It’s aromatic, it’s concentrated and it’s becoming increasingly popular. If you haven’t heard of live resin yet, the team at Seedsman are here to tell you all about it. Anyone who has a liking for BHO or Butane Hash Oil will certainly know what we are talking about.
A favorite with connoisseurs, particularly in the US, live resin is the result of combining cannabis know-how with the latest concentrate technology.
The truth is that we know a lot more about concentrates than we did just a decade or so ago. Better communication and the legalization of cannabis in many states, as well as a growing body of research have all contributed to new and better ways of processing it.
While it may cost a bit more than other concentrates, live resin certainly delivers more flavor and a higher level of terpenes than ever before.
Let’s Talk Concentrates
Concentrates are cannabis products that have certainly benefited from an infusion of technology and knowledge sharing within the sector. Cannabis can be used in a whole range of concentrates, and not just for the high-inducing THC.
Medical cannabis or CBD is often used in this type of cannabis product and that’s one of main reasons that there have been so many advances in this area over recent years.
The most common concentrate is Butane Hash Oil or BHO which uses a solvent to extract the cannabinoids in higher levels than you get with natural cannabis plants. While in simple terms this is about heating up the cannabis to very high temperatures with the solvent, it’s a lot more complex than that. What you end up with at the end, however, is a pure concentrate that is high, for example, in THC or CBD.
Concentrates are generally divided into distinct types mainly depending on their consistency. These include:
- Shatter: The most popular concentrate, certainly in the US, and is characterized by its glassy consistency though the product can sometime verge on the edge of sticky.
- Wax: These usually contain decarboxylated THC and are less uniform in shape. Think of a large blob of earwax and you won’t be far off the mark. The consistency makes it a bit more malleable than shatter.
- Crumble: As you can see from the name, this has a less solid texture and is usually stored in jars or on parchment. It has a honeycomb consistency.
- Rosin: If you’re looking for a concentrate that isn’t made using solvents this is a popular choice. It’s prepared using just pressure and heat that essentially squeezes the sap out of cannabis buds.
- Oil: Cannabis oil has become increasingly popular since vaping technology took off over the last decade or so. It’s also easy to store and transport and by far the most readily available product on the market at the moment.
- Budder: This is similar to BHO but has a higher terpene content, though this is significantly less than live resin.
What is Live Resin?
Live resin has been touted as the high class version of BHO – a step up, if you like. While BHO is used with dried bud, live resin takes advantage of a ‘flash frozen’ product.
Why is this important? Frozen vegetables have a higher nutritional value when they get to your home than fresh vegetables. This might seem like a detour from cannabis but it’s important. Fresh veg begins to degrade almost as soon as it is dug up and sent to the nearest superstore. By the time it reaches your dinner table a large part of the nutrients have disappeared.
The same is true with cannabis. The minute you cut those buds and leaves away, they start to degrade. Drying and curing help to halt that process.
If you freeze cannabis very, very quickly, you keep all that natural goodness in and it doesn’t begin to degrade. This in turn also means that you can extract more when you want to make a concentrate.
Live Resin Has a Better Flavor
It’s the quality of live resin that has got people talking, especially those who love their concentrates. We often talk about the drying and curing process of cannabis and how this needs to take place over a period of time if you want a product that is strong and full of flavor.
In essence, it’s a lot like winemaking where the wine is first bottled and then left to mature over time and the longer you leave it the better it becomes.
The curing process has it’s drawbacks, however. That’s mostly to do with terpenes. While many people think about THC and CBD when it comes to cannabis, the plant actually has a wide range of useful elements in it that go to make up the whole.
- Terpenes are aromatic oils that are secreted by the cannabis plant and they can also add a distinctive flavor such as berry or mint.
- Their natural function is to deter predators as the plant is growing and there can be as many as 100 different types depending on the strain of cannabis plant.
- Terpenes can also elicit different effects. Some can make you relaxed, others have a beneficial medicinal impact. There’s a lot of research going into these elements at the moment and a lot is left to be discovered.
The problem is that terpenes can be lost during the normal curing process. In fact, almost half will simply degrade and disappear. By immediately freezing the harvested cannabis, however, these can all be preserved which is why you get such an improvement in flavor with this kind of concentrate.
When you look at it closely, live resin retains different qualities to traditional BHO. It’s a lot more liquid and seems less stable. What you do get, however, is a far superior aroma and taste and that’s why it’s proving to be more and more popular among cannabis users.
The Pros and Cons of Live Resin
Any new product on the market has it’s good and bad points. Live resin is not something that you can make easily in the home but, of course, that goes for most concentrates. As we’ve already mentioned, the greater flavor and smoother experience puts it head and shoulders above other products on the market.
There are downsides if you are looking for a superior experience, with all those aromatic terpenes intact. You need laboratory equipment to make it and there are quite a lot of risks associated with
cryogenically freezing something. It basically involves putting the cannabis in liquid nitrogen, not a task that can be easily performed in the kitchen.
That complexity needed in the manufacture of live resin can make it a good deal more expensive than other concentrates. These usually have a pretty high potency as well and the selling point is not just the aroma but the fact that it can get you super-high.
To put this in context, traditional dry cured cannabis can come in at a THC level averaging at 20%. Some makes of live resin have concentrations at between 65 and 95%.
As with any new product on the market, sourcing can be a problem, especially for those who live in areas like Europe. In the US, you need to be sure that you are purchasing from a reputable manufacturer.
Having said that, live resin continues to grow in popularity and, if you like your concentrate as pure as possible, it’s a great choice.
The Health Benefits of Live Resin
Many people use cannabis for medicinal purposes, particularly for conditions such as chronic pain and nausea. High level concentrates such as live resin can help alleviate a range of symptoms and terpenes might actually deliver more health benefits than simply great aroma and taste, at least according to some research. A lot of work still needs to be done in this area but there may well be more surprises around the corner once we do start to learn the truth about cannabis and how terpenes impact on health.
For the moment, the big differentiators for live resin are the improved aroma and taste as well as higher levels of cannabinoids. The problem is that you will have to pay more bucks than you do for other concentrates like shatter and wax.
With the specialist skills need to produce it, we’re not likely to see that price come down anytime soon. The fact that cannabis has been made legal in so many states, however, could well provide room for more wholesale manufacture as this kind of product really needs to be purchased from a reputable source.
For connoisseurs, it’s well worth a try even if you do then go back to more affordable and more readily available concentrates.