Outside of dab enthusiast circles, the term “solventless extracts” might raise eyebrows. While this market segment is far from ubiquitous, it is immensely popular with consumers who gravitate toward these high quality products. What’s more, this market segment seems to be growing quickly, especially in mature markets with educated consumers.
As cannabis legalization advances and the average consumer gains more knowledge about the plant and products, could solventless extracts be poised for explosive growth? Let’s explore the state of solventless extracts and its future by the numbers.
Solventless extracts: Highly popular among cannabis connoisseurs
Do you know someone who is obsessed with terpenes, able to pick a strain out of a lineup while blindfolded, and hyper-focused on quality? If so, they probably know a thing or two about solventless extracts, which are increasingly popular with the highly knowledgeable cannabis connoisseur crowd.
As consumers become more educated, this demographic is growing — it should come as little surprise then, that so too is the solventless extracts market. In fact, according to data from BDSA, solventless extracts saw demand increase by 132 percent from June 2021 through June 2022. And if recent sales estimates are correct, demand has only increased further since.
What are solventless extracts?
Solventless extracts are concentrates that come in several varieties, including as bricks of bubble hash, concentrates that can be consumed by “dabbing,” and rosin vape cartridges.
The solventless extract you’re most likely to encounter is rosin, which is made by subjecting bubble hash to heat and pressure to squeeze out a thick, syrupy oil packed with cannabinoids and terpenes. The bubble hash itself is made via ice water extraction rather than a solvent-based method such as hydrocarbon extraction, ensuring there are absolutely zero residual solvents in the final product.
Thanks to this solvent-free production process, solventless extracts are generally considered higher quality, “clean” products. They’re also known for retaining cannabinoid and terpene profiles that closely resemble the original cultivar used in production. For cannabis enthusiasts who really enjoy particular blends of terpenes or want to retain minor cannabinoids, this is a major draw. That reputation for quality is driving solventless extracts forward in a big way, even though they still only represent a small fraction of the larger concentrates market.
Growth factors driving the solventless extract market
Solventless extracts are having a moment, but what’s driving this market segment forward? What was once the preferred product choice of connoisseurs and experts is becoming more popular, and these growth factors are a big reason why.
1. Rosin is on the rise
Rosin is the most popular solventless extract on the market today, representing 14 percent of total dabs sales in January 2023. Considering that all types of solventless extracts represented 16 percent of total dabs sales in the same month, it’s fair to say that rosin is king of the hill when it comes to the solventless category.
At the state level, rosin’s dominance is even more pronounced. Mature markets like Colorado and California saw rosin surpass 20 percent of total dab sales, suggesting that as more consumers are exposed to the solventless extract, more are willing to try it. That means that new markets may have some consumer education cut out for them, but could expect solventless extracts to make a splash as the market evolves.
2. Solventless cartridges are gaining popularity
Historically, solventless vape cartridges haven’t been particularly noteworthy, making up just 1 percent of vape cartridge sales in January 2022. But that number has jumped considerably in the past year, reaching 4 percent by January 2023. While still a small fraction of the broader cartridge market, this four-fold growth signals that solventless cartridges are starting to catch on.
Much like rosin, solventless cartridges appear to be more popular in more mature legal cannabis markets. In California, for example, solventless cartridges reached 5 percent of all cartridge sales in the state in January 2023. Meanwhile, in Colorado, rosin cartridges racked up 15 percent of all cartridge sales, a high watermark for the market segment nationwide.
3. Solventless extract prices are falling, but still at a premium
In general, the entire legal cannabis industry is experiencing price compression, as increased supply and an influx of brands drive prices down. According to BDSA, average retail prices for dabs fell 16 percent from January 2022 through January 2023 to $19.40 per gram. Rosin, specifically, fell by 18 percent during the same period, making these extracts more accessible to consumers with smaller budgets or those who want to try them for the first time but don’t want to spend a lot of money.
At the same time, despite falling prices, retailers can still charge a premium for solventless concentrates. So, while the overall price point declines and makes these products more accessible to consumers, they still fetch a higher price tag than solvent-based extracts. For example, rosin has an average retail price of $35 per gram, which is 83 percent higher than other varieties of dabs, including 73 percent higher than live resin, a solvent-based extract that is also considered a premium product.
Solventless extract competitive landscape
As the solventless market segment has grown, the number of brands in the space has increased as well. For example, In 2018, Colorado was home to just four rosin vape cartridge products. By 2021, that number had increased to 160. Every market is different — some have more solventless extract brands and some have fewer. However, almost every market seems to be growing in this regard, especially the more mature ones. Here are some notable brands in the solventless extract space and a closer look at some of their top products.
- 710 Labs: 710 Labs operates in California and Colorado. The company is known for its many concentrates as well as a range of solventless products. The solventless line from 710 Labs includes bubble hash, rosin, and solvent-based extracts. 710 Labs also produces rosin gummies with strain-specific compound profiles.
- DabLogic: DabLogic works with Colorado cultivator Verde Natural to produce bubble hash, rosin, and solventless vapes for both the Colorado and California markets. It’s known for its handmade solventless hashish product.
- Dialed In: Dialed In is a Colorado-born brand that offers a unique solventless product — rosin gummies. Dialed In gummies are made with rosin manufactured in collaboration with 35 different cultivators and prioritizing organic, small-batch production processes.
- Jetty Extracts: Jetty Extracts is known for concentrates of all types and offers a solventless line of solventless vape cartridges. In fact, Jetty held three of the top six spots for solventless vape cartridges in California as of May 2021, according to BDSA.
- The Flower Collective: The Flower Collective produces solventless extracts that are added as solventless concentrates to their pre-rolls rather than using them for vape cartridges or selling them as dabbables. The Flower Collective offers Bubble Joints and Bubble Blunts, pre-rolls infused with solventless extracts that boost potency and flavor.
Solventless brands in New York
As the solventless concentrates space grows, expect more brands to break in and make a name for themselves. In New York, brands like Marijuana Farms New York (MFNY), Hudson Cannabis, CWCBExpo exhibitor Fat Nell, and Luci are making waves in the licensed market with fan-favorite solventless extracts. Something tells us the solventless wave has yet to crest, so keep your eye out for the next innovative brands to enter the space.
Solventless extracts are adding new value to concentrates
In mature markets, solventless extracts are becoming a household name. It seems to be only a matter of time before that’s the case in new markets as well. Although solventless concentrates require a bit more consumer education than other products, they sell at a premium and generate some rave reviews. If you’re interested in the concentrates market, you can’t overlook solventless extracts.