If you’re unfamiliar with rosin, get ready for a DIY experience like no other. Rosin is a concentrate made by exposing cannabis to heat and pressure to squeeze the terpenes and cannabinoids found in the plant’s trichome glands. Rosin can be made out of flower, dry sift, or hash with a few tools you likely have around your house.
Since rosin is created without the use of solvents, which for many alter the flavor and resulting product, it’s preferred by consumers who want flavor and effects more like that of the source flower. Some also consider it a safer concentrate because there is zero chance of residual solvents making it into the final product.
This extraction technique is not new and has been used by other industries for decades. Imagine squeezing the oil out of an olive, or juice from grapes. The rosin process transforms the starting material into a potent, solventless concentrate. It can even turn hash that won’t melt into a dabbable product.
Rosin technology has been around for decades, but it didn’t really take off until Phil “Soilgrown” Salazar, @soilgrown_solventless, began sharing photos of his rosin on social media and discussing his technique with the cannabis community. While Salazar didn’t invent the process, he did play a huge role in creating the hype that has spurred many solventless enthusiasts to begin experimenting on their own.
Before you make your first rosin, you’ll need a hair straightener, parchment paper, cannabis, a rosin bag (optional), and a dabber to collect the rosin when you’re done.
A straightener with 2-inch plates and customizable temperature controls work best, but the process will still work with a straightener that has low, medium, and high settings. It may just take more trial and error.
Temperature plays a big role in determining the quality and overall yield and the ideal temperature is heavily dependent on the chemical makeup of the cannabis used. If your flower or hash is terpene-rich, a lower temperature is needed. This is because the terpenes squeezed out of the trichome glands during the initial press act as a natural solvent to facilitate the rosin process. With fewer terpenes to play that role, you’ll need more pressure and heat to coax the cannabinoids out of the glands.
As a general rule of thumb, temperatures between 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit, or 121-149 degrees Celsius, will yield a more stable product, like shatter. Temperatures between 300-335 degrees Fahrenheit, or 149-168 degrees Celsius, tend to result in a sappier texture.
You can make rosin by pressing a cured nug directly in between two pieces of parchment paper, or by placing dry sift, also known as kief, into a rosin screen or mesh bag and placing the bag in between the parchment paper. While typically used by more experienced hash makers, these screens and bags are used to filter out plant particulates that can make their way into your rosin. The smaller the screen size, the more particulates it will hold back, but it will also restrict the flow of your rosin and possibly reduce your overall yield.
Choosing the correct screen size is a delicate balance. Finer mesh screens (25-45 microns) are ideal for any form of dry sift or hash. Larger mesh screens (70-120 microns) can be used for either whole nugs or trim.
We recommend using heat resistant gloves to avoid burning your fingertips. If you are using a hair straightener, you will need to use your hands to apply the pressure by squeezing the bottom of the flat iron. Do this at your own risk and with caution.
Remember, while screens and bags can hold up to nearly any amount of pressure and heat, it’s important not to overfill them or apply too much pressure too fast. A rosin bag that’s too full could break open and screens with too much material in them can overflow. Start with low pressure and increase slowly for the best results.