Summer is in full bloom here on the Oregon coast, which means we’re welcoming up to 17 million tourists to our shores. Some come for the natural beauty; others for the local charm. Whatever brings you into our neck of the woods, it’s our pleasure to treat you right and, of course, offer an education on all things weed. (After all, Oregon was the third state to legalize weed for recreational use.)
One of the things we get asked most at our local dispensary: Is marijuana a flower? Followed closely by: What’s the difference between flower and concentrate?
To the first question: Yes! Marijuana (weed, ganja, pot) is actually the dried flower of the cannabis sativa or cannabis indica plant. The second question will take a bit more explanation. So, let’s light up this conversation and explore the nuances of marijuana flower and marijuana concentrate.
The Marijuana Flower: A Very Kind Bud
The marijuana flower refers to the smokeable, trichome-covered part of a female cannabis plant. This is the most traditional form of cannabis. When you conjure the image of marijuana in your mind, chances are you’re thinking of marijuana flower.
In its natural state, the marijuana flower is rich in cannabinoids, those chemical compounds that interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system to produce the effects we associate with cannabis. The most well known of these cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
Weed flower is dried and rolled into joints, consumed through bongs or pipes, and baked into edibles.
Marijuana Concentrates: An Intense Experience
As you may have guessed from the name, marijuana concentrates are products with a higher concentration of cannabinoids than natural flower. Concentrates are made by extracting cannabinoids from the flower until only the pure CBD or THC remains.
The process of creating marijuana concentrates involves extracting potent cannabinoids from the cannabis plant using solvents like butane or CO2. There is also a method for solventless extraction that involves using pressure and temperature to extract cannabinoids from the flower. Either way, the result is a product that packs a punch. Concentrates are most often consumed via a vape pen or by dabbing.
4 Differences Between Flower and Concentrate
Aside from the way flower and concentrate are processed, there are a few key differences to keep in mind.
1. Potency. The most significant difference between marijuana flower and concentrate is potency. While the THC content in marijuana flower typically ranges between 15% and 25%, concentrates can clock in anywhere between 60% and 90%. This means a much more intense high from concentrates.
2. Consumption Method. As previously mentioned, flower can be smoked through joints, pipes, bongs or vaporizers. Concentrates are commonly consumed using specialized equipment like a dab rig, vaporizer or concentrate pen.
3. Flavor and Aroma. Marijuana flowers offer a wide range of flavors and aromas thanks to the presence of terpenes, the aromatic compounds found in cannabis plants. Concentrates often lose these terpenes during the extraction and purification process, leading to a less olfactory-arousing experience.
4. Price. Cannabis concentrates tend to be more expensive than flower. This is because it takes more time and effort to produce concentrates. However, the price of concentrates can vary widely based on the extraction method used, the strain of cannabis and the overall potency and purity of the product.
What’s Right for Me?
The choice between flower and concentrate comes down to personal preference and the specific effects you’re seeking. If you’re new to the world of weed, starting with flower might be a good choice due to its lower potency and wide availability. You can adjust your dosage more easily with flower, and because it’s less expensive, you can sample different varieties to find what suits you best. Additionally, nothing beats flower for that all-natural, holistic and aromatic experience.
For those looking for a stronger and more immediate effect, concentrates are the way to go. This is especially relevant for medicinal users looking for a high dose of cannabinoids for symptom relief. Concentrates are also more discreet, as they lack that strong weed smell.
In the end, the choice is entirely up to you. And the best part is you don’t have to choose if you don’t want to. There are many ways to consume marijuana. Try them all and find what works for you. Remember, though, no matter what you sample, start low and go slow — especially if you’re testing out a new-to-you product.
Find a Ganja Guide
The world of weed is filled with knowledgeable consumers who are more than happy to share their experiences and make recommendations for newbies or seasoned pros. You’ll find a whole gang of them hanging out behind the counters at our Coos Bay and Cannon Beach shops. Our friendly and passionate budtenders are always on hand to lead you through the pros and cons of flower vs. concentrate, edibles vs. tinctures, and so much more.
We take pride in offering a wide variety of both flowers and concentrates to cater to all preferences and needs. So, come on by, ask questions and find the perfect cannabis product for you. Enjoy your summer, and — as always — consume responsibly!