How to Make Live Resin

Cannabis concentrate live resin (extracted from medical marijuana) with a dabbing tool

How to Make Live Resin

Did you know that drying and curing a cannabis plant can result in losing up to 55% of its essential oils and 33% of its terpene count? The production of live resin aims to eliminate these losses to maintain the plant’s CBD, THC, and terpene concentration.

Live resin is one of the most popular cannabis concentrates that is taking over the marijuana market. It is highly ranked above other concentrates such as shatter, budder, wax, and sugar. What gives live resin its prestige status is the amount of terpene contained in the concentrate.

Unlike other concentrates, live resin isn’t made from drying or curing processes. Instead, the concentrate is made through a flash freeze process that preserves most of the terpene count in the cannabis plant, giving it more flavour and unique psychoactive effects. Some scientific studies have shown how a larger terpene concentration can elevate the cannabis effects, hence why most users prefer it.

In this article, we will look at what live resin is and why it is so special. We will also dive into the processes used to make it, how they differ from other processes, a few tips and tricks to help your production, and the needed equipment. Finally, it should be noted that the production of cannabis concentrates is highly dangerous and should only be done by licensed professionals.

What is live resin and why is it special?

Live resin is a dark yellow cannabis concentrate made through a flash freeze process that doesn’t require drying or curing cannabis flowers. Unlike other concentrates, live resin is made from fresh cannabis flowers and sugar leaves without including the roots, stems, or fan leaves. All of these aspects increase the terpene concentration of the live resin resulting in more flavours and aromas.

Cannabis concentrates such as budder, shatter, and wax undergo drying and curing processes. These processes are not favourable for maintaining the terpene concentration. In addition, the cannabis plant is exposed to air, heat, light, and other physical disturbances during these processes. These environmental factors make shatter, budder, and wax lose their aroma, reducing their therapeutic effects.

Another factor that makes live resin special compared to the other concentrates is fresh cannabis flowers. Producers will usually preserve cannabis flowers right after their harvest if they are used to make live resin. This is because terpene evaporates naturally from the marijuana plant, whether it goes through the drying and curing stages or not. Therefore, producers freeze the fresh cannabis flowers right away to get the most terpene count.

A step-by-step procedure for making live resin

The first live resin batch was made in 2013 by William Fenger and Jason Emo. Using Jason Emo’s closed-loop extraction unit, they produced the live resin from the Tres Star strain and other similar strains. The closed-loop extraction system is a state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical system that ensures maximum safety and efficiency in creating concentrates such as live resin, crumble, and isolates.

The system helps maintain flammable solvents like butane inside the machine to minimize air exposure. It is used in laboratory settings that are well maintained, legal, and well managed. Open-blasting techniques are what amateurs and unlicensed individuals usually use to make live resin. These techniques are, however, dangerous due to the exposure of flammable butane to air and heat.

With that said, you should only stick to the safest and industry-approved system, which is closed-loop extraction. Needless to say, this process isn’t cheap and will set you back a hefty penny. Nevertheless, the process is suitable for small start-up productions or large-scale productions for the masses or experiments.

The necessary equipment

  1. Closed-loop hydrocarbon extractor for butane and propane.
  2. A hydrocarbon blend of butane and propane solvent.
  3. Fresh flash-frozen cannabis flowers.
  4. A vacuum oven.

Step 1: Flash freeze the cannabis flowers

It would be best if you only froze your most high-quality marijuana plants when it comes to making live resin. Terpene count is determined by flash freezing and the strain and potency of the weed used. Make sure only to use the fresh flowers and a few sugar leaves. Leave out all the stems, roots, and fan leaves.

Flash-freeze the biomass by placing it in a freezer for less than 36 hours but more than 24 hours. You should do this right after a fresh harvest. Ensure the deep freezer is set at a temperature equal to or lower than -10F.

Step 2: Make a blend of butane and propane solvent

Making a butane and propane solvent blend with the two elements in a 3:7 ratio is recommended. You may choose a different ratio for your batch; however, the results may differ by producing extracts that vary in texture and colour. Make sure to use more propane than butane in whichever ratio you go with since it helps retain more terpenes.

Step 3: Chill the butane and propane solvent blend

This step entails chilling the solvent blend to low temperatures of about -40 degrees Celsius. -40 C is the recommended temperature, but you may choose to go as low as -80 degrees Celsius. The chilling process is meant to cool the solvent to very low temperatures to remove water from the biomass.

Step 4: Use the closed-loop hydrocarbon extractor

This step is where the extraction process begins. You should perform steps 2 and 3 before removing the frozen cannabis flowers from the deep freezer. Doing that will ensure the plant isn’t exposed to air, heat, or light before you start extracting its enriched contents.

It would be best if you chose a closed-loop hydrocarbon extractor that meets state codes, related safety codes, national (NFPA), and international fire codes (ICC). An approved extractor has a Class 1, Division 1 enclosure to regulate the air in the system. The extractor also has an alert system that will let you know of any butane or propane leaks.

Closed-loop extractors have our chambers, each with a specialized purpose. The chilled solvent blend is placed in the first chamber and then directed into the second one with the frozen marijuana flowers. The frozen flowers are then mixed with the solvent to create a homogenous solution washed down into the collection vessel in the third chamber.  

The solution is then heated at low temperatures to get rid of the solvent. The heating temperatures have to be lower than the cannabis compounds, or the precious terpenes will get burnt. The systems will then collect the evaporated solvent and use a gas compressor and condenser to recover it back into the first chamber. This is why the system is called a closed-loop.

Step 5: Use a vacuum oven to remove the residual solvent

The last chamber will then evaporate any excess solvents that are still left in the extract. In case of any residual propane/butane solvents, use a vacuum oven to remove air in the oven while heating it at low temperatures. The end product should be a dark yellow concentrate with a high terpene count.

You can use the extracted live resin to make various products like sauce, budder, waxes, and sugar. In addition, the live resin can be consumed by dabbing or vaping. Some prefer edibles, but they do not have the same effects since they undergo more processes that reduce the effectiveness of the live resin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.      How does butane hash oil work?

Butane Hash Oil is any cannabis concentrate produced by removing cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis plants with the help of butane, pressure, and heat. The different forms of butane hash oil include shatter, crumble, budder, sap, and wax.

You can consume all of these forms by dabbing, vaping, or topping. The most used method of consumption is dabbing since it allows for a more aggressive delivery technique into your body.

2.      What is the difference between monoterpenes and terpenes?

All monoterpenes are terpenes, but not all terpenes are monoterpenes. Cannabis terpenes are aromatic oils that give marijuana its distinct aromas and flavours. Cannabis monoterpenes, on the other hand, are one of the very many types of terpenes. The monoterpene is the simplest form of terpene, which is made of two isoprene units.

3.      What are the key features of live resin?

The most distinct feature of live resin is the production process that entails flash freezing the biomass before performing the extraction. As a result, the live resin has a distinct dark yellow colour and higher terpene content than any other extract.

Live resin is also extracted from fresh cannabis plants with the sugar leaves and flowers as the main and only ingredient. The live resin is also differentiated by its various viscosity forms: sap, jelly, butter, and wax.

Some of the popular strains used in the production of the live resin include sour diesel, northern lights, white widow, and sunset sherbet.

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