Have you heard of Live resin? Sure many cannabis consumers are still seeking products that’ll get them really high however there’s a growing group of us that are looking for massive amounts of taste and aroma along with that massive amount of THC responsible for getting you high. There’s nothing like the wonderful aroma of fresh, living marijuana flowers. So is it possible to capture the terpene profile and pungency of a living plant fresh from the garden along with all it’s psychoactive-inducing goodness and bring it to the consumer in the form of a product that they can dab or smoke? Yes it is possible and this special product is known as live resin.
The thing about live resin that makes it special is how it’s produced. Typically once a marijuana plant is harvested there are a lot of different processes involved before any products like BHO, shatter, butter or another other concentrate reaches the market. It’s the same thing with marijuana flowers. Once the plant is cut down it’s going to be most-likely wet trimmed. Someone is going to take some scissors to the plant and lop off as many large fan leaves as possible. Then the plant will be hung to dry. Then it will be manicured. Suffice to say there are a lot of steps involved before those buds reach the market. With each step there’s a potential to lose those valuable flavors, aromas and cannabinoids which contain that precious THC. And that’s just marijuana flowers.
There are many more steps involved when it comes to creating cannabis concentrates. Plus many marijuana extraction techniques intentionally purge the aroma and flavor elements from the product. This leaves consumers with an odorless concentrate that’s completely void of the plants original “essence.” Sure processors can reintroduce terpenes to isolated THC but it’s quite a departure from the original starting material. So it’s no wonder that your Gorilla Glue #4 wax tastes more like an adhesive product than an actual pot plant.
What’s live resin
Anyhow what’s special about live resin is that there isn’t much handing or manipulating of the plant before it’s processed. It’s said that up to 95 percent of a plant’s terpenes can be lost from harvest through the final curing process. This is what sets live resin apart from the rest of the extractions you see on the market. It’s also what makes live resin so expensive.
What is Live Resin exactly? It’s obviously a cannabis concentrate. But what sets it apart from other cannabis concentrate products is that it’s made from freshly-harvested cannabis plants that are immediately flash-frozen to subcritical temperatures and kept there throughout the entire extraction process. Most cannabis extraction techniques involve allowing the cannabis plants to dry and cure before the extraction. This leads to a loss and degradation of those precious terpenes that create each strain’s unique flavor and taste profile. Preserving these molecules found within the plant’s trichomes, you know those little bulbous stalks that cover a pot plant’s flowers and surrounding leaves, is what preserves the plant’s smell and taste. That’s why dabbing resin results in such an intense taste and high.
The drying and curing process that a pot plant undergoes prior to extraction can have a devastating impact on its taste and aroma. This is because while the drying and curing is occurring and the plant is wicking away moisture and chlorophyll its precious trichomes are exposed to conditions not akin to maintaining peak terpenes levels. Things like heat, oxygen and light as well as physical agitation can all degrade terpenes which leads to less flavor and less aroma.
Because the process of making live resin begins with the plant being immediately cryogenically frozen and kept in that cold state during the entire process the plant retains it’s terpene profile. By freezing the plant immediately producers are able to retain its flavor and fragrance which is then carried over into the final live resin product. This is the main reason why Live Resin tastes and smells so delicious.
How Did Live Resin Originate?
Live Resin is the product of a grower, hash-maker and folk-hero originally from Colorado named William “Kind Bill” Fenger. During the late 80s Fenger found himself in Florida growing weed and making hash. When Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000 he returned to his home state and began a career as a master grower. He continued to make hash and refining his technique. By the time 2010 rolled around he started the first legal grow dedicated exclusively to concentrate production. It was around this time that he began focusing on experimenting with different production methods in search of the best concentrate experience possible.
“As I would trim my harvests,” Fenger told High Times magazine late last year, “I always thought, ‘How cool would it be to be smoking oil from this plant while I’m doing this?’ The smell of the plants when they’re still alive, or while they’re being trimmed, is so intoxicating compared to dried buds… that’s what I wanted in an extract.”
