Live Rosin: The Champagne Concentrate

By Michael Coffey
Published: October 26, 2020 | Last updated: May 11, 2021 10:21:41
Key Takeaways

Cannabis concentrates has a new king. Live rosin is expensive, difficult to make, and oh, so worth it. Michael Coffey explains how live rosin captures the essence of the cannabinoid and terpene profile of cannabis like no other extraction process.

Until about five years ago, butane hash oil (BHO) was the only way to fly high when it came to concentrates and no cannabis connoisseur would accept any subpar substitute. Shatter and wax were laying the smack down with ridiculously high THC levels and solidifying a stranglehold on the top-shelf of most cannabis clubs and dispensaries. If it wasn’t 70 per cent THC (or better) budder, no ordinary, decent dabber would even bother breaking out the blow torch.


Then a mind-blowing but often rather bland hit wasn’t enough anymore. Something was missing from the experience and the extraction process necessitated the use of dangerous compounds, primarily butane. The hardcore firebreathers demanded more! More flavor, much more flavor, was in demand to go along with all that raw THC firepower. A solvent-free, sumptuously mind-bending extract sounds kind of like a ganja Holy Grail. That’s because it is, and we’ve finally hunted it down. Live rosin has arrived and just might be the answer.

What’s the Difference Between Live Rosin and Live Resin?

You’ve probably already heard the term “live resin” and may have wondered if live rosin is the same thing? Sure, they are similar but definitely not the same. Both are reliant on the same fresh, frozen sticky green raw material, however, it’s the refinement and processing of that sub-zero sensimilla into gourmet goo where the two diverge.


Read also: An In-Depth Look at Cannabis Rosin

Essentially, live resin resulted from the early crude experiments from a decade ago of open blasting freshly harvested frozen cannabis buds and trim with cans of butane gas through fragile glassware brought to its polished, perfected, professional, health-and-safety-sanctioned conclusion. These days the bud is flash frozen to -292°F and refined with hydrocarbons in a laboratory. Contemporary live resin is exactly as described: a pure, fresh extract from a frozen, freshly- harvested cannabis plant. Packing all the potency of conventional BHO derived from traditional dried and cured buds with greatly enhanced terpene profiles owning to the live or fresh cannabis.

Live rosin differs from regular rosin for the same reason live resin differs from conventional BHO and BHO derivatives… because the raw material is alive. The trouble is you can’t exactly pack some fresh frozen colas into a rosin press and make marijuana magic happen. Live rosin requires a lot more finesse and a producer really must go the extra mile to create this tier-one live concentrate from fresh reefer.


How’s Live Rosin Made?

The quest for live rosin begins with fresh frozen cannabis bud and trim. Rather than refining this precious, fresh resinous raw reefer with solvents, it must be carefully processed into high-grade bubble hash or ice hash first. In fact, only the finest full melt scooped from a fine 25-micron screen will suffice. It is critical that the isolator is not contaminated with plant materials that in normal circumstance would make for a more-than-acceptable half-melt stash.

Ask a Grower: What do I need to get started on making my own rosin and what are its benefits?


Moreover, only premium uber-potent strains should be used in order to sieve the finest trichomes packed with cannabinoids and desirable terpenes. The window for freezing is as tight as one hour post-harvest to preserve maximum terpenes. Single-source batches are preferable for purists seeking an undiluted live rosin experience from a favorite strain, although blended batches are not without their charm when the right terpene profiles collide in the mix. Regardless, it’s all about achieving a terp-rich, high-potency finished product. Did you know 90 per cent of terpenes can be lost post-harvest during drying and curing?

Once the ice hash has been extracted it must be dried (ideally freeze dried), but this is the stage where the “live” part of the live rosin equation is open to some criticism. It is the ice hash from which the live rosin is extracted. The last step of the process is virtually identical to conventional rosin pressing. Post-production preserving the live rosin is more challenging and it should ideally be stored in the freezer to prevent terpene degradation and maintain consistency. Overall, this is a challenging technical process requiring pro tools and experience beyond that of most home growers. Live rosin manufacture is major league.

What Makes This Exotic Extract So Special?

Live rosin captures the essence of the cannabinoid and terpene profile of cannabis like no other extraction process. The unique attributes of living cannabis simply cannot be understated. Flavor is not just intensified by using fresh bud and trim, but new tastes have been unlocked to tantalize the cannabis connoisseur. Not to mention enhanced entourage effects from higher terpene concentrations.

Read also: Concentrates & Extracts: The Types, Benefits, and Reasons to Consume

As a premium product designed specifically for the dabbing and/or vaping pleasure of the sophisticated cannabis user, you hardly expected this stuff to come cheap, did you? Priced at $100-plus per gram in those clubs or dispensaries where it is available, live rosin is definitely not your ordinary everyday stash. A tiny silicon tub of this clear yellowish superior substance is a treat for the lungs and powerful enough to elevate your consciousness to enlightened realms. Not recommended for the novice consumer unless you want to simulate an out-of-body experience.

The main reason live rosin is expensive is because it is a genuine rare and precious cannabis commodity. Make no mistake, this is the platinum-level champagne stash for those with the cash to splash. Best served chilled and get ready to be thrilled.

In the near future, there is a reasonable chance luxury live extracts such as live rosin will become more accessible to ordinary cannabis enthusiasts in the US and Canada, especially with the Covid-19 fallout generating a surplus of flower. With no immediate marketplace, many commercial producers will be compelled to convert crops into concentrates. Freezing fresh for profit later is a better alternative to unsold buds rotting in jars and buckets during the summer.

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Written by Michael Coffey | Cannabis Cultivator, Writer, Photographer, & YouTuber

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Michael Coffey, aka Top Shelf Grower is a cannabis cultivator, freelance writer, photographer, and YouTuber originally from Dublin Ireland. These days he’s on the loose creating dope content from an off-the-grid location somewhere. In 2018 he self-published his first book, Cannabis Cultivation a 21st Century Guide, available on Amazon.

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