Cannabis Sauce Definition & Information

A cannabis extract with a sticky, liquid consistency. Sauce extractions contain high levels of terpenes and are typically the most flavorful of extracts. Sauce is typically produced utilizing a closed loop system and allowing the resulting solution to settle under various pressures and temperatures. This environment promotes the natural separation of the major cannabinoids from the terpene-rich portion.

What’s the difference between sauce and budder?

If you like intense terpene flavors, you should start dabbing sauce.

More about sauce

­Sauce is the most common term for an extract that has a non-uniform texture and high amounts of terpenes. Terms like shatter, badder, crumble, sugar, oil, and sauce refer to the appearance, texture, color, and malleability of the concentrate, not the quality. Sauce is no different; the term is primarily used to describe its unique appearance that, from thinness to thickness, usually takes the form of a juice or marmalade. Some sauce has separated consistencies like large diamonds floating in translucent golden syrup. Other variations have a gritty, texture similar to unfiltered honey.

Isolated cannabinoids and a high terpene content set sauce apart from other concentrates. Sauce is essentially a deconstructed shatter, in which the terpenes and cannabinoids have naturally separated. As a result, cannabinoids and terpenes may not be evenly distributed throughout the sauce. In other words, two different dabs from the same sauce may deliver two very different terpene and cannabinoid levels and thus, two different experiences.  

How does making sauce differ from other extracts?

Extracts are a specific type of concentrate developed through a process that uses solvents to remove the desired substances of a plant, seed, or fruit. For example, vanilla extract is produced by using alcohol as a solvent to pull the desired flavor component, vanillin, from vanilla bean pods. Solvents used to extract desired cannabinoids and terpenes include butane, propane, ethanol, and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2).

The extraction process for sauce follows roughly the same basic steps for making other solvent-based extracts, with a few significant differences. Sauce can be made with either cured or fresh frozen flower, though cured plant material is going to lack the volume of terpenes that fresh frozen flower extracts preserve.

When making sauce, the central goal is to allow the major cannabinoids to crystallize and separate from the terpene-rich part of the extract.

With shatter, the goal is to ensure the major components of the extract are firmly intertwined in a solid matrix. Shatter and other concentrate textures should be uniform in color and texture. Badder and crumble, though closer in texture to sauce than shatter, should also exhibit physical uniformity. Sauce, on the other hand, can exhibit varying levels of physical uniformity while still fulfilling its intended purpose — potency and flavor. Different cultivars tend to lead to different sauce textures, even when subjected to the same processing conditions as other cultivars.

Similar to live resin, a concentrate extracted from fresh cannabis plant material, both the plant material and solvent must be as cold as possible, usually -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius).

The solvent removal process takes much longer with sauce than with other extract consistencies.  While making shatter typically involves purging most of the solvent in a closed-loop system and immediately placing the extract into a vacuum oven for 24 to 72 hours to remove all residual solvents, with sauce the entire process can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. Solvent is purposefully left behind to let THCA or CBDA compounds crystallize, and at various points of the process the remaining solvents slowly evaporate.

Extraction technicians manipulate the temperatures used throughout the process, which affects how long it will take to remove all residual solvents, and whether the isolates will grow into small or large crystals.

What is live resin sauce?

marijuana sauce

Live resin sauce is made from fresh frozen plant material that was not dried and cured, but rather frozen immediately after harvest. The starting plant material is a key indicator as to whether a sauce is considered live resin. Consumers who value sauce for its high terpene content will find the distinction between live resin and sauce made from cured flower particularly useful. If the extraction technician is able to retain the full spectrum of compounds available in the fresh frozen plant material at the time that it was processed, live resin sauce can be considered full spectrum, though the terms live resin and full spectrum are not synonymous.

What is live rosin sauce?

Live rosin sauce is made from fresh frozen plant material in a two-part process that starts with sieving the fresh frozen plants in liquid nitrogen to create dry sift,  then pressing the resulting sift at low temperatures. The high terpene concentrate is then placed under conditions that promote crystallization, which allows the cannabinoids to separate from the rest of the concentrate. Live rosin doesn’t include the use of solvents, but the end result is roughly the same as that of solvent-based sauce.

Common sauce products

Depending on the size of the cannabinoid crystals and overall consistency of the sauce, the crystals, also referred to as diamonds, can be completely separated from the terp sauce. This process is sometimes referred to as diamond mining, which results in two parts: the isolated cannabinoids and terp sauce.

Terp sauce is usually composed of more than 50% terpenes, though all minor cannabinoids and other compounds from the extracted plant are still present and contribute to its effects. Terp sauce is sometimes packaged in vape cartridges. These cartridges are called sauce carts.

Because the distillation process employed to make distillate for vape cartridges removes all of the natural plant terpenes, some extractors will blend terp sauce with raw distillate to produce strain-specific vape cartridges. The goal of a strain-specific vape cartridge is to reintroduce the flavor and effects of the original strain or cultivar from which the product was extracted.

Is all sauce full spectrum?

marijuana sauce

While its exact definition remains a highly debated topic, the term full spectrum refers to a cannabis extract that retains the original composition of compounds present in the cannabis plant’s trichomes, minus the fats, waxes, and lipids that hold them together. A live plant will contain a different composition of compounds than cured flower, therefore the full spectrum of available compounds is relative to the type of plant material that is extracted.

Most processes tend to remove, or denature, volatile compounds that are sensitive to low temperatures and pressures. If the extraction process can pull out all available compounds without degradation, or denaturation, it’s typically labeled full spectrum. Not all sauce successfully renders all compounds in the final product, so not all sauce is full spectrum.

What do HTFSE and HCFSE mean?

Full spectrum sauce from cured plant material falls into one of two categories; HTFSE (High Terpene Full Spectrum Extracts) and HCFSE (High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extracts). HTFSE is the liquid-like fraction that always contains more than 50% terpenes. The HCFSE fraction consists mainly of cannabinoid crystals surrounded by some terp sauce.

2 thoughts on “Cannabis Sauce Definition & Information”

  1. If you’re looking for a new way to get an effective and powerful hit of THC, the sauce it is exactly what you’re looking for. It is filled to the brim with more natural terpenes along with THC and essential cannabinoids.

  2. Thank you for this. Its awesome when people stop all the tech snobbery and teach people stuff. Much appreciated. Thanks from Toronto.

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