Live Resin – How it’s Made and What’s Special About It

Keeping track of all the different varieties of cannabis extracts, such as hash, shatter, and live resin can be challenging. With even more extracts entering the market regularly, it can be intimidating to try and remember them all.  

Today, we will help dispel some of the mysteries by helping you learn everything you need to know about live resin. 

This potent and flavourful extract is by far one of the most popular with cannabis users.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know how live resin is produced, how it is consumed, and how it compares to other cannabis concentrates.

What is Live Resin?

what is live resin

As one of the most potent and flavourful cannabis products, live resin falls under the category of what Health Canada identifies as a chemically concentrated extract. Live resin is a product that’s a member of the high terpene full spectrum extract (HTFSE) family of cannabis concentrates.

To illustrate what makes this extract unique, we must first delve into its creation method. 

When cannabis is harvested, the plant material will go through various processes that can either alter or damage its natural terpene profile.

For example, to create conventional BHO cannabis extracts such as shatter, budder and wax, producers will dry and cure the cannabis buds before performing the extraction process. 

Differentially, when creating live resin, manufacturers will utilize freshly harvested cannabis flower that is flash-frozen, skipping the drying and curing phases entirely. 

This omission creates a product with a diverse terpene profile and a high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. 

The final product may range in colour from bright yellow to gold or amber. Its consistency can vary from buttery and firm to a pliable crystalline form, depending on the specific producer. 

live resin

Typically, users will vaporize the final product using an apparatus called a dab rig. Dabbing describes the process of using dabbing through a dab nail that’s heated before dropping a small piece of live resin into it. The hot nail vaporizes the cannabis concentrate and the vapour is inhaled.

Read our guide on dabbing for more information on how it works, how it’s done and the best practices involved.

How is Live Resin Made?

cannabis trichomes

Live Resin’s strong flavour comes from the many terpenes found inside. As we described above, the terpenes and cannabinoids are extracted from flash-frozen marijuana to produce a cannabis extract that is more potent than standard marijuana flower. 

Live resin is made using cannabis flowers that have not undergone the usual drying and curing process.

Instead, the freshly harvested cannabis plant matter is flash-frozen to preserve the cannabinoid and terpene content.

This flash-freezing process is performed using liquid nitrogen, similar to frozen vegetables you find in the grocery store.

Freezing the freshly harvested marijuana plant helps preserve the THC compounds and terpenes present in the dried flower, avoiding the deterioration that comes from being dried and cured. 

As mentioned, the cannabis flowers are not dried and cured. For this reason, the terpene profile of live resin bears more of a similarity to fresh cannabis flowers than any other cannabis product. 

Ultimately, the higher the plant matter’s quality, the better the final product.

After freezing the freshly harvested cannabis, the plant matter undergoes an extraction process. Most often, this requires using a solvent like butane or propane. 

During this procedure, the plant material is bathed in this solvent inside a pressurized chamber. After that, the mixture is moved to another chamber, where lipids and excess plant material are removed.

What is left behind are cannabinoids, terpenes, and solvents. After moving to yet another chamber, a purging process is used to remove the solvent from the final product. Purging the extraction involves heat to produce evaporation of the solvent.

After the solvents have been purged, the extract is harvested, packaged and ready for consumption.

Exploring this Potent Concentrate

After this complex extraction process is completed, live resin looks nothing like the fresh cannabis plant it was going in. As explained previously, the final result’s texture will vary from runny to creamy to waxy, depending on the manufacturer. 

By concentrating the cannabis plant terpenes along with THC, these products are considered to be ‘full-spectrum.’ 

The concentration of terpenes is superior in live resin compared to other cannabis extracts, which is a prominent proponent of its appeal. As consumers pay more attention to terpenes, this feature will stand out even more.

It is critical not to confuse live Resin’s name with the slang term ‘resin.’

Whereas live resin is a potent and flavourful cannabis extract, ‘resin’ refers to the dark tar-like substance found to build up in smoking devices such as bongs and pipes. 

New cannabis consumers should exercise caution when using cannabis concentrates, starting with a minimal dose of the extract and assessing the effects before consuming more. Cannabis concentrates are far more potent than standard dried cannabis flower

It is crucial to start low and go slow with every cannabis extract, and live resin is no different.

What’s the Difference Between Live Resin and Dabs?

As we outlined previously, the most common ingestion method for Live Resin is using a dab rig. 

However, what users may tend to mean when they talk about ‘dabs’ is are other cannabis extracts made through chemical extraction.

In other words, you can dab Live Resin, but the term ‘dab’ is often used to describe butane hash oil concentrates such as shatter, wax, and budder, specifically. 

Both dabs and Live Resin are cannabis concentrate products containing high THC concentrations and a substantial quantity of terpenes.

Is it Stronger than Dabs?

Both Live Resin and butane hash oil extracts are potent varieties of marijuana concentrates. Depending on how they are made, either one can be produced to contain a higher THC content.

The best rule of thumb is to refer to the cannabis packaging label to determine the THC potency when comparing cannabis concentrates. Generally, both categories of products can contain over 60% THC with some products reaching as high as 90%.

Live Resin – An Authentic Cannabis Extract

Of all the various products that can be made using the cannabis plant, Live Resin is at the forefront of innovation due to its flash-frozen starting material and unique and complex extraction process. 

It remains a popular choice for users of all experience levels due to its high concentration of terpenes contributing to a deep and diverse flavour profile. 

This authenticity comes from the cannabis plant matter being sustained in this flash-frozen state, therefore, preserving the terpenes and THC present in the starting plant material, explaining its rich flavour as well as strong potency. 

We hope this guide has provided you with the necessary information to answer any questions you may have about this potent and flavourful extract. 

Sirona Pharma

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