Cannabis Basics

What Is Live Resin?

Live resin is a cannabis concentrate, produced with flash-frozen freshly harvested cannabis plants and a hydrocarbon solvent such as butane or propane. It’s known for its high concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids.

Intro to Live Resin

Invented less than a decade ago, live resin is a golden-coloured cannabis concentrate that ranges from thin and granular to thick and syrupy in consistency, depending on variations in the method used to produce it. It’s known for its high concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids, as it’s made with freshly harvested cannabis that’s flash-frozen in a freezer or with dry ice or liquid nitrogen to preserve the terpene profile of the plant, including its flavours. (The heat, oxygen and light in the drying, or curing, process used to make other types of concentrates can destroy many of the terpenes.)

How is live resin made?

The “live” in live resin refers to the fact that it’s made with fresh, uncured cannabis. It’s produced in a similar way to butane hash oil (BHO) or a supercritical CO2 extraction. The cannabis is processed in a machine that runs a solvent through the plant material, removing the resin-filled trichomes with it. (The solvent, cannabis and machinery are all kept freezing cold during the entire process.) The solvent is then dispersed with heat, leaving behind just the oily resin. Some manufacturers use a number of different finishing methods that turn the resin into various textures for easier handling, while others allow it to settle into a crystalline material within a sappy liquid.

What do I need to know about consuming live resin?

Like many cannabis concentrates, live resin is a versatile product: It can be vaped in a concentrate-specific vaporizer (or one that has a concentrate attachment), added to dried flower and smoked in a joint, or inhaled using a dab rig. If you are an occasional consumer or new to cannabis, dabbing is not recommended — it is a complicated process that can produce strong, immediate effects, and it may increase your risk for experiencing negative effects.

While the correct dosage for you depends on many factors, such as your genetics, age, personality and current mood, try starting with a pinch that’s less than the size of a lentil.

What are the pros and cons of consuming live resin?

When vaporized or dabbed, live resin offers a smoke-free option to inhaling dried cannabis flower, although there are still risks associated with consuming cannabis.

As live resin is a highly concentrated product, you will consume less than you would dried cannabis flower. However, the concentration also comes with the increased potential for overconsumption. To minimize the risk, Health Canada recommends starting with a very small amount, especially if you are trying a new product, and waiting to see how it affects your body.

What should I consider when shopping for live resin?

Because live resin is full of flavourful and aromatic terpenes, you may want to research the different types before making a purchase. Some consumers maintain that terpenes and cannabinoids work together in the overall effect of cannabis, producing “the entourage effect.” However, the impact of terpenes beyond flavour and aroma has yet to be scientifically proven.

Like all concentrates, live resin is unique in that it potentially contains a higher concentration of cannabinoids than other products: up to 90% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), for example, in contrast to the potential 30% THC in dried cannabis. Health Canada recommends starting with a product that contains 10% (100 mg/g) THC or less. Cannabis concentrates available through OCS that are meant to be inhaled contain no more than 1,000 mg of THC per package.


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