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Thursday November 11, 2021

By Erin Hiatt

cannabis concentrates 420 Culture

The legal cannabis marketplace has a lot more on the shelves than cannabis flower. The cannabis extract market — comprising crumble, wax, shatter, budder, live resin, ISO Hash, BHO, tinctures and more — had a market size valued at $5.03 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach a monster $23.64 billion by 2028.

Some consumers prefer concentrates to flower because they’re incredibly versatile; you can take them sublingually, vape or dab them, and add them to edibles. Flower is a tried-and-true, classic, but its applications are somewhat limited. Concentrates like shatter can deliver a very efficient and potent hit, much quicker than flower. But just because it hits quick, does that make concentrates a better value than flower? Let’s take a look.

Benefits of Flower

Cannabis flower has been consumed by humans for medicine, recreation, and ritual for thousands of years, and up until recently has been the go-to for consumers, simply because there wasn’t much else available.

Many people prefer flower because they enjoy the ritual and tradition of consuming flower: the lighting of the bowl or joint, the familiar and powerful scent, the camaraderie and comfort that comes from sharing weed with friends.

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

Flower has the added benefit of the entourage effect, a principle that states cannabis can offer its most beneficial, therapeutic effects when all the plant’s terpenes and cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, THC, etc. work together.

Most solvent-based concentrates go through an extraction process to separate and isolate particular cannabinoids (though terpenes are sometimes added back in), so the entourage effect is not in play.

Benefits of Concentrates

Concentrates are much more potent than flower. Typical cannabis flower has a potency between 10-25 percent, whereas concentrates can land anywhere from 50-80 percent. Additionally, consuming concentrates can be much more discreet (and much less odorous) than flower because they can be vaped, taken orally as a tincture and capsule, or eaten in an edible.

There’s a bit more of a pick-and-choose element to concentrates as opposed to flower, and there’s no need to make a distinction between indica and sativa. For example, if you’re looking for an energizing and uplifting high, you could seek out a THC concentrate that has an energizing terpene like pinene or limonene added to the concentrate. 

For medical marijuana patients who need consistent, reliable, easily-dosed medicine, concentrates could be an effective tool because it may reduce the number of doses needed per day and provide a longer period of relief.

Some solventless concentrates, such as rosin, do offer a full-spectrum experience, however they are typically more expensive than other concentrates, which will affect their value per gram when compared with other preparations.

Are Cannabis Concentrates a Better Value Than Flower? 

Because the cost of cannabis products varies across markets, this is a difficult question to answer. For example, flower prices swing from $8-15 per gram to $20-65 for an eighth, depending on product quality and the state you’re in. On the other hand, concentrates typically cost between $40-55 for a gram, again depending on product quality and locality.

But let’s break it down like this (thanks to the wise words of Ask a Stoner at Westword). “Even after all the math, most grams of wax and eighths of weed still bear about 600 to 800 milligrams of THC. With such close marks in both price and potency, it really comes down to your smoking preference.” 

The Wrap Up

If you are an experienced or medical cannabis patient, you may find that purchasing concentrates gives you more bang for your buck and more consumption versatility. For others, concentrates can be an overwhelming experience, one where any money saved wouldn’t balance out a potentially unpleasant experience. In the end, it boils down to personal preference. 

What is the difference between concentrate and flower?

Cannabis flower is simply the dried buds and leaves that can be combusted and inhaled via smoking or vaping. Concentrates are made from cannabis flower, but has gone through an extraction process to separate cannabinoids like CBD and THC.

Does concentrate get you higher than flower?

Yes. Because THC has been separated from other cannabinoids, the potency goes up significantly. The same is true for a CBD concentrate.

How much should a gram of concentrate cost?

On average, expect to pay from $40-55 for a gram of concentrate. 

How much does a gram of weed cost?

One gram of weed will cost anywhere from $8-15, and will vary depending on the market.

Which do you find gives you more for your money, flower or concentrate? Add your two cents to the comments below.


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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