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Cannabis concentrates, by Jeff W via Unsplash

Rosin vs Resin: What’s The Difference?

High There

By High There

December 22, 2021

The cannabis industry is rapidly growing – and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, projections by Grand View Research predict that the worldwide legal cannabis market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 25% between 2021 and 2028.

Today, with new cannabis products constantly hitting the market, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with it all. Cannabis concentrates are no exception, with rosin and resin both becoming incredibly popular, and causing quite the perplexity for some.

Here, we’ll be looking at what the differences are between rosin and resin, what types there are, and how they are extracted. There’s a lot to cover so let’s dig in!

Cannabis concentrates, by Jeff W via Unsplash

What Is Rosin?

As established, rosin is a cannabis concentrate, extracted from marijuana flower by applying both heat and pressure to the plant.

Rosin has a high terpene and cannabinoid concentration. Terpenes are what form cannabis’s distinctive smell and contribute to the flavor, whereas cannabinoids are what contribute to the high sensation.

Rosin is a solvent-free product, meaning it wasn’t made using harsh, often harmful chemicals. Though methods exist for removing these solvents before the final concentrate is produced, a solvent-free process can give assurance to those who are concerned about what is in their concentrate.

As mentioned, rosin has a high terpene concentration which means that it retains the flavors of other cannabis concentrates, according to Health Europa. Rosin is fairly affordable to produce, with the ability to be manufactured into different forms such as wax and crumble.

What Is Resin?

As for resin, this term can cover a variety of different cannabis products.

The “resin” itself is the natural sap found on a plant; this can be identified by the sticky, brown or amber-colored substance that is found on the trichomes, which are the hair-like growths of a plant. This can be harvested to produce live resin as well as rosin.

Resin can vary in production costs but can come in the forms of CO2 Oil, hash, and butane hash oil (BHO).

A Note On Pipe Resin

Colloquially, the word “resin” on its own can also refer to the black residue substance that is left after you’ve used a bong or pipe. This is often referred to as pipe resin, which is also technically solvent-free in this form (though some residue from the butane used in lighters can remain).

For those on a budget or otherwise looking to make their stash last as long as possible this resin can be removed and re-used; expect strong effects but a horrible, cough-inducing taste and smoke.

Overall we’d advise against consuming pipe resin as it is smokey, and contains a lot of carbon from the ash – There’s a reason this is often referred to as a “desperation” technique, and not one many relish. Either way, when looking at “resin” products in a dispensary, this form of “pipe resin” is absolutely not what you’ll be seeing on store shelves.

Are “Live” Rosin and Resin Different From the Regular Varieties?

While both live resin and live rosin are cannabis extracts/concentrates, we feel it important to stress that the two have large differences between them, even though they stem from a similar source.

Live rosin has pungent flavors and scents while involving no solvents. The end product can take many forms, from edibles to vape cartridges, and is usually more affordable than live resin as it has a less-intensive manufacturing process.

Compared to rosin there are physical differences you can note, namely that live rosin is opaque and waxy, whereas rosin is amber in color and can be grainy.

As per the same Health Europa article mentioned above, live resin uses freeze-dried buds during the extraction process. What this means is that more of the terpenes are retained before they dry out, which, depending on the flower’s flavor, can result in a more potent product compared to those where the buds have been allowed to cure before they were extracted.

Which Varieties of Rosin and Resin Are “Solventless”?

What Is a “Solventless Extract”?

A solventless extraction is a method of producing cannabis concentrates and extracts without using chemical solvents. There are many reasons why someone would prefer a solvent-free product, such as if they are looking for a cleaner concentrate or have concerns over the ingredients.

Rosin

Rosin is a solventless extract because it entails the straightforward method of using heat and pressure to extract the produce. This method is considered by some to be able to preserve the most terpenes and cannabinoids. It can also be made from various starting materials including the cannabis plant and bubble hash.

