Rosin – What it is and Ways of Easily Making it at Home
You’ll probably agree with us when we say the world of cannabis concentrates continues to become more diverse.
What started with the first commercial extract in cannabis history, hash, has now lead to a variety of extracts including kief, oil, wax, BHO and rosin – all offering their own unique taste, experience and, of course, ‘pleasure factor’.
Even though each product is prepared differently, the underlying objective is the same: extract those wonderful trichomes from the female cannabis flowers.
How Rosin is Unique
Rosin is a solid marijuana concentrate which is produced with the help of only heat and pressure – there’s no need to use solvents, as is the case when preparing other concentrates.
We believe rosin deserves to be right on top of the concentrate pyramid. But just to be clear – we do love the other concentrates and what they bring to the table.
BHO products, for instance, like wax, hatter, live resin or sauce are great – however, they contain solvents. Concentrates made improperly have residual solvents, which means you don’t get the best concentrated healing effect. In fact, in some cases, solvents may introduce unwanted contaminants which can pose a risk to your health.
However, even if you’re not worried about the presence of solvents in your cannabis concentrates, you should definitely care about the source that your concentrate originates from – i.e. the plant.
Let’s take BHO, for example, which can mask certain imperfections by drowning out mould or mildew or washing over chemical solvents. Rosin is not capable of doing any ‘masking’ because it paints a 1:1 picture of what the plant’s genetic makeup and structure is at the core.
Therefore, if the rosin has been extracted from an older and oxidised plant, it will exhibit a darker colour. If the plant is less resinous or generally dry, the yields will decrease accordingly. Subsequently, if you start off with over-sifted kief, you can bet the extra chlorophyll will lend to a darker colour.
What we’re getting at is this: rosin is completely honest. When made properly, it remains 100% unadulterated – it actually stands to be the best way of preserving the cannabinoids and terpenes that make marijuana so healing and enjoyable to consume.
We Get it, it’s Great – Shouldn’t it be More Popular?
Even though rosin may not be talked about as much as the other ‘usual suspects’ like kief, hash, live resin or dry sift – it is actually popular – well, in Southern California anyway. However, rosin is also gaining popularity in Colorado, especially since the amount of solvents legally permissible in concentrates has gone up. In fact, the permissible amount of Butane has gone up by 525% – that’s 800 ppm to 5,000 ppm!
Suffice it to say, people are now paying attention to rosin as a ‘legit’ concentrate and not just something you prepare at home using a hair straightening iron.
Ways to Consume Rosin
Dabbing is a great way to enjoy rosin – a method which is enjoyed quite a bit by users in the 18-30 demographic. However, CO2 being one of the most popular concentrates, isn’t dabbed, surprisingly enough. Rather, it is smoked through a vaping device, which actually appeals to many users, given its portability, minimal maintenance and practically no odour at all.
We’ve summarised an easy method for dabbing rosin at the end of the article but if you want to vape rosin in a vape pen, here’s how:
The first thing we need to do is to find a way to make that rosin a little less viscous. This can be accomplished through terpenes. Alternatively, you could also use a combination of vegetable glycerine (VG) and propylene glycol (PG), which are both mild solvents.
Majority of e-juices sold today combine the two, even though the best quality rosin vape pens are made using single-source terpenes which are re-introduced in order to achieve a certain level of consistency. However, the process can be technical and requires a deep and thorough understanding of steam distillation in order to produce a solvent-free vape.
Therefore, we recommend using the above two solvents to thin down rosin, because this way you can bypass the distillation method when vaping – a process best left to cannabis manufacturing labs or distributors.
A little background on the two solvents is noteworthy. PG is a by-product of petroleum. By nature, it is colourless and odourless, and supposedly has the ability to carry flavour a little better than VG. Studies have vouched for its safety in terms of oral ingestion and the FDA has categorised it as ‘safe for consumption’ and a food additive. In fact, PG can be found in a number of everyday products such as shampoos, beauty products, toothpaste, pet food, etc.
VG, on the other hand, is extracted from vegetable oil. It is the most benign solvent currently available. It doesn’t have the ability to carry flavour as well as the former and it also has a more viscous profile than PG. In addition, it does not independently work as effectively when it comes to thinning down rosin.
The way we see it, the best way to use PG is to combine it with VG because it is a natural solvent which means it makes for a much smoother hit.
VG can be found in baked goods, beauty products, artificial sweeteners, toothpaste, etc. The FDA has categorised it as ‘safe to consume’. When it comes to making rosin e-juice, a PG-VG ration of 2:1 is ideal. If you want to bypass making your juice altogether, then there are pre-mixed wax liquidizers that you can buy.
After you’ve gotten your e-juice, just add the rosin to it. Here, we’d recommend a 1:1 ratio – there is an exception however – if your e-juice contains a higher ratio of VG to PG, you may need to use more rosin. Adding a little water always helps.
Next, you’re going to heat the liquid for no more than 10 to 15 seconds and then give it a stir. If you find that the liquid is too viscous, add more thinner. At this point, keep in mind that you will have to experiment a little, so give it a few tries and you will get it right. Pull the liquid into your cartridge using a syringe.
We know what you’re thinking: “All this is fantastic but I don’t want to use solvents with my rosin even if they are benign, because then the whole idea of a ‘solvent-less concentrate’ is pretty much lost”.
Well, that is a completely valid point. Decarboxylating your rosin is a great alternative as it will allow you to make some really high-quality edibles.
We understand that many cannabis purists simply do not want to cosy up to the idea of using VG, PG or liquid terpenes for that matter, with their rosin. We can completely relate. As it turns out, you’re not limited to just dabs when consuming rosin. You can ‘decarb’ it so that it can be consumed as a premium-quality edible.
Decarbing is a process that allows an extra carboxyl group to be released from a cannabinoid. The ‘high’ you get from cannabis cannot be experienced until this carboxyl group is released. For instance, the cannabinoid THCA has no psychoactive effects – but once it dries and is exposed to heat, part of it converts to THC, which is psychoactive.
You may have noticed how raw cannabis flowers purchased from a dispensary contain a lot of THCA. So when you burn your cannabis in order to smoke it, what you’re doing is releasing the extra carboxyl group – you’re effectively decarbing it while smoking, so to speak However, when it comes to edibles, decarbing has to be carried out before you can ingest them. This is done by applying heat over a set timeframe.
One of the easiest ways, in fact, to make rosin at home is through the solvent-less method, which takes anywhere between 30-40 minutes to complete.
What you’ll need is a heat source, some cannabis flowers and parchment paper that can resist grease and moisture. In addition, you’ll need:
- A 2-inch hair straightener to melt the resinous material away from the buds
- Dab tool or dab stick
- Oven gloves to press the straightener
- The process of decarbing rosin requires 220°C – and this is what you’re going to set your hair straightener to – remember to place it on an even surface
- Put a single bud in the middle of a folded piece of parchment paper
- Scrape the rosin off from the parchment paper using the dab tool
- The last two steps need to be repeated so that all the resin can be squeezed out from the buds
To calculate the yield size, divide the buds’ weight by 5. So, for example, 30g buds will yield approximately 6g rosin and 10g buds will yield about 2g.
Enjoy your home-made rosin dab!