by Spencer Grey
We hope you’re ready to get down and dirty with the latest craze sweeping the concentrate crowd: collecting and using reclaim. If you’re not sure what reclaim is, be prepared to get a little grossed out. You know that goopy brown stuff that collects in your dab rig when you haven’t cleaned it in a while? Well, that’s reclaim.
But before you start making a face, let us assure you that is not like pipe resin, which is basically just an amalgam of tar, ash, and carbon, with some residual cannabinoids hanging around. While pipe resin is a gross result of combustion that you definitely don’t want entering your lungs, reclaim is simply un-vaporized/re-condensed concentrate. While it may not taste delightful, it’s definitely packed full of THC and can be used in a variety of different ways.
To assuage your fears, we’ll start out by saying that yes, there is actual science behind this. MCR Labs in Massachusetts decided to answer the question on many dabbers’ minds: what the heck is in this stuff?
They tested four samples of reclaim, all with different physical characteristics, using the same ultraviolet technology they do when testing regular cannabis and concentrates. This method is called high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and it allows scientists to separate and identify all the individual components in a substance, as well as quantify those components.
With cannabis and products derived from it, the lab is looking to identify cannabinoids, like THC and CBD among many others. The cannabinoid profiles of the reclaim tested all showed that reclaim does retain all five cannabinoids found in marijuana flower, which was a bit of a surprise. In particular, their samples contained a pretty impressive amount of THC, some CBD, and a fairly high percentage of CBN, which can produce a sense of body stone and sleepiness.
This is a tough question to answer because the lab only had the reclaim, not the original concentrates. But luckily, each sample had pretty different characteristics that you can use to guesstimate how much THC your reclaim might possess.
Sample 1: Collected from a dropdown, this sample was the color of dark honey, and was nearly translucent rather than opaque. It came back with a max THC of 58.5%.
Sample 2: This sample was collected by scraping what had fallen down into the direct inject of a dab rig, and was the color and consistency of beach tar. It registered a max THC of 40.2%.
Sample 3: Like the first sample, this was collected from a dropdown. However, it was much darker and stickier, with a somewhat unpleasant smell and stickiness to the touch. The max THC on this one was 50.3%.
Sample 4: They saved the worst for last. This sample came from a rig that had basically never been cleaned, and was so filled with reclaim you couldn’t even take a hit off it. This stuff was completely black, had a consistency almost like shatter, and could be broken apart by hand. This “shatterclaim” only had a max THC of 23.3%.
The takeaway here is that reclaim can retain a significant portion of its THC, but only if it’s relatively fresh. Lighter color appears to be an indicator of better quality reclaim, and definitely don’t use anything that’s completely opaque and black. It seems like common sense, but for the record, experts strongly recommend against the use of anything that could be labelled as “crusty”.
The initial quality of your concentrate will have a massive effect on the quality of your reclaim, so think about going for the top-shelf stuff like solventless and CO2 extracts.
Ok, so you’ve decided to try out this reclaim stuff. First thing you’ll notice is it’s sticky. So how can you get it off the glass? You’ll need three things: a high-proof alcohol such as Everclear, a glass container (a Pyrex bowl is a good bet), and a little bit of patience.
Just pour the alcohol into your dab rig (as much as you can fit without it overflowing), and leave it alone to soak for a minimum of ten minutes. Shake it up to dislodge the bits of reclaim still stuck to the walls, and if some gunk remains, just let it sit for longer. Once you’ve shaken up all the reclaim in your piece, pour the mixture out into the glass container. Cover the container with foil and let the alcohol evaporate over the course of a couple of days, then scrape up your prize!
The real bonus here is that you’re not only getting a good little bit of buzzworthy reclaim, you’re cleaning your dab rig at the same time. If that’s not incentive to try this out, we don’t know what is.
Aside from simply dabbing it again, many folks like to use their reclaim for other purposes. Here are just a few ideas for the rookie reclaimer:
Arguably the most popular use of reclaim is in edibles. While dabbing reclaim doesn’t usually taste bad, many people are turned off by the idea. You can use reclaim just like you would oil in a recipe—but do not ever try substituting reclaim for cannabutter! It’s still a concentrate, so just a little should do the trick.
Tinctures are great for anyone who wants a little dose of cannabis goodness without smoking, vaping, or scarfing down brownies. All you need is one of those little dark dropper bottles that essential oils come in, and some more of that high proof alcohol you used to clean the reclaim out in the first place. Just place some reclaim in the bottle with the alcohol and shake it up as well as you possibly can.
Again, potency should be at the forefront of your mind when experimenting with tincture. Be sure to incrementally experiment with your dosage, and never double up to try and get a buzz going faster!
Tinctures can be placed under the tongue, or mixed into food and drink. Cannabis cocktail, anyone?
Reclaim is already easily absorbed by the skin and can do wonders for pain and inflammation, but you probably don’t want to deal with the stickiness involved. The solution? Mix it with coconut oil for smooth application. You can also add fragrances like mint or lavender to enhance the aroma, or add some beeswax to alter the texture.
If you dab often and find that reclaim is a worthwhile process, you should think about getting a reclaim catcher for your dab rig.
These handy little attachments have a little dropdown chamber, so un-vaporized concentrate will drop directly down and collect there, rather than being sucked all the way through the intake and into the water chamber. Reclaim catchers make it significantly easier to scoop up the good stuff, and have the useful effect of keeping your pipe cleaner for longer.
All in all, reclaim is one of the more practical crazes in the concentrate world right now. It’s a cheap, relatively easy way to make your concentrates go further. Sounds good to us!