Because so much flavor and aroma is lost during the drying, curing and production process of creating cannabis concentrates Fenger searched for a method that would capture the very essence of a living pot plant. By taking a cue from the way fresh-frozen water hash was produced—which typically leads to a high-grade product—Fenger experimented with processing a batch of BHO not from dried buds or dried trim but from an entire freshly harvested plant that had been immediately cryogenically frozen. We’re talking buds, leaves, stem and all. The result? A new killer concentrate soon to be known as live resin.
The process of creating live resin was dangerous at the time. There were others out there in the world who were also experimenting with the fresh-frozen blasting method back then and like Fenger they were all mainly using the open blasting method. They basically took a glass tube, froze it, ran frozen material through it then evaporate off the BHO out in the open. This process definitely ups the danger factor because of the volatility of the butane involved. Anyhow according to Fender the flavor, smell and effect of that initial run was so amazing that he referred to it as It was the best thing he had ever smoked at that time.
Sure this new concentrate tased great but crafting it was extremely dangerous back then. In 2011 extractors were open-blastin live resin and freezing the exteration tubes. Since frozen glass extraction tubes were super fragile and very prone to breakage they weren’t to useful in making live resin. As a result several extract makers back then used everything from metal pipes to modified Thermoses. If the glass or whatever else was used in the process survived the cold the resulting extract was often too harsh-tasting to consume. It was also a funky green color. Both the look and harsh flavor were due to the fact that during the extraction process chlorophyll was being leached out and concentrated along with all those valuable terpenoids and cannabinoids. To make matters worse as the plant material began to thaw during the slow extraction process and infiltrate the concentrate. The resulting product would then crackle and pop while being consumed—a sign of an inferior product to most cannabis concentrate connoisseurs.
Plus the yields using this live rosin technique back then were terrible. Because a flash frozen whole plant would take a up a lot more space in an extraction tube than ground dried weed yields were sparse. A full starting tube would lead to just a few mere grams of finished product. This led to many connoisseurs to think that live resin or fresh-frozen BHO as it was known back then would never be a commercially viable product.
It wasn’t until September 2013 when Fenger met EmoTek Labs’ founder Giddy Up that the live resin production moved forward. When Fenger heard about EmoTek Labs’ OBE-Dos closed-loop extraction unit that could take super cold temperatures he realized that he had found a device that could safely create fresh frozen BHO. Forget glass tubes Fenger now had a shiny steel, large-capacity extractor that was pressure-rated down to -10 degrees fahrenheit to blash live resin.
According to folklore the first batch of fresh-frozen BHO wasn’t quite a success. Apparently Giddy and Fenger over-vacuum purged the product in post-processing As a result this initial batch lost much of its sought-after qualities. However that didn’t stop the two. They continued to refine their technique.
A few months later they got together with a few other extract experts at the Gaia Garden kitchen to do some serious live resin extraction. This is where the first truly successful batch of live resin was created. It was made from cryogenically frozen whole plant. The strain was Tres Star from Top Dawg Seeds, grown by Tierra Rojo and his team at Gaia Plant-Based Medicine. The team didn’t stop there, man. Over the next 24 hours they kept producing more concentrates from several more strains including East Coast Panama Chunk, Chem D and DJ Short’s Flo. It was during this extraction session that Fenger coined the term Live Resin.
Live resin vs shatter
Compared to shatter, which is made from dry plants, live resin has a much less stable consistency. As a result Live Resin can transform into different consistencies over time. Live Resin shatter might change into a sappy oil or become slightly cloudy in appearance. It can also transform into a more granular or sugar like texture. It can even transform into a soft sand consistency that’s pretty much dry to the touch. Why does live resin change like this over time? It’s mainly due to the high moisture and terpene content as compared to other concentrates.
Live resin vs rosin
Next to live resin in terms of desirability and uniqueness is rosin. This is a rather new technique that involves heat and pressure but doesn’t necessitate expensive equipment. All that’s needed is a basic hair straightener to act as a crude resin press and some high-quality bud. Like live resin the starting material of rosin can be frozen to preserve those precious terpenes. To make rosin one places a bud between parchment paper and squishes it using the hair straightener. The heat and pressure produces a oil like substance known as rosin.
