Cannabis Reclaim: Should You Smoke It?
5 min

Cannabis Reclaim: Should You Smoke It?

5 min

We all want to make the most of our stash; there's no shame in it! But did you know you can use the leftover resin in your rig? Known as reclaim, it's a surefire way to get high without having to use fresh dabs. However, it's not without its shortcomings. Check out why cannabis reclaim could be a potential solution for you.

It doesn't take long for your favourite pipe, bong, or dab rig to get a little gunked up after use. While many of us instantly reach for our cleaning products, did you know that the leftover decarboxylated residue can be used, or rather reused? These remains are also known as cannabis reclaim, and although it might be tempting to discard it, reclaim actually has plenty of life in it still and can be utilised in a variety of ways.

However, is there more to reclaim than just collecting and reusing it? We delve into everything you need to know about cannabis reclaim and whether it's actually worth your time.

What is cannabis reclaim?

What is cannabis reclaim?

While we've hinted at it, it's best to get the basics out of the way first. So what exactly is cannabis reclaim? It's essentially the collected and re-condensed leftovers from your rig or other glassware. If it's not cleaned immediately after each hit, it can build up inside. Typically, the reclaim will coat the walls of the base, but it can also be found in other areas, such as the nail or downstem of a rig. With a little ingenuity, it can be removed and used again.

However, it's not just residue-filled rigs that contain cannabis reclaim; bowls packed out with your finest herb can also be salvaged after your smoking session. As it's decarboxylated, there are plenty of potential applications for all of that seemingly spent material, no matter where you find it.

Cannabis reclaim vs resin

Cannabis reclaim vs resin

You may be wondering, “What's the point of collecting reclaim if I can just use some fresh concentrate or herb?”—and that's a great point. While cannabis reclaim is a byproduct of dabbing/smoking, it's not exactly the same as using fresh; allow us to explain.

Although the use of a dab rig isn't a method of combustion, the heat applied causes the terpenes of the concentrate to be destroyed to provide that initial flavourful and potent hit. Once used, this leftover residue becomes reclaim, and can be collected. And while it might lead to a little bit of a harsher taste than some are used to, the good news is that the THC content of cannabis reclaim can potentially be higher than the original concentrate.

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On the other hand, resin is the compacted leftovers of smoking herb. This usually collects in the bowl of your pipe or bong. Since smoking is the purest form of combustion, the leftover resin has more tar than plant matter when finished. But that's not to say it doesn't have its uses. This reclaimed resin forms the very backbone of some homemade hash, or can be rolled in leftover kief or herb and smoked again. It's worth noting that because more tar is present, resin can cause irritation to the lungs. However, collecting resin is a simple affair. Just wait for your pipe to cool, remove from the bowl, and it's ready to use.

Is dab reclaim potent?

Simply put, yes—reclaim does have the potential to be highly potent. While you're essentially using the same concentrate as before, it's more a case of picking out the parts you've missed out on, on your first smoke. For example, regular buds and concentrates will need to be decarboxylated to unearth their effects; reclaim has already gone through that process. This means that, while we wouldn't necessarily recommend it, you can technically eat reclaim in its “raw” form and get a pretty potent buzz.

What can you do with cannabis reclaim?

What can you do with cannabis reclaim?

So before you get collecting, you'd better get up to speed on how you can use your dab reclaim. Below are a few suggestions to make the most of the material. Of course, these are just a few ideas; there are plenty of other applications. But beware that the taste of reclaim is an acquired one, so it might not be worth making your favourite edibles with.

Smoking reclaim

Arguably the easiest and quickest way to use cannabis reclaim is to simply smoke it! Whether you load up a bowl or add it to a joint, the choice is completely up to you. It's even entirely possible to pack out a concentrate-friendly vaporizer. However, as mentioned, reclaim can pack quite a punch, so you might get a little more than you bargained for when you light up. So while you certainly won't be let down by the effects, the flavours and aromas might just take you by surprise.

Eating reclaim

We've already touched upon the concept of quite literally taking the reclaim out of your dab rig and eating it. Because it's already been decarboxylated, it's good to go. But we can completely understand if you can't quite stomach the taste. After all, you're basically eating the leftover parts of your concentrate. So for something a little bit different, you can always look to infuse some reclaim into already-flavourful dishes to disguise the flavour. Some even mould their reclaim into small balls and freeze them. Once frozen, they just pop them in their mouths like a not-so-sweet candy. To each their own!

Dabbing reclaim

Even though most of the flavourful terpenes are now gone from the reclaim, you can use it again in your dabbing rig. With no special treatment required, just place some inside the nail, heat to melt it down, and enjoy. As with the other options, the greatest obstacle you might face with reclaim is the taste, and dabbing is no different in that respect. So, as long as you and your friends are aware that you won't be getting the tastiest flavours and aromas around, the high will more than make up for this minor shortcoming.

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How to collect cannabis reclaim

Now that we've covered what you can do with cannabis reclaim, it's time to share a few tips on how to collect it. Thankfully, it's quite an effortless task. Just be sure to take your time and be patient.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to collecting cannabis reclaim; solvents, and heat.



How to collect cannabis reclaim: Solvents

First up is collecting reclaim through the use of solvents. To begin with, you'll need your chosen alcohol solvent. This can be anything from isopropyl to even grain alcohol; however, if you can get a hold of pure ethanol, it's arguably the best to use for extraction.

Once you've got your solvent, pour a tiny bit into the base of your rig, and swirl it around to ensure the solvent has reached the areas where the reclaim is located. This little swirl is enough for the reclaim to dissolve.

Now, pour the solvent/reclaim mix into a cup, and leave it for a few hours. As alcohol evaporates at very low temperatures, you'll eventually be left with crystallised reclaim at the bottom of the cup. All that's left to do is scoop it out and use it!

While the use of a solvent is a great way to extract reclaim, be aware that the alcohol can taint the flavour and make an already harsh taste harsher.



How to collect cannabis reclaim: Heat

If you're not looking to use solvents, heat is also an excellent option for removing reclaim from your rig. There are a couple of items needed for this method. First, you'll need a heat-resistant surface upon which to collect the reclaimed concentrate—some baking paper or a silicone mat will easily fit the bill. Next is a tool to provide consistent and intense heat. Many use a blowtorch for this part.

Once you've got your accessories together, it's time to begin. Turn your rig upside down over the heat-resistant surface and proceed to use the blowtorch on reclaim-filled areas such as the banger. The temperature inside the rig will build, and the reclaim will come away from the walls of the glass and fall right onto the chosen surface. Be sure to let it cool before handling, and you'll have a great pile of dab reclaim at your disposal.

Can reclaim go bad?

Can reclaim go bad?

If you're not looking to use your reclaim immediately, it's entirely possible to store it for future use. Be sure to use a silicone concentrate container so it won't stick to the insides. Once in a container, store it in a cool, dry, and dark place, and it'll be ready for you when you want it.

While reclaim can be used for a relatively long time after being extracted, there are many questions raised about the safety and risks involved. As we know, the reclaim has been previously heated, and while this is responsible for the absence of plenty of terpenes, the presence of unwanted toxic chemicals is arguably higher. With that in mind, the use of reclaim can cause irritation of the lungs when smoked, and could potentially lead to more serious problems.

So use your head and err on the side of caution if you're looking to partake in cannabis reclaim. While it may provide a much more potent way to get high, the flavour is often pretty undesirable, and enough to put some off trying it. Proceed with caution, and you can't go wrong. However, if you're looking for a pure, flavourful hit rife with terpenes, maybe stick to fresh concentrates, oils, and waxes in future.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
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