Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
Bubble hash and rosin are two solventless cannabis concentrates both capable of chaning texture and consistency in rapid, sometimes unpredictable ways. This propensity for transformation is possible thanks to the volatile nature of high quality hash. So what is volatility, and how does it affect hash?
Volatility can be defined as the tendency of a substance to evaporate at normal temperatures. Terpenes are the most volatile compounds in hash, and it’s largely the terpene content that determines how volatile a specific run of hash will be. Terpenes are hydrocarbon compounds that give cannabis it’s distinct aroma, flavor, and effect. Along with the cannabinoids and flavinoids also present in cannabis, terpenes impart what’s often referred to as the “entourage effect”, enhancing the overall therapeutic qualities of cannabis.
Terpenes are super valuable compounds within cannabis resin, but unfortunately they are as delicate as they are mighty! The volatile nature of terpenes means that they are easily lost if not relentlessly protected and preserved. Terpene loss changes the nature of cannabis concentrates like bubble hash and rosin in several ways, one of the most apparent being the consistency or texture of the product.
Cannabis cultivars, or strains, produce different terpenes in various ratios. This unique blend of terpene content is specific to each cultivar. Therefore, the overall volatility of a solventless concentrate is largely a function of the cultivar that was used to create it. Will the hash be stable or unstable, greasy or crumbly?
Consistency comes down to personal preference. Ease of handling, dosing, packaging, and presentation, and aesthetics are factors to consider. High quality rosin can take on various consistencies, and the most ideal consistency is subject to personal preference. Specific cultivars are known to produce hash with a specific amount of volatility.
For example, Zkittlez and Lemon Heads are two cultivars known to be very unstable, with high levels of volatility. Both of these strains produce resin that greases up quickly, easily becoming buddery. This means that the hash will have a glistening, wet look.
This wet appearance is thanks to the high levels of terpenes present, which largely maintain a liquid form as they separate out from the rest of the compounds within the concentrate. Hash that maintains this wet or greasy look is considered more volatile. The terpenes are escaping the hash and evaporating more readily.
But with a terpene content on the more volatile side, this will not be the case. Different terpenes have different temperature thresholds at which they evaporate, so the unique blend of terpenes within a cultivar helps determine how volatile that hash will be. More volatility in the terpenes means more evaporation, which impacts the overall nature of the hash, especially its consistency.
The strains Stardawg Pie and Black Mamba are good cases in point. These cultivars can sit at room temperature for days without greasing up. This is considered low volatility, since the terpenes are remaining in tact and not moving out to the surface of the hash to evaporate away.
It's very apparent when terpenes are evaporating away, as the hash will appear to dry out and turn into a more crumbly consistency. While a loss of flavor will accompany this terpene volatility, the hash is not ruined by any means.
Some terpene degradation is inevitable, regardless of the overall volatility of the hash you're working with. One way to minimize or delay this degradation is through proper storage methods. Keeping rosin inside a sealed glass jar with an airtight lid is the way to go.
It's best to keep your hash in the freezer for long term storage and in the refrigerator for the short term.
Higher volatility generally translates into a less stable product that's more likely to morph over time. Lower volatility means a more stable product that's capable of holding its original consistency for longer. Whipping rosin post-production is a way to equalize volatility and make a more stable product, though it does result in terpene loss.
Due to the insanely high terpene content in premium solventless products, some level of volatility is unavoidable. Overall, it's not a bad problem to have! Terpenes are extremely volatile by nature, which is why we go to such great lengths to preserve and protect them.
What are the most volatile strains you've worked with? Let us know in the comments!
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is volatility in solventless cannabis concentrates?
Volatility in solventless cannabis concentrates refers to the tendency of that substance to lose terpene content due to evaporation. More volatile concentrates are more susceptible to terpene degradation and therefore a change in consistency/texture and flavor.
How can you tell which cannabis strains produce the most volatile hash?
To tell which strains make the most volatile hash, you need to examine the hash. If it easily becomes greasy, wet-looking, and budders up readily, then this is a more volatile hash.
Is volatility a bad thing in hash?
Volatility is inevitable when dealing with terpenes, because they will readily evaporate. So it's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can diminish the overall quality of the hash. Proper handling and storage is key to reducing volatility.
What is a cannabis strain with high volatility?
Zkittlez and Lemon Heads are examples of strains with high volatility, meaning they will grease up and lose terpenes easily when left at room temperature.
What is a cannabis strain with low volatility?
Stardawg Pie and Black Mamba are examples of strains with low volatility that can maintain their original consistency for days at room temperature.