Rosin is having a moment…a mainstream moment. Although this cannabis concentrate isn’t new to the industry, it’s quickly gaining the attention of medicinal and recreational users. Rosin is best loved for its purity, but proponents are swift to point out its versatility and potency. Plus, it’s not all that hard for novices to make their own rosin at home.
So, what the heck is rosin? How is it made? And, most importantly, is it right for you? These are just a few of the questions we’ll address in this rosin 101 post.
What Is Rosin?
Although we often use “rosin” to describe a finished process, it could also be understood as a process. Indeed, since rosin is such a versatile medium, it could end up with textures ranging from shatter to wax and still get the “rosin” label. What all rosin products share, however, is the extraction process they went through.
To be considered rosin, manufacturers have to extract oil concentrate using only heat and pressure. People usually collect their rosin on parchment paper. Any solvent-based extraction process instantly disqualifies a product from being listed as rosin.
Some of the most popular starting materials for making rosin include cannabis flower, hash, and kief. While household items like hair straighteners could be used to make rosin, there are now many specialised presses for rosin hitting the market.
Is Rosin An Extract Or A Concentrate?
The terms “extract” and “concentrate” are often used interchangeably in the cannabis industry. Heck, there are even a few cannabis experts who mix up these terms. There is, however, a significant difference between concentrates and extracts that all new cannabis customers should understand.
Extracts are cannabis products that have been produced using some kind of solvent like ethanol, propane, or butane. Shatter, and CO2 oil are typical examples of cannabis extracts. Cannabis concentrates, on the other hand, are made solely with the use of intense heat and pressure (e.g. hash).
Since rosin is produced without the use of a solvent, it should always be listed as a concentrate. If you ever find a rosin product listed as an extract, then you know something weird is going on. To find out whether a “rosin extract” is simply mislabeled, you must ask the manufacturer whether or not they used solvents.
Why Do People Love Rosin?
When discussing rosin’s benefits, most users instantly point out this product’s purity— especially compared with extracts. Of course, since rosin is produced without the use of harsh solvents, there’s zero risk dabbers will be exposed to harmful traces of chemicals like butane.
The lack of chemical manipulation used to make rosin means you’ll be better able to take advantage of the entourage effect. Users also claim its far easier to pick up nuanced terpene profiles using rosins compared with solvent-based extracts.
But it’s not just the purity that people love about rosin. Many users like the fact that it’s more difficult to hide bad quality buds in rosin versus solvent-based extracts. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous manufacturers have used hydrocarbon extraction to squeeze out extracts from low-grade buds. With rosin, however, you need good quality buds to produce high-quality product because, well, that’s all you have!
Another feature in rosin’s favour is its versatility. As we already mentioned, you could manipulate your rosin oil into many different products depending on your preferences. Whether you like shatter, oil, wax, or budder, there’s a way to manipulate the temperature and pressure to get the rosin you’re looking for.
Lastly, rosin is increasingly popular in the cannabis community because it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to make-at-home. Sure, there are risks associated with rosin extraction, but they are far less than using solvents. Also, there’s far less of a learning curve involved in pressing rosin versus operating expensive solvent-based extraction technologies.
Rosin Versus Resin: What’s The Difference?
Yes, resin sounds a lot like rosin, but it’s not the same thing. Thankfully, the distinction between these two isn’t all that hard to understand.
Resin simply refers to the sticky trichomes that appear on any cannabis bud. That’s why you’ll often see “resinous” used in product descriptions to entice you to buy premium cannabis flower.
It’s also common to use “resin” to describe the dark cannabis remains lodged in a pipe or bong. Extreme cannabis fans sometimes collect this “resin” and recycle it, hoping to extract maximum cannabinoid goodness.
No, Live Resin Isn’t Rosin, Either
Just to complicate matters a bit further, there is now a product on the market called live resin. Unlike plain old resin, live resin is a concentrate that involves freezing the entire cannabis plant at below -290°F. The result of this extraction technology is a slightly watery concentrate perfect for dabbing.
We should note the cannabis plant is not dried or cured before manufacturers place it in the freezing chamber. This is an important feature of live resin because it helps retain the plant’s natural aroma and terpene profile.
The primary reason you’d want to use live resin rather than rosin is for the terpenes. Unfortunately, no matter how low you set your heater, there’s going to be some terpene loss in a rosin product. Freezing cannabis, on the other hand, helps retain peak terpenes and aromatics.
On the flipside, it’s impossible to make live resin at home. Only experts working in expensive labs can make good quality live resin nowadays. Of course, this makes live resin far costlier than rosin products.
How Can You Make Rosin At Home?
Arguably the main reason rosin has grown so popular in recent years is that it’s relatively easy to make at home. While you could order a professional rosin press, the simplest method is to use a hair straightener, parchment paper, and a cannabis starting material such as flower, hash, kief, or dry sift.
First, you have to warm up your hair straightener. While that’s warming up, place your cannabis product between your parchment paper. When everything is ready, clamp down on your bud for no longer than 30 seconds. Inspect to see if your final product is to your liking before storing it with a dabber.
Determining the ideal temperature for your rosin will depend on many factors, including how terpene-rich your buds are and what consistency you want your rosin to be. Typically, buds with more terpenes require lower temperatures. Also, lower temps (around 250°F) will produce a harder product like shatter. Those who go over 300°F, on the other hand, often get rosin that’s looser and sappy.
Honestly, rosin pressing takes a great deal of time, practice, and experimentation. It’s a good idea to talk with an experienced budtender if you’re having issues with making rosin. You might also want to look into different rosin tools and technologies on the market. Continue to refine your pressing technique until you find what works best for you.
Final Thoughts On Rosin: Who’s It Good For?
As you could see, there are very few reasons not to try rosin. For starters, users don’t have to worry about potentially toxic solvents getting into their system when dabbing rosin. In addition to removing the solvent risk, rosin removes that yucky solvent taste. Of course, rosin is also one of the only high-grade cannabis products anyone could make safely at home. While live resin might have a higher terpene count, anyone interested in a clean, strong, and inexpensive dabbing material should get serious about rosin.