What Distinguishes Live Resins from One Another?
The biggest difference between one live resin and another is its texture.Because live resin product can change over time you’ll notice different viscosities. This constitutes the biggest difference among the products.
Live resins can take the form of anything between sap to sugar to jelly to butter. Like we mentioned above it can take the form of shatter which is its most stable form. It’s also the most difficult for extraction artists to create because it requires high-grade starting material and extremely cold temperatures during the entire process. This form also seems to retain its terpene profile the lnogs although it’s aroma isn’t as noticeable as other textures.
The amount of terpenes found in the live resin product can play an important role in texture often times you’ll find products that have been altered post extraction. For example viscous saps can be “whipped” into butters using a little heat and a lot of agitation. As a result the final product is a beautiful light-colored wax or budder that’s soft and pliable rather than dry and crumbly. It also smells incredible.
The sugar texture also smells incredible. This form is often derived from a long, strong and slightly warm vacuum purge. Even though the sugar form is super terpene-rich it does tend to lose those qualities faster than the other textures. Plus textures can change as a result of the way live resin is stored. It can also change depending on age and of course the types of plants being extracted. Some pot plants consistently produce a very stable shatter that stays perfect clear and shatters when tapped. Other strains produce a liquid, terpene-rich oil that’s impossible to transform into anything other than a thick viscous oil. Anyhow since the volatile, water-soluble terpenes begin evaporating from the moment a batch is produced live resin is best consumed as quick as possible.
How to make live resin
Making live resin requires a lot of trial and error. It also involves a lot of experimenting with different strains, oven temperatures and extracting pressures. To produce a top-notch terpene-rich live resin that’s free of moisture lipids and chlorophyll here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Use quality equipment. Make sure your stuff can take extremely cold temperatures. We’re talking something like EmoTek Labs’ OBE-Dos closed-loop extraction unit. Cheap equipment may not work properly under such conditions and malfunction. Oftentimes seals or clamps rupture during these harsh conditions so be care.
- Freeze the column. By keeping this component extremely cold the material inside will stay cold as well. This in turn will keep the butane cold as well as make the entire process much cleaner.
- Run fast and cold. The main reason live resin can taste terrible is because the starting material can thaw out during the process. So it’s best to run your live resin as fast and as cold as possible to prevent any thawing.
- Start with high-grade pot. The better the plants used the better the live resin. And make sure they’re whole. The process of cutting into a plant to remove leaves creates small opening in the plant that welcomes more chlorophyll to leach out during the extraction process. If the plant is chopped down and frozen immediately chlorophyll is better locked in and there less of a chance of losing terpenes.
- Sore your live resin proper.y. A wine cooler is perfect because it produces a cool low-humidity environment that’ll allow the live resin to continue to cure without losing its texture or terpenes. In fact cured resin like this may even have a brighter more pronounced flavor at this stage than when it was first created. A refrigerator can also be used to maintain the live resin texture for as long as possible.
In just a few years live resin has become one of the most sought-after and treasured cannabis concentrate available on the market. Since it was first created in Colorado it has won a number of awards all across the world. Nowadays it’s widely available. And as a result live resin prices have slowly gone down making it more affordable than even. It’s unique smell and full-flavor are awesome but it’s the color that many cannabis connoisseurs love about live resin.
How to smoke live resin
You can smoke live resin the same way you would smoke any other cannabis resin product. You could drop it in your vape pen or grab your dab rig and take a big ol’ bong hit of the stuff. You could even smoke it like that stuff you used to scrape from your crusty ol’ pipe because you’re Jonesing. You now what we’re taking about—if not here’s how to smoke resin. Anyhow you could smear live resin on joints or on top of a bowl—the options are pretty open however the best way to enjoy live resin is to vape it on a nail at a nice low temperature. That way you can appreciate all those tasty terpenes those processors worked so hard to preserve.
Have you tried connoisseur-grade live resin extracts? What sort of processed cannabis resin products do you dig? Let us know in the comments section below.