Chances are you’ve fallen in love with cannabis for two reasons: the experience and the flavour. Cannabinoids, like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), provide the medicinal and recreational effects, but it’s the terpenes that create the flavour.
If the flavour is paramount, live resins are the solution. But for years, it was difficult to find a highly potent cannabis concentrate, which also captured the original strain’s unique flavourful profile. That is, until the creation of the live resin process.
With live resins in Canada now available, Canadians now have the chance to taste a truly delicious cannabis concentrate. Live resins are entirely focused on aroma and flavour, using fresh innovation and new technologies to preserve the original terpene profile.
What is Live Resin & How is it Made?
Live resin is a cannabis concentrate destined for vaping, dabbing, or sometimes, even smoking. Unlike more conventional extraction techniques, the live resin process focuses on terpene preservation over potency.
This isn’t to say live resins aren’t as potent as other concentrates. They very well could be! But the final concentrate contains far more terpenes than other extracts on the market.
Two factors differentiate live resin from other concentrates:
- Sub-zero temperatures
- Processing fresh, frozen flower
Terpenes are incredibly volatile essential oils, which often evaporate or burn up after high heat exposure. Unfortunately, most extraction technologies (like butane honey oil, rosin, and CO2) all rely on high heat to pull the cannabinoids out of the dried flower. These high temperatures burn off most, if not all, of the delicious terpenes.
Live resin extractors work in sub-zero temperatures to capture and preserve the terpene profile of a tasty bud. That means dry ice, big freezers, and buckets of ice. Sometimes these extractions happen entirely within walk-in freezers because of the need to keep flower, extractor, and solvents cold.
The second requirement for terpene preservation is fresh bud. Again, terpenes are sensitive molecules. Once harvested, cannabis flowers begin to rapidly lose some of the most volatile of the terpenes. Within a few days of the drying and curing process, a fresh nug’s aromatic profile will have gone through a remarkable transformation. To prevent this terpene loss, live resin requires fresh flower. Typically producers freeze fresh flowers within 30 minutes from harvest.
Live resin refers to any cannabis concentrate that works with fresh flower and preserves terpenes with sub-zero temperatures.
What Kinds of Live Resin in Canada Can You Get?
There are just about as many live resin variations as there are more conventional cannabis concentrations. The original strain that goes into the extraction, combined with the post-extraction handling, helps determine the finish.
Cannabinoids tend to harden and crystalize, while terps remain saucy. Because of these textural differences, strain profile is often the predictor for the final finish. For example, some strains like Gorilla Glue #4 are too terpy to create a stiff, snappy concentrate. Live resins with Gorilla Glue are typically a much saucier consistency.
Producers may also perform a few additional steps post-extraction to get a finish they like. Initially, live resin is a jelly like consistency, which producers allow to cure for several weeks. This curing process helps cannabinoids crystalize (into diamonds), which further separates the liquid terpenes. Sometimes, terpenes and cannabinoids are separated and recombined within new products.
Here are a few common types of live resin in Canada you may come across:
Live Resin Terp Sauce
As the name suggests, terp sauce is a sauce-like consistency. It’s likely yellow or golden, and may (or may not) have crystals floating in it. It may be difficult to manipulate for dabbing because it’s so liquidy.
Live Resin Diamonds
Diamonds produced from a live resin extraction are technically the cannabinoids (specifically, the THCa). Post extraction curing allows for the THCa molecules to crystalize, sometimes into very impressive diamonds. These may be removed from the terp sauce and sold separately, or left in the terp sauce for a chunkier texture.
Live Resin Badder
Also called batter, this describes a concentrate which is almost frosting-like in texture. It may be smooth or slightly sugary, but it handles well for dabbing. Usually, this consistency is produced by whipping the live resin after extraction.
Live Resin Sap
Sap describes a slightly stickier consistency than sauce, just like sap dripping from a tree. It’s super tacky and easier to work with for dabs. It may come in a variety of golden, yellow or shades of brown.
A Note on Live Resin Shatter
Because live resin extractions focus on terpenes, and terpenes are saucy, it’s almost impossible to create a shatter from a true live resin. Some producers may advertise a live resin shatter, but this suggests a different extraction technique or a low-grade (low-terpene) input.
Cannabis Connoisseur: How to Use Live Resin
If you want to experience a full-spectrum concentrate, there are three popular ways to consume live resin: dabbing, vaping, and pre-filled carts.
How to Dab Live Resin
To dab live resin, you’ll need a dab rig (also called a rig), a butane torch, and a spoon shaped dabber. Unlike other thicker concentrates, a spoon-shaped dabber helps with the saucy consistency of most live resins.
Using the spoon end, collect a small amount of concentrate. If you are new to concentrates, start with the size of a large grain of rice. In the meantime, heat the nail until it reaches 160 degrees celsius. Lower temperatures are better to preserve the terp profile. Dab the live resin onto the hot nail, and inhale.
Check out our hardware section here if you need a rig, or a wax pen!
How to Vape Live Resin
If a dab rig is too messy or too complicated for your tastes, many portable vape devices work well with concentrates. Not all handheld vaporizers work with both flower and concentrate, and some only work with harder concentrates. Be sure to read through your owner’s manual first.
According to the device’s manual, fill the chamber with live resin. If the device allows, preset the temperature between 160 to 200 degrees Celsius. Turn the vaporizer on (or for some, just start inhaling to heat up the device) and enjoy a mellow live resin session.
How to Use a Live Resin Cart
The simplest way to dive into the big wide world of live resin is to purchase a live resin cart for a refillable vape pen. Vape cartridges are mess-free and stress-free. Attach a live resin cart to the battery, and you are ready to inhale the tasty, smooth flavours of a live resin experience.
Live Resins are the Best for Flavour
Pure cannabis flower has so much to offer, and for years, cannabis concentrates have only captured part of this. Finally, with the rise of live resin extractions, cannabis connoisseurs can appreciate both the plant’s potency and its flavour profile.
Live resin is a flavour-forward, yet high potency concentrate, that delivers a much more nuanced experience than straight-THC ever could. If you love appreciating each strain’s unique flavour profile, the live resin experience is worth dabbing in.