Marijuana Flower or Concentrate? Here’s the Difference:

Marijuana flower or concentrate, what is the difference? This is an important question to ask before heading to the dispensary. Whether you’re an old hat at the entire cannabis experience or you’re just getting started, concentrates are an interesting branch in the classic ritual. While smoking the herb is a known enjoyable journey, what about all the concentrates that have recently taken the market by storm?

Breaking into vaping or dabbing can be a big step, but it can also be very rewarding for the increased potency, purity, and flavor of concentrates done right. The cannabis flower has it’s own soothing benefits, while concentrates are the hot new favorite.

Today, we’re going into depth on the difference between green kiefy buds and glistening amber concentrates.

The Cannabis Flower

Cannabis flower is the flower that grows naturally on a cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana flower has had the male and female plants separated so the plants grow flowers that are large, dense, and packed with glittering trichomes. The bud is then picked, trimmed, and slow-dried (cured) in jars until dense and ready to smoke. Marijuana flower typically has a THC concentration from 11% to 25%. You can find marijuana flowers at Mercy Wellness in Santa Rosa and most other dispensaries in four forms: buds, popcorn, shake, and pre-rolls.


Popcorn is smaller pieces of bud, often sold at a slight discount. These smaller buds are usually created during the trimming and weight-sorting for jarred buds, as small piece of buds may be broken off of a large flower to make the weight right. Because popcorn is more broken up, it will dry out faster, but is still the same great high-quality flower. This is best if you’re planning a party or for a short-term flower amount because it will keep less well.


Pre-rolls are joints and spleefs that have been pre-rolled using cones and rolling papers. You can buy one pre-roll at a time – of various sizes and strains – or you can buy a multi-pack of three to ten joints that make it easy to enjoy yourself through the night.


Shake is made for rolling papers and rolling pins. It is the weed crumble and trim from the commercial process. It’s still good quality and already broken up. For people who like to roll a lot of joints at once or are planning to bake with their cannabis, shake is a great choice at a seriously discounted price.

Marijuana Concentrate Dabs

Dabs are done with cannabis concentrates, including budder, shatter, crumble, and wax. These are heated in a dab rig to the point of vaporization and quickly inhaled to feel the effects. Concentrates are more potent with upwards of 80% THC.

Cannabis concentrates start as plant matter and then are refined using heat, pressure, and solvents to dissolve the cannabinoids out of the plant matter. Extracting cannabinoids and highly concentrated full-spectrum oil from plant matter is what cannabis concentrates are all about. Naturally, they have a higher percentage per weight of THC and/or CBD depending on the type of flower and concentrate process.

Solvent Concentrates:

Solvents like CO2 and Butane are often used to help extract the cannabinoids from plant matter and create a product popular to dab. Slightly different variants in technique produce different consistencies of concentrate,  which is how they are named.

• Budder

  • Budder is whipped and soft, a cross between cookie dough and margarine in consistency. It is easy to scoop and mold into the right-sized “bowl” or ball when dabbing. It tends to be the most opaque of the concentrates.

• Wax

  • Wax is a little firmer than budder, but still soft and moldable, like softened candle wax. However, it is not opaque. It should look like liquid amber but mold like firm modeling clay.

• Shatter

  • Shatter is cannabis concentrate poured onto trays and hardened into glass-like sheets. The sheets are then broken up and folded (when slightly warm) into packets of shatter. This is among the purest concentrates, and should look like slightly bubbled amber glass.

• Crumble

  • Crumble is a firm powder that can adhere to itself but can also be easy scrapped apart like soft sandstone. Like budder, crumble is also opaque and easy to scoop.


  • RSO stands for Rick Simpson Oil. It is a full-spectrum oil extracted using a solvent, usually ethanol or butane, to concentrate the cannabinoids and plant oil. It can be dabbed, taken orally, or used as a topical.

Mechanical Concentrates

Mechanical concentrates use processes like pressure, heat, and cold to concentrate cannabis plant material into a concentrate product with a much higher THC percentage by weight.

• Kief

  • Kief is the THC-rich powder and crystals that can be brushed off the outside of a marijuana flower. Brush off enough buds – or grind them and sift out the powder – and you have enough kief to sell as a concentrate. With growers constantly handling cannabis that leaves kief residue everywhere, this is an unsurprising and easy to create natural concentrate.

• Hash

  • Hash is created using ice and pressure. It typically starts as kief but is then further concentrated into a solid block instead of a loose powder.

Marijuana Vape Carts

Vape carts are pre-filled cartridges filled with CO2 oil. While there are several ways to mix your THC oil for a different hit and consistency, it is typically a balanced CO2 oil extract of full spectrum cannabis oil.

C02 Oil

CO2 oil is a cannabis oil extracted from the marijuana plant material using carbon dioxide. The process removes the oil from the excess plant material and achieves a much higher cannabinoid concentration per puff compared to smoking leaf.

Cannabis Tinctures

Tinctures are flavored liquid droppers that you apply sublingually, or below the tongue. You let it sink in for a few seconds, then swallow the rest. A tincture is different from an edible because it is made specifically with an alcohol extraction process.

Mechanical Concentrates

The last type of marijuana concentrate you might compare to the flower is cooking oil. Cannabis oil suspended in olive oil or coconut oil can be used for either cooking or making topicals for skincare, cosmetics, and athletic recovery. Commercial cannabis oil may be extracted using a solvent. However, you can make your own cannabis oil using oil infusion and a cheese cloth at home. Gently decarboxylate (heat activate) ground cannabis buds, then simmer in your chosen oil or melted butter for 30-90 minutes and strain through a cheesecloth.

What is the difference between marijuana flower or concentrates? The slower is your natural starting place where all concentrates begin. Concentrates come from many processes and are found in many final forms. The biggest difference between flower and concentrates is the potency, as concentrates typically have a higher percentage of THC and other cannabinoids by weight. 

Mercy Wellness has everything you need to explore both flower and concentrates for yourself. Stay tuned for more interesting cannabis facts or contact us to explore the many cannabis options for yourself.

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