Pipe Resin

Typical pipe resin is also solventless as it is the substance that can be left behind in a bong or a pipe. As noted, generally, cannabis consumers only opt for resin if they are out of their cannabis product, and Healthline plus other various professionals typically advise that this cannabis resin be disposed.

Live Rosin

Live rosin is also solventless, but unlike rosin, it is a hash oil concentrate that is made with bubble hash from either fresh or frozen flowers. The flowers are also never cured or dried.

Cannabis concentrate consumers favor the terpenes from the fresh cannabis used the produce the live rosin with users noting that the THC is potent.

Live Resin

As opposed to the above varieties, live resin does use solvents in its processing. The extraction process often uses chemicals such as butane and propane in its manufacturing to separate the cannabinoids and trichomes. Live resin involves flash-freezing the cannabis plant buds and sugar leaves immediately after they have been harvested.

The reason for this is so that the compounds do not have the opportunity to degrade, which results in the THC’s potency being isolated and preserved.

shatter on dab tool

How Are Resin and Rosin Extracted?

How resin is extracted will depend entirely on the type of resin. As noted, typical resin is the residue left behind in a bong or pipe, so we do not need to cover it here. On the other hand, live resin is extracted from raw plants as opposed to dried plant material.

Live Resin Extraction

The live resin process can be complicated as it requires specialist equipment and should always be completed by trained professionals. As a result, we strongly advise against undertaking these processes by yourself.

Firstly, the cannabis material is frozen – this is usually done by using dry ice or by dipping it in liquid nitrogen. The plant material is then introduced to hydrocarbon solvents, typically butane or propane. This then separates the terpenes and the cannabinoids.

The mixture can then be emptied into a vacuum oven to purge the remaining solvents out of the extract. The solvent is also boiled off at a low temperature to prevent damage to the terpenes.

Rosin Extraction

Typical rosin can in theory be made at home, but we personally do not recommend doing so. However, we will outline the process for educational reasons. This method entails using a hair straightener, so again this should be done at your own discretion but we advise against this process, as it can be very easy to ruin your end product.

The hair straightener should be heated to a temperature between 200°F and 250°F. The cannabis flower should then be placed between two sheets of parchment paper and onto one plate of the hair straightener. Next, firmly press the hair straightener together and hold for between 5 and 30 seconds until you see some of the sap.

This is to allow time for the resin to be extracted without damaging or creating adverse effects for the terpenes. You can then use the resin for storage, vaping, or smoking.

Using a Rosin Press

In the home, using a rosin press is generally a safer alternative. For the rosin press, cannabis consumers tend to use either the flower or the hash. When using a cannabis flower, either fit it in a rosin bag or lay it out so it fits on parchment paper. Make sure that the parchment paper or the bag are suitably sized to collect the extracted produce.

Next, place the bag or paper on the bottom plate of your rosin press and set the temperature to between 180°F and 220°F.  Now gently press down so the press barely touched the product for around 30 seconds, this is to preheat the plant material and begin the melting process. After the 30 seconds, apply full pressure for between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, or until you no longer notice sap flowing.

Using Hash

Alternatively, the hash option is often favored by cannabis users as it yields more product. The process is similar to the flower press, except you definitely need a rosin bag in this instance.  You should also be sure not to fill the bag with too much product.

With the hash, aim for a temperature of around 160°F-190°F and be sure to add gradual pressure to avoid a blowout. The duration of the pressing should take between 60 and 90 seconds or until the rosin stops flowing.

Making Live Rosin

As for live rosin, many cannabis consumers regard it as one of the preferred extracts for dabbing. Unlike live resin, live rosin is washed with ice instead of chemicals to separate the trichomes from the buds. Next, the trichomes are filtered and gathered to be freeze-dried to a bubble hash.

Finally, the bubble hash is pressed to produce the extract using a low temperature and low pressure.

Can You Complete the Extraction Process at Home?

