By Luke Sumpter

How would you react if somebody told you to put your weed in the freezer? It sounds bizarre at first, but packing your buds into bags and freezing them comes with several benefits. First, it removes the lengthy task of drying and curing. Moreover, by preserving the terpene and cannabinoid profiles of freshly harvested buds, freezing weed also allows you to create some of the best cannabis extracts around.

Can You Freeze Weed?

Yes. You can freeze weed just like you can freeze any fruit or vegetable. But why would people go out of their way to do so? At first, you might think it has something to do with storage. However, properly dried and cured flowers remain viable for over one year—although the THC content drops considerably after this point.

Chiefly, freezing weed serves as the first step in making high-quality extracts; specifically, those that maintain the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of fresh cannabis flowers. Freezing essentially shields these volatile compounds and ensures that more of them wind up in the end product.

Fresh Frozen Weed

Fresh Frozen Weed: A US Market Trend

You’re not alone; we also raised our eyebrows when we first heard of fresh frozen weed. However, once you understand why manufacturers do this, it’ll all become clear. Fresh frozen weed benefits growers and consumers alike. On the industrial side of things, freezing buds massively reduces labor costs and turnover time. Instead of drying and curing buds—and exposing them to the risk of mold and other pathogens in the process—growers simply place their flowers into industrial freezers and send them off to labs for extraction.

From a consumer standpoint, fresh frozen cannabis is often viewed as a superior product. Some cannabis connoisseurs claim that they can tell the difference between extracts made from cured flowers and those derived from the fresh frozen method. But it doesn’t take a specialist to make this distinction. In fact, due to rising demand, these products—such as fresh frozen live resin and rosin—are becoming almost ubiquitous in dispensaries all over the United States.

Why Freeze Weed?

As we’ve discussed, freezing weed offers a big advantage to commercial operations, and the same is true for home cultivators. It's now possible for growers to enjoy the fruits of their labor within a much faster time frame, as no curing or drying is required. Workflow aside, the fresh frozen weed process helps to preserve key cannabis phytochemicals, including terpenes and cannabinoids. Ultimately, these compounds are the reason that people grow weed in the first place!

While cannabinoids are slightly more stable, terpenes rapidly degrade following harvest. These volatile hydrocarbons are highly sensitive to slight fluctuations in temperature, as well as exposure to light and oxygen. The traditional process of air drying and curing cannabis takes at least one month to obtain good results. During this time, buds are typically exposed to environments that take a toll on the terpene profile.

Terpenes don’t just contribute to the unique aroma and flavor of each cultivar—they’re directly involved in the psychoactive effect. Some terpenes have even been shown to influence the endocannabinoid system (the same network impacted by THC and CBD), and the theory of the entourage effect posits that these aromatic compounds could amplify the effects of select cannabinoids.

Freezing weed minimises exposure to conditions that alter the phytochemical profile of cannabis buds. Swiftly harvesting flowers and placing them into a freezing environment protects these precious chemicals prior to extraction.

An Introduction to Live Resin and Rosin

Live resin and live rosin are cannabis extracts that can be dabbed, vaped, or added to edibles; some smokers also include them in joints alongside herb. These products are referred to as “live” because they derive from fresh frozen weed. The name indicates their “freshness” and the process used to create them.

Technicians create live resin using hydrocarbon solvents such as propane and butane. After extraction, the solvent is purged from the extract to prevent residual contamination. Live rosin, on the other hand, is created using a solventless process that involves relatively low heat and pressure.

Live Resin

What’s Required to Create Fresh Frozen Weed?

Opting for fresh frozen weed doesn’t take a whole load of work or equipment. Most households will have all the gear required to run the most basic setup. However, you have the choice of investing in some additional pieces of kit for the best possible results. Check out what you’ll need below:

🍁 Freshly harvested bud: Aim to use the freshest buds possible. Ideally, you’ll freeze your flowers on the same day that you harvest them.

✂️ Scissors: You’ll need a pair of scissors to remove buds from the plants and trim away the sugar leaves. You can use a pair from your kitchen drawer, or grab a pair of curved trimming scissors for an ergonomic advantage.

