What are cannabis concentrates and how do you use them?

Cannabis concentrates offer higher potencies than any other product created from the plant

Cannabis concentrates and extracts offer a much higher potency you won’t find with other products.

If you’re looking for a cannabis product with a higher potency level than flower, edibles or pre-rolls, concentrates will open a world of options for you. Items like shatter, wax crumble, hash or any other form of concentrate will have THC ranges upwards of 90 percent and offer a much stronger high than any other form of cannabis. 

There’s a lot to understand when trying out cannabis concentrates for the first time and we’re here to guide you through what you need to know. 

What’s the difference between cannabis flower and concentrates?

One of the main differences between cannabis flower and concentrates is the strength of the product. Typically, low to mid potency flower will range from 10 to 20 percent THC. Higher potency flower sits above 20 percent THC and can be found as high as 30 percent THC in some cases. 

Concentrates usually range from 50 to 90 percent THC and are designed with high tolerance users in mind.

Beyond the strength, many concentrates also have to be consumed in different ways than cannabis flower. Unlike flower, many concentrates are too dense and need higher temperatures for consumption. Dab rigs or specific vaporizers are necessary instead of pipes, bongs and joints. 

The process of making concentrates is also very different from preparing cannabis flower. Some concentrates like hash are made by pressing, heating or water filtering trichomes from the plant where the cannabinoids are located to extract them. Others like shatter or wax crumble are created using extraction processes with chemical solvents like butane. 

What types of concentrates are there?

There are many different variations of concentrates available at Canadian dispensaries to match varying wants and needs. 

We’ll guide you through the different types of concentrates below. 


Hash is created in a few different ways depending on the type of hash you choose. The most common and easiest to make is dry sift. Dry sift is made by separating the trichomes from the plant material using mesh screens to isolate the powdery kief from the plant. 

There’s also bubble hash or ice water hash, which is made using ice, water and a series of mesh-screen bags to freeze and filter the trichomes off the plant material. You can also find other forms of hash made with solvent extractions which tend to be the strongest and purest forms. 

Hash easily crumbles into small pieces or can be chopped into small bits using a pair of scissors. If you want to use it in a joint, sprinkle the pieces on top of your cannabis flower when rolling. Similarly, you can top a pipe or bong bowl with hash, or you can smoke it on its own with accessories like these. 

Another method of consuming hash is hot knives. This method of smoking hash will feel nostalgic for older cannabis users and requires a few tools. You’ll typically use two metal knives and a hot plate or a stove with an exposed element to heat the knives. 

Place the knives on the heat source until they turn a bright, glowing red and very carefully place a chunk of hash on one of the knives. Use the other to sandwich the hash between the two red hot knives and suck the smoke in with your mouth. Alternatively, you can also use a straw to make sucking the smoke into your lungs easier. 


Shatter is made using solvents in the extraction process to create a dense, concentrated form of cannabis. It usually has an amber colour and an almost glass-like consistency that you can easily snap or break chunks off. Shatter is created using solvent extraction processes to separate cannabinoids from plant material while pressurizing it into its hard consistency. 

If you’re planning to use shatter, you’re going to need either a dab rig or a vaporizer that’s compatible with concentrates. Due to the consistency of shatter, you can’t simply top off your flower with it and expect it to be smokable. It needs to be decarboxylated to activate the cannabinoids, so you won’t be able to eat it alone either.  

Wax crumble

Wax crumble, also commonly referred to as honeycomb wax, is the driest cannabis concentrate and the most versatile. With the dry consistency of wax crumble, you can smoke it with flower and top off your joints or bowls for a stronger hit. You can also use it through a dab rig or vaporizer like any other cannabis concentrate. Similarly to shatter, it’s one of the most potent forms of cannabis available and should be used by people with higher tolerances. 


Even though cannabis concentrates made with solvent extraction processes are safe to consume, some people want to avoid chemical solvents. Rosin is a perfect alternative to shatter or wax since it’s created using only heat and pressure. Heat and pressure are applied to the plant material to separate the trichomes instead of chemical extraction processes. It’s quicker and easier to make than shatter while holding onto the same potency and quality. 


Kief is the simplest concentrate to understand since it's not far off from understanding flower. It's simply the powdery trichomes that have fallen off the plant or collected when you grind up your buds. Kief is often pressed into hash, or you can also use it just like flower and either mix it into your cannabis or use it on its own for a more potent high. 

Looking to try cannabis concentrates? Shop one of our Canvas Cannabis locations locally today.