The consumption of cannabis has gone far beyond bowls of dry herbs in recent years. Today, weed aficionados can consume their pot in a plethora of forms, from the aforementioned flower to edibles, concentrates, tinctures, vapes, topicals, and more.
When it comes to cannabis concentrates, there’s the holy trinity a.k.a. The 3 Rs: resin, live resin, and rosin. All of them are highly potent, so if you’re just getting started with different weed formats, we recommend starting from less potent products.
Still, if you feel like trying out resin, live resin, and rosin, you should know the differences between these three types of concentrated cannabis.
In this article, we’ll cover the three Rs in detail, explaining how they’re made and what their effects are.
What is Cannabis Resin?
Often referred to as “sap,” resin is the term that describes the sticky trichomes that appear on the flowers and sugar leaves of mature female cannabis plants. Trichomes are where all of the cannabinoids and terpenes are secreted, so in essence, they’re largely responsible for the psychoactive and therapeutic effects of marijuana. Once dried, cured, and collected, the trichomes turn into a green powder called “kief.”
Why Do Cannabis Plants Produce Resin?
The role of resin on cannabis plants is to defend it against environmental dangers throughout its entire flowering cycle so that it can grow in peace. Aside from being the main source of cannabinoids and terpenes, resin also creates a protecting layer from the UV light. The aromatic terpenes produced by resin stave off pests such as insects and animals, which might otherwise devour the plant before it’s able to reproduce.
Cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) and terpenes (like limonene and pinene) are all contained in the cannabis resin. While cannabis plants are made of more than 400 chemicals, extractions of cannabis resin offers higher levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Terpenes are extremely sensitive to heat, meaning they have a relatively boiling point. This means that any extraction method involving heat — such as BHO or CO2 extraction — will destroy some of the plant’s terpene content, leading to a lower efficacy of the end product.
What’s the Other Meaning of the Word “Resin?”
Resin is also commonly referred to the brown or black tar that builds up in pipes and bongs after regular use, especially if you smoke high-THC strains. Some desperate smokers scrape the combusted resin from their bong for “re-cycling” but there are better and safer ways to get more bang for your bong — just saying.
What is Rosin?
Rosin is a cannabis concentrate also known as “rosin tech.” The process of making rosin involves pressing the dried and cured flowers of the plant under a combination of heat and pressure to release the gooey cannabinoid-rich resin. Unlike more popular forms of extraction, such as BHO, and CO2, rosin can be safely obtained in one’s house.
Why You Shouldn’t Perform Extractions Other than Rosin at Home?
While some people are brave (or reckless) enough to be brewing BHO concentrates in their backyards, the process involves highly flammable solvents that can cause explosions and burn down entire buildings if handled improperly. CO2 extraction, on the other hand, calls for employing well-trained staff let alone the equipment cost ($100,000 to $250,000 per machine). In simple terms, BHO and CO2 extraction are designed exclusively for industrial use.
How is Rosin Extraction Safer than BHO and CO2?
Rosin extraction offers a safe and healthy alternative involving absolutely basic equipment and ZERO harmful solvents. All you need is a consumer-grade hair straightener — you can get one for as little as $30 — and high-quality cannabis flowers, preferably a few large nuggets. You need to wrap your weed with a sheet of parchment paper and place it between the blades of your hair straightener. The quality of your homemade rosin will largely depend on the potency and purity of your strain, as well as the quality of your “press.”
You can find some high-tech dispensaries in California starting to sell onsite rosin presses to their customers. This allows them to purchase a real piece of equipment that’s designed specifically for this type of extraction.
What is Live Resin?
Live resin is considered the diamond of all cannabis concentrates. They began to emerge in Canada and in legalUS states such as California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Similar to BHO and CO2 concentrates, live resin requires expensive laboratory equipment and highly qualified employees, so this isn’t a product you can make at home.
However, what separates live resin concentrates from other dabs is the way they’re made.
What Does Live Resin Production Look Like?
The extraction method employed in making live resin involves the cryogenic freezing of a freshly cut plant at temperatures below -292 F (-180 C). Live resin products are often labelled “full-spectrum” or “whole-plant” because they are actually made from the entire plant, including the flowers, leaves, branches, and even stalks.
Why Is Live Resin Superior to Other Concentrates?
Live resin is considered better than BHO and CO2 extracts because it retains the full cannabinoid and terpene profile of the plant in the end product. This makes them better for consumers who focus on terpenes and their medical benefits. Other extraction methods, such as BHO and CO2, typically destroy the majority of the terpenes because of the high temperatures involved.
Since terpenes are responsible for the pungent aromas of cannabis, live resin has a more complete fragrance. Moreover, live resin concentrates provide more of these molecules that have been proven to carry strong anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Due to the special flash-freezing process, live resin products tend to be more expensive than other concentrates. But, this process is also the most promising one in terms of maintaining the therapeutic properties and potency of freshly harvested pot plants.
What are your favorite resin, live resin, or rosin products? Are you also leaning more towards live resin concentrates due to their superior aromas and flavors? Let us know in the comments below!