No longer limited to the USA and Canada, cannabis extracts are enjoying a huge and ever-growing international popularity. In Europe, the “710” culture has been attracting more and more followers over the last several years. But here, the regional differences are vast because a real dabbing culture can only develop where the cultivation and processing of cannabis — at least for personal needs — is no longer punished harshly. That is why Spain and its Cannabis Social Clubs have become Europe’s dabbing stronghold, whereas it is difficult to find quality extracts in many other European countries, they’re available in Spain.
The marijuana industry is constantly developing new products around the world of dabbing, as well as the extraction of cannabis substances; and there seems to be a general shift toward the cannabis extracts, wax, shatter, oil and other varieties, which are not easy to purchase outside of Spain. Even in the Netherlands, where one can buy up to five grams of cannabis or hashish in state-tolerated coffeeshops, extracts are prohibited because they are classified as a hard drug in the Dutch Narcotics Act. A coffeeshop caught selling oil, wax or shatter loses its license immediately. Although the extraction legend Mila Jensen organized the first Daba Doo Cup in Amsterdam back in 2015, the Netherlands is a dark void when it comes to cannabis extracts with the exception of the first European Dabbing Cup. The second installment of Mila’s Event took place in Barcelona in 2016.
Cannabis Social Clubs as the “710” germ cell
Spain’s quasi-legal Cannabis Social Clubs have developed into El Dorados of the extraction culture. Workshops where members can learn the extraction of cannabinoids and terpenes are offered within these members-only establishments. Due to the high acquisition costs of an installation in the frequently small clubs, CO2 extraction is not yet very widespread but is becoming more and more popular due to its purity, residue-free products and safety. Only a few Clubs have a CO2 extraction system where the cannabinoids, terpenes and other active substances are separated from the plant parts by means of butane, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol or propane. Unfortunately, accidents occur with the handling of butane and propane, as the extraction by professionals under laboratory conditions in Spain and the rest of Europe is still the exception. This is due to the fact that cannabis is tolerated in Spain but is still illegal on a commercial level. Many clubs fear losing their tolerated status if they leave the non-professional level, which actually is the basis of the club-idea and their tolerated status. By definition, a club should be a place to meet, smoke and grow with friends, without any commercial intentions by the members or board. There are a few clubs with professional extraction rooms, but also many who are still using dozens of small butane gas bottles. The prices for members of the Spanish Social Clubs are quite moderate. Although the assortment is usually not as big as in California’s shops, the offered extracts are of high quality and usually range between 25 and 60 Euro/gram.
German pharmacies charge 400 Euro per gram
The medical cannabis program in Germany or the Czech Republic has so far hardly covered oils and concentrates. In Germany, patients theoretically send their medical marijuana to a medical-approved extraction laboratory. However, this requires an additional federal approval and a 400 Euro extraction fee per gram of concentrate. This is why Germany’s registered cannabis patients hardly ever take advantage of this opportunity. Extraction by way of alcohol or butane gas in the garage or the garden is still the most popular method to obtain medical extracts among cannabis patients and consumers alike. But due to the underground production, local newspapers report regularly about growers whose extraction attempts ended with a visit from the fire department.
Outside of Spain, good concentrates are only obtained illegally via private grower networks or the darknet. Meanwhile, well stocked grow shops in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are offering everything from silicone mats to high quality dab rigs, which are necessary to spread the 710 culture. Still, the extracts in this part of the world rarely reach the black market or even the illegal street trade. They are mostly consumed by the actors themselves or, at best, are exchanged and passed on. The production of CBD concentrates works quite different because they are legal in many European countries. In Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark, for example, high quality CBD concentrates are produced in various forms under laboratory conditions and distributed throughout the EU.
Expensive glass art works are still an insider tip
In the last two years, the glassblowing culture from overseas has also managed to make it over the large pond. Now, small, custom works of colorful glass made to enjoy the valuable extracts are being created in Spain, Italy and Germany. As a result, glassblower competitions have become an integral part of almost every European cannabis fair. The“European Functional Flame Off” established itself as the first European Glassblower Cup — the Expogrow — in the Spanish town of Irun in 2015. In Europe, however, hardly anyone is ready to interpret the high price of an artfully crafted dab rig as an investment in modern art like they do in some more developed dab cultures around the globe.
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