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Live Resin vs. Rosin: What’s the Difference?




In the last few years, cannabis consumption has blown up in a way that would shock the socks off past generations of smokers. Old school joints coupled with bowls of flower are slowly making way for new and innovative methods of consumption and product. With legalization of cannabis sweeping the United States, there are products that are just beginning to break the surface.

In comes resin and rosin.

These new entrants have generated a lot of buzz in the cannabis Industry. Popularly known as the R’s, Live Resin and Rosin are highly potent cannabis forms. With such similarity in their names, it does not come as a surprise that people often confuse them.

We will take a deeper look at these R’s, find out what they are and how we can differentiate them.

Let’s dive right in!

Why Do Most People Use Rosin and Resin Interchangeably?

Hearing the term “Rosin” for the first time, one would understand why it can get very confusing. The word Rosin has different meanings- and only one of them happens to be a Marijuana product.

Now, if you hear both Rosin and Resin together and you do know exactly what each is and what they do, you are very likely to end up even more confused.

Just like Rosin, Resin also has different meanings- and could even refer to a number of different marijuana products- as per the context in which the word is used. 

Because you don’t want to end up with the wrong kind of resin or resin, let’s clear it up for you.

The Old-School Stoner's Definition of “Resin”

If you come across a hippie who attended the 1969 Woodstock and he offers you some resin, you will definitely want to pass it up. What he’s probably referring to is some tar-like substance left over in his hardly-ever-cleaned glass bowl.

What’s more, he could have scraped down the said glass bowls’ sides using whatever contraption was at reach, another reason you probably don’t want it. 

Recycling this leftover cannabis was quite common in the earlier days when the opportunities of getting a new stash were few and far between. However, with the introduction of dispensaries, there really is no reason for you, or anyone else to camp at the bottom of the bowl. 

What is Resin?

Sometimes called “sap,” resin is a term which describes the sticky trichomes off the sugar leaves and flowers of mature, female marijuana plants. 

Trichomes are storehouses of the substances that have all the psychoactive and medicinal properties of marijuana. When collected, dried and cured, they are referred to as “kief”.  

Resin not only contains all the plants’ terpenes and cannabinoids, evolutionarily, it was meant to be the defense mechanism of the plant. It played a role in repulsing intruders like insects and animals and attracting cross pollinators. This ensured the plant stayed alive and successfully reproduced.

Industrially, resin is used to produce insecticides and pesticides due to its strong scent and other properties. 

What Cannabinoids Are in Resin?

The typical cannabis sample contains more than 400 chemicals. As discussed earlier, most of these cannabinoids and terpenes are concentrated in the resin. 

The most abundant and most sought after cannabinoids are THC, for its psychoactive effects and CBD, for its therapeutic and medicinal value. Other than the cannabinoids, cannabis, and therefore the resin also contain amounts of terpenes, the substances that actually give the plants including cannabis distinctive smells and properties. 

Some of the terpenes commonly found in Marijuana are myrcene, Linalool and Limonene, among a multitude of others. Terpenes are highly volatile and usually have quite low boiling points. 

What this means is that any process of extracting resin which will involve heat will end up destroying a significant amount of the terpenes which will reduce its medical efficacy and overall effectiveness.

What is Rosin?

If you are that person who prefers to make their own cannabis concentrates in the safety of your home, rosin might be the right choice for you.

And what’s more? It's so much safer than preparing something like Butane Hash Oil (or BHO), which might just end up blowing you up. 

Solvents such as butane are known to be highly flammable. 

In just 2014, over 30 people were injured in Colorado from butane explosions caused by hash oil production. 

How is Cannabis Rosin Different From The Fiddle Player's Rosin?

If you venture into the rosin world, you will come across a type of rosin referred to as “the fiddler player’s rosin”

You might be tempted to think that this is some type of musical instrument but trust me, it is not.

This type of rosin is made by heating pine trees, also known as tree sap.. With the burning of the sap's liquid terpenes, the resultant solid is used in the making of musical instruments and also in products such as adhesives.

Rosin, also known as “rosin tech,” is a solvent-less extract of cannabis. What this means is that fresh, or dried and cured cannabis flowers are pressed under controlled heat and pressure to release THC-rich resin.  This process totally avoids using solvents, which results in a more pure terpene profile.

Rosin can be extracted safely in one’s home, unlike the more traditional methods of extraction like BHO and CO2.

Although BHO concentrates are mostly backyard brewed, the dangerous solvents used are usually fodder for explosions and even the burning down of whole apartment buildings. The mishaps are usually due to improper handling.

Co2 extraction on the other hand requires expensive equipment costing between $100,000 and 250,000/machine which operates at roughly 10,000 psi. 

In a nutshell, both CO2 and BHO extraction are firmly industrial procedures which require specialized facilities and machines. 

So, why is Rosin all the buzz?

Rosin offers a healthy and safe alternative which eliminates the use of potentially harmful solvents typically used for extraction. 

What’s more? It’s dirt cheap.

With a budget of as low as $30, one can purchase a consumer-grade hair straightener which can press the oil in a few seconds and voila!… you have your golden oil.

