What Are Full Spectrum Extracts, And Where Do They Come From?

"Extracts that are considered full spectrum are sauce, live resin, High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE) and High cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extract."

The cannabis plant can produce more than 400 compounds in combinations and permutations of cannabinoids. In the cannabis world, the term “spectrum” means the full range of compounds produced within the trichome. Full-spectrum extracts, often called whole plant extracts, are concentrates that maintain the full profile of the cannabis plant. They are a cannabis concentrate that preserves the full cannabinoid content of the raw cannabis plant. They also contain a variety of terpenes, as well as and other compounds such as flavonoids, proteins, phenols, sterols, and esters. The goal of a full spectrum extract is to extract and maintain the complete range of efficacious compounds in a cannabis plant without altering them through decarboxylation (releasing carbon dioxide by exposure to heat light, or solvents) or oxidation (elevated exposure to oxygen).

How Do I Get Weed: Your Ultimate Cannabis Resource

In its raw form, each cannabis strain has its own unique cannabinoid and terpene profile that work together to create its therapeutic effects. These compounds are created within the plant’s trichomes, which are source of resin and cannabinoids in any cannabis plant. They are the small frosty crystals that accumulate on the bud. The goal of the extract is to siphon off the available compounds from the trichomes without altering them, leaving behind the undesirable fats, waxes and lipids that hold desirable compounds together. 

If you haven’t tried concentrates, don’t be surprised. They’re hard to make, because it’s a dance between keeping the wanted compounds in and the undesirables out. Timing is also a factor, and a plant that is extracted during the early stages will have a different outcome than one extracted in later stages of growth. Some compounds even change during the drying process, which means you could have multiple full spectrum extracts of the same strain, all with different profiles. There are three methods of extraction that produce full spectrum extracts: hydrocarbon extraction, which includes the use of butane and propane to create an extract that can be tweaked. In supercritical CO2 extractions, temperature and pressure are used to create phase changes in CO2, making compound that force out compounds of plant matter based on their weights. The third way to make extracts is to introduce pressure, which includes literally squeezing resin from the starting material using heat and pressure, to create a cannabis concentrate.

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How Do I Get Weed: Your Ultimate Cannabis Resource

One of the most important features of a full-spectrum cannabis extraction is that it preserves the nature of the extracted compounds. The acidic forms of cannabinoids found in the plant, which exist before combustion is applied to cannabis, are preserved because they are not decarboxylated in the process. High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE) and High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extract (HCFSE) describe the two fractions that occur when a full-spectrum extract is made from cured flowers. HTFSEs are composed of roughly 50% THCA and anywhere from 13% to 40% terpenes. High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extracts are roughly 90% THCA. While the spectrum within an HTFSE or HCFSE are not the same as that of a live plant, it is still considered full spectrum because it has captured all of the available compounds at the time of extraction.

These extracts are desirable and becoming more sought after by the day, because they replicate the essence of the plant, that is, its taste and scent. You can still get the full entourage effect, which happens when all cannabinoids work together in concert to enhance the action of active cannabinoids like THC and CBD. However; don’t expect them to come cheap. Full Spectrum extracts are notoriously difficult to produce, which makes them fairly tough to come by at an affordable price.

Popular extracts that are considered full spectrum are sauce, live resin, High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE) and High cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extract (HCFSE). I’ll definitely be hitting up my guy at Select to try some, and you should too.