rig. Concentrates are sticky, so you don’t really want to handle them with your hands. Instead, you use a glass, ceramic, titanium, or quartz dabber to handle them for you.
  • Rig: A rig to a concentrate is the equivalent of a water pipe to flower. Rigs and water pipes are pretty similar, except the bowl, AKA banger or nail, of a rig has a flat bottom. This is where you place your concentrate with your dabber. But only once it’s at the right temperature.
  • Torch: This can just be a regular food-grade blow torch (think: crème brûlée). You use this to heat the banger on your rig so it’s hot enough to flash vaporize the concentrate. It will take time and experimenting to dial in how long to heat the banger and how long to let it cool before dropping in your concentrate and inhaling. And that’s where the timer comes into play.
  • E-nail: An e-nail is an electronic rig. It handles the temperature and time settings so you can enjoy a clean, cool, and potent hit every time without having to go through the trial-and-error process of finding the right time and temp for your dab. 

Smoking Concentrates

Smoking concentrates is much more simple than dabbing them. You simply sprinkle some on top of your next bowl or joint. Remember that this is a concentrated form of the plant, so you don’t need to add a lot to dramatically increase the potency of your bowl or joint. Start with a tiny amount—you can always add more to your next hit if need be.

Best Weed Concentrates for Beginners  

If this is your first intro to weed in general, we don’t recommend starting with concentrates. Consider smoking some flower or using a tincture first to get a feel for the plant in your body. But if you’re ready to take it to the next level, 253 Farmacy has a few concentrates that are great for beginners.

  • Cease and Desist Kief: At 35.5% THC, this is our lowest potency concentrate available. It’ll still take you places, but it’ll make your approach into concentrates a little easier than some of our stronger options. Plus, it’s a smokable concentrate, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out dabbing just yet.
  • Pineapple Banana Muffin Bubble Hash: With 57.7% THC, this bubble hash takes it up a notch and gets you closer to the more potent concentrates available. This is another approachable, smokable option.
  • Early Lemon Berry Live Batter: This is a dabbable concentrate with 72.9% THC, so it’s intense. But as a hybrid strain, it won’t completely lock you in the couch, so you can enjoy your clean high with a touch of energy and get a feel for being active and present with a concentrate in your body.

Concentrates can be intimidating to explore, but don’t let that keep you from exploring them! These powerful products are some of the most popular on our shelves for a reason. With delicious flavor and clean, potent effects, they’re great for anyone looking for a recreational or medicinal experience.


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