Cannabis Concentrates: What Is Live Resin?
There is a new special form of BHO making its way through the cannabis community. Known as live resin, this highly aromatic concentrate is quickly becoming a connoisseur favourite, so what is it and why is it so special?
Technological development plays a very important role in modern cannabis cultivation. Growing lights are getting more efficient, innovative fertilization solutions help to optimize yields, and breeders are doing an excellent job in creating strains that are specifically tailored to individual needs. Even the ways concentrates are produced are benefiting from the march forward in science and technology. As we begin to understand more about cannabis and its traits, we are discovering new and interesting methods to get the most out of our bud. This article provides information about one such new and interesting form of concentrate: Live resin.
LIVE RESIN, TERPENES AND HIGH-TECH
There are many different ways to extract the desired components of cannabis. When it comes to concentrates, butane hash-oil (BHO) is the most common form. Live resin is actually a form of BHO, but more of a connoisseur grade that focuses on maintaining a strong and pure flavour profile. While the production process of BHO is relatively simple, producing live resin is a lot more complex.
Live resin is produced in a very similar fashion to BHO, but with fresh, flash frozen bud, as opposed to bud that has been dried and cured. The cryogenic freezing of fresh and non-dried cannabis blossoms helps to extract a wider range of cannabinoids and terpenes, but it requires very specialist equipment.
LIVE RESIN: A SUPERIOR FLAVOUR PROFILE
Most home-growers know how important the drying and curing process is. The aromatic package has to develop slowly over time. The production of high-quality cannabis can be quite similar to the production of good wine or cheese. The ripening process is extremely important for the smell and taste of the final product.
Even if the curing process is perfectly managed, up to 55-60% of the essential oils, also known as terpenes, can be lost. By taking freshly harvested bud as the input factor for the production of live resin, and immediately shock freezing it, terpenes and cannabinoids don’t have the chance to degrade. This is the biggest difference to other forms of concentrates, which normally use dried and cured buds to start with.
From a technical perspective, live resin is still a form of BHO that is produced by exposing buds to butane. Live resin can also be produced via CO2 extraction, though. After extraction, the material is purged of impurities using a vacuum oven that employs lower temperatures for a few hours.
As live resin contains more terpenes, it has a sappy, rather liquid-like quality. One could say that live resin is not as stable, or rigid, as BHO products like shatter or glass. However, the aroma and taste are far superior to other forms of concentrates, and can be astonishing. This is logical in a way, when a few grams of live resin are able to capture the full spectrum of aromas from a freshly harvested plant.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF LIVE RESIN
There are very few disadvantages to live resin – the unadulterated flavour it is able to capture makes it truly top shelf stuff. However, as mentioned earlier, the production process of live resin is rather complex, and laboratory equipment is needed. Cryogenic freezing often uses liquid nitrogen with temperatures being low as -196 °C. Experimenting with liquid nitrogen in your garage or basement can obviously involve risks. Live resin productions is better suited to experts that have access to the right equipment and a lab.
Because the process of producing live resin is rather time-consuming and complex, it often comes with a relatively high prices for consumers. The high cost of live resin also has to do with its high potency. Cannabis users that have little or no experience with concentrates have to be careful. The THC values of live resin vary between 65-95%, making it a perfect concentrate for medicinal users or recreational dabbing.
THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF LIVE RESIN AND OTHER CONCENTRATES
Live resin provides the option to intake large amounts of THC, and other cannabinoids, in one single inhale. This way, negative health effects due to smoking can be decreased. This can be very beneficial for patients who use cannabis for chronic pain or nausea - who rely on a fast relief and don’t want to smoke constantly. The potent effect could also have implications for people using cannabis to help alleviate other medical conditions, such as chemotherapy side effects, epilepsy, migraines, and pretty much anything else people have decided to use cannabis for.
In addition to all this, scientific research is pointing towards the direction that terpenes are not only responsible for aromas and flavours, but work together with cannabinoids in order to provide the desired medicinal effects. This could make live resin an important concentrate of the future.
Finding live resin in Europe will be a tough challenge for medicinal and recreational cannabis users. Unfortunately, there is no working legal framework for the production of cannabis-based concentrates. This makes it hard for companies and investors to take part in the worldwide development of medicinal cannabis. Any live resin found will have been illegally produced, making it a rare and expensive commodity.
It seems to be the sad reality of the 21st century that seriously sick patients need to move to a country where governments decided that it is legal for them to use this plant, in order to treat their health problems. It’s time to have a reasonable and fact-based discussion of how we want to treat cannabis, as a society, and as a European Union that acts in the best interest of its people and states.