What Is Live Resin?

Posted by Halina Reagan on

Live resin is a potent concentrate with several unique characteristics. What is live resin? Unlike other extracts, live resin is unique because it contains many of the terpenes and cannabinoids lost during the drying and curing processes. For cannasseurs, the abundance of terpenes are what gives live resin its unique flavor.

5 Facts about Live Resin

  • It smells just like the living plant, hence its name.
  • Live resin is made by extracting material from living cannabis plants as opposed to dried and cured plant matter. Instead, it's flash-frozen.
  • This method of extraction is famous for preserving terpene content, which gives live resin its strong and varied flavors.
  • Live resin is usually dabbed.
  • It comes in a variety of consistencies (the more terpenes, the runnier it is). Common consistencies include badder, budder, and sugar.
live resin

What Is Live Resin?

As its name would suggest, live resin is made from "live" cannabis plants--meaning that the plant hasn't been dried and cured as is customary with dried herb and other concentrates, including most types of BHO (Butane Hash Oil).

And because the cannabis plant doesn't go through this drying and curing process, its trichomes—small, crystalline growthsdon't dry out. This is why smoking live resin is so flavorful. 

Live resin smells just like the living plant.  

What Is Live Resin's Consistency?

It depends. The more terpenes in an extract, the less viscous (i.e. more watery) it is. Often, this extract's consistency is similar to budder, badder, sap, or sugar. Unlike BHO, which can take the shape of shatter, live resin typically contains too many terpenes to be that brittle. 

Why Is Live Resin So Flavorful?

Live resin is famous for its terpene profile. Terpenes are essentially essential oils that make up the cannabis plant. They affect flavor and effects, so real cannasseurs like to experience a blend's full terpene profile.

Most extracts require drying and curing the cannabis plant before the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the plant matter using butane, in this case. This is necessary because consuming non-dried cannabis won't produce any effects. But by drying it, you lose some fo the terpenes and flavanoids that make it so tasty.

What is live resin? In addition to being delicious, live resin represents a new generation of cannabis concentrates: instead of being exposed to heat, cannabis plant matter is flash-frozen, preserving its potency. Unlike other extraction processes, live resin's involves freezing all plant matter--flower, branches, leaves, and even the stalk. In other words, it's full-spectrum, a term you may have heard in reference to CBD.

Live Resin vs BHO

  • Live resin can be a subset of BHO, though it can also be made using CO2 extraction equipment.
  • It's more flavorful than your average BHO because it is made from flash-frozen herb. This preserves a weed strain's terpene profile and makes it "full spectrum."
  • Live resin can take some of the same forms as conventional BHO, including budder, badder, and wax, though it will not be as flat and brittle as, say, shatter.
  • Since the flash-freezing process is more expensive, live resin is more expensive than conventional BHO.

Technically, live resin can be a type of BHO, depending on the extraction method. If the extraction equipment uses butane, it is BHO. However, some equipment uses CO2 extraction.

Some people consider live resin to be a cannasseur's BHO. 

But unlike conventional BHO (i.e. dabs that are not labeled live resin, which may include BHO shatter, wax, oil...), live resin is made from flash-frozen plant matter. This makes it more flavorful--it contains more terpenes and flavonoids--and more expensive.

How to Smoke Live Resin

Most people dab live resin. This is a type of smoking that involves a dab rig -- a device similar to a bong but smaller in size which has a 'nail' as opposed to a bowl. 

  • Using a torch, the user pre-heats the heats the nail to a temperature between 320 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • With a dab tool, he or she will then put a "dab" of the concentrate on the rig's nail.
  • The user should be ready to inhale as the concentrate will vaporize quickly. 

Warning: Dabbing produces strong psychoactive effects, i.e. a high. It is not suitable for people who are new to smoking cannabis. 

Some users will sprinkle the extract in their silicone bong's bowl to add some extra flavor and potency. Do not forget that live resin contains much higher levels of THC than dry herb. Less is more, especially for beginners.

How Hot Should the Dab Rig Be?

Temperature is important. Some advocate heating the nail to a temperature between 320 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit to fully vaporize live resin without combusting its terpenes.

How to Store Live Resin

Like all extracts, this concentrate should be kept dry and far from heat and light. Hot temperatures and light can age it quickly, diminishing its terpene profile.

For best results, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge or a cold room. Look for a silicone or glass container, which won't affect your extract's quality.

Resin vs. Live Resin vs. Rosin

Though these weed terms sound similar, they refer to very different things. Here's how to distinguish between the three:

  1. RESIN: The sticky substance produced by the cannabis flower that you can see on a cannabis plant. Resin is the most potent part of the plant. The kief that you find at the bottom of your weed grinder contains resin, as does hash, which is technically compressed resin.
  2. LIVE RESIN: A cannabis concentrate which is extracted using lab equipment and a fast-freezing process to preserve the plant's trichomes and flavonoids. It's typically a viscous, amber substance and is frequently dabbed.
  3. ROSIN: Rosin is another type of concentrate but instead of being flash-frozen, rosen is made by exposing resin from the plant to high heat. Unlike BHO, rosin is made without solvent, though can be similar to budder or wax in appearance. 

The cannabis plant naturally produces resin, and you don't need special equipment to enjoy it. Dispensaries over sell live resin concentrates, which are very flavorful and potent dabs. Rosin is an alternative concentrate made from resin but produced without solvent.

Live Resin vs. Wax

Wax can take the form of live resin, though one isn't necessarily the other. It can also be BHO produced without the flash-freezing process. Additionally, not all live resin is wax as wax has more to do with the texture. For example, some extracts may be gooier.

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