What are Your Dabs Made Of? It Matters

If you cruise Instagram, you’ll see the exploding culture of “dabs.” It appears that everybody and their grandma (#elderlywhodab) are smoking or blowing BHO these days. So how do you know if the amateur BHO you’re smoking blows or glows? Here’s an introductory list of attributes that you should look for or inquire about with your extract artist in order to avoid terriBHO experiences.

The biggest factor in the final taste and effect of a concentrate is the quality of the material being used for the extraction. Which part of the plant being used is significant, whether it’s the shade leaves, the sugar leaves or the flowers, and so is the stage of trichome development or degradation.

Additionally, certain marijuana growing techniques can affect the quality of the end product, especially pest- and disease-control practices. So growers should be wary of how late they spray neem oil on their crops.

Buds are the most potent and terpene-filled part of the plant and have the potential to create the fullest taste, whereas shade leaves render the product less potent and more hashy-tasting.

However, using the entire plant yields the best medical benefits, and extractors do perform whole-plant extracts, though these are typically not as pleasant to the taste as a pure flower extraction.

The freshness of the material also plays a huge role in preserving terpenes in the final product. The more that the plant matter dries and is subjected to heat, the quicker decarboxylation occurs, and the more essential oils and terpenes evaporate. Decarboxylation can be an important chemical process in producing edibles, because it activates the THC and CBD. When producing BHO for dabbing, the heat from vaporization will activate these chemicals, so using fresher material results in superior-tasting dabs. Some argue that fresh-frozen material produces the most floral-tasting oils (albeit at the cost of lower yields). But most commercial extractors prefer quickly cured bud around one week old for a balance of taste and yield.

You may not know everything about BHO yet, but knowing what material your extractor used — and why—will help you find a suitable, smokeable concentrate that has maximum flavor and effect.

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