Extractions 101: What Is Live Rosin?
Modern dispensaries don’t just carry flower and pre-rolls; there’s also a wide variety of extracts, concentrates, and vape products. Newfangled extraction techniques allow for the creation of novel products, including the “live” concentrates, which have taken the market by storm.
Live rosin is one of the most sought after, most premier, and most expensive products on dispensary shelves today. But what exactly is live rosin, and why is everyone in the cannabis industry talking about it?
What Is Live Rosin?
Live rosin is a solventless concentrate known for having a robust terpene and flavor profile that closely resembles what you’d find in the original plant. Visually, the most common live rosin color is a deep golden amber akin to high-quality honey.
Texturally, live rosin can take several forms depending on the techniques used to prepare it. Some live rosins can have a rigid and glass-like finish akin to shatter, but they may also have a more waxy or buddery-like consistency.
Additionally, live rosin is often sold in sauce form—a less viscous concentrate where the terpenes and cannabinoids separate, resulting in solid crystals of cannabinoids forming inside a liquid matrix composed primarily of terpenes. The live rosin in most cartridges is in sauce form.
What Makes Live Rosin “Live”
What makes live rosin so special and different from other solventless concentrates has to do with the unique preparation of the cannabis plants used to make it.
Unlike most other concentrates, which are made from dried cannabis flower, live rosin is made from plants that have been flash-frozen immediately after harvest. This helps maintain terpene integrity and translates directly to a more robust and flavorful concentrate.
Most of the beneficial compounds in cannabis, including the cannabinoids and terpenes, are concentrated in the frosty crystalline structures that pepper the outside of cannabis buds called trichomes. Unfortunately, trichomes are extremely fragile, and the drying and curing post-harvest process will always result in trichome loss regardless of how careful the cultivators are. By circumventing this process entirely, flash-frozen cannabis plants experience significantly less terpene degradation.
How Is Live Rosin Made?
Live rosin is a solventless concentrate, which means manufacturers separate the plant’s resinous trichomes from the vegetal material without using a chemical solvent like butane or propane. Instead, most live rosin makers employ a technique similar to that found in bubble hash production, where ice water and agitation separate the resin. The main difference being the use of fresh flash-frozen plants instead of dried and cured ones.
Once manufacturers separate the resin from the plant material, they then expose the trichomes to heat and pressure to form the actual concentrate.
Live Rosin Vs. Live Resin
It’s easy to confuse live rosin with live resin, as the two concentrates have nearly identical names. However, they are very different products.
Both live rosin and live resin employ the use of flash-frozen cannabis plants in order to maintain terpene integrity. But, live resin manufacturers use a solvent to separate trichomes—most typically butane, but propane and CO2 can also be used. The final product in live resin production closely resembles conventional BHO but with more terpenes and flavor.
Solvent-based Extracts Vs. Solventless Concentrates
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a solvent to make concentrates.
With solvent-based extraction, it’s usually easier to achieve a higher purity compared to solventless methods, as chemical solvents do a better job of separating the plant’s oils and resins for the vegetal material. Also, it’s simpler to create a less viscous concentrate compatible with vape cartridges. However, many consumers may have concerns regarding residual solvents in their extracts. Plus, the purging process that removes solvents can also damage terpenes, resulting in a less flavorful product.
Live resin tends to have a lower price point and higher THC percentages compared to live rosin; however, live rosin tends to have better flavor profiles, and there’s zero risk of solvent adulteration. Both are high-quality products, and which one is better comes down to subjective personal preference.
Are Live Rosin Carts Worth It?
Live rosin carts are expensive to produce and expensive for consumers to buy. In fact, they’re most likely one of the most expensive products on a dispensary shelf.
From a consumer perspective, live rosin carts are worth the cost to cannabis enthusiasts who want to experience the highest quality, best tasting vape cartridges currently on the market.
From a manufacturer’s perspective, committing to live rosin production can seem laborious and costly, but having a top-shelf product like live rosin cartridges can help distinguish you as a premier brand.
Best Cartridge For Live Rosin
An extremely high-quality concentrate like live rosin needs a similarly high-quality cartridge. Metal carts can leach toxic heavy metals into the concentrate, and the cotton wicking agents they employ often fail, resulting in foul-tasting dry hits.
However, ceramic cartridges, like the Zirco, not only eliminate the potential health risks associated with metal vape carts but also perform significantly better—especially with more viscous concentrates like live rosin. Because of the porous nature of ceramic, ceramic cartridges don’t require any additional wicking material and provide more surface area to heat the concentrate more evenly. Ceramic carts’ superior heat retention makes them more durable than alternatives, and also allows for more robust vapor clouds without having to increase temperatures to levels where that will damage terpenes. Plus, they deliver the cleanest-tasting vapor of any cartridge on the market today.
Ultimately, live rosin sauce demands to be housed in the highest quality cartridge hardware available, and ceramic cartridges are unparalleled in performance and safety, making them the clear choice.