What is live resin and how is it made?
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Live resin is a type of cannabis concentrate that is produced using a unique technique—freshly harvested cannabis is frozen to a subcritical temperature prior to and throughout the extraction process, skipping the drying and curing phases.
The drying and curing process that a cannabis plant typically undergoes can have a devastating impact on terpenes, the compounds that account for flavor and aroma. They are present in the trichomes, which line virtually every surface of a mature cannabis bud and its surrounding foliage.
During drying and curing, the cannabis plant wicks itself of moisture and chlorophyll. Trichomes may also be subjected to adverse conditions such as: increased exposure to heat, oxygen, and light, and physical agitation, which all can degrade terpenes.
By freezing the plant immediately following harvest, the cannabis plant retains its valuable terpene profile, original flavor, and fragrance through the extraction process and into the final product.
What does live resin look and feel like?
It comes in a variety of colors and forms. The type of cultivar, or strain, used for the concentrate affects a lot of the chemical and physical characteristics of the extract.
Live resin is chock full of terpenes in greater proportions than other concentrates. With the additional essential oils, the consistency is typically looser than other concentrates.
The more terpenes, the runnier and more malleable the concentrate. The most common consistencies of live resin are sap, sugar, badder/budder, and sauce.
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The cannabis plant material is harvested and flash-frozen immediately. Plant material is flash-frozen by either slowly dipping it into an insulated cylinder filled with liquid nitrogen, or placing it in a cooler with dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) on the bottom. Extractors pack the cannabis into a tank inside a closed-loop system that is dedicated to holding it throughout the process. The tank must be purged of any oxygen prior to passing the butane or other solvent through to ensure that there is no explosion and unnecessary pressure.
The solvent is chilled, then passed through the starting material, releasing the trichomes from the plant matter. To remove the solvent, heat is applied to the combined mixture of cannabis and solvent, causing the solvent to turn into a vapor and rise into the solvent column. There, it is cooled and condensed back into a liquid.
Extractors must always pay careful attention to temperature. Too much heat can ruin an extraction. Heat evaporates the volatile terpenes and triggers decarboxylation, which rids the concentrate of its translucent appearance and turns it into a darker oil.
Again, for health and safety reasons, extract production should be left to professionals since the safety precautions and equipment require precision and accuracy.