Cannabis concentrates have become increasingly popular because of their incredible potency and versatility. But what most concentrates offer when it comes to cannabinoid content, they lose in flavor. Why are concentrates so bland? Most of the time, the extraction process does an impressive job of stripping the plant matter down to nothing but pure cannabinoids. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are incredibly therapeutic – but they’re also completely flavorless. Live resin concentrates stand apart because technicians extract them in a way that preserves the compounds responsible for the unique fragrances of various cannabis strains. With live resin, you get the medical and the olfactory effect you want. Keep reading to learn more about this aromatically complex concentrate and how to consume it.
What is Live Resin?
Live resin is a type of cannabis concentrate. Concentrates, also known as extracts, are cannabinoid-packed oils remove from the cannabis plant. If you’ve ever baked cookies or a cake, you get the idea. The vanilla extract you use is a highly concentrated tincture. That’s why you only add a very tiny amount of it when cooking. It’s the same with cannabis concentrates. They’re concentrated forms of cannabinoids, so you only need a small amount to get powerful results.
How is Live Resin Made?
The live resin extraction process sets it apart from other concentrates. Other extraction methods use dried and cured plant material, but extract technicians use raw weed as source material for live resin. Extracting live resin is similar to extracting other types of concentrates. Cannabis processors saturate the plant material in a solvent (a chemical like butane or CO2) that separates the cannabinoids from the plant matter. Then, extract technicians purify the remaining liquid of all unwanted plant matter and residual solvent. But there’s one more thing that makes the live resin extraction process different from the others: The raw plant matter is flash-frozen immediately following harvest and kept in those freezing temperatures throughout the extraction process. By skipping the drying and curing process and flash-freezing the cannabis plant as soon as its harvested, extract technicians can preserve far more terpenes than they would if they used cured, unfrozen bud.
Why is Live Resin so Flavorful?
Technicians extract live resin concentrates from raw cannabis, weed that hasn’t been dried or cured. What difference does that make? Fresh cannabis contains more of the compounds that create its flavor – terpenes. In other words, raw cannabis has more terpenes, and terpenes make weed tasty. The following are five of the most prevalent terpenes found in different cannabis strains (and what each of those terpenes smells like):
- Myrcene – fruity and earthy, similar to cloves and grapes.
- Limonene – bright, citrus scent like oranges or lemons
- Linalool – a floral, spicy scent found in lavender, rosewood, and coriander
- Caryophyllene – pungent and musky, reminiscent of black pepper or diesel fuel
- Pinene – fresh, invigorating scent of pine
If you have a trained palate and care about experiencing the full complexity of flavors cannabis brings to the senses, live resin is the concentrate for you.
Why Is It So Hard to Preserve Terpenes in Concentrates?
Cured weed makes for a great smoke experience. When properly harvested, dried, and cured, bud is most definitely flavorful. So why do extract technicians use raw cannabis instead of cured cannabis? It comes down to preserving the compounds most responsible for cannabis’ aromatic bouquet. Terpenes are secondary metabolites found in all plants. From a biological perspective, plants create them to survive. Terpenes repel predators and attract pollinators.
Despite their importance to the plant’s survival, terpenes are highly volatile compounds. In other words, it takes minimal effort to lose them. Terpenes are especially sensitive to heat and light, which is why large amounts of them evaporate during the drying and curing process. If you're smoking cured bud, you'll still be able to enjoy lots of those terpenes. However, adding an extraction process between curing the cannabis and consuming it gives those flavorful compounds lots of time and ways to disappear. Using raw weed adds another layer of terpene protection to the process so you can get as much medicine as possible from your cannabis products.
Where Can I Get Live Resin?
For the most high-quality live resin, find a dispensary near you and check out what’s on the menu. While you can probably get live resin from a dealer, an unlicensed cannabis operator isn't required to get their products tested (so they probably won't). Shopping at regulated cannabis businesses gives you the peace of mind that a third party checked your cannabis concentrates for toxic traces of mold, mildew, or solvents. DON'T attempt to make live resin on your own. Amateurs have blown themselves and their homes up trying to make cannabis concentrates. Our recommendation? Leave cannabis extraction to the experts.
How and Why to Consume Live Resin
The most common way to consume live resin is to dab it. If you want to take a less equipment-intensive route, you could use a vape pen (just make sure it’s compatible with concentrates). The simplest consumption method for live resin? Top off your roll or bowl with a small amount for a potent medical boost to your smoke. Now here are a couple of things you should know before consuming live resin: 1. Live resin is a concentrate, so start with very tiny amounts. Thankfully, adverse reactions to cannabis are relatively mild compared to other conventional medicines.
So no – cannabis won’t kill you. But you can experience anxiety, paranoia, or panic attacks if exposed to too much THC. You decrease your chances of “greening out" by consuming tiny amounts of live resin at a time (think half the size of your pinky nail) and waiting around 2 hours before consuming more. 2. Live resin is therapeutically more robust than isolates. Live resin is referred to as full spectrum or whole spectrum cannabis because it retains the plant's naturally occurring chemical profile.
Researchers believe that cannabis is most medically effective when all of its natural compounds are consumed together. Known as the entourage effect, the synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes can enhance the quality of your cannabis medicine. While still potent sources of cannabis medicine, cannabinoid isolates lack that synergy.