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Cannabis Concentrates - Live Resin

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JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 14 December 2020

Cannabis Concentrates - Live Resin

Extracts are on the rise and we don't blame you for wanting to see what all the fuss is about. Be aware, making live resin is a risky process that involves some skill and equipment to make. This article informs you about solvent-based cannabis concentrates and gives a general outlook on how live resin is made. 

What Is Live Resin?

Live Cannabis Resin

Live resin is a concentrated cannabinoid and terpene oil extract made using frozen cannabis buds and trichome-covered plant material. Right after harvesting, the flowers are trimmed and stored in the freezer. A solvent is then used to strip the oils and is then evaporated off, resulting in live resin.

Live resin is made in exactly the same way as butane hash oil (BHO), but the plant material isn't dried before making the extraction. Butane is the most commonly used solvent for stripping the oils out of cannabis both to make BHO and live resin.

The butane is chilled to temperatures as low as -65°C before using a pressurized system to blast it over the frozen plant material. The solution then drains out and is heated gently to evaporate the solvent, leaving a pure, live cannabis product with an oily, fluid consistency. 

Difference Between Live Resin And Live Rosin

Solvents Vs Solvent-less Extraction Methods

Live resin is similar to shatter or wax except it involves using fresh flowers. You might have also heard of live rosin, which is different to live resin. Live rosin is made without the use of solvents, but the process also involves freezing the fresh plant material before performing the extract.

With live rosin, bubble hash is made from the frozen plant material before pressing it into rosin. The term 'live' in this case can be slightly misleading because the hash is dried before pressing, and is therefore not 'live' anymore.

Before You Get Started With Live Resin

Making Live Resin Is A Flammable Hazard

It's worth taking note that solvents can be extremely harmful for ones health if they are not used in the correct way. Any residue that might be left behind could eventually be consumed so if you are planning to make live resin, it is important you know what you're doing.

Making live resin isn't ideal for the average home user. It usually involves expensive, specialised lab equipment that uses multiple chambers and requires experience to use. Heating flammable solvents such as butane is a massive hazard and one mistake can lead to explosions, putting your life at risk.

Butane is heavy and sinks, and it is odourless and transparent, so you may not notice it accumulating. Also, remember that live resin is illegal in most places.

How Live Resin Is Made

Live Resin Chamber

Although live resin is mostly made using butane, other solvents such as isopropyl alcohol or chloroform can be used. Frozen plant material contains a lot more water meaning the extractions require much colder temperatures, which solvents allow us to do.

For those adamant about making this type of extract at home, it is possible using a steel extraction tube, high quality butane (without propane), a heating pad and a few other materials. Making it is very similar to how you would make BHO, as we mentioned earlier. The main challenge would be the achievable temperatures and pressure, which make a big difference in the quality of the final product.

Seeing as making live resin isn't well suited to a home environment and can be dangerous, it is not advised to try and make it yourself unless you have the right equipment. Here is an overview of the advanced process:

  • Once the plant has been harvested, it is trimmed and buds are removed from the stems.
  • The buds are put into bags and frozen as soon as possible (at temperatures below -150°C).
  • Butane is chilled in a pressurized chamber.
  • The second chamber is filled with frozen cannabis and the butane is passed through it.
  • The third chamber is responsible for purifying the solution, removing undesirable waxes and fats.
  • The solution is collected in the third chamber, where it is lightly heated with water to allow the solvent to boil off. 

Tip: The final product will not be acceptable or consumable if the solvents are not fully evaporated.

How To Use Live Resin

Live Resin Can Be Stored In Glass Pots

Live resin can be stored in the fridge or freezer by putting the container or paper into a ziplock bag and placing it inside another air-tight, mason jar. Concentrates often last a very long time (up to a year) when they are properly sealed. The most important thing is to not let humidity reach the extract or it will begin to degrade and possibly lead to mold.

There are certainly extracts and concentrates that have higher potency, but with live resin the quality comes with the terpenes, many of which get lost using other extraction techniques that involve heat. The immediate freezing helps to preserve the terpenes before some have a chance to evaporate through drying, which is why live resin is so rich in flavour.

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Cannabis Terpenes

This is why it's also important to source your product from a credible, reputable source, so you can be confident the extract you're consuming is completely clean and ideally solvent-free. Some people decide to make it at home for this very reason.

Live Resin Can Be Consumed Using A Dabbing Rig

Live resin can be consumed via different methods:

SmokingIf you're a classic bong or blunt smoker, you can still enjoy live resin by adding a touch to your buds before burning them. May not be the best way to enjoy the full terpene profile of extracts, but still a delight nonetheless.
VapingLive resin cartridges for vaporizers have become increasingly popular over the years for their accessibility and ease of use. Depending on the vaporizer you use, the cartridges can either be filled or bought ready to load and puff on.
DabbingDabbing is generally the preferred method of consuming cannabis concentrates. Dabbing is somewhere between bongs and vaporizers. The extract is heated on nail, plate or bowl (approx. 150 - 225°C) where it rapidly vaporizes and is inhaled through a bong-style apparatus.

Remember to dose carefully. Cannabis concentrates like live resin can contain up to 90% THC, making it highly potent even for an experienced cannabis user. If you've never consumed extracts before, it is advised to have someone take you through the process. Dabbing rigs can be slightly confusing when you've never used one before.

Cannabis extraction by MadeInGermany from GrowDiaires.

Conclusion

Making extracts and concentrates is an extremely fun hobby, however live resin is simply out of reach for most people. There are some discussions that advise on how to prepare BHO and live resin, but we suggest you proceed with extreme care and please do not blow up your house.

If you found this article useful, why not drop us a message down in the comments section? We'd love to hear about your experience with live resin and other extracts.

External References

Butane Hash Oil Extraction Hazards. - New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (2013)

You got to love rosin: Solventless dabs, pure, clean, natural medicine. Exploring Twitter data on emerging trends in Rosin Tech marijuana concentrates. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. - Lamy, Francois & Daniulaityte, Raminta & Zathred, Mussah & Nahhas, Ramzi & Sheth, Amit & Martins, Silvia & Boyer, Edward & Carlson, Robert. (2017).

'Bubble Hash', Cannabis Culture Magazine. - Brady, P (2003)

A 101 Guide to Cannabis Concentrates and Extracts. - Jason Oliver. - Retrieved 11/12/2020.

Long term stability of cannabis resin and cannabis extracts. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences. - Lindholst, Christian. (2010).

Cannabis extraction for better quality, health, safety, and products. INFORM International News on Fats, Oils, and Related Materials. - Miller, Eric. (2017).

The Dangers of Dabbing: A Case of ARDS Following Inhalation of Vaporized Butane-Extracted Cannabis Product. - Albrektson, K. & Masroujeh, Ramy & Young, B.P.. (2019).

This article was updated November 2020.






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