Since its legalization in June 2018, cannabis stores and dispensaries have become more creative in selling cannabis products. From plain flowers and buds used for smoking a joint, extracts have become more common in recent years due to its ease of use and immediate effects.

Cannabis extracts offer several advantages over simply smoking flowers. For example, easy and precise dosing, and clean and refined flavours. Cannabis extracts focus on the ingredients that matter most to the user, offering the unadulterated and unvarnished effects of cannabis to the user.

Without further ado, here are the 10 things you need to know about cannabis extracts.

Cannabis extract” is an umbrella term

The term “cannabis extract” refers to a lot of cannabis products, specifically, cannabis oils and concentrates. What’s more intriguing is that these terms also encapsulate more products.

CBD oil, tinctures, hash, vape oil, dabs, and other products that could theoretically come out of a cannabis chemist’s wildest dreams. 

A cannabis extract is any product derived from the cannabis flower that is processed into a concentrated form. However, these extracts vary in their chemical composition.

Extracts offer several unique benefits

Why bother with a chemist’s cannabis product when you can simply smoke a tried and tested bud? Yes, flowers can do the trick most of the time but several unique benefits are associated with using extracts.

  • You don’t have to smoke extracts. Most consumers choose either to vape or ingest concentrates to avoid the hassle of smoking.
  • Extracts are extremely efficient. A minimal amount could produce effects comparable or even exceeding traditional weed consumption techniques.
  • Extracts are refined. Essential oils and cannabinoids are separated from other plant impurities to create a smooth and clean product that could produce a cleaner effect when consumed.

Cannabis extracts can be in solid or liquid form

Extracts like hash or hashish are solid while tinctures and oils are liquid. Some extracts are even named after their appearance or consistency. Shatter, wax, honeycomb, and budder are just a few examples. 

Cannabis extracts are typically smoked, vaped, and some connoisseurs even put drops of a liquid extract into plain old flowers. 

Tinctures are administered sublingually or is placed under the tongue with the use of a dropper or a spray. Dabbing is a relatively new way of enjoying extracts. It uses a specialized water pipe, a heating element, a torch, and a dab tool. This technique, however, is strongly discouraged for novice users and beginners. 

Always purchase your extracts from a legal source

Despite cannabis being legal in status, some cannabis extracts, especially those coming from unreliable sources may have unwanted impurities that may cause adverse reactions.

Since cannabis extracts are made using complex lab equipment and chemical solvents, sources that have not passed the quality control process may hamper and affect the quality of your extract.

There is also emerging evidence that links high-temperature processing to health issues. 

Cannabis extracts made by licensed sources have gone through strict monitoring and inspection, thus they are regulated by the Canadian government. This means that any unwanted pesticides and solvents will be immediately discarded.

Extracts from illegal sources are not regulated and have not gone through the same screening process as legal sources. Making your extracts can also lead to unwanted consequences. Play safe by knowing legal sources to purchase your extracts.

Read the label carefully

Various extracts have varying compositions of cannabinoids and have various methods of administration. So, reading the label is important to avoid any untoward confusion and also to know what you are consuming.

For example, THC, the major psychoactive compound present in cannabis can have varying effects concerning its composition in the extract. If you are not used to that dose of THC, it could lead to adverse effects and a negative experience.

Read the label and pay close attention to the levels of THC and CBD in the extract. Also, do your research.

Do not dab if you’re new to cannabis

Dabbing is the use of several instruments to consume extremely THC-rich cannabis extracts. If you are inexperienced at this, you could overdose and it could lead to THC intoxication which can have a myriad of side effects such as severe anxiety, vomiting, and psychosis. 

If you do wish to dab, seek help from an experienced colleague and start at low doses of THC. Do not bite off more than you can chew.

High-strength cannabis extracts can be intense

Compared with cannabis flowers which normally have a 10-25% THC content, cannabis extracts could have a THC content as high as 99%. 

Therefore, exercise extreme caution when using such high-strength extracts. Try to titrate your dose slowly. Begin with 1 to 2 drops if you’re using a tincture, and add more if you want a more heightened feeling. Never begin with 10 drops as you will be overwhelmed.

High-THC extracts could lead to dependence and tolerance

Smoking a joint normally wouldn’t lead you to be dependent since they contain considerably lower levels of THC, but extracts with a high THC content could lead you to a grave path.

If you’re used to high-THC extracts then low-THC extracts will virtually not affect you. This is called tolerance. 

Furthermore, addiction can develop if you haphazardly use these extremely potent extracts. 

Exercise caution and limit your use of high-THC extracts.

Properly store your extracts

Just like medicine, extracts have storage temperatures. If you don’t follow these storage guidelines, it may destroy your extract and may lead to adverse effects when you are using it.

Also, store your extracts in child-proof containers to avoid children from inadvertently consuming your extracts. 

If someone has accidentally consumed your extracts, seek immediate help from your nearest health facility.

Concomitant use could affect your mental health

Though cannabis is known to improve mental health problems, frequent and concomitant use is shown to affect your mental health adversely.

If you are using high-THC extracts then it’s possible that you’ll develop worsening symptoms of your mental health like anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis.

Limit your extract use to low-THC extracts and use it responsibly.


Cannabis extracts are wonders of modern technology. From the primitive way of smoking a joint, extracts could be used for virtually any application.

Though, as a famous cartoon character once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is entirely true for cannabis extracts as they wield tremendous power.

Responsible use and moderation is always key.