Over the last year, anyone who’s been in a cannabis dispensary has seen the cartridge menu slowly expand.
The booming demand for concentrates and cartridges has pushed for innovation and improvement of products. Also, with the accessible cost of carts, people are looking for strong and quality highs, which is great when your options are continually improving!
Though you may have been wondering about some of the terms you’re hearing and asking yourself things like “what does full-spectrum mean?” or “what are live resin carts?” and how they differ from a typical cart. While we can certainly answer these questions in-store, these can be pretty in-depth answers and may include a lot of information to digest on the spot.
So we’re here to save the day and give you a handy breakdown that you can take in at your own pace! This blog is an extension of our introduction to carts blog, and we recommend everyone interested in this type of product to check them both out!
THC-Terpenes: The Basics of Cannabis Cartridges
The most important thing to remember is this: most carts are a THC distillate. This means that the THC is separated from the plant using one of many methods (like CO2 extraction or fractal distillation), leaving producers with oil composed of most of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes.
From there, producers clean the oil of any products used in the extraction process and any plant matter and then further distill this oil to extract only the THC (or sometimes, just the CBD). This leaves them with a THC distillate that they will add cannabis-derived or botanically-derived terpenes to.
These terpenes are derived in pretty much the same way that cannabinoids are. This is where you get products like the Redecan OG Kush cart, which has terpenes meant to mimic that strain of cannabis, or like the Good Supply Purple Monkey cart, which is given a vibrant and fruity flavour through terpenes.
The chemists who develop these carts can work some real magic while doing so, even going so far as Solei has with the Unplug cart, making it taste like a sweet lavender London fog latte!
The effect terpenes have on flavour and high is incredible, and the producers who make these carts rely heavily on something called the entourage effect to achieve the types of highs they advertise with their THC distillates!
That being said, though, while these carts are still fantastic products, they’re hardly true to the type of experience you get from the smoking flower.
This is where full-spectrum carts come in.
The Full Spectrum Cart
A full-spectrum cart is processed so that instead of only extracting the THC during the plant’s distillation process, all they do is clean the oil and prepare it for packaging. Then, instead of distilling the components of the resulting oil into parts they believe are most desirable, producers give consumers a product that is almost identical to the strain or group they advertise it as.
While some cannabinoids and terpenes are going to be lost in the process of creating this full-spectrum oil, generally speaking, what you receive in a full-spectrum cart is the naturally occurring cannabinoid and terpene composition of whatever bud they used.
These carts leave you with a more complex and twisty high that is more similar to smoking the whole bud in a bowl, dry-herb vape, or a pre-roll! These products are becoming increasingly popular in the legal market and are priced very competitively with the THC-distillate carts. While our Budtenders still enjoy distillate carts, many of us will recommend a full-spectrum cart off the bat if you ask us which ones we prefer.
The Live Resin Cart
A live resin cart is very similar to a full-spectrum cart but not identical. What is important to know is that all live resin carts are full-spectrum, but not all full-spectrum carts are live resin.
The difference comes down to if the bud was cured/dried or not. Some may recognize this term as being a dabbable product…because it is!
For newbies, what’s important to know is what live resin means. It is a very specific type of cannabis product. When producers describe a cannabis product as “live”, they mean that the bud was not dried or cured before being processed. If you have ever bought a “flash frozen” kief or hash product, that was also a live resin product.
This means that the subsequent product has the essence of the live flower! Live products are incredibly tasty and nuanced in their flavour profiles, as some of the more sensitive terpenes that deteriorate quickly in the curing process are more prominent in whatever you’re enjoying.
In contrast, in cured bud, they often have only a very faint profile. The difference in flavour between live products and cured products is pretty massive, and they’re an excellent addition to anyone’s enjoyable collection.
Because live resin carts feel and taste a lot more like doing a dab than THC distillates, they’re just a bit more complex and expressive in their highs than a cured bud full-spectrum cart.
If you love cannabis and want the tastiest experience, we recommend any live product, especially the carts! They’re certainly more portable than a dab rig and give you an incredible high with far less hassle.