How to Make Live Resin

resin sauce

If you’re at all familiar with cannabis and hemp concentrates, then you’ve likely heard of live resin. It’s been around now for some time, though it’s still one of the most highly sought after extracts due to its superior quality, potency, flavor, and the overall well-rounded experience it offers consumers.

In the midst of an ever-growing world of concentrates, with plentiful options to choose from, some consumers may find themselves asking exactly how live resin is different from other extracts and what the process behind it entails.

There are a few key elements in the extraction process that work to create live resin specifically, and learning more about how these products are made can be a great way to learn more about the extract and better appreciate the experience of using live resin. If you’re looking to try live resin out or just want to learn more about how it’s made, we’ve got the answers!

Key Takeaways

  • Live resin is a potent, flavorful, high-potency concentrate that retains many of the compounds from the original plant otherwise lost when plant matter is cured. This is often said to lead to a more full, well-rounded user experience.
  • One of the main distinctions and most crucial steps in creating live resin is flash-freezing the plant after harvest, effectively preserving much of the plant’s original essence.

What is Live Resin?

Live resin is a high-quality concentrate that is often known for being one of the most potent and flavorful extracts on the market. Along with cannabinoids and terpenes, live resin tends to maintain more compounds from the original cannabis plant, which works to enhance the overall experience and round out the effects for users.

This is because the plant matter used to make live resin is flash frozen, which preserves many of the compounds from the original crop that are often lost when plants are cured or dried, like with shatters or waxes.

live resin strawberry gummies floating


What are the Benefits of Live Resin?

One of the most sought-after benefits of live resin is that it’s potent, due to the cannabinoids retained during the extraction process. Users also enjoy live resin for its plentiful terpenes and flavor, which tends to more closely mirror that of the original plant than other concentrates that don’t utilize fresh-frozen extraction.

The fact that live resin retains so many of the compounds from the original plant also works to encourage the entourage effect, which suggests that the effects of cannabis and hemp compounds are enhanced as they work in synergy.

How to Make Live Resin: Step By Step

It’s helpful to understand the process involved in live resin manufacturing, though making this extract is best left to professionals. Creating live resin involves expertise and specific equipment, and without the proper training and safety protocols, making live resin on your own can be incredibly dangerous.

With that said, there is an intricate process involved with every batch of live resin on the market. Here’s how it’s done!

  1. Harvest Fresh Plants

It goes without saying, but a cannabis or hemp plant is needed to create live resin. Not every strain is suitable for high-quality live resin, but the best crops tend to be plentiful in terpenes, leading to that incredibly flavorful experience so many know and love about live resin.

For the best flavor preservation, plants should be harvested right before they reach maturity.

  1. Freeze the Biomass

One of the most essential steps in creating live resin versus other concentrates is immediately freezing the plant material following harvest. As mentioned, freezing the plant will preserve a hefty amount of compounds from the original “live” plant — without freezing, the final product will not truly be live resin!

Producers will gather the flowers and sugar leaves from their crops, excluding fan leaves, steams, and roots, and place them in a deep freezer, generally at -10°F or lower. From there, the plant matter only needs to stay frozen for 24 to 36 hours. 

  1. Extraction

Like any concentrate, the resin within the plant needs to be extracted to create the final product. This process is incredibly delicate, relying on the right blend of temperatures and solvents to create the perfect final product.

Different solvents and solvent blends can be used, but most processors utilize a blend of butane and propane. Some attest that the more propane is in the blend, the more terpenes are ultimately pulled from the biomass. Most processors will utilize a variety of different butane/propane ratios. The solvent must also be chilled to a low temperature, at least -40°F but colder tends to be best. Low temperatures allow processors to lock water soluble compounds out of the plant, which is ideal in extraction.

The actual process involves a commercial-grade, closed-loop hydrocarbon extractor, which washes the frozen biomass with the chilled solvent. This morphs the trichomes into one solution, which is then transferred into a collection vessel.

From there, heat is applied to the vessel, which evaporates the solvent from the extract — though it can’t be too hot, otherwise extractors may risk burning off those valuable terpenes. A gas compressor and condensing tank are often used to assist in the recovery of solvents and return them back to the original solvent tank. This is where the phrase “closed loop” extraction comes from.

  1. Purging Residual Solvents

At this point, extractors have their live resin, but the process isn’t over. In order to ensure safe consumption, processors must purge any remaining solvents. This usually involves a vacuum oven designed to preserve the full flavor and aroma of the extract while eliminating residual solvents.

This involves a careful balance of temperature and pressure to ensure solvents are removed but that terpenes are not damaged.

  1. Create Live Resin Products

Step 4 may be the final step for some processors, though if you’ve dabbled in the world of live resin, you may know that there are different iterations live resin can take on. Processors will often perform specific techniques in live resin post-processing to create a unique finished product.

For example, processors may opt to whip the live resin to change the consistency and create live resin badder. Some may opt to heat and decarboxylate the THCa in live resin to make liquid diamonds or crystalate, which is often used in vape pens and cartridges. You may also see options like live resin sauce, live wax, or live sugar, each of which involve their own unique post-processing methods to create.

Final Thoughts

The cannabis and hemp worlds are full of innovation, and live resin is no exception.

Keep in mind that this is an abridged version of the entire process, and creating the live resin products you see in dispensaries involves an immense amount of expertise, specific equipment, and incredibly precise procedures. Extraction is best left up to trained professionals, but expanding your knowledge can be a humbling reminder of the work and care that goes into crafting these products!

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