What is Live Resin & How to Smoke It

For the most part, when it comes to cannabis products different types of concentrates are created pretty equal – Dried, cured bud is stripped of its THC content which is then compressed or otherwise gathered into a compact form. Live resin, though, is a relative newcomer to the world of marijuana concentrates, and has a unique manufacturing process that sets it apart from other concentrates on the market. We’ll go over the details, and hopefully answer all of your questions about what is live resin, in our article below.

What Is Live Resin?

It’s important to note up-front that “resin” is not “rosin”. These are two separate substances (and “live rosin” doesn’t exist). When making rosin, heat and pressure are applied to the cured & dried marijuana flower, forcing it to expel THC and other cannabinoids as oil – This oil is then further processed into the shatter and wax concentrates we’re all familiar with. Live resin, however, goes for a slightly different technique.

First crafted in 2013, live resin was the brain child of William “Kind Bill” Fenger and Jason “Giddy Up” Emo, a cannabis cultivator and a extraction laboratory founder, respectively. Working with marijuana plants day in and day out, Fenger had become acutely familiar with the differences in smell and tastes associated with fresh marijuana plants vs. cured cannabis buds, and began seeking a way to preserve that fresh quality in the production of concentrates. Though initial attempts on his own lead to limited success it wasn’t until Fenger met up with Emo’s production facility in Colorado Springs that the process became truly viable for mass market applications. Their work together lead to the live resin product now known and loved among cannabis users.

In contrast to traditional cannabis concentrates live resin is never heated while being processed – In fact, it is never cured or dried at all. For live resin, the buds of the marijuana plant are usually picked as freshly as possible before being flash frozen using liquid nitrogen or dry ice; this helps to ensure as few of the flavonoids and terpenes from the cannabis are lost as possible.

These buds, often referred to as “fresh frozen flowers”, are then transported to an extraction facility, where the cannabis undergoes processing much like other concentrates – The process is very similar to making bubble hash (aka “BHO”) where the cannabis buds are soaked in butane and then mechanically expelled, separating THC from plant matter. The resulting liquid then undergoes a high-intensity, low-temperature vacuuming process that removes unwanted chemicals without applying too much heat the concentrate – This leaves behind a pure concentrate that also retains a majority of its essential oils.

live resin up close

From here the live resin can be turned into any number of other cannabis concentrate products – Wax, sauce, and others. It’s worth noting that unless your concentrate is specifically labelled as “live resin” it is likely made the traditional way from cured & dried bud. Live resin can be found in as many forms as other cannabis products, including shatter and wax; “sugar” is a common term for the more granulated type of live resin.

When seeking out live resin for purchase always look at your packaging – If it is “live resin” it will have those words on the box. If the label mentions that the concentrate is “cured” at all then it is not the same product we are discussing in this article, as the cannabis plants used to make live resin will always be fresh, never cured.

Why Should I Try Live Resin?

Live resin is a newer cannabis product, and one that comes with its own unique manufacturing requirements and extraction process, all of which means it commands a higher price tag than some of the more traditional types of concentrates you can find on the shelf. It boasts a high THC content like other concentrates and doesn’t require any special methods for ingestion or to smoke, so what’s the big difference?

Since live resin is extracted from fresh, uncured cannabis buds the resulting smoke or vape is very flavorful and aromatic – Think the difference between smelling a jar of weed versus standing next to a flowering marijuana plant. Though live resin may not always be as powerful as it’s cured cousins it is often recognized as a more thorough way to get to know and enjoy the actual plant being partaken of due to it’s more robust terpene profile.

It is known that curing and drying the cannabis plant can lead to an increase in overall potency and loss of water weight, but a large amount of the natural terpenes are lost in this process as well. A study by the University of Mississippi showed that over 30% of the cannabis plant’s natural terpenes were lost during drying and curing the test marijuana, which not only leads to a loss of flavor but can alter the overall experience of the smoke.

