At The Dispensary, we field a lot of questions from folks who are brand new to cannabis and those who are infinitely more experienced. It’s the latter group that usually asks about live resin cannabis concentrates, which makes perfect sense. Anyone with an interest in live resin qualifies as the kind of discerning consumer who appreciates something like truly luxurious flavor. And that, friends, is one of the main selling points of live resin concentrates. But it’s really just the beginning. Here’s what makes live resin so special.
What is Live Resin?
Live resin is a unique kind of cannabis concentrate that’s differentiated by both the production process and the end product itself. Conventional production methods uses plant material that has been dried and cured. Wet cannabis can't be consumed as is, and there are a number of processes to remove the water, leaving behind the best parts of the plants - the trichomes. All of these processes have the potential - or the intention - to strip the finished product of the flavors and aromas of the original vegetal plant. Now here’s the bad news. Trichomes and terpenes, those amazing little compounds that give cannabis its breadth of flavors, aromas, and medicinal properties, can’t be effectively preserved during exposure to things like heat, light, oxygen, and physical disruption. What's more, terpenes have a vexing tendency to evaporate with the water that's being removed - the drying and curing process can reduce terpenes by 55 to 85%. And it’s the terpenes that are responsible for tastes and scents we know and love - the details that make one strain different from another.
The Production Process
That’s where live resin concentrates come in. They’re created with a special butane extractor and freshly harvested cannabis that is frozen before and after extraction. With drying, the material retains the terpenes that would have been lost in the curing. That's what protects the plant’s terpene profile, and the end result is a concentrate that’s remarkably true to the original flavors and fragrances. More complex profiles are associated with stronger psychoactive experiences, since terpenes interact with THC and CBD. And incidentally, while some live resin concentrates can have significantly higher THC content - hovering somewhere between 80 and 90% - that’s not always the case. And it’s not really the point. The goal with live resin is terpene preservation.
A Handy Metaphor
One of the best ways to describe the differences between live resin and other concentrates is to liken it to fresh fruit and dried fruit. Sure, dried fruit has flavor, but there’s no comparison to the explosive flavor of the fresh stuff. Just like terroir impacts the finished bottle of wine wine, live resin allows the underlying flavors of cannabis to be observed.
That’s what makes live resin stand out from other cannabis concentrates. In a side-by-side comparison to one another, differences boil down to viscosity, which can range from saps to butters, and terpene profile. That is entirely dependent on the original strain used during extraction.
If you’re interested in sampling the real, unadulterated flavor of your favorite strain, a live resin is the way to go. Ask your favorite budtender for a recommendation, and be ready for something special. Fair warning - thanks to its trickier extraction process, which results in smaller yields, and that well-rounded terpene profile, live resin concentrates tend to be more expensive than other BHO options. But that uber fresh pay-off is likely well worth it.