Sunday March 22, 2020

By Andrew Ward

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420 Culture

In the rapidly widening world of cannabis consumption, the American market is dominated by two: flower and concentrates. Cannabis flower in all its trichome-covered glory is a sight to behold and an array of aromas to take in. Throughout time, most cannabis consumption involved the raw plant and it being smoked. In doing so, the smoking of flower became a cannabis community tradition that many still cite as a prime reason why they choose the plant above any other option.

Then there are marijuana concentrates. Through a variety of methods over the ages, people began to extract oil and other compounds from the plant. With oil, the products proved to be far more potent, or stronger, than flower. In some cases, three to four times more powerful than the cannabis flower. Depending on the consumer, their preference is sure to vary. So, when several readers asked PotGuide which one we thought was better, we decided to go the pragmatic route. Keep scrolling for a discussion on whether or not concentrates are better value than flower.


The Pros and Cons of Flower

Like mentioned above, flower is the tradition. It's ritualistic to some and merely familiar to others. There are scores of reasons people prefer flower. They include the whole plant experience, or the entourage effect. Whole plant cannabis offers consumers the entire profile to consume. With cannabis flower, people take in the THC, CBD, additional cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other components that create a strain and its unique effects.

Many people prefer flower for the tradition and whole plant experience.

Speaking of the whole plant, cultivating flower is much easier than the somewhat expensive to six-figure investment it takes to produce concentrates. And when you can’t grow your own, you can go to a dispensary or illegal connect (we do not recommend this option) and pick up your pot. In either case, the flower is almost assuredly going to be significantly cheaper.

That said, keep in mind that low cost won't do much if you have a high tolerance. With a lower dosage than concentrates, cannabis flower may take a person longer to feel high. This is especially true if the person is a frequent consumer or has a high tolerance.

The Pros and Cons of Concentrates

Concentrates are an expanding space, where consumers can do a dab just as quickly as they can consume it in a drink on the go. Such versatility and product potency highlight why people choose concentrates. Both reasons appeal to both the medical and adult use sides of the market as well.

While recreational consumers may enjoy the extra strength high, a medical marijuana patient may because it could reduce the number of doses they have to take each day. The effects can be more substantial, giving the person more relief over a longer period of time.

In addition to being more potent, a person can also reach their desired dosage much quicker than with flower. A dose of an edible, oil or a dab can help a person achieve their desired high easier than with flower, where it may take one or more joints, bong rips or bowl hits to reach the same level. That said, with edibles, the onset time will be longer than a dab or smoking.

Concentrates almost always come with a higher price tag than flower, however. This is especially true when dealing with concentrates made from solventless methods that brand themselves as top-shelf, all-natural made products (prices are becoming more affordable though). The same can be said when using a rare strain, like a landrace, or any highly coveted flower, though.


The Cost

Overall, pricing for both products can be intricate, to say the least. Fragmented legal markets and varying customer demands make it so that while there are pricing consistencies, consumers should expect steep variations depending on the market they’re in.

With flower, prices tend to vary between $6 and $18 a gram. Though, it's best to assume you'll pay between $10 and $15 in most cases. Meanwhile, an eighth can run between the high $20 range and up to $65 depending on location and strain quality. With quarters, that figure can be between $46 and $120. Those looking for larger quantities like a half ounce can expect to pay between $90 and $250. For a full ounce, you expect a price between the high $100 range to around $500 for superior stuff.

The price of concentrates will also vary between the market and the quality of the extract. Other factors like the texture of the product and its application methods also play a part. Those seeking a lower-priced option may want to pick up shatter, kief or wax for between $20 and $35. Or, start with the bottom of your grinder to see how much kief you have on hand to save a few bucks.

More refined options made from better quality flower and specific extraction methods, such as live resin, rosin or distillate, will cost a bit more. In that case, expect to plunk down $25 to $55 for a gram. The most refined products will obviously cost the most money in whatever market you’re shopping in.

Do you prefer concentrates or flower? Share your opinions in the comments below.

Andrew Ward Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward is a Brooklyn-based cannabis writer and creative. His work has appeared on Benzinga, High Times, PROHBTD and several other publications and brand blogs. He has covered the cannabis space for over three years, and has written professionally since 2011. His first book, "Cannabis Jobs," was released in October 2019. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn to stay up to date.

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