Live resin describes a particular type of concentrate extracted from fresh cannabis plant material. Live resin is created from cannabis material that was not dried or cured, allowing it to retain many of the active compounds, particularly terpenes and flavonoids, that would otherwise disintegrate or degrade during the curing process.
First created in Colorado in 2013, live resin has become a popular full-spectrum cannabis extract thanks to the consistently high-quality and flavorful experiences it can provide. The name live resin was coined by creator Kind Bill because the finished product smells exactly like the living flower.
How is Live Resin Made?
WARNING: THE MANUFACTURING OF LIVE RESIN AND OTHER CANNABIS CONCENTRATES SHOULD ONLY BE PERFORMED BY PROFESSIONALS AS THESE PROCESSES CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
Live resin is extracted with similar processes and chemical substances as other concentrates. It’s often referred to as BHO but with live or flash-frozen plants, though CO2 extraction can also be used.
If the cannabis is going to be used for live resin, growers typically flash-freeze it immediately following harvest and maintain the chill throughout the extraction process to preserve the active compounds. The plant material can be dipped in liquid nitrogen or cooled using dry ice. Once the plant material is frozen, the extraction process varies little from that of other cannabis concentrate production.
How is Live Resin Different from Other Concentrates?
Live resin skips the cannabis drying and curing process to maintain as many of the terpenes and flavonoids as possible. Typically, flowers are dried and cured to prepare them to be exposed to heat and decarboxylation, the process which activates THC and other compounds to produce psychoactive and therapeutic effects. The downside of this, however, is that many terpenes are lost during the drying process, resulting in a loss of flavor and unique aromas as well as the terpenes’ effects on the overall physiological experience. In fact, a 1995 study from the University of Mississippi found that drying a cannabis plant for a week at room temperature resulted in a 31% loss of terpenes.
The terpenes present in cannabis affect its flavor profile, as well as that of any concentrates made from a strain. Further, a study published by Dr. Ethan B. Russo in 2011 supports the idea of the entourage effect — the presence of terpenes can boost and amplify the human experience with cannabis.
Live resin concentrate preserves the terpene profile of cannabis flowers, producing a more flavorful and psychoactively unique cannabis experience.