Resin

ˈre-zᵊn | Noun
  1. A sticky and insoluble organic compound secreted by plants. In cannabis plants, the resin contains the cannabinoids and terpenes. During the growth cycle, cannabis resin serves as a defense mechanism for the plant, developed to protect it from predators and pests.
  2. The tar-like residue found in bongs, pipes and other glass pieces after prolonged use without cleaning.

“I need to clean the resin out of my pipe before I use it again.”

 

“All the good stuff in weed is made by the plant’s resin glands.”

More About Resin

Resin from the Plant

You’ve probably noticed the tiny hairs that cover the cannabis plant, giving it a crystal-like sheen and sticky feel. These glandular hairs are called trichomes. These trichomes are held together with resin, which contains the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds for which the cannabis plant is known. You can think of resin as the stuff that holds all the trichome-produced compounds together on the trichome head. 

 

The cannabis plant produces resin primarily to deter pests. Resin is bitter and contains specific terpenes that repel certain pests. Linalool, for example, is a common terpene in cannabis that has several health benefits for humans and is also used as an ingredient in insecticides due to its pest-killing properties. Resin also protects the plant from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and helps it maintain optimal surface-level humidity so the plant doesn’t dry out. 

Resin from a Pipe

Resin is also the term used for the tar-like residue that smoked cannabis leaves behind in pipes. The resin that builds up in your pipe or bowl over time as you use it is essentially a result of combustion — largely made up of ash, tar, and carbon.

How is Resin Collected from the Plant?

Hashish

Hashish, or simply hash, is a solvent-free cannabis concentrate comprised of resin or trichome glands. Hash-making is an ancient art dating back thousands of years. All it requires is sifting a cannabis plant to harvest the resin glands, then compressing those glands under mild heat. 

Charas

Charas is a type of hash made by hand-rubbing the cannabis plant and rolling the collected resin into small balls. 

Dry Sift

Dry sift, also known as kief, is resin sifted from cannabis through a sieve. Dry sift can be pressed and heated to create hash. 

Pros of Collecting Resin

When you separate resin from the cannabis plant, you’re essentially accumulating all of the plant’s desirable compounds. Collecting resin from a cannabis plant is like shaking a citrus tree to gather the fruit. You’re separating the good stuff from the raw plant material, and concentrating the plant’s potency and effects. Concentrates made from resin glands are guaranteed to be more potent than flower, thus accounting for the meteoric rise of concentrates within the cannabis market. 

 

With proper protection from outside elements — heat, humidity, light, and air — resin can have a long shelf life. Resin also naturally protects its own cannabinoids from oxygen, especially when pressed into hash. Hash-making induces a Maillard reaction, which causes the resin to darken after heat is introduced. This dark brown color and opaqueness also help protect active compounds from ultraviolet (UV) light,  extending the product’s shelf life.

Can I Use the Resin from My Pipe?

Maybe you’ve wondered whether the leftover resin in your pipe could be collected and consumed. Perhaps you’re one of many cannabis users who have already tried smoking resin when your supply was limited. While there may be some residual THC left in your resin, and it’s certainly possible to feel a high from smoking it, resin will taste harsh and likely include much more tar than any of the desirable compounds you’re looking for.

 

Regardless of whether it is derived from cannabis or another source, smoking tar is definitely harmful. This is not to say that you’ll experience any dangerous side effects if you’ve consumed resin from your pipe or bowl once or twice when you were in a pinch. It just means that it’s probably worth waiting until you get some more flower, rather than smoking something with minimal THC content that’s also worse for your lungs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Best Way to Remove Resin from Your Pipe and Hands?

Place your pipe or bowl in a sealable plastic bag and fill it with rubbing alcohol until the entire piece is submerged. Add a teaspoon of table salt (sodium chloride) or Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), either of which will act as a scrubber or sponge on the resin. Leave the pipe or bowl to soak in the bag for about 12 hours, giving the alcohol enough time to dissolve the resin. 

 

Rubbing alcohol is also a fast and effective method for removing resin from your hands. Rubbing your fingers with vegetable or olive oil may also safely remove resin and be kinder to your skin. 

Can You Smoke the Sticky Resin from Your Pipe?

While there may be some residual THC left in your pipe resin and you may feel a high from smoking it, it’s likely to have much more tar, which is harmful for your lungs regardless of where it comes from, than any of the compounds you’re looking for.

Can You use a Vaporizer to Smoke Resin?

Yes, it’s possible to consume resin using a vaporizer. However, similar to  smoking resin, you’re unlikely to get a sufficient amount of cannabinoids and terpenes. Putting resin in your vaporizer may also gunk it up or hinder the smell and taste of your vape hits.