Rosins and Resins, What’s the difference?
By Arturo Delgado @tookkie_terpenestein
I often find myself explaining the difference between a resin and a rosin to friends, family and just patients who are not as experienced in cannabis concentrates. When I find myself answering this question, it is usually because the person asking doesn’t have much knowledge on the types of concentrates and because the words resin and rosin sound very similar. So instead of constantly explaining it, because how commonly it’s asked, I decided to write it up and share it because I have a feeling the question of what the difference between resin and rosin is will definitely not be going anywhere anytime soon, especially since we will now probably have a ton of new recreational cannabis users since Prop 207 has passed.
I had a family member who thought I was talking about the tar like weed residue that is left on the inside of pipes and bongs after not cleaning them for a while. I’m sure if you’re a newer smoker or never had to worry about where you were going to get some smoke and have only shopped in a legal market you probably have never had to deal with this. But old school smokers and those still in highly illegal states probably know what it’s like to smoke that nasty black gooey residue when they are out of weed, can’t find any and just want to catch a buzz. I had an aunt who actually liked it and swore it was stronger than weed because it was more like hash. Don’t ask, I couldn’t tell you the logic behind that, but I guess to each their own. But other than those circumstances, that definition of resin has almost been completely eliminated.
Uses NO Solvents, aka Solventless
made from cured flowers, hash, or kief
Uses Solvents (Butane, CO2, etc)
made from live plant material, freshly frozen material, cured flower, shake, trimmings
Today’s Resins are cannabis concentrates that are extracted using solvents to collect the trichomes of whatever starting material the extractor chooses. Basically, they use these solvents to “wash” the plant matter. As the solvent passes over the plant material, it collects chemical compounds like terpenes, cannabinoids, lipids and more. Once this step is complete, they must remove the solvent by purging it. What is left is the usable cannabis concentrate that is a resin. Resins can be extracted from most all the plant materials like the flower after its been cured, during the cure, fresh live material and even the trimmings from harvest. These solvent based extractions require a lot of equipment, materials and can be very hazardous and dangerous to perform if not done correctly or in the proper environment.
Rosins are highly sought after due to the method in which they’re made. Because rosin is created using a solventless extraction process, it’s considered by many to be one of the “cleanest” cannabis concentrates. Rosin is made using heat and pressure to squeeze the resinous sap from cannabis or cannabis derived products such as kief and hash. Because there are no solvents used, once this sap is squeezed out and collected it can be consumed. Also, since there are no solvents or purging required, rosin can be made with minimal materials and equipment. In fact, you can make rosin using just three things you may already have in your home, a hair straightener, parchment paper and of course cannabis or a cannabis derived product like kief, although if you use kief you may want to press it into a puck first.
All you need to do is make sure the hair straightener is heated, fold the parchment paper in half with your nug or puck in the middle and squeeze as hard as you can (I once stood on a hair straightener but a woodworking clamp would probably be easier). You should yield at least a little rosin but don’t expect anything crazy or even much at all. The yield will probably be small and maybe only a dab or two but it’s fun to try. Now if you’re serious about wanting to press rosin, there are larger heated plates and hydraulic presses that professionals use to make their rosin. If you’re curious as to where to obtain these products, well the internet has endless resources and there are other cheaper hand held clamp presses as well such as The Juice Box.
So basically, resins are made using various solvents while rosins use none. Resins can be made from live plant material, freshly frozen material, cured flower, shake and even trimmings. Rosins can only be pressed from cured flowers, hash or kief. To get a live rosin, you must first wash the live or freshly frozen material in ice water as the solvent to create bubble hash which is then pressed but that’s a whole different story and subject. Although resins are purged of their solvent, there are still going to be traces of the solvent used even if it’s a very low part per million, whereas rosin has absolutely no risk of leaving any type of residual solvent. So for those with respiratory issues who still like to dab, rosin is probably your best bet.
For everyone else I really wouldn’t worry, as I’ve said before “if it smells good the terps are there.” That’s a good sign, I always follow my nose no matter what type of concentrate I’m getting, whether it’s cured resin, live resin, rosin or hash rosin. Plus, not everyone can afford the solventless price point or just prefer resin. I myself will pick nice smelling live resin over a rosin any day. If you want some fantastic solventless, be on the lookout for new drops from Shango. I tried their Alien Cookies and Modified Banana and sheesh!! All I can say is just read the reviews, phenomenal! For a good cured resin, MPX is a go to for me. So if you’re still confused about the difference, I would start with the companies mentioned. Keep trying different consistencies and products and don’t stop asking questions.