Getting up close and personal with a fully mature, living cannabis plant is somewhat of a transcendent experience. The bouquet of aromas captured in a single sniff off a living bud will completely redefine your expectations of the relationship between cannabis flowers and their many complex fragrances. However, facilitating a translation of these distinct flavors and aromas into a consumable product is easier said than done.
Once a cannabis plant has been harvested, the myriad of intermediary processes between when the shears touch the stalk and when you consume the final product has the potential to all but completely eliminate those valuable flavors and aromas. To add fuel to the fire, many cannabis extraction techniques intentionally purge these elements, leaving the consumer with an odorless concentrate completely void of the “essence” it once carried.
How is it possible to capture the flavors and aromas from a living plant and bring that experience to the cannabis consumer? The answer is with “live resin” concentrates.
Live resin is a type of cannabis concentrate that is manufactured using a technique that takes freshly harvested cannabis and freezes it to subcritical temperatures prior to and throughout the extraction process. Where these methods differ from other extraction processes is in the amount of time harvested cannabis plants are allowed to dry and cure before the extraction.
The drying and curing process that a cannabis plant typically undergoes can have a devastating impact on terpenes, the flavorful factory molecules present within the trichomes that line virtually every corner of a mature cannabis flower and its surrounding foliage. With cured concentrates, the cannabis plant is allowed a certain amount of time to wick itself of moisture and chlorophyll before the extraction occurs. During this time, trichomes are subjected to conditions not conducive to terpene preservation. Interactions such as increased exposure to heat, oxygen, physical agitation, and light all play a role in degrading terpenes.
However with live resin, the plant is flash frozen immediately following harvest and kept at freezing temperatures throughout the extraction process.. By doing this, the cannabis plant retains its valuable terpene profile, thus retaining the plant’s original flavor and fragrance that can then be carried over into the final product. (Learn more about live resin extraction in Episode 1 of our “The Art of Extraction” series, and explore how other concentrates are made in other episodes as well.)