It’s important to note that the garbage in garbage out rule applies here. For you to end up with liquid gold, you have to use only the best of flowers. If you use substandard, weak flowers, guess what you’ll end up with?

You got it right. A substandard, weak substance. 

This trend has caught on so fiercely that a number of dispensaries in California now even offer rosin presses for their customers located in their shops. This allows the customers to purchase the flowers from the dispensaries, press them, and go home with their fresh stash of golden rosin. 

Now to Live Resin

Live resin describes the latest cannabis concentrate to hit the streets of America. States that have legalized cannabis such as California , Oregon, Colorado, and Washington have quickly caught on to the game. 

Live resin, unlike rosin, is very like CO2 and BHO concenrates which require trained technicians and expensive equipment. 

What exactly does live resin mean?

As opposed to other forms of extraction where dried and cured flowers can be used, live resin extraction is done with live or freshly frozen plant material. This method is solvent based as in BHO.

This increasingly unique and popular cannabis concentrate involves cryogenically freezing freshly-harvested cannabis plants at temperatures of below -292 degrees F (-180 C). This process is labeled “full spectrum” or “full plant” as it uses up the entire plant. Flowers, branches, leaves and even stalks. 

Cannabis consumers interested in terpenes and their full medical and therapeutic efficacy tend to gravitate toward live resin aas it preserves the pants’ terpene profile.

Other processes such as BHO and CO2 end up losing most of these terpenes due to the heat involved in the process. result in the loss of many or most of the terpenes because of the heat involved.

Another characteristic of live resin is its full-bodied aroma due to its maintained terpene profile. In conjunction with this, the terpenes preserved offer stronger medicinal benefits which reduce systemic inflammation and even fight cancer. 

The process of producing live resin on the other hand is the most expensive out there due to its requirement of cryogenic freezing. 

That said, it is the most promising as far as potency and medical efficacy. 

Can you press “live” resin at home?

Quite frankly, no.

Why is this the case?

Tring to press fresh cannabis at home will cause the moisture in the plant to steam and essentially boil. While you might end up with some extract at the end of the process, it certainly is not live resin. To add on to this, it's bound to be a messy and dangerous affair.

The steaming of the moisture is why bubble hash is first created out of fresh cannabis before it is extracted into rosin. 

Cannabis Preparation for Rosin and Live Resin

If you are a cannabis consumer who is just getting to understand concentrates or if you are already a concentrate fan looking to be a master in this field you might wonder what exactly the term “Live” means. 

Does living here connote living cells found in substances such as probiotics? Does it mean it is live and can at any moment hijack the show?

In cannabis concentrates, “live” simply refers to extracting concentrates from plant matter that is freshly harvested or preserved to maintain this state by cryo freezing.

This is in direct contrast to the concentrates we are most familiar with like wax and shutter which are extracted from plant material meticulously dried and cured before the processing. 

Most buds available in dispensaries are dried and cured to both preserve them and ensure they maintain their quality. 

After the bud is harvested, it is trimmed and dried for between a week or two. Drying the bud ensures the terpenes are preserved as the moisture is eliminated. It is then cured for a further period of between two to eight weeks.

Thanks to the broken down chlorophyll, dried and cured buds have an abundance of aroma. Bud that is not cured properly is usually weaker, harsher and smells like hay because of the excess chlorophyll. 

While drying and curing the bud makes it ready for sale, the process causes it to lose some of its vital terpenes which are extremely necessary especially for medical cannabis users.

This dried bud can be used for the extraction of rosin and other concentrates. 

As previously discussed, when extracting concentrate out of fresh plant matter by the use of “live” extraction, most of its terpene profile and flavor is preserved. This makes it a very high quality concentrate which is stronger and has more of the entourage effect. 

Why Solventless Extraction Methods are Gaining Popularity

Rosin offers great options to cannabis consumers who prefer flavorful concentrates but would like to avoid solvents altogether.

The topic of solvents is highly contested among cannabis connoisseurs as many insist it is extremely useful in extracting the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis. Most extraction professionals insist that the solvents are mostly or even entirely burnt off in the final stages of the solvent extraction. Some consumers however are extremely wary of the potential health hazards that may result from consuming even trace amounts of substances such as butane. 

This is particularly important to the medical marijuana consumers who mostly already have compromised immune systems, lung health problems or allergy sensitivities. 

Because Rosin is created by employing a solventless extraction process, it is considered to be one of the cleanest marijuana concentrates. 



As both the need for medical cannabis and non-smoking alternatives increase, concentrates such as live resin and rosin are bound to gain immense popularity. We hope this article will help you clearly differentiate between the two. 

In summary, live resin is viewed as one of the most sought after cannabis concentrates for users who are looking for the full terpenoid flavor and cannabinoid profile in their product. Its cryogenic freezing technique immediately after harvesting preserves the terpenes and avails them to the consumer in their “live ” state.

However, another good number of consumers are against the solvents used in this process and would therefore prefer rosin to live resin. This is because the process of extracting rosin uses heat and no solvents at all.

With this little discourse, consider yourself informed enough to choose your tonic, won’t you? 


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