As the cannabis community expands and matures, more ways to partake are being found, including a wide variety of extracted and concentrated products.
One question that often comes up is how to tell the difference between these items, especially when terms sound similar, such as rosin, resin and live resin.
According to WeedMaps, resin is a sticky and insoluble organic compound naturally secreted by plants.
In the cannabis world, it’s also a casual term for the black, sticky substance that builds up in a pipe or bong after repeated use. Some users clean the mixture of ash, tar and carbon out after each use to keep the pipe shiny, and some do so only when there isn’t enough room for flower.
Pipe residue probably should be disposed of, but its still smoked by some consumers on a budget.
“Like any stoner who has been out of cannabis before, I’ve smoked a little resin in my day,” said Justin Shaw, a 22-year-old student and a regular cannabis consumer.
Natural resin can be seen in other places: It holds the trichomes – the crystal-like tiny hairs that cover and protect the plant – together. Resin also provides the sticky texture you feel when holding a bud.
Resin is produced by the cannabis plant to deter pests or unwanted bugs, protect against overexposure to ultraviolet rays, and maintain a good surface level humidity so the plant will not dry up as quickly.
Concentrates are typically made by removing the resin and other plant matter using a solvent such as carbon dioxide or butane at high pressure.
A concentrate made without a solvent is called rosin.
Salazar took photos of himself squeezing low-quality, non-melt hash into a melt dab, creating a sticky wax-like substance that separated from the hash.
Rosin is made by squeezing cannabis, sandwiched between parchment paper, with a hair straighter on low heat until a sticky substance emerges, which can scraped and used for rosin concentrate “dabs.”
Though Salazar takes credit for the modern usage, versions of this have been around globally for awhile. In Morocco, for instance, cannabis has been squeezed into hashish bricks.
Rosin is a potent item that can be made at home without the explosive risk of creating other DIY concentrates.
“Smoke rosin over resin any day, since rosin is super easy to make and you can do it with kief, hash and flower,” Ben Smith, a cannabis processor and consumer, recommended.
Rosin can also be purchased in various forms including shatter, wax, badder/batter/budder, rosin coins and taffy.
“I’ve never dabbed rosin before, but I have smoked a few bowls with it on top,” said Shaw. “I had Super Lemon Haze rosin, which tasted amazing and gave me an incredible head high.”
Finally, there’s live resin, which has to do with the plant curing process.
Once harvested, plants typically go through an initial drying stage from one to two weeks, which removes moisture. Then the buds are removed from the stem, placed in an airtight container for two to eight weeks, and are aired randomly.
Perfectly cured cannabis will have a smooth burn and aromatic flavor. Less perfectly cured cannabis can be harsh, bitter and smell like hay.
Live resin interrupts this process by flash freezing a plant at a subcritical temperature right after harvest. This is designed to prevent loss of terpenes during the drying process, so the plant is more potent and believed to have stronger medical properties.
Live resin began to grow in popularity in 2011 by growers in Colorado. William Fenger and EmoTek Labs founder “Giddyup” worked together to introduce live resin to the cannabis world.
Smith said this type of education is important for consumers.
“Everyone should know the unique differences and overall systematic way cannabis and concentrates are made,” he said. “Information is key to finding what you like and what is good for you.”
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