April 26, 2019

Solvent-free vs. Solvent-less Concentrates: What’s the Difference?

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Solvent-less products, like CAMP brand’s new Happy Camper, remove hydrocarbon solvents from production entirely. Here’s why that matters.

If your primary exposure to cannabis was a joint 20 years ago in college, you might be surprised by the many, many different forms it takes today. From candy and cooking oils to coin-shaped concentrates, THC can be delivered in remarkably varied ways depending on the consumer’s preference of taste and tolerance.

Cannabis concentrates (rosins) are a popular and fast-growing option. According to Arcview Market Research, by 2022, cannabis concentrates in the United States are projected to hit $8.4 billion in product sales, nearly matching the market for smokable flower sales. And the market for them continues to grow. Concentrates currently make up about 27 percent of legal cannabis sold–a 17 percent increase since 2014–and vapor cartridges and disposable vapor pens are the fastest growing product category in the cannabis market.

But not all concentrates are created equal. Differences in the supercritical extraction process, including whether these concentrates are made with solvents, can result in noticeable differences for consumers.

How Concentrates Are Produced

Concentrates are made from the cannabis plant and processed to preserve the cannabinoids and the terpenes of the original flower. The result is a product with much higher potency that can be enjoyed through a wider range of consumption methods, such as vaping and dabbing. How the concentrate is made can affect the taste, smell and physical effects of the final product.

Most concentrates require a hydrocarbon solvent, such as butane or CO2, to extract THC from the cannabis plant. In the solvent-free process, these solvents are removed from the final concentrate sold to consumers. But their presence in the extraction process alters the flavor of the final concentrate, removing much of the flavor or leaving a slightly metallic taste that’s typical of most cartridges and disposables. This is common to all solvent-free concentrates, which are an affordable and common way to enjoy THC.

What Makes Solvent-less Special

Solvent-less concentrates, like Green Growth Brand’s new Happy Camper product, are different: they’re produced using new techniques that remove solvents from the process altogether. Green Growth Brands has developed a process that uses heat and pressure alone to achieve this new option, so it is cleaner for the product and the environment. The result is a more natural product with a flavor much closer to traditional smoked cannabis experience. In a first for pens and cartridges, Happy Camper achieves this by infusing terpenes into the concentrate for a vape that tastes like actual flower, without the smoke or odor.

Currently, very few solvent-less THC concentrate products exist in the United States. Happy Camper, from the CAMP brand of cannabis products, is the first solvent-less cartridge in Nevada. Introduced April 22, it’s available exclusively through The Source dispensaries in Las Vegas and Henderson.


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