Is it Cheaper to Buy Rosin or Make it at Home?
If you’re wondering whether it’s cheaper to buy your rosin from a dispensary or make it at home, Lee G. Lyzit breaks it all down to help growers make the most cost-effective choice.
Not too long ago, the only way to get cannabis concentrates and extracts was to make your own or ask a knowledgeable friend. With the legalization and establishment of adult-use dispensaries, cannabis concentrates have exploded in popularity and availability.
Dispensaries make purchasing these products easy and convenient. Dispensaries offer a wide range of favorites from shatter to edibles to rosin; each showcasing unique properties and processes of extraction. Now that the initial novelty of purchasing legal cannabis products has worn off, many growers are wondering if it is more cost effective to create their own rosin or to purchase it at a dispensary. It’s a good question, given that all extracts and concentrates were, until recently, made at home and making something yourself is generally less expensive, not to mention more rewarding.
The Cost of Starting a Cannabis Garden
Purchasing cannabis at a dispensary and turning it into a concentrate is not very cost effective. However, growing your own cannabis and converting the flower and/or trim material into cannabis concentrates can be cost effective. The average start-up cost for a home hobby cannabis garden ranges from $1,000-2,000 (that’s equipment, garden construction costs, and a high-quality strain).
Let’s assume the garden is set up, producing, and the grower is achieving a minimum of 0.5 grams per watt of electricity used (a reputable yield for novice growers). In a 600W flowering room, 300 grams (about 11 ounces) could be produced each 8-10 week grow cycle.
Based on the cost of cannabis at a dispensary, the investment in growing your own cannabis at home can be cost effective. However, is it cost effective to grow your own bud and convert it into a smokeable concentrate?
What is Rosin?
Home growers who want to convert the flower material into a high-potency smokable concentrate, without a huge investment, should consider rosin. Rosin is a solid-form cannabis concentrate made by administering pressure and heat to vaporize volatile liquid terpenes.
In layman’s terms, rosin is made when cannabis material is put under extreme pressure, while also being heated to a desirable temperature (somewhere between 250-335°F). Rosin is quickly becoming popular because it is nearly as potent as any solvent-based extract, minus the potential dangers associated with solvents. Solvents, such as butane, can pose dangerous risks to do-it-yourselfers.
Most solvents used in cannabis extractions are volatile and flammable. Without proper equipment, knowledge, and ventilation, solvent-based extractions can be explosive. Many growers have had unfortunate, yet avoidable, accidents when experimenting with DIY solvent-based cannabis extractions. Rosin production, on the other hand, is relatively safe and does not pose the same level of danger as solvent-based products. There is no need to worry about an explosion or solvent-based residuals left in the product.
This doesn’t mean rosin is the only concentrate home growers can produce. It should be noted that closed loop extraction systems for making shatter or wax can be purchased by hobbyists to make high-quality concentrates. When done correctly, this can be a relatively safe process and create some of the most potent cannabis concentrates available. However, the use of butane or other flammable solvents should be left to the professionals. In my opinion, rosin is the best choice for home growers who wish to make their first ventures into creating high-quality cannabis concentrates.
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The Cost of Rosin at Dispensaries
Depending on location and quality, the cost of cannabis concentrates, like rosin, can fluctuate greatly. Generally, states that have recently legalized recreational adult-use cannabis or those states with high taxes have higher priced concentrates. The average cost of rosin from a dispensary is typically $20-50 per gram; again, this depends on location and quality.
Equipment for Making Rosin
To get started making rosin, you will need to invest in a few pieces of equipment. First, and most importantly, is the rosin press. This is the mechanical device that applies pressure to the cannabis to “press out” the rosin. Rosin presses differ in the amount of material that can be pressed and the precision of the pressure.
Next up are the rosin plates. The plates are what create the heat and make contact with the plant material within the press. In some models, the plates are built in or are part of the press itself. Depending on the style press, the plates can also be removable and/or interchangeable. High-end commercial units will have multiple heating elements throughout the plates to ensure uniform heat distribution.
Lastly, rosin bags are the containers which hold the plant material while being pressed. There are specific rosin bags available designed to withstand the heat and pressure of the press and to maximize the overall yield. Rosin bags are not absolutely necessary, but can help keep the process cleaner and streamlined.
Rosin press kits can range from a couple hundred dollars for a small hobbyist press to thousands of dollars for a commercial rosin press. Most of these kits will include both the press and the rosin plates, along with everything needed to get started.
How Much Rosin Will I Get?
The amount of rosin a grower will get from pressing his or her plant material depends on multiple factors. The biggest determining factor (assuming the press itself is adequate and functioning properly) is the quality of the plant material. Plant material with a higher percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes will yield a rosin with a higher percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes. Simply put, high-quality flower material will produce high-quality rosin.
As for the actual ratio of rosin produced compared with plant material pressed, the average yield for rosin is 15-19 percent yield by weight. As an example, if a grower presses an ounce (28 grams) of cannabis, he or she can expect 4.2-5.3 grams of rosin.
Is Making Rosin Worth It?
Let’s go back to our example of the small hobby garden that produces at least 0.5 grams of cannabis per watt of electricity. With a 600-watt flowering room, this garden would produce 300 grams (about 11 oz.) per 8-10 week garden cycle. If the grower decided to press all that material into rosin and could average 17 percent yield by weight, he or she would yield 51 grams of rosin per garden cycle (300x0.17 = 51). Multiply 51 grams by the average cost of rosin at dispensaries ($20-50 per gram) and the rosin produced at home would have a retail value of somewhere between $1,020-$2,550 (51x20 = $1,020 and 51x50 = $2,550).
Now, consider the ongoing costs. The national average cost of electricity in the U.S. is $0.13 per kWh. Most start-up cannabis gardening kits (600W flowering/200-400W vegetative) will average 12 kilowatt hours per day for lighting, ventilation, etc. Using the national average kWh rate, this equates to a cost of $1.56 per day or about $47 dollars per month in electricity (12x0.13 = $1.56x30 = $46.80). Super soil mixtures average $20 per grow cycle (or $10 per month) and nutrient kits cost around $40 per grow cycle (or $20 per month).
The ongoing costs are relatively low compared to the retail value of the flower material or the rosin that could be produced. Even the initial investments of $2,000 in the garden space and $1,000 for a quality rosin press for a hobbyist could be recouped within a few months. This, of course, is not taking into account the hobbyist’s time and/or energy to grow the cannabis and press the rosin. However, most cannabis growers get into indoor horticulture as a labor of love and enjoy the hobby.
So, if you like the process of growing cannabis and you want to press your own rosin, this venture would not be a financial loss.
Pressing rosin is a great way for home hobbyists to experiment with making high-potency cannabis concentrates in the privacy of their own homes. The equipment needed to press rosin is minimal and the initial investment is relatively inexpensive. Although it is convenient to purchase cannabis products at a dispensary, there is nothing quite as satisfying as self-reliance and a job well done. With a small amount of research into the process and minimal investment in equipment, hobbyist cannabis growers can convert their harvests into a terpene-rich, high-potency rosin that will rival even the best products sold at a dispensary.
Written by Lee G Lyzit | Grower, Writer
Lee G. Lyzit has been involved in the cannabis industry for nearly 20 years. His passion for natural healing motivates him to learn as much as he can about the miraculous cannabis plant. Lee’s knowledge of cannabis gardening stems from his own extensive cultivation experiences and his past work as a hydroponic shop owner and manager.