While you can complete the rosin extraction process at home, it is far more important to be responsible and safe. If you must complete the process at home, you should be supervised by someone more experienced, particularly if you have not completed an extraction before or if you have any doubts.

Overall, we recommend leaving the production of resins, rosins, and live extracts of all types to trained professionals.

Ways To Consume Rosin and Resin

The best ways to consume cannabis resin will depend on your personal preference and also what type of rosin or resin you are using. Regardless, your health and safety should come first, so it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks or side effects too.

Many cannabis users favor consuming rosin, live rosin, and live resin through dabbing, as it allows users to get the most out of their cannabis product without creating as much harmful smoke as igniting plant material.

Dabbing rosin concentrates and live resin requires a dab rig and a heat source. These are specialized versions of bongs for concentrates, hence why they are favored amongst many users. That being said, we want to exercise caution when using the dab rig due to the presence of flames and heat.

Vaping is another means of consuming solventless concentrates and solvent-based cannabis extracts, specifically rosin and live resin. You may be able to find pre-infused rosin liquids for your vape too. This is considered to be a convenient method when on the go, but always be considerate of your surroundings.

You can always consume rosin and resin products through a bong by simply applying the cannabis concentrates into the bowl with the flower and using it as normal. If you are opting for this method, we recommend taking safety precautions by adding fresh water to the bong to filter the product.

Some cannabis users favor using a dry pipe to consume their concentrates, namely to use up the resin. Those who prefer this method use the pipe as normal, but we recommend taking good care as the pipe is likely to get extremely hot.

Rosin and resin can even be used in a joint by sprinkling it in with your normal marijuana products and using as normal. Some users even like adding rosin to their cooking oils or infusing it in tea.

With all of this considered, resin and rosin cannabis concentrates can come with their own potential risks – Their reputations for strength are well deserved, and can cause adverse effects if taken too swiftly or in too great a quantities. As with all new things, exercising caution on the first go is rarely a bad idea.

Cannabis concentrates, by Jeff W via Unsplash

FAQs

Which Part of the Cannabis Plant Is Used to Make Rosin?

Rosin can be made out of the terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis flower, hash, or even kief which is also known as cannabis crystal. The resulting product is of an amber-translucent color and has a sappy consistency.

Is the Live Resin Extraction Process Safe to Do at Home?

While the rosin extraction process can be safe to do at home, even though we’d recommend against it unless you are a professional or experienced, we strongly advise against conducting the live rosin or live resin extraction process at home.

The live resin extraction involves potentially dangerous chemicals such as butane and propane, which are both incredibly flammable – People have lost their lives attempting similar extraction processes at home. Therefore, we suggest leaving the live resin production process to trained professionals in a secure environment

Is Cannabis Rosin or Resin Cheaper?

As we’ve established, rosin can theoretically be made from home for an inexpensive price. However, for live products, the price increases. For consumers, most cannabis users will agree that live rosin is cheaper than live resin.

Live resin has a more costly manufacturing process, includes potentially expensive solvents, and requires the cannabis to be kept in a controlled environment. That being said, those that use live resin note the aroma and flavorful taste as a result of the terpenes.

Rosin and live rosin both have an easier manufacturing process in comparison and also produce a potent flavor.

Therefore, although rosin and live rosin are cheaper, it depends on what you would personally deem as value for money.

Which Concentrate Is Better?

If you’re concerned about solvent-based extracts, live rosin may be the most suited option over live resin.

If you value a more potent product, then live resin may be the better option. However, this comes with the disadvantage that live resin can be more expensive due to the manufacturing process – but this can vary.

Likewise, those looking for a plant-centered and high-quality item are likely to favor live rosin instead. Your preferences can even be driven by finer details such as the smell, taste, color, and consumption method.

The key question that should be considered when comparing rosin vs resin is which of the two is better for you. We recommend weighing up the pros and cons of each, as well as your own personal preferences. The final choice is all up to you – whatever you decide, we wish you happy smoking!

High There

About The Author

High There

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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