When it comes to consuming cannabis, one method has experienced a seemingly exponential growth in popularity throughout the past decade: concentrates. Also known as extracts, concentrates are potent, concentrated iterations of marijuana that are most commonly consumed by dabbing—a process by which the concentrate is heated in a quartz chamber called a nail, or “banger,” and inhaled as a vapor.
This relatively newer method of consumption has a number of benefits, according to those who opt for a dab rig over a bong. For starters, concentrates are far more potent than cannabis flower, making it possible to achieve a stronger high through the use of far less material. Additionally, heating the product to a point below combustion allows the user to inhale theoretically safer vapor compared to the carcinogen-laden smoke that occurs when marijuana flower is burned.
Among the various forms of extracts on the market, two in particular stand out as the most popular and widely-used: resin and rosin.
If you’re uninitiated with dab culture, you may only be familiar with resin as the stuff you scrape out of your pipe when you’re running low on bud. While this is technically a form of resin, it’s likely going to taste nothing like the kind of resin that is processed and packaged for sale in dispensaries in Arizona.
To achieve a resin product worthy of dabbing, the product undergoes an intricate and time-consuming process. This type of resin is referred to as live resin due to the way it is extracted. Rather than drying and curing the plant before harvesting the THC-rich trichomes—many of which are degraded in potency by the time curing is complete—the live resin process begins by flash-freezing live plant matter before putting it through a hydrocarbon extraction process similar to that from which butane hash oil (BHO) is made. Essentially, the hydrocarbon solvent is passed through the plant material through the application of pressure before ultimately being purged from the resulting concentrate.
The finished product is typically more robust in flavor due to the presence of live compounds such as terpenes, cannabinoids and flavonoids.
Compared to resin, rosin is often regarded as a superior concentrate. While both are similar in name, the process by which each is produced varies significantly. Most notably, whereas resin is produced through hydrocarbon extraction, rosin is created through a solventless method.
As is the case with live resin, the production of live rosin involves the use of live plant matter rather than cannabis that has been through a curing process. Once harvested, the plant matter is put into an ice bath inside one of a series of various-sized micron bags, each of which serve to refine the material, filtering and isolating the THC-containing trichomes in the process. After this procedure, the remaining material is dried out, eventually turning into bubble hash. Once dried, the bubble hash can be pressed using a machine that applies heat and pressure to create the live rosin.
Because the live rosin process is more complex, and because the end result is a decidedly cleaner solventless product, it’s perhaps unsurprising that live rosin is comparatively higher in price than live resin. With that said, deciding which one is better comes down to a matter of personal preference.
While live resin is a slightly lower quality than its rosin counterpart, it is still of a higher caliber than other cannabis products, which is enough of a value for some who are content to pay lower prices than those of live rosin products.
Meanwhile, some consumers are adamant that solventless is the only way to go when it comes to concentrates, and will happily pay a higher cost for correspondingly higher quality.
Whatever your preference, it’s always a good idea to do a little bit of research before determining which brands and products are going to work best for you.
Chances are, there’s an online forum specific to your region where you can crowdsource public opinion about a given item. In such threads, fellow concentrate enthusiasts are typically more than willing to give you their reviews based on their experience, and most are happy to help you make the right purchase.
While any information gleaned can certainly prove useful as a guide, the rest of the journey to determining your preference between resin and rosin will ultimately depend on trying both for yourself. Happy dabbing!