Unfortunately the processes used to make live resin don’t always take as much from the plant as could be harvested – We discuss why curing and decarbing your weed is important in our article on “How to Make Edibles with Shake” but the short version is that these processes help to “activate” the THC in your buds, and there are otherwise going to be some cannabinoids left behind in the plant that would be included in other cannabis concentrates. On the up side, live resin’s manufacturing brings a more full terpene profile to the mix, making it a bit of a trade off in terms of content – Potential potency vs. taste and overall experience.

Overall we’d say that live resin is worth tracking down and checking out, if nothing else for the novelty value – If you have a favorite cannabis strain it’s always interesting to experience it as fully as you can, and it isn’t like you won’t receive the same benefits you would out of any other concentrate. The ultimate point behind smoking live resin is to receive an experience much closer to experiencing the scent and taste of the fresh, living plant itself, and while it might be a touch more expensive but you probably already know if you’re into the concept or not. If you consider yourself a connoisseur of marijuana along the same lines of coffee or wine? Then live resin is currently the best way to get to know a particular cannabis strain’s “true identity” of flavor and aroma, and we would definitely recommend checking it out on that aspect alone if you’re at all intrigued.

live resin in vessel

How Do I Smoke Live Resin?

Despite differences in how it’s made live resin is still a concentrate, and can be smoked like any other concentrate can. Our article on How to Smoke Dabs is just as applicable here as it is for shatter, wax, or cannabis plant concentrates of any other fashion.

Live resin can be found in both liquid and solid forms. Oils and other liquids can be smoked out of a dab rig same as other oils you may have tried; you’ll need a dab tool to apply the oil to but as long as you have a dab rig or other form of vaporizer you’re good to go. Solid forms can also be treated the same as any other cannabis concentrates – If you have a preferred method for smoking wax then it can also be used to smoke live resin. Just be careful when using your chosen rig, as too high a heat will easily burn away volatile oils, terpenes and flavor compounds. Temperature control is key when one is going to smoke live resin.

Like other concentrates live resin can also be smoked out of a joint or a bowl (if carefully layered to avoid burning the product) but ultimately we recommend using something specifically suited for the job; you probably spent a good bit of money on that resin you bought and there’s no sense in wasting it for want of a proper cannabis smoking device. Either invest in your own or hit up that one friend you have who’s super serious about their dab setup (you know the one) and offer to bring over something good to smoke – Odds are they’ll gladly let you borrow a dab rig in exchange for a couple of puffs.

Can I Vape Live Resin?

You absolutely can. Live resin is, again, still a concentrate, and can be consumed just like any other cannabis concentrate available. If you have a vape pen or an oil vaporizer both of these will work just fine in getting it where it needs to go. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with good quality cannabis dispensaries or delivery you can also find live resin carts, meant to go in the vape pen of your choice. Otherwise any vaporizing or smoking device that can handle something such as wax or hash oil will work just fine for your newly acquired live resin.

How Do I Store My Live Resin?

Since live resin is, once more, practically the same as other cannabis concentrates, this means it can also be stored the same as other cannabis concentrates. Assuming your live resin is kept in some fashion of lidded container like a jar (and if it isn’t it absolutely should be) try to keep it closed as much as possible when not in use, to prevent the concentrate from evaporating or receiving too much light. Storage in a cool, darkened place is also recommended; a refrigerator works great but make sure the container is air-tight and completely sealed, otherwise the refrigerator will wick away moisture inside. Just do everything you can to keep the resin out of the open air and away from bright, sustained light and your concentrates should last you a good long time.

Live resin is an interesting usage of the cannabis plant and one we recommend seeking out if you’re at all curious about the natural, “fresh” taste of your favorite strain. We hope we’ve answered your live resin questions and have you ready to fire up the dab rig to take a smoke – As far as cannabis concentrates go, live resin is a unique experience we hope you don’t miss out on. Until next time!

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