Difference between loose leaf cannabis, cannabis concentrate and cannabis oil

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Hemp farming in the botanical world dates back aeons ago. Hemp plants are being cultivated till today for their fibrous qualities and are used in the textile industries and hemp seeds, have been used to make different kinds of hemp oil, which are used in the bodycare industry. Industrial hemp farming is one of the driving factors behind cannabis legalisation, as hemp plants, are also a kind of cannabis. Hemp plants, being tall-like, also contribute in the manufacture of paper. Hemp, for its low-resin content, is actively and legally used across different parts of the world.

However, when it comes to consumption of cannabis, questions are asked. Primary reason behind this is THC content, which to a certain extent has an intoxicating effect. Overlooking its medicinal benefits, although seems easier, is keeping the world from availing these benefits. The other distinct cannabinoid, CBD, on the other hand, considered the source of these medicinal benefits, is available as CBD oils and tinctures, CBD edibles, CBD topicals and lotions, CBD vapes and many more. Exploring these would help us in categorising and understanding their respective  nature.

Loose leaf cannabis

Loose leaf cannabis implies it’s literal meaning, that is, pure cannabis dried buds obtained from the flowering plant of cannabis. Loose leaf cannabis, has been used since ancient times and is one of the most prevalent method of consumption of cannabis. Loose leaf cannabis, more often than not, is inhaled through smoking, rolled into joints. Since loose leaf cannabis is mostly smoked, it is not advisable for the patients.

Cannabis concentrates

Cannabis concentrates is an all-encompassing term for products, which are sourced from cannabis. As the term ‘concentrate’ implies, cannabis concentrates have higher concentration of cannabinoids and terpenoids and hence, is mostly used by people who have developed a higher tolerance level towards cannabis. Concentrates potency are found to be much higher than the leaf buds of cannabis, ranging from 50-80 percent compared to 15-20 percent potency of leaf buds of cannabis. Cannabinoids for their THC and CBD content and terpenoids for their flavor and smell imparting characteristic, are the only beneficially approved compounds of the cannabis plant and are used as medicinal cannabis. These are thus retrieved from the plant, leaving behind the unwanted substances such as the pesticides, contaminants, stems, stalks, etc, which in no way contribute towards neither the psychoactive effect of cannabis or nor medicinal cannabis.

What are Trichomes?

Trichomes can be defined as the ‘powerhouse of cannabis’ and stands strong in supporting the cause of legalisation of cannabis. Dictionary definition for trichomes goes like, “fine outgrowths or appendages on plants, algae, lichens, and certain protists.” Trichomes consist of everything desirable in a cannabis plant. It also plays a significant role in imparting beneficiary and novel qualities that are exclusive to the cannabis plant, as well as in protecting the plant from exogenous harm. Hence, cannabis concentrates majorly focus on annexing these trichomes of the plant and processing them to make products such as, tinctures, capsules, which are ingestible concentrates and vaporizer cartridges, hash, among several others.

Cannabis extracts

Extracts can be distinguished from the concentrates on the basis of their mode of preparation. While extracts are prepared using chemical solvents such as alcohol, water, CO2, butane, etc, concentrates are prepared using heat and pressure infusing techniques. These solvents, at the end of the process, are then released through evaporation. However, in case of concentrates, the heat and pressure remain inside it, making the concentrates lose their flavor and smell. Thus, after the process of extraction of concentrates, to better the taste and smell of it, elements are added. Extracts are concentrates, processed differently. The extracts also vary in their textures. Most commonly found extract textures are shatter, budder, wax and sugar. Cannabis oil, or particularly CBD oil, is an extract, that is slowly coming to be used legally, due to the benefit of cannabis oil in treating a variety of medical ailments. Extracts and concentrates are known for their quicker action time on the body as well as an enhanced feel, when compared to consumption of loose leaf cannabis.


Be it loose leaf cannabis, cannabis extracts or cannabis oils, cannabis and it’s primary compounds, THC and CBD remain at the heart of it. There are several methods of consumption of these, each of which works differently on the body and has differing purposes as well. Thus, when you head to cannabis dispensary or any other general dispensary,for purchase of cannabis based products, be wary of what exactly you’re looking for and in what form. Also keep in mind your method of consumption and purchase in accordance with it. Since the process of legalisation is still underway, you should be cautious before you buy and must check from who you buy, what you buy.

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