History of dabs: the modern cannabis concentrates origin

De: Contributor Cultura

In a constantly evolving cannabis market, it can be difficult to imagine a time when concentrates or ‘ dabs’ were not widely available. BHO, waxes, ‘shatters’, live resin, sauces and many more products can currently be found in a variety of colours and consistency. But how did this potent form of cannabis come about?

It is dizzying to think that the concentrates that dominate modern cannabis culture had their origin just a few decades ago. Because believe it or not, ‘dabbing’ is the newest addition to the world of marijuana. And although the history of cannabis extractions begins thousands of years ago in the form of hashish, it wasn’t until very recently that refined concentrates, or ‘‍dabs’, gained the immense popularity we see today.

The tinctures, the beginning of everything

Tinctures, extracts based on alcohol, have been around for a long time. They’re the closest bridge we have between hash and the highly refined oils we use today. In fact, the first recorded use of these tinctures dates back to Rome, between 150 and 200, when the Roman physician Claudio Galeno was the first to publish writings on therapeutic methods for the preparation and use of cannabis.

But it took 1,600 years for another doctor, the Englishman Walter O’Shaughnessy, in 1839 to bring to the Western medicines India teachings on the preparations of these tinctures, becoming very popular on the pharmacy shelves. Another doctor and neurologist, Sir J. Russell Reynolds, took as a reference the figure of his colleague to prescribe these tinctures to Queen Victoria of England in order to relieve her cramps produced by menstruation. Thus, the tinctures would see an increase in their popularity and then a sharp decline, as these drugs moved away from being considered as bottled elixirs and turned to manufactured pharmaceuticals.

Roger Adams and the MK-Ultra Mind Control Program

Roger Adams, an American chemist, was the first to produce particular isolated cannabinoids. Adams has an interesting place in World War II history as he worked to produce medical methods to prevent damage caused by Nazi gas attacks. In the early 1940s, Adams would first isolate CBD and then CBN from the cannabis flower. And he would also be the first person to synthesise a THC analogue through the manipulation of CBD molecules. Adams’ research would be used by the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS).

The OSS was the American intelligence service during World War II (the predecessor of the CIA) and commissioned tests on human subjects at the Edgewood Arsenal human Experiments, although they are more popularly known under the general name of the MK-ProgramUltra, a code name given to this secret and illegal program for human experimentation, without their proper consent, to identify and develop new substances and procedures for use in interrogations and torture, in order to weaken the individual and force him to confess using mind control techniques.

The perspective of these experiments was that drugs are weapons and nothing else, because, basically, they were looking for a compound, substance or “magic potion” that could be used in prisoners of war, enemy agents or even American officials suspected of betraying the state. The purpose was to make them talk, without the person knowing he/she had spoken.

Thus, it is assumed that Stanley P. Lovell, the head of Scientific Research and Development at OSS, is the scientist who generated the first THC concentrate (apart from hashish and tinctures): ATHC or THC acetate. This concentrate was a much more rudimentary form than we have today, using alcohol as the main solvent for extraction, with a power 300 times stronger than conventional Delta 9 THC. And it was created to test its viability as a truth serum, adding it to cigs that were later smoked. But the tests showed that it was ineffective, as it did not produce the desired results without the subject knowing that it was being drugged, setting it aside for future experiments.

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love

The next step in the proliferation of THC extractions comes from the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a gloriously notorious band of drug smugglers in the 1970s known as the ‘Hippie Mafia’; and most popular for moving large amounts of LSD to the U.S. using their surfboards to hide the caches of drugs (don’t miss the 2016 documentary ‍“Orange Sunshine” if you want to know their adventures).

This group was key to introducing into the U.S. the ‘honey oil’ a concentrate derived from solvents such as butane that was manufactured in Afghanistan with a concentration between 10% and 30% of THC; and a similar colour to honey, which would be the precursor of modern butane hash oil (BHO).

Afghanistan was a cheap source of hashish and turning it into oil made it considerably easier to transport it undetected and made its selling price much higher. The supply was constant until, the laboratory where this oil was produced in Orange County, California, suddenly exploded during the refining process, attracting the FBI which seized 6 facilities that produced honey oil, alongside the seizure of a myriad of other drugs the Brotherhood was dealing.

In fact, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love chief chemist, Ronald Stark, is recognised by none other than the DEA itself as the inventor of butane hash oil and modern cannabis concentrates.

The Closed-loop extraction advent

As the world began to learn more about this new cannabis concentrate, publications began to detail its existence and manufacture methods. And for the first time in history, two books describing actual methods of cannabis extraction were published. In D. Gold’s 1973 book “Cannabis Alchemy: The Art of Modern Hashmaking”, Gold gives readers an overview of the preparation of honey oil with pure alcohol and activated charcoal. In Michael Starks’ 1977 book, “Marijuana Chemistry: Genetics Processing and Potency”, Starks details the preparation of hash oil using various solvents.

But it was not until 1999, when the popular online counter-culture forum Erowid published its “honey oil methods“, the first description of a BHO extraction procedure on the Internet, which showed a modern method of open extraction with solvent feeding through a vertical column filled with ground cannabis, which then inspired to invent the current, most refined and advanced Closed- loop (CLS) systems, where the solvent is contained and recycled.

By 2010, butane hash oil products entered the High Times Cannabis Cup. Since then, producers and consumers have flocked to ‘dabs’ of many kinds, experimenting with different extraction processes to produce a wide variety of types of products, including names like ‘shatter’, ‘ wax’, ‘ crumble’, diamond sauce and terpenes, ‘budder’, ‘ live resin’…

As you can see, the story of the ‍‘dabs’ reflects the ingenuity of cannabis enthusiasts around the world and how they instinctively harnessed the power of this plant through a concentrated resin. The history of these extracts is fascinating and the process continues to evolve. And with such a wide range of THC levels and flavours available, it’s no wonder they’re becoming so popular.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.

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