Cannabis can be confusing if you don’t spend your time immersed in it. Here are some answers to common questions about cannabis.
How Are Cannabis Concentrates Made?
There are quite a few ways concentrates are made. Understand that concentrate is simply pulling the trichomes off the plant matter. There are a few ways to accomplish it.
1. Pressure/Heat Extraction – The below two videos outline Rosen Tech, which is a heat-extraction method. The general idea is to fold a cannabis flower in parchment paper (don’t use wax paper, as the wax will melt) and squeeze it with a heated curling iron. A laundry iron will achieve the same affect on larger quantities.
Since trichomes are directly squeezed off, purity levels are in the 90-percentile, which you can tell by the light eggshell color of the resulting shatter in the 2nd video.
2. Butane/CO2 Extraction – The next two videos show a homemade BHO extraction and a commercial CO2 extraction rig. Apeks makes CO2 closed-loop systems, whereas the homemade process is an open-loop system. The solvents and systems are interchangeable, and home-brew systems aren’t recommended for safety concerns.
The general idea of the process is to rinse trichomes off the plant matter using an ethanol solvent. In a closed loop system, the solvent is even filtered and reprocessed, saving a lot of money.
The homebrew system below costs about $100 (though you likely have the pieces necessary already), whereas the Apeks commercial systems costs $20,000-$200,000.
When you hear anything bad about BHO (butane hash oil), it’s because people use cheap open-loop parts like glass or PVC pipe and are often manually controlling the output. Mistakes will be made this way. Also they don’t let it fully dissolve before vaping, which is extremely dangerous and can lead to explosion when butane bubbles are trapped in the concentrate.
3. Ice/Water Hash – Of course, you can always make bubble hash the old-fashioned way, which is to rinse it with ice water. The video below shows this process.
Do People Who Dab Make Their Own Concentrates?
People who make their own concentrates dab, but few people who dab make their own concentrates.
This is just like how people who grow marijuana tend to consume it, but not all marijuana users grow their own plants.
By the same measurement, people who work at KFC eat chicken, but not everyone who eats chicken works at KFC.
How Is Cannabis Smuggled Into the United States?
I can’t give you a detailed answer on this because it’s smuggled exactly the same way everything else is smuggled and living as close to the AZ/Mexico border as I do, it’s best not to talk about such things.
I can direct you toward the Black Tuna Diaries.
This is the autobiography of Robert Platshorn, who ran one of the first (and largest) marijuana smuggling operations in the U.S. His team smuggled hundreds of millions of pounds of marijuana into Miami in the 1970’s.
He spent quite a few decades in prison and was released close to a decade ago.
I met Bob last week in Las Vegas and had him autograph a copy of the book for me. He’s a nice guy and knows quite a bit about the black, white, and gray-market cannabis trades.
I’ll have a book review up on the site in a few weeks, then I’ll get around to his second book, Greed and Evil.
What Is Marijuana Parephernalia?
Paraphernalia falls into two general categories, and whether or not you’re charged for carrying them varies vastly on where you are, who you are, and how you talk to the cops.
1. User Paraphernalia – Consumers of marijuana use a variety of tools that are considered paraphernalia, these include bongs, bowls, pipes, roach clips, any information related to growing, cultivating, processing, or selling (including High Times magazine, whose writers and staff often use pen names to avoid persecution and prosecution), papers, eCigs, eCig coils, dabbers, nails, syringes (used for refilling eCigs), and anything used to conceal anything. Also any clothing or accessories bearing a marijuana leaf, symbol, or theme can be included.
Each of these can be used for things other than marijuana, so always fall back on ignorance of its usage for drugs if caught with such items.
2. Dealer Paraphernalia – Dealers of marijuana have much different concerns, and can be busted for scales, vials, baggies, extraction equipment, grow equipment, curing bags, lighting, and much more.
Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and oper
ations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared in High Times, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Hardcore Droid, Gaiam, MindBodyGreen, and Elephant Journal.