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Comparing the High of Concentrates vs. Flower


If you fancy yourself a cannabis connoisseur, you’ve likely chimed in on the debate of flower vs. concentrate with other weed aficionados. Whether you prefer dabs to doobies or joints to vapes, there is no wrong way to consume clean cannabis. Over half of the country has legalized marijuana and deemed it worthy of use. With prohibition lifted, we are now living in a world with the liberty to discuss the best way to get high — concentrate vs. flower?

If it seems like there is an abundance of ways to get high these days, that’s because there are! Medical and adult-use cannabis legalization has swept the nation in recent years, paving the way to a whole new world of ways to get high. Chemists, food scientists, manufacturing professionals, and branding strategists have all jumped in to find the most efficient, effective, and innovative ways to consume cannabis, and the industry is only growing. 


The most original and classic way to get high is by lighting up a joint, sparking a bowl, or ripping a bong filled with fantastic flower. Properly dried and cured cannabis is a true delight to see, smell, and taste. In her original form, marijuana is a delightful and fun experience, whether solo or among friends. 


Concentrates have been around for a long time in the form of hashish, but modern technology has taken the art of extraction to a whole new level. Some are still made with water and ice to produce ice wax, rosin, or solventless. By using hydrocarbons and specialized equipment, a surprisingly diverse form of hash oil is developed. Depending on the technique and type of flower going in, the result can be a shatter, budder, live resin, wax, crumble, honeycomb, sap, sauce, or snap ‘n pull. 

The formats are unique, but the methods of consumption take the smoking experience to the next level. Concentrates can be used in personal vape pens, topped on bowls, dripped onto or inside of joints, and of course – dabbed. Dabbing is the process of vaporizing concentrates with the use of a rig, torch, and other dab tools. 

Comparing Concentrate vs. Flower High

While the choice can vary largely based on time of use, setting, or even strain, both flower and concentrate are lovely ways to enjoy weed. However, they are quite different in form and function and mental and physical effects. The most significant difference when comparing concentrate vs. flower is the potency. 

Concentrate High

A concentrate is precisely that — a highly concentrated form of cannabis. The THC content in dried flower ranges from 10-28%, but concentrates can be anywhere from 40% to over 80% THC content. As a result, one hit from a vape pen can result in a much stronger high than a hit off of a joint, and it will likely last much longer. Often, the effects kick in within minutes after exhaling. 

A concentrate high is bold and comes on full force, with a much more intense physical feeling. Side effects like red eyes and dry mouth tend to be slightly more apparent, but so are the benefits like full-body relaxation or fewer feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Many people describe the experience of smoking or vaping concentrates to being smoother than burning flower and much gentler on the lungs. Live resin is a super flavorful way to vape concentrates. Made to amplify the strain’s natural terpenes, every puff is like chewing on a piece of juicy fruit gum. 

It’s best to start small with concentrates and monitor usage. For people who only have experience with flower, a concentrate high can be too strong and produce some uncomfortable effects. 

Flower High

Just because a concentrate has the potential to produce a more potent high than flower, it doesn’t mean that anyone should underestimate the effectiveness of smoking weed! It’s easy to get carried away puffing a freshly cured bud rolled to perfection. The sociability of smoking weed adds to the ease, and soon “I’ll just have one hit” quickly turns into a case of mild paranoia with a serious side of the munchies. Smoking flower can creep up over several minutes up to a half hour. 

Much like concentrates, the high varies based on strain and potency and can produce effects from light sedation to enhanced energy. Many 1:1 strains offer light cannabis users a way to smoke more with milder effects as the CBD helps balance the psychoactive effects of the THC. Some people feel that smoking flower is the cleanest way to consume this plant naturally, while others simply prefer the flavor and classic “stoned” sensation of smoking bud. 

Final Thoughts

The reasons for choosing flower or concentrate may not have to do with the high at all. Perhaps the choice depends on convenience, price, or social situation. Why choose at all? Have your flower and vape it too. But for anyone who finds themselves a purist on either side of the flower vs. concentrate debate still might leave by saying, “but if you had to pick….” 


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