Live Resin is a term that describes an extract made from fresh-frozen flowers and extracted with butane. Extracts that are made with butane are sometimes referred to as “BHO” or butane hash oil.
In order for an extract to be classified as live resin, the plants must have been frozen while they were still fresh. Freezing the plant while it’s still wet preserves all the phytochemicals before they get a chance to oxidize or evaporate off. This results in a finished extract that contains the highest possible concentrations of terpenes.
Why are terpenes so important?
Terpenes are phytochemicals that all plants produce to perform different functions like protecting themselves from insects. Terpenes is what gives each cannabis strain unique flavor, aroma, and effects. The same compounds can be found across many kinds of plants. For example, lavender is high in linalool and hops are high in myrcene—two of the most popular terpenes found in cannabis. Terpenes work synergistically to produce new effects when combined in the body, called the entourage effect. Science is just beginning to explore the possibilities of terpene combinations.
Many of the finer terpenes are extremely sensitive to heat and oxidization. When cannabis plants are dried, these terpenes transform through oxidation or evaporate off completely. This is why fresh cannabis plants smell so different from their dried and cured counterparts.
The live resin process protects these delicate terpenes by freezing the plant, to create an extract with complex flavors and aromas that closely resemble those of the fresh flower. The name live resin was coined because these extracts smell more like live plants than any other extract.
How is live resin made?
1. FRESH FREEZE
We cryogenically freeze the plants fresh in the fields immediately after cutting them down. This prevents water and terpenes from evaporating like they would if the plants were dried.
2. EXTRACT WITH CRYOGENIC HYDROCARBONS
The plant stays frozen during the entire extraction process. The extract is “winterized” inline during this process which removes undesirable fats, waxes, cellulose, and lipids.
The final step purges the excess hydrocarbons from the extract. Purging involves gently heating the extract to 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit without vacuum to off-gas most of the solvents in the mixture. This is a crucial step in high value live resin because if not done properly these products will show residual solvents on a COA.
During this phase, the extract is left undisturbed for 2-3 weeks in glass jars or pans. While the extract sits, cannabinoids start to come out of solution and recrystallize in the bottom of the container. After this, the terpene mixture or “terp sauce” can be poured off the top leaving just the cannabinoid “diamonds” behind.
5. FINAL PURGE
After separating the terp sauce and the diamonds, they both will need to go through a final purge. Separating the crystals makes it easy to purge them for longer. Ed Rosenthal recommends purging diamonds for around 72 hours and terp sauce for around 60 hours. Afterward, the components can be used separately or mixed back together.
Sound complicated? Extraction is often more of an art form than a science, with each extractor developing their own techniques over years of trial and error. With the advances in extraction equipment and the growing popularity of live resin, we believe this is only the beginning of what master extractors will craft in the upcoming years.
Our founder Granger Vinall is a pioneer in hemp live resin and we are proud to offer his high-CBD live resin containing zero THC under Lune Laboratories. Try a jar today and taste the difference.