What is Live Resin & is It Worth the Extra Cost?
Give some cannabis smoking chemists a legal playground and what do we get?
Yes, one of the many strides cannabis has taken since states started to legalize cannabis has been with concentrates.
I'm sure you always thought terms like wax, oil, shatter and budder were all synonymous.
Smoked one, smoked them all.
Well, while they are all concentrates made from either butane (BHO) or co2, the way they are made, smoke and, most importantly, retain terpenes is very different.
Today we’re looking at live resin—the concentrate that retains the most terpenes of them all.
What is Live Resin?
Live resin is a concentrate, just like shatter or wax, but it has one unique characteristic that makes it stand out compared to the rest:
Thanks to the way it’s made (we’ll get into how in just a bit), it’s able to retain a ton more terpenes and monoterpenes.
Some of you are probably wondering what the hell terpenes are.
Terpenes are various hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of not just cannabis, but any plant.
These terpenes come in all kinds of molecule weights and structures, which do some pretty crazy things.
They control the way the plant smells and tastes.
And currently, cannabis has over 100 terpenes that have been identified.
A lot of the current concentrate extraction techniques purge the cannabis of these terpenes.
I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite parts of cannabis is the taste and the smell!
So, any concentrate that can retain these better sounds like something I want to try!
How Live Resin is Made?
While it’s not advisable, you can buy a closed loop system and make BHO at your house.
Live resin, however, is not as easy to make.
Only serious chemists in serious labs can make live resin.
As soon as cannabis is cut down, it begins to lose its terpenes.
In fact, through the drying and curing process and all of the handling it goes through can cause it to lose as many as 60% of its terpenes before reaching your joint.
To bypass this, live resin is made of cannabis that is frozen as soon as it's cut.
It’s handled extremely carefully to make sure the trichomes stay as intact as possible.
If you want to make a decent amount of live resin, you can picture how big the freezers for these plants need to be!
And, because the plants were never dried, they have a much higher water content.
This excess amount of water means the resin needs to be made at low temperatures.
Not your freezers max 0° either.
No, the butane you use needs to be between -20° and -50° F.
This is why you can’t do this at home, kids.
You need highly specialized commercial grade equipment to make live resin.
Once you run the cold butane through the plant matter, the butane will start to bond with all of the cannabinoids and terpenes.
This subfreezing concentrate is then passed into the second chamber where a lot of the impurities such as fats and waxes are removed.
You still need to remove the butane from the concentrate, so it’s brought up to a light boil to burn it off.
Once all of the butane is boiled off, you’re left with a pure concentrate that is full of terpenes and various cannabinoids.
How to Smoke Live Resin
As I'm sure, you've noticed by now that, although live resin differs from wax, oil and shatter in many different ways that they are still just a concentrate.
This means you'll smoke it no differently than you would any other.
If your dab nail is too hot, you won't be able to enjoy live resin to the fullest extent.
If you want a more in-depth guide, read out complete guide on how to smoke dabs.
How to Store Live Resin
When storing any concentrate, you only have a few options that are going to work.
Remember, this stuff is sticky.
And you need to consider that, or you'll be wasting a lot of concentrates.
You NEED something stick-proof.
The two best methods are easy to come by:
Non-stick dab containers
Either one works well, but because of the texture of live resin, I prefer containers over wax paper.
You can opt for a glass jar if you plan on storing your goods long term since it will do a better job of keeping the resin fresh.
It will, however, be a pain once you have to clean the jar.
If too much gets stuck in a glass jar, using oven mitts or tongs, hold the glass upside down over wax paper and lightly heat the outside of the jar with a torch.
This will cause the resin to melt off the glass and onto the paper slowly.
For short term, though, I recommend silicone jars.
You want to keep live resin in a cool dark place.
Some people even prefer to keep their concentrates in the freezer or fridge.
I've just always preferred my cupboard or closet.
Live Resin vs. Rosin
With all of the new tech, it can get a little hard to follow the names of different forms of cannabis.
To compare live resin to rosin, we first need to take a look at what rosin is.
Most concentrate you can only find in a dispensary.
They require commercial grade equipment and brilliant people to operate them.
This puts them out of the reach of your average amateur chemist.
Rosin on the other hand only requires two things to be made:
Heat & Pressure.
No solvents or dangerous gases.
To make rosin, you just need a hair straightener and some high-quality cannabis.
Put the flower under pressure with the straighter for a few seconds, and you're left with a thick concentrated oil.
Some dispensaries are offering to rosin press flower for their customers now, because of its growing popularity.
When compared to live resin, though, rosin doesn’t retain near the same amount of THC, CBD or terpenes.
They are both highly potent, but when given the option of the two, you’ll always want to smoke live resin or rosin.
Live Resin vs. Wax
Live resin is usually a pretty gooey concentrate.
Wax, on the other hand, is much thicker and oily.
It can be eaten or vaporized just like live resin, but unlike live resin, it's made with cannabis that has been dried and cured.
It’s also always made with butane and is commonly called BHO for butane honey oil.
Wax is soft and not as see through as shatter is.
Wax can come in either a creamy consistency where it's referred to as budder or a crumbly version that people call honeycomb wax.
Since it’s made from dried cannabis, the terpene retention isn’t as strong in wax.
Live resin is something any serious cannabis connoisseur should try.
The number of terpenes they retain make for an entirely different smoking experience.
Live resin is made differently than any other resin because instead of using dried cannabis, they use fresh plants that have been flash frozen.
Have you smoked live resin before?
How do you feel it stacks up compared to the various other types of concentrates?
We’d love to hear it in the comments section below!