🧊 Freezer: You might need to throw away those peas you’ve been meaning to eat for the last three years to make some room for your weed. You don’t need anything special here unless you plan on freezing boatloads of bud.

🛍️ Plastic bags: Before packing your buds into the freezer, you’ll need to place them in food-grade plastic bags—turkey bags are a good option.

📠 Vacuum sealer (optional): You don’t need to vacuum seal your flowers before freezing, but it can certainly help. These machines will suck the air out of bags, allowing you to fit more weed into a smaller space while also excluding oxygen—another variable that causes terpene degradation.

What Kind of Weed Should You Freeze?

You can use any type of cannabis flower during this process. It all depends on the phytochemicals that you want in your extract. Choose carefully when it comes to THC levels, CBD levels, and terpene content. Of course, you should also only use buds that are mold-free, without pesticide residue, and grown to the best of your abilities.

How to Harvest Before Freezing Weed

Go quick and gentle. You need to get your buds off the plant, trimmed, and packed away into the freezer in a matter of hours for the best results. So, pour a fresh cup of coffee, put on a podcast, hit a joint, and get to work! However, don’t allow speed to make you clumsy. Handle your flowers delicately to avoid crushing them and dislodging any trichomes.

How to Freeze Weed

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of fresh frozen weed, we’re going to walk you through the process! Grab your supplies and follow the steps below to keep your terps fresh.

Step 1: Harvest Carefully

Harvest day has arrived! Clear your schedule for the next few hours. Use a pair of scissors to remove buds from branches and load them into a collection tray. Remember to handle your flowers gently to keep the trichomes intact. Aim to handle them by the stems to avoid getting sticky hands and removing valuable resin. A pair of disposable gloves come in handy here too.


Step 2: Get Trimming

Once you’ve stripped your plants down, trim off the sugar leaves over another empty container to collect them for future use. Consider making kief, or even some sugar leaf tea.


Step 3: Bag Your Buds

Once trimmed, you’ll need to pack your buds away into bags. If you’re opting for food-grade bags, pack each one around 75% full. Gently squeeze as much air out as possible without squashing your flowers. Then, close each bag using a clip or tie. Alternatively, use a vacuum sealer to package your weed.

Bag your buds

Step 4: Place in the Freezer

You’re almost there. Now that your buds are neatly packed, simply place them into the freezer at around -18°C.


Step 5: Wait Patiently

You’ve successfully completed the fresh frozen weed process! Now, you just need to wait long enough for them to freeze completely. Resist the temptation to crack open your freezer; let them chill for at least 24 hours.

How to Use Fresh Frozen Weed

You have two primary choices when it comes to processing your fresh frozen weed at home: making live resin or live rosin. Because live resin necessitates a commercial-grade, closed-loop hydrocarbon extraction process, most home growers opt for live rosin. You can make this extract using nothing more than a hair straightener and a piece of parchment paper. However, you can’t press frozen buds. You’ll need to make a batch of fresh frozen bubble hash before heating up your straightener.

Things to Avoid When Creating Fresh Frozen Weed

Preparing and using fresh frozen weed seems simple, right? While true, things can go wrong during this process if you’re not careful. Avoid the following mistakes to ensure success.

  • Don’t shake the frozen flowers: Try not to shake or drop your bags of frozen weed when taking them out of the freezer—trichomes are delicate structures!
  • Don’t let your buds sit out: Only remove your buds from the freezer when you plan on using them right away. Letting them thaw out for too long at room temperature will expose them to the variables you’re trying to protect them from.
  • Don’t press fresh frozen weed: You need to make bubble hash with your frozen weed before pressing anything. They’re full of water, after all.
  • Look out for holes in vacuum bags: Small holes in vacuum bags defeat the point of using them and expose buds to oxygen. Vet your bags before putting them to use.

Stay Frosty to Get Blazed

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of fresh frozen weed, and how to put it to use, only one question remains: will you be placing your fresh flowers next to your frozen pizzas and peas? It’s not for everyone, but frozen weed makes for some of the best cannabis extracts available. Why not give it a go?

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