Live resin is one of the hottest trends in cannabis today. It’s the industry’s answer to “raw food,” a way of harnessing the true profile of a living cannabis plant. Additionally, it doesn’t lose anything to the extraction process. Live resin has only been around since the early 2010s, but it’s already changing the world of cannabis preparation. So what is live resin, and how is it different from other cannabis products out there today?
Traditional Cannabis Processing
Ordinarily, the extraction of a cannabis product means that the original plant gets dried and cured. This changes the terpene profile of the plant.
There are two different kinds of terpenes in cannabis: monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Monoterpenes provide lighter and breathier aromas like lemon and lavender, while sesquiterpenes are heavier and earthier with scents like pepper, oregano, and hops.
Monoterpenes evaporate faster during the drying process. Therefore, less remain when the oil or flower finally makes it to the dispensary counter. What you smoke, vape or eat will have a heavier aroma and taste than the original plant.
Live resin was invented to maintain the original terpene profile of the cannabis plant and provide users with a fresher experience.
Extracting Live Resin
Live resin doesn’t get dried or cured. Instead, the plant is flash frozen almost as soon as it’s harvested. It isn’t allowed to thaw until the extraction process is complete.
To produce live resin, manufacturers put a recently harvested plant in a commercial freezer. Once it’s frozen, the cannabis goes into a machine known as a closed-loop extractor. The extractor exposes the plant to a chemical called butane, which has been cooled to a temperature between 20 F and 50 F below zero.
The liquid butane pulls the cannabinoids and terpenes out of the plant. It then passes into a “dewax” chamber that purifies the solution to take out all of the unwanted substances like waxes and fats. Finally, the purified liquid passed into a collection chamber where high levels of heat boil off the butane. This results in a concentrated oil containing THC, CBD, and terpenes.
If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. This isn’t the kind of thing you can do at home and the machines necessary run into the five-figure range. That’s part of why live resins cost more than traditional oils.
How is Live Resin Different?
Live resin has the same balance of aroma and flavor of the original plant. It’s likely to be lighter in scent because the concentration of monoterpenes is around 2% higher and the percentage of sesquiterpenes is 11% lower. That’s all because more of the monoterpenes stick around. It’s not because any of the sesquiterpenes go away in the freezing process.
To clarify, just because something is a live resin doesn’t mean that it will be stronger and more robust than any dried product. What will be different is the particular experience you have.
For example, if you’re using cannabis to reduce anxiety and your strain is high in myrcene and limonene, you might have a better experience with live resin. Both of these compounds are monoterpenes and will be more present if the plant doesn’t get dried.
A Final Word
Will live resin get you higher than dried flower from the same plant? Probably not, since the preparation process doesn’t affect the levels of cannabinoids in the final product. What it will do is give you a richer and more authentic taste experience, while preserving the balance of the terpene profile.