If a time-traveling pot smoker from even 20 years ago landed at a social gathering of L.A. stoners circa 2014, he or she would be quite confused. Not by the proliferation of legal weed in California, but by the preponderance of new-fangled tools, equipment and drugs that have largely supplanted the good old buds and blunts of yore.
We're talking, of course, about rigs, dab sticks and the wide world of marijuana concentrates, including hash, wax, shatter, budder, oil and a host of other slang terms that refer to that carefully extracted goo that currently comprises about 30% of sales at dispensaries, fills most vape pens, and gets you ridiculously high.
But never fear, time traveler. Longtime High Times writer Ed Rosenthal has written a guidebook to help you navigate the world of concentrates. Beyond Buds, published two months ago, is a comprehensive guide to concentrates, with a thorough breakdown of how each substance is manufactured.
"There was no information out about concentrates, and I thought that the public could use some information," Rosenthal says. "And then people in the industry will find it useful as well, because although I don't use a lot of jargon, we tend to go fairly deep."
While the sale of concentrates at dispensaries remains legal and largely unregulated, the extraction of wax, or butane hash oil, is highly dangerous and illegal in California. Over a hundred home drug labs have exploded across the state this year alone. A few months ago, the DEA began cracking down and raiding labs in San Diego.
But Rosenthal says he isn't trying to encourage any illegal activity. His book, he says, is meant to delineate the process for making various kinds of concentrates without explaining the exact details for how you could make your own at home.
"You might buy the book, but then you've got to buy the extractor, and the extractor's going to come with its own set of instructions," he explains. "It's not a how-to book. It's not the recipe book."
Indeed, the book comes with frequent warnings about safety, such as this one:
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"Inexpensive equipment can be used to re-fine low-grade trim — though Beyond Buds adamantly advises against it. Butane extraction is an industrial process best suited to professionals."