A CBD concentrate is a product that contains very high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD concentrates allow a person to get a higher dose of CBD in a relatively short time, and many people prefer them to other forms of the substance.
CBD concentrates may have some benefits over traditional CBD products, though they are not for everyone. Some people may be more sensitive to other compounds in CBD concentrates, especially in full-spectrum products.
Keep reading to learn more about CBD concentrates, including the benefits and risks.
A CBD concentrate is a product that contains higher CBD levels than those typically found in the cannabis plant.
It is one of many compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Interest in CBD and cannabis products has led to selective breeding of the plant, increasing the amount of CBD in the various cannabis strains. Hemp plants, for example, contain more CBD than other varieties of the cannabis sativa plant.
CBD is non-intoxicating and does not lead to a ‘high’ feeling that people associate with cannabis usage. This high comes from THC, which is another cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Therefore, even with higher CBD dosages from concentrates, they will not affect a person in the same way.
CBD products exist in various forms and concentrations. Since they are not FDA-regulated, and in the early stages of research, people should try to lower their dosages if they choose to take it. If the lower doses have no effect, they could try products that contain concentrate, or even CBD isolate, which is the pure form of CBD.
The potential benefits of CBD concentrate are similar to other CBD products.
CBD acts on the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which may have several health benefits.
While the effects may vary based on someone’s sensitivity and dose, possible benefits of CBD include:
- appetite control
- anti-inflammatory effects, which may help relieve inflammatory pain
A study posted to Frontiers in Plant Science notes that CBD research involving nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases is promising. At the same time, the compound may have other uses, such as the potential for anti-fungal and anti-bacterial use.
The following factors may lead to additional benefits in a person who uses CBD.
Terpenes are natural compounds found in many plants that give them their distinct aromas. Many different terpenes may be present in cannabis products depending on their source and strain. Some common terpenes in cannabis include:
A study in Headache Currents notes that evidence suggests cannabinoids and terpenes work together in harmony, in a phenomenon called ‘the entourage effect.’ The entourage effect may increase CBD’s benefits for certain symptoms, such as pain, headaches, and inflammation.
Terpenes themselves may also have some benefits for the body and brain.
Some people choose CBD concentrates for their purity of ingredients. When a manufacturer carries out the process correctly, there should be no residue or trace chemicals left behind in the concentrate.
This means the product will only deliver CBD and other compounds in the specific concentrate, such as terpenes.
As CBD concentrates often contain many times the amount of CBD found in cannabis, it is possible to get a higher dose quickly.
Some people prefer concentrates because of the quick delivery method. Often, a person who inhales heated concentrate vapors takes in CBD more quickly, compared to oral use. For people who want to experience the effects as soon as possible, CBD concentrates may provide this option.
There are small chances of side effects and risks in the use of CBD.
CBD concentrates deliver high doses of CBD and other compounds, including. While side effects will not occur in everyone, they are still possible. Some people may experience side effects from higher doses of CBD, including:
- sleepiness or oversleeping
- changes in appetite
- weight loss or weight gain
Some CBD side effects may make it unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery. Many recommend that people only take high doses of CBD in the evening before bed.
By their nature, CBD concentrates are powerful doses. Therefore, they may not be right for some people who are sensitive to the compound or those who do not usually use cannabis products.
Someone who takes a large CBD dose and has no prior experience of these products may notice uncomfortable side effects.
Impurity is one of the biggest factors for people who choose a CBD concentrate. If CBD manufacturers are not diligent in the extraction process, they may leave behind chemicals, solvents, or other impurities.
A 2017 survey conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed CBD products sold online. From 84 of these products, 70% were mislabeled their CBD content, while 42% contained less CBD than they claimed. In addition, 18 products tested positive for the psychoactive ingredient THC, and some contained THC in higher amounts than legally allowed for hemp products.
Impurities that remain in the concentrate may affect its taste and experience. In some cases, the residue could cause harm to the person who takes it.
Some CBD concentrates, specifically full-spectrum varieties, may contain small amounts of THC. While this will not get a person high, it may show up on a drug test.
There are a few methods to extract CBD from the cannabis plant in higher amounts. The form that the concentrate takes will depend on these techniques.
Some chemical solvents may help separate CBD from plant material, such as butane or ethanol. In theory, the company then removes these solvents after extraction. However, many manufacturers do not follow this process, and these substances may alter the taste or quality of the final product.
Many companies now use supercritical CO2 extraction, which is a non-toxic method.
The solution then goes through other processes to remove unnecessary fats, waxes, or other compounds. This final step is called the flush or purge stage. What is remains is the extracted CBD, along with any other compounds included in the product, such as terpenes.
Companies that add or remove stages of the process produce slightly different end products.
The differences between these products may be a matter of preference. However, in some cases, the process could change the content of the concentrate. Here are the most common types of concentrate:
- Crystal or powder: Pure CBD isolate contains virtually nothing but the crystalline CBD compound, and comes in a powdery form.
- Wax: Wax is a slightly darker, oily substance, generally for dabs or vapes. It has other compounds in the concentrate, such as the waxes and sterols from the plant.
- Crumble: A similar substance as the wax concentrate, but contains moisture, to create a crumbly, less sticky texture.
- Shatter: Shatter looks similar to hard toffee or opaque glass. When heated, it melts and bubbles, and has a thick, honey-like texture.
- Live resin: Flash-freezing buds before extraction allows for a larger amount of terpenes and cannabinoids to be in the final product. Many people who seek broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD products will choose live resin concentrates for their enhanced flavor. However, they are also limited and tend to be expensive.
- Budder: The manufacturers purge the extract at a higher temperature and air pressure in the final stage. This adds a fluffy texture to the waxy concentrate, similar to butter.
CBD concentrates are relatively high doses of CBD, and therefore may not be suitable for everyone.
Some people may have reactions to these higher CBD doses, such as sluggishness or sleepiness.
Anyone unsure about whether CBD concentrates would benefit them should talk to their doctor to explore their options.
Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.