Cannabis Extracts

Various cannabis extracts with high THC levels are available across Canada and they are becoming popular among users. These different forms of extracts can be dangerous and may impact safety at the workplace. This bulletin is intended to keep employers informed on the products and issues.

What is a Cannabis Extract?

Cannabis extract is any oil that concentrates the plant’s chemical compounds like THC(tetrahhydrocannibinol) and CBD(cannabidiol). This is achieved through a variety of extraction processes and solvents, the most common being butane. Advancements in extraction technology have enabled the use of other solvents like carbon dioxide and pure hydrocarbons in a process that utilizes pressure in a safe closed-loop system. The end product is a highly potent oil of varying consistencies most popularly used for vaporization and dabbing.

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Shatter is smooth, clear, solid and can have a flawless amber transparency. It is the purest and most potent form of THC because it involves a second extraction process that removes fats, lipids and waxes. This can result in 80 to 90 percent THC. This cannabis product resembles clear, thin sheets of dried honey or tree sap. Shatter is dangerous as users may find themselves in a temporary psychosis.

The reason shatter comes out perfectly clear has to do with the molecules which, if left undisturbed, form a glasslike appearance. Heat, moisture, and high terpene contents can also affect the texture, turning oils into a runnier substance that resembles sap (hence the commonly used nickname “sap”). Oils with a consistency that falls somewhere between glassy shatter and viscous sap are often referred to as “pull-and-snap.”

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Cannabis Wax

Cannabis wax refers to the softer, opaque oils that have lost their transparency after extraction. Unlike those of transparent oils, the molecules of cannabis wax crystallize as a result of agitation. Light can’t travel through irregular molecular densities, and that refraction leaves us with solid, non-transparent oil.

Just as transparent oils span the spectrum between shatter and sap, wax can also take on different consistencies based on heat, moisture, and the texture of the oil before it is purged (the process in which residual solvents are removed from the product). Runny oils with more moisture tend to form gooey waxes often called “budder,” while the harder ones are likely to take on a soft, brittle texture known as “crumble” or “honeycomb”. The term “wax” can be used to describe all of these softer, solid textures.

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How is it used?

Hash oil can be consumed by methods such as smoking, ingestion, or vaporization (dabbing). A water pipe, often small, is commonly used for hash oil vaporization and may be called an “oil rig”. Such designs feature a nail or skillet, commonly titanium, quartz, borosilicate glass, or ceramic, which serves to be heated to temperatures nearing 800 °C, typically by a hand-held blowtorch. A dental pick, glass rod, or special tool called a dabber, is used to dab the nail with hash oil, which is consequently vaporized and inhaled. Hash oil can also be consumed with a device known as a vapor pen, wax pen, or a dabbing pen. These devices share the same components of an electronic cigarette, which usually consist of a battery and an atomizer. Atomizers can come in various designs and configurations, such as single or dual coils and with silica wicks or “wickless” designs featuring a ceramic bar or “wick”.

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Drug Testing for Cannabis Extracts

Laboratory based testing and/or Point of Collection Testing will identify the presence of THC from all cannabis products including extracts. A positive THC test will not indicated or reveal the form or strength of cannabis used. As per your policy, a worker in a safety sensitive position can not have THC in their body at or above established standards.


Nicknames for Cannabis Extracts:

– Shatter
– Wax, honeycomb – Crumble
– Sap
– Budder
– Pull-and-snap