The more the marijuana industry grows, the more obvious it’s becoming that concentrates and extracts are the new hot item on the shelf. If you’re new to the world of concentrates, then I’ll simply say, you’ve got some catching up to do and I don’t mind helping. I’ll start with the basics and eventually work my way up to explaining High Terpene Full Spectrum Extracts (HTFSE) and their significance. Not everyone may know how often extracts are used in the industry. Concentrates are not only used as a product to smoke out of dab rigs or load in vape pens, but they are also the basis of most marijuana edibles as well. For the proceeding to make any sense, I’ll run through the quick version of cannabis extraction. The process commonly starts with cannabis, either whole nuggets, shake, stems, or sweet leaf. The material is then compacted and processed to extract the cannabinoids either using chemicals like butane, hexane, or propane. A chemical free process will frequently use CO2 to extract the cannabinoids. While CO2 extractions may assure a clean product, the process is particularly harsh on the terpenoids, the components that produce the flavor and smells in cannabis extractions. Often in the process they are stripped from the cannabinoids and artificially reintroduced in the end. This process can achieve a concentrate that, on paper, resembles most of the traits of the original plant. As we’re finding more and more, not just in the marijuana industry, separating components and artificially smashing them back together has a negative impact on the end product, I.E. processed foods. This is the practice of most extraction companies, and while there are no direct correlations to the health impacts of concentrates that are Frankensteined back together, there is a very real potential that medicinal properties found in the flower may be adulterated in the process. This is where the next step to producing HTFSE starts. While not being a true HTFSE, live resin is the next closest evolutionary step.
If you’re looking to up your knowledge of extractions and want to get your hands on some High Terpene Full Spectrum Extracts, then you should check out Life Flower Dispensary, a recreational and medicinal dispensary in Glendale, Colorado. Not only is Life Flower stocked with a wide array of full spectrum products, but they’re also open until midnight seven days a week. That means that even if it’s late at night, you can expect to get the best quality extracts, right when you want them.
Live resins are produced in a very similar way to standard extractions, but start out with a different base. Standard chemical extraction processes use cured plants for their starting point as I mentioned before. This includes sweet leaf, stems, buds, or pretty much any residuals left over from flower that has been cured and is ready to sell to the public. Live resins have a different starting point. Live resins are produced using fresh or frozen plant matter to create the concentrates. Due to the harshness of CO2 on the terpenes in cannabis plants, live resins are almost always crafted using a butane extraction process. It’s worth noting that all batches of extracts produced in Colorado are lab tested to assure that the left-over chemicals have been properly purged. With live resins, you start out with the entire plant’s rich terpene and cannabinoid profile and after blasting are left with a concentrate that bears more of a fundamental resemblance to its original strain than you will ever get from an extraction produced from cured plants, trim, or shake. Still, in many live resin processes, the terpenes are separated and then reintroduced, and while the result is close to the original plant it’s still not a true HTFSE.
High Terpene Full Spectrum Extracts
So how then is a HTFSE crafted? The secret comes down to producing an extract that doesn’t sacrifice any of the natural components that you would find in the original plant. That means you’ll get the waxes, the fats, and even the chlorophyll that is naturally present in the plant. Often a HTFSE process will start with denatured alcohol as an extraction method. The end goal of any HTFSE is, of course, to process the entire plant at once to capture a truly accurate representation of the original plant in concentrated form. In a process like this, you won’t be left with the insanely high THC concentrations in the 90% range like you do with some standard concentrates. Unlike with many other processed concentrates, separation and reintroduction of cannabinoids and terpenes are not appropriate in a full spectrum extract seeing as the entire point of the procedure is to come out with a perfect freeze frame of the original plant. This usually will show with about 40-60% cannabinoid content, 20-40% terpene content, and 20-40% other residual plant matter and components that made up the original plant. While the THC content is lower, you’d be surprised by the fact that THC content doesn’t always directly affect the potency of a high. For that, we need to consider the realm of terpenes.
The importance of terpenes has been known for a long time by those in the industry, but it seems like the knowledge is just now making the leap into the public realm. Terpenes, if you’re new to the concept are the proteins in all plants that are responsible for the flavors and smells we all know and love. They also play a quintessential role in the effects a strain will have on the smoker. THC is always THC. The effects of THC on the human brain are always the same. When you are smoking an indica versus a sativa, it isn’t the THC that’s affecting you differently it’s the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. This is what makes HTFSE so important, seeing as they are a way to encapsulate the entire essence of a strain. So, remember next time you’re tempted to go into a dispensary and ask for the highest THC content, remember, that won’t always be what makes you the highest.
I hope that this wasn’t all just s pile of gibberish since HTFSE are a very important part of the wide world of marijuana. The easiest way to remember what HTFSEs are is to remember that the extractions that are truly full spectrum process the entire plant all at once and don’t remove any terpenes during extraction and don’t add any back in at the end. A HTFSE will have all of the components that the plant did, except in extract form. Another way of looking at it is that HTFSE would be the wine of the marijuana world, where the entire grape is used through the entire process and regular extracts reintroduce components like a grape juice made from concentrate. Go forth now and know that next time you dab, if you can find a product made with a HTFSE process, you’re going to be getting all the effects that the plant originally intended you to have. I’ve never been one to argue with plants, they’ve been around a lot longer than me and never seem to listen when I do.