In previous eras, weed consumption was commonly related to smoking cannabis flower. Today, the cannabis industry is just in the infancy stages of unlocking the plant's full potential, and we already have a wealth of new options to choose from.
The continued potential comes thanks to the whole plant profile and advancements in cannabis extraction technology. Cannabis has over 400 chemical compounds--including terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids. Cannabinoids and terpenes are produced in the glandular trichomes of the cannabis flower. Terpenes are the molecules that determine the distinctive smell and taste of different strains and play a crucial role in the cannabis experience.
Thanks to legalization and innovative compound extraction methods, smoking flower is not the only way to consume and maximize the cannabis chemical profile. From different extraction methods to compositions, there are now several presentations for cannabis lovers.
Recently, live resin has become a consumer's favorite weapon of choice for dabs and vaping. But, what is live resin, you ask? The answer is a rather unique and potent approach to cannabis consumption.
Made from fresh, "live" flower, rather than dried and cured buds, the end result of this unique extraction process is an oily consumer-popular concentrate focused on flavor, taste and effects. Plus, it carries a punch in regards to THC potency.
Overall, live resin is a concentrate that comes from a unique technique that uses dried and cured buds of freshly harvested flowers. Once cut from its plant, the harvested flower is immediately frozen. It won't come out until ready for extraction a few hours to a day or two from then.
Freezing helps retain the plant profile, including its flavor, aroma, and effects. Besides containing more of the plant profile and its effects, live resin also tends to have a higher THC potency than most concentrates.
Live resin is relatively new and is normally noticed for its dark yellow color. Malleable to the touch, like a wax, live resin can have a runny consistency or a more solid-state, depending on how it's made.
Live resin's biggest differentiator is its rich terpene profile that remains intact during the production process. This desirable trait can enrich the cannabis experience and its different compounds, creating what is commonly known as the entourage effect.
It used to be rare to come across live resin, making it expensive. An intricate manufacturing process also drove prices out of reach for most consumers. With legalization spreading, so too is affordable live resin.
And let's not forget the THC factor. Most dried flower offers between 10% and 25% of THC while a live resin product can be as high as 90%. While potency is important, keep in mind that the whole plant experience is likely key to determining a strain's effect.
As mentioned, live resin is more potent than dried flower, and can outpace many concentrates. As with everything cannabis-related, start with a smaller dose and gradually work your way up.
Being a resin, there are several ways you can consume it safely:
Many cannabis consumers love to mix live resin with other forms of cannabis to enhance the entourage effect. Moonrocks, prerolls, and other mixtures of flower and/or hash and live resin are becoming increasingly popular at dispensaries.
Be sure to check the potency of the product to make sure it's within your tolerance level and consume new types of cannabis products slowly. Remember, you can always consume more, but you can't consume less. Try giving yourself about 5 to 10 minutes between puffs if you've never consumed concentrates before. Most first-timers find that one puff is sufficient.
Be sure to ask your doctor if inhalation is the correct form of consumption for your particular condition or conditions. Edible forms or topicals may be more appropriate if you have lung disease or other respiratory problems.
The names and compositions might be similar. However, live resin and live rosin are not the same.
Their manufacturing process is considerably different. The main difference to consider is that live resin relies on low temperatures and a solvent, like butane, for extraction. Live rosin involves the extra step of making bubble hash--which is a full process in itself. The bubble hash is then pressed with a rosin press machine using low heat and equal pressure across its plates.
Live resin production requires specialized equipment and knowledge. It certainly is not that simple to make at home. In fact, it's downright dangerous and should never happen.
When the whole plant gets frozen, the tiny resin glands (trichomes) that produce terpenes get brittle. Home producers are likely to struggle to successfully freeze the plant and preserve those terpenes unless they have freeze dryers or other commercial-level equipment. Keep in mind that extraction needs to happen at between -20ºF and -50ºF. A conventional home freezer probably sits around 0ºF.
The next part is where home production becomes impossible. Low pressure, low temperatures and combustible compounds like butane are all part of the extraction process. Butane bonds with the plant's cannabinoids and terpenes and strips them from the plant. Lipids, fats, and waxes are then removed before heating the solution slightly to boil the dangerous butane off.
When safely produced, the end result is a potent solvent-based concentrate. However, home producers have instead created deadly outcomes, where labs, homes and neighborhoods have gone up in flames while lives and property were lost.
Leave live resin production up to the professionals, folks.
Store your live resin as you would any cannabis product.
Live resin should be stored in an air-tight container in a cool setting like your refrigerator. Use the smallest container possible for storage. The less air it's exposed to, the less it dries out. Be sure you preserve those terpenes and the excellent experience created by live resin.
Now that you know more about live resin, you're ready to give it a try! Just remember to start low and go slow with concentrates because live resin is extremely potent compared to flower.
If you have any questions about using live resin or other consumption methods and how they might affect your treatment plan, NuggMD's expert physicians are always here to help.