Extraction 101: Live Resin
It’s no secret that cannabis extracts are rapidly growing in popularity. Last year, concentrate sales rose a staggering 40%, and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
In addition to the sky-high cannabinoid percentages offered by concentrates, there are myriad different varieties for consumers to choose from. With such a diverse range of viscosities and flavors, cannabis enthusiasts can easily find a concentrate that fits their needs. Plus, the continuing advancements made in vape hardware and electronic dab rig technology make these concentrates simpler to consume than ever before.
One form of concentrate, in particular, has become the gold standard among cannabis enthusiasts who want to enjoy natural terpene profiles in their extracts as well as their flower. That concentrate is live-resin.
What Is Live Resin?
Live resin is a concentrate, similar to BHO budder or wax. The characteristic live resin color rests somewhere between a golden umber and a pale yellow. In regard to viscosity, live resin can have several different consistencies depending on the specifics of the extraction process. However, it tends to have a more pliable texture than stiff concentrates like shatter. It may have a taffy-like viscosity like conventional BHO wax, or it may have a slightly runny semi-liquid appearance.
With a simple visible inspection, cannabis enthusiasts likely won’t find any characteristics that make live resin stand out from other comparable concentrates. What is notable about live resin is its taste, smell, and terpene profile.
With other forms of concentrates, most of the plant’s natural terpenes are lost or damaged before the product ever makes it to the dispensary shelves. But, thanks to live resin’s unique manufacturing process, significantly more terpenes survive through extraction and end up in the final product. Here’s how it works.
How Is Live Resin Made
The vast majority of both cannabinoids and terpenes are housed in the crystalline structures called trichomes which pepper the outside of cannabis buds and give certain strains their frosty appearance. The fragility of these trichomes presents a problem to cultivators come harvest time. Overhandling buds can knock trichomes loose and cause them to fall off the plant, and exposure to heat, oxygen, and UV light can cause them to degrade. Even with the utmost speed and care, cultivators will lose some trichomes and the psychoactive compounds contained within during the harvesting process.
A significant portion of terpene loss occurs during the drying and curing stages of a harvest. This is where live resin distinguishes itself from other cannabis concentrates. Plants used in live resin extracts skip the drying and curing phase altogether and instead are flash-frozen at extremely low temperatures immediately after harvest. This allows the concentrate to retain a terpene profile that more closely resembles the plant’s terpene profile when it was alive, hence the “live” in live resin.
The actual extraction process is nearly identical to other solvent-based extraction methods; only you’re using flash-frozen plants instead of dried buds, and the solvent has been cooled to sub-zero temperatures. Most commonly, extractors use a closed-loop BHO system to separate the plant’s oils from vegetal material, though you may see other solvents like PHO or CO2 used.
How To Consume Live Resin
Live resin can be consumed in various ways, depending on the concentrate’s viscosity. If the live resin has a thicker, more viscous consistency, then users can consume it the way they would any other dab. This can include using a dab rig, an e-nail, or a wax pen.
Additionally, pre-loaded live resin cartridges have become increasingly popular among consumers. These give users the convenience of experiencing the robust flavors of live resin while on the go, without having to fiddle with messy extracts or butane torches.
Live resin carts are considered premier products and are typically paired with the most sophisticated cartridge hardware available. The less adulterated flavor profile functions as the driving force behind consumer desire for live resin, so manufacturers need a cartridge that won’t do anything to contaminate that flavor. Almost all live resin carts on the market today utilize ceramic hardware like the S10 Zirco Cartridge. That’s because no other cartridge material delivers as consistently clean of taste as full ceramic carts.
Are Live Resin Carts Worth It?
Live resin cartridges come with a high price tag despite not necessarily having the highest cannabinoid percentages on the concentrate market. Whether they’re worth the cost or not is entirely subjective and ultimately depends on what the consumer wants to get out of their concentrated experience.
Again, the main appeal comes down to taste. No other extract can come close to live resin in terms of flavor profile. Additionally, the higher terpene percentages found in live resin encourage the entourage effect more than other extracts.
For budget buyers who primarily care about getting as high as possible for as cheap as possible, live resin carts likely won’t be worth the extra costs. However, for true cannabis connoisseurs who enjoy the nuances between different products and strains, live resin offers a top-shelf experience unrivaled by other concentrates.