Live resin has gone from being the little-known, almost-secret crème de la crème of cannabis concentrates known to only those in-the-know (and with a little cash to spare) to being the name on the lips of almost everyone in the cannabis community.
But what is live resin? How do you use it? Is getting a live resin cartridge a better choice for your vape than other options?
In this article, we’ll take a look at what live resin is, how it’s made, how to smoke it and why you might want to…
What is live resin?
Live resin was created with the aim of trying to preserve the rich aromas, tastes and complexity of a real living cannabis plant in a concentrate form.
This isn’t as simple as you might imagine:
From the moment a plant is cut – the moment it stops being a living organism – there are dozens of occasions and opportunities for it to start to lose the qualities which originally made it so unique.
The entire process of cannabis extraction can leave the resultant concentrate completely lacking in the intriguing scent and taste combination which made the plant stand out. Methods which involve drying or curing, in particular, will have a serious negative impact on the plant’s terpenes.
Terpenes are the organic chemical compounds found in many plants – and some types of insects – which are largely responsible for the scents often attributed to them. For example:
- Limonene – is found in the peel of citrus fruits, and has a distinctive orange-like smell. It is also found in numerous other plants, including cannabis.
- Alpha pinene – is found in many plants across the natural world (including cannabis) and smells of fresh pine needles, a tree in which this terpene can be found in high quantities.
Many of the environmental conditions associated with hanging and drying parts of the plant – such as increased heat, oxygen and light, as well as movement – will impact these terpenes. And, thus, the strength and quality of the taste and aroma of the final concentrate produced afterwards.
In fact, some extraction processes are designed to do exactly this – create a final product which is odorless – deliberately. The goal may be the creation of a product which is discreet to use in public, for example.
But live resin was created with the idea of preserving as many of the terpenes and other flavorful elements of the original cannabis plant as possible.
How is live resin made?
In order to save the qualities of the plant, as soon as cannabis intended for producing live resin is harvested it is frozen to subcritical temperatures.
It will remain at this temperature until the extraction process is complete. This means the finished concentrate will retain the terpenes in as close to an undamaged form as possible.
The method used to do this is a custom BHO (Butane Hash Oil) system.
How to use live resin
Many people worry about how to smoke live resin, imagining that it might need some sort of special apparatus or mystical process. This is probably due to the original way in which it was perceived as something used by a mysterious “elite” within the cannabis community.
But actually, using live resin is simple. You can choose several methods, including:
- Dabbing – use a dab rig in the same way as you do for other cannabis concentrates. Just be sure to ask for a little advice first. You’ll need a nail (the bowl-shaped part of the rig) that’s heated to the correct temperature – too hot and you may waste all of the efforts you’ve gone to in acquiring your live resin in the first place! Or you could go too cold and not activate the cannabinoids and terpenes. A little more than 320°F is the generally suggested temperature. You’ll also need a spoon-shaped rather than a flat dabber.
- Live resin vape cartridges – also known as live resin carts for short, these are cartridges for your vaporizer which would usually be filled with oil.
What makes Cannabis live resin special? Are there different kinds?
Live resin concentrate will tend to contain far higher quantities of terpenes than other types of cannabis concentrates. That’s why it is often so much more flavorful and aromatic than cured varieties of concentrates – and also the reason why they’re so popular with cannabis connoisseurs.
Another reason behind their popularity is because the presence of these higher terpene levels may lead to something called the Entourage Effect:
This is the term given to the way in which a set quantity of a given cannabinoid, such as THC, will tend to have a more pronounced effect on a user if there are other chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant present rather than if it is used on its own.
In the case of THC, live resin can thus produce a potentially more powerful psychoactive effect. When it comes to CBD, this might mean enhanced anti-inflammatory or antioxidant strengths.
However, it is important to remember that not all cannabis live resin which is available today will be of the same quality:
Live resin extraction methods used by various producers have now diversified away from the pioneering method used by the original live resin creators in Colorado. Some of these processes may fail to capture some of the terpenes which are found in cannabis at lower quantities (remember – there are over 100 terpenes in the plant, not all in large amounts. Losing some can heavily alter the scent and taste of the resultant live resin).
It’s also worth remembering that the quality of the final cannabis concentrate will always hugely rely on the quality of cannabis plant which was used to make it in the first place. Which parts of the plant are used is also a critical factor. Using freshly frozen flowers is good. But most experts recommend freezing the entire plant in order to retain the highest number of terpenes.
That’s why it’s so important to choose live resin that’s been created from a source of high-quality cannabis if you want it to have the highest chance of containing larger quantities of cannabinoids and terpenes.
If you want your live resin to have the greatest and most natural flavor, it’s also vital to select one that’s been created using the correct manufacturing process and which hasn’t had its consistency altered by any other process after manufacturing…
Selecting your live resin carts
If you are considering putting live resin in your vape pen, you’ll want to be sure that you’re choosing the right one. If you’ve never put live resin in your vape before, this might appear trickier than you might like…
The simple solution is always to go for quality. Be sure of what you are getting in terms of the cannabis plant which the live resin oil in your cart has been made from:
For example, Blue Dream live resin will be made from one of the several different phenotypes of Blue Dream cannabis which are available. Blue Dream is a hybrid of indica and sativa cannabis strains known for producing a plant which has high levels of THC – as well as creating a pleasant state of mental relaxation and usually high energy levels in its users.
You should also bear in mind your personal preferences when it comes to cannabis strain. The K.I.N.D live resin cartridge, for instance, comes in more than a dozen strain-specific varieties – Blue Dream, Aurora, Super Silver Haze and True OG among them – so you can always find one which meets your tastes.
The best vape pen for live resin will also vary depending on your tastes. But be sure to get one where you can set the temperature to ensure you aren’t burning away those beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes (or failing to activate them).
Remember that not all live resin carts are created equal. This means a live resin vape cartridge from an imitation brand or a knock-off variety may not contain the same quantity of terpenes or produce the same quality of experience.
It’s worth taking the time to consider where the cannabis you are vaping has come from. Otherwise, your “live resin pen” may as well be filled with an even more affordable high-quality alternative.