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Solventless vs. Solvent-Based Concentrates


Cannabis concentrates have become increasingly popular in recent years, and there are many different types of concentrates available on the market today. One of the most important factors that can be used to categorize these concentrates is whether they are solvent-based or solventless.

In this article, we will break down the differences between these two categories, compare and contrast their pros and cons, and explore some of the most popular types of solventless extracts available today.

Solvent-Based Extracts

Solvent-based extracts are those that use solvents to extract THC from cannabis. This can include both solvent-based extracts and solvent-free extracts. Solvent extracts use solvents like butane, propane, or CO2 to extract THC from cannabis, leaving behind a THC concentrate. These concentrates can contain trace amounts of the solvent that they used to create them. If you buy from a dispensary, they are legally required to test below certain levels of those trace solvents.

Solvent-free Extracts

Solvent-free extracts go through a much more rigorous distillation process to remove any trace solvents remaining. You might see people refer to oil concentrates by their consistency. For example, shatter, wax, and budder all fall under the category of solvent-based extracts, but they vary in their consistency.

Shatter is a hard, glass-like concentrate that shatters when it's broken, wax is a softer, more pliable concentrate, and budder has a consistency somewhere between the two. It's really just up to the preference of the person creating it.

Pros to Solvent-Based Extracts

Some of the pros of solvent-based extracts include that they are cheaper and more accessible than solventless extracts. They are also more widely available in dispensaries, making them a more convenient option for many people.

Cons to Solvent-Based Extracts

There are also some significant cons to using solvent-based extracts. The most notable of these is that there are health concerns associated with inhaling trace amounts of solvents. Additionally, it's dangerous to make these extracts at home, and it's often illegal to do so depending on the method used.

Solventless Extracts

Solventless extracts, as the name suggests, do not use solvents to create the concentrate. Instead, they rely on mechanical methods to separate the THC from the plant material. There are many ways to achieve this, but the main thing they have in common is that there's nothing but cannabis materials in the end product because there are no solvents used in the process.

Out of all of the solventless products, the most popular are probably rosin and bubble hash. Bubble hash is made by agitating cannabis buds in ice water to separate the trichomes, which are then collected and dried. Rosin is made by applying heat and pressure to cannabis flower or hash to release the THC-rich oils. It is a very popular option because it can be made at home with a simple rosin press.

Pros to Solventless Extracts

There are several advantages to using solventless extracts. For one, you have the ability to make them at home, which is becoming more popular as home rosin presses gain in popularity. Additionally, there is no risk of inhaling solvents when using solventless extracts, and they are considered by many to have a better flavor than solvent-based extracts since there are no solvents tainting the terpenes or flavinoids in the cannabis.

Cons to Solventless Extracts

The main downside to solventless extracts is that they can be harder to find. Not every dispensary is going to carry every single type of rosin or necessarily even have rosin depending on what dispensary you're going to or what state you live in. Additionally, solventless extracts are typically more expensive than solvent-based extracts, but this is because they are of higher quality.


When it comes to cannabis concentrates, there are two main categories: solvent-based extracts and solventless extracts. Solvent-based extracts use solvents to extract THC from cannabis, while solventless extracts rely on mechanical or heat and pressure methods. Both categories have their pros and cons, with solvent-based extracts being cheaper and more accessible but also presenting potential health risks and safety concerns. On the other hand, solventless extracts offer a better flavor and the ability to make them at home, but they can be harder to find and more expensive. Ultimately, the choice between the two categories comes down to personal preference and priorities, whether it be accessibility, safety, flavor, or quality. Regardless of the type of concentrate, it is essential to purchase from a reputable dispensary that legally tests for trace solvents in solvent-based extracts and ensures the purity and potency of solventless extracts.

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