Sales of marijuana flower have blossomed at local cannabis companies like Temescal Wellness of Massachusetts, but to balance out supply and demand, the company is pushing its line of concentrates – the form of marijuana closest to THC oil.
Following vape products ban, local marijuana dispensaries – like Temescal Wellness of Massachusetts – have witnessed an increase in concentrate sales.
HUDSON – Up to 40% of Temescal Wellness’ Massachusetts business went up in smoke following Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaping products ban, according to an executive with partner company Integrative Health Products. While sales of marijuana flower have blossomed, the cannabis company is pushing its line of concentrates to balance demand, promoting its similarities to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil as a selling point.
“Concentrates seem complicated at face value, but at the end of the day, it’s just a different way of inhaling THC,” said Adam Terry, director of corporate development at IHP, Temescal Wellness’ Framingham-based brand partner. “If people want the most similar form (to THC cartridges), they have to go to concentrates, but a lot of people won’t use concentrates because they require a more complicated way of doing things. So immediately, most people switched back to flower.”
The Baker administration’s vaping products ban encompasses all vape-associated products, including THC oil cartridges for vape pens, and affects both adult-use and registered medical marijuana patients.
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Marijuana concentrate sales at Temescal Wellness’ Massachusetts operations have increased by 50% since the ban, according to the company, but its flower still reigns king, said Terry. With many customers switching back to flower, many dispensaries run out of it more quickly, while other stores have increased prices.
In response to the ban and number of questions received from customers, the cannabis company held its first “Ask an Expert” event on Tuesday at its Hudson location on Coolidge Street. The in-store education event gave customers a chance to ask about the company’s core concentrates, a line of purified and extracted cannabinoids – many designed with the help of Terry, who has five years of experience in designing extractions and infusion facilities in Massachusetts, California, New Hampshire and Maryland.
Compared to other forms of marijuana, concentrates tend to contain higher levels of THC and are heated differently, he said.
“You can get an entire joint’s worth of THC in a dab so it’s more effective, theoretically,” he said. “What we do know is that it was working for some people, especially medical patients.”
Inhaling cannabis concentrates is often referred to as “dabbing,” which involves heating concentrates with either an electric coil (such as in a dab pen) or with a butane torch (if you’re using a dab rig, which is a type of water pipe). For dab rigs, concentrates are heated on a nail and then inhaled. Because combustion is involved in neither of these methods, it is considered vaporizing, rather than smoking cannabis.
Despite its close relation to THC oil, the switch from those cartridges to these concentrates can be intimidating because of its perceived complexity, Terry said.
“But people shouldn’t be so afraid to try them, because they’re not as hard as you might think,” he said.
For one Kentucky husband, 58, and wife, 54, who declined to be named, vaping is their preferred method of inhalation because of the discretion and convenience it provides. While passing through Hudson on a trip to Salem, the couple learned of the state’s vaping products ban after arriving at the store Tuesday, but Terry explained how they could use concentrates instead with a device similar to a vape pen – a dab pen.
“It’s great for winding down and decompressing,” said the husband, who said he formerly lived in Framingham and Ashland. “But it’s also great for organizing.”
The couple operate an Airbnb and have 14 children; five still live with them.
“We just vape a little at night,” he said, noting they want to hide the smell from their kids. Because medical and recreational marijuana is still illegal in Kentucky, the couple travel around the country for vape products and edibles, obtaining most of them from California.
The couple is within the age range of those who visit these dispensaries most often, said Terry, noticing that most customers appear to be in their late 40s to early 70s. For many in that age group, he said discretion is a concern often heard, especially for renters.
“I’ve rented for the last 11 years and smoking is almost never allowed in any format, especially cannabis,” said Terry. “I also hear a lot from those who have kids and don’t want the smell to be around the house.”
Finding the concentrate for you
“I think of each of these different (concentrates) as a different way of making coffee,” said Terry. “They all have the same ingredients in them, but they have different tastes and forms.”
The most popular concentrates are shatter and wax, said Terry, and for beginners who want to start with something easy, he recommends wax, live resin or sugar because of their malleability.
Other types of concentrates sold include:
Bubble hash – For those who want to incorporate concentrates with combustible use (like joints or bowls)
Sugar and wax – For those who want to crumble something, either for combustible use or dabbing. Easier to manipulate and put on a dab rig than other concentrates.
Shatter – For those who want something similar to wax, but want it to last longer and act more stable. Can be used for combustible use or dabbing.
Live resin – For those who want something with more flavor and aren’t worried about not being discreet. Can be used with any device.
Hybrid distillate: For those who want something potent and flavorless. Can be used for combustible use or dabbing.
Dab pens are “the most accessible and convenient” of the devices for beginners, he said, “and they’re easier to explain to people – take this, put it on a battery, breathe.”
On Monday, the Department of Public Health filed an emergency regulation with the Secretary of State’s Office to keep the nation’s only ban on vaping products in effect. The decision came after a Superior Court judge ruled last week that either a regulation had to be put in place or the sale of nicotine vaping products would resume.
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On Sept. 24, Baker declared vaping a “public health emergency” and ordered a four-month ban on all associated products.
Lauren Young writes about immigration, politics and social issues. Reach her at 315-766-6912 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurenatmilford.