Cannabis consumption isn’t as simple as it used to be. It’s no longer just about getting your pipe or papers ready and grabbing your lighter. Now there are dozens of new THC products on the market and almost as many new ways to consume them. If you find the new world of cannabis terms and products to be confusing, you’re not alone. In order to take advantage of the new generation of cannabis products, some education is necessary — and that’s where we can help.
Desert Extracts was established as a way to offer cannabis enthusiasts with high-potency products that are prized for their quality and safety, ensuring an elevated experience and a clean high. Live resin concentrates are our specialty, and once you try them, you’ll notice the difference. But what if you’re new to cannabis concentrates, especially live resin extracts? No worries — we’ll explain what live resin is, how it’s made, and what makes this type of concentrate so special.
What is Live Resin?
People have been smoking marijuana for thousands of years, so why is there all of a sudden the influx of new products and consumption methods? The answer is evolution. This doesn’t mean that marijuana plants have magically morphed into some of the new favorite substances like sugar, wax, and shatter, it means that the entire marijuana industry has evolved by applying science to this long-running pastime and prized natural medicine.
Marijuana isn’t just for smoking anymore, and there is an increasing number of benefits that are now being recognized beyond the well-known chill factor. In order to capture and optimize these benefits, scientists have been working to create better, more effective cannabis products, and live resin extracts are one of them.
Live resin extracts are a type of cannabis concentrate that are prized for their high level of terpene content. Compared to other extracts and concentrates, live resin preserves more of the terpene content found in the fresh plant through a unique freezing and extraction process. Because of the chemistry and highly specialized equipment needed, it’s more difficult and more expensive for manufacturers to make.
Benefits of Live Resin Extracts
- Contains More of the Complete Plant
- Higher Concentration of Terpenes
- More Complex, Fuller Flavor
- Stronger Aroma
- Captures the Complete Chemical Profile
- Improved Therapeutic Benefits
- Increased Synergistic Effect
It’s All About the Terpenes
If the point of live resin extracts is to preserve terpene content, you might be wondering, “What are terpenes, and why do we want more of them?” Terpenes are the aromatic oils that give cannabis plants their distinctive flavors and aromas. Just like a fingerprint, each plant has its own unique combination of terpenes. When you consider that there are over 100 different kinds of terpenes, and there are many factors that determine how they develop within a particular plant, you can start to see how the possibilities for variation could be endless.
While many people are familiar with the cannabis compounds of THC and CBD, there isn’t as much familiarity with terpenes. However, terpenes are thought to have a significant impact on the therapeutic use of cannabis. In essence, different types of terpenes are thought to be responsible for having different medicinal benefits such as pain relief, relief from anxiety, depression, and even epilepsy.
In addition to the numerous proposed medicinal benefits terpenes have on their own, it is also suggested that terpenes and other cannabinoids like THC and CBD work together synergistically, actually magnifying the effects of the individual components.
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.
How is Live Resin Made?
The process of making live resin is what makes it so special. Unlike growing and harvesting your own plants, extracting live resin requires a great deal of knowledge and specialized equipment — it’s not something you can just plan to make in your own home after reading a quick start guide and watching a YouTube video. Since terpene preservation is the key focus of live resin extraction, each step of the process is designed to maintain every part of the plant and avoid damage or degradation as much as possible.
The process of making the live resin starts with freshly harvested cannabis. This is where the similarities between live resin and other concentrates end. Traditional concentrates allow the plant to go through a drying and curing process which has a significant impact on the degradation of terpenes. With live resin extraction, however, only fresh, uncured plants are used. Because live resin extraction starts with fresh plants that haven’t been subjected to drying and heat, there will be less terpene loss.
Once the plants are harvested, it’s critical to process them as quickly as possible. If plants are allowed to sit for extended periods, moisture can accumulate, plants can dry out, or they can be exposed to excess light and heat. All of these things are bad for finished product quality and for preserving terpenes. That’s why during the process of making live resin extracts the freshly harvested cannabis is flash-frozen to subcritical temperatures almost immediately after harvesting. Freezing not only stops the metabolic processes but it allows for maximum retention of all of the desirable components of a plant.
Once the plants are frozen, they are ready for the extraction process. Again, in an effort to retain maximum terpene content, chilled solvents are used to extract the live resin. Extraction is performed with specialized equipment, and butane is often used as the solvent. It starts by passing the solvent into the first tank where it is pushed through the plant materials under pressure. This extracts the desirable components (THC, CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids) and leaves behind nothing but spent plant materials.
The next, and final step is the distillation process. During this stage, the solvent containing the concentrate is passed through yet another chamber that purifies the solution, removing unwanted fats and waxes, leaving behind just a pure, concentrated oil. This step is vital for giving live resin extracts their full flavor and aroma while eliminating any of the unwanted elements that can negatively affect your experience.
Live resin extraction employs scientific concepts and processes to create the highest quality end product possible. Great care is taken to protect the plants from exposure to heat, oxygen, and light — factors that all play a role in the degradation of terpenes. While terpene content and variety will vary from plant to plant, the process of live resin extraction is one way to ensure the existing terpene content is preserved.
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.