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As we’ve remarked before, we are fortunate to be living in a time of such rapid and exciting developments in the world of cannabis (and so fortunate to live in a state with such forward-thinking cannabis laws!).

Things change quickly in this industry, and one trend we’ve taken note of firsthand—the veritable explosion in the popularity of cannabis concentrates—is now backed up by solid research. While cannabis flower still leads the pack in overall volume—accounting for roughly two-thirds of spending—concentrates have seen an astonishing rise in market share of nearly 150%.

What’s driving this trend? Is there something making concentrates—also known as extracts, wax, shatter, honey, and many other names—even more appealing than before? Let’s do a little investigating, shall we?

Cannabis Concentrates 101

If you’re not already intimately familiar with concentrates, now might be a good time to change that. At their root level, concentrates are highly refined, very potent extracts of cannabis. When properly and carefully made, they’re chemically pure and less harsh than smoking traditional cannabis flower.

That said, cannabis concentrates got off to a rocky start in the public eye. Thanks to a few careless home chemists who caused some high-profile fires and explosions, concentrates have (unfairly) gotten a bad rap. One of the many benefits of cannabis legalization is that the responsibility for product safety became a public concern, regulated by clear statutes and strict enforcement.

While black-market labs will probably be around for the foreseeable future, increasingly savvy consumers and responsible producers will ultimately (we hope) displace bad actors.

Cannabis Concentrates: What’s the Appeal?

For some aficionados, the main appeal of concentrates is their high potency: Typically more than 75% THC—the cannabinoid responsible for psychoactivity—as compared with roughly 10% – 25% for cannabis flower.

While concentrates are gram-for-gram more expensive than flower, they’re typically more cost-effective given their strength. What’s more, when preloaded into vape pens, they’re quite portable and discreet, making them an excellent choice for situations in which being seen—or smelled—imbibing might be problematic.

For others, the upside in extracts is their flavor. Well-made concentrates—stripped from the potentially harsh or bitter flavors associated with smoking cannabis flower—can exhibit unique and sensational strain-specific characteristics. Sound familiar? Many connoisseurs, in fact, compare the experience of enjoying dabs—the rapid vaporization and inhalation of tiny amounts of concentrate—with sampling artisanal wines.

Marijuana Concentrates: A Better Choice for Patients?

And let’s not forget a hugely important share of the cannabis market: Medical cannabis users. While flavor concerns may be secondary here, the upsides of high potency, fast onset, and ease of use make cannabis concentrates an excellent choice for those who prefer not to smoke cannabis flower. And of course, the high-CBD products finding such a wide range of therapeutic uses are just as suited for concentrates as are the more relaxing high-THC strains!

Whatever your cannabis needs, you may find something of value—or merely something exciting and new!—in cannabis concentrates. And if so, you’re certainly in good company, as millions of happy cannabis users have already discovered.