As a part of our series on cannabis concentrates, this article will provide you with all the necessary knowledge on rosin.
Numerous businesses are entering the newly created concentrates market, and with them both the demand and the quality of these products are continuously on the rise.
The purity of this extraction method also separates it from other concentrate techniques as it doesn’t use anything except plant materials, but we’ll cover all of this a bit later.
What exactly is rosin?
Rosin is a cannabis concentrate made through an extraction technique which manipulates fine hash with only pressure and heat. Rosin has an extremely high cannabinoid and terpene concentration.
What differentiates rosin from other concentrate products are several important factors:
The first is overall purity, which is a result of not using any type of solvent to separate cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant, but instead only heat, pressure and sift bags with microscopic openings.
Rosin won’t have any solvent residue as it’s not used in the process, and other techniques go through numerous steps to purify the concentrate from the solvents used in making, and oftentimes fail to remove them completely.
Other benefits include the price of production which we’ll cover later on, and another important factor is the possibility to manipulate rosin into different textures and consistencies such as shatter, wax and crumble.
The maximal potency of all concentrates absolutely depends on the starting material used for creating them.
What’s also paramount in this equation is the quality of the sifts used in the extraction process, because this also determines how much your rosin will be concentrated.
Usually the cannabinoid concentration is around 70 percent which is staggering, and some yields even create rosin with cannabinoid levels of over 80 percent.
It should be noted that around 10 percent of rosin will be various terpenes which were in the particular strain used for the creation of the rosin in question.
They also play a capital role in both the feeling the rosin will bring about in you (via the fragrance and flavor on the rosin), but also in the medicinally beneficial effects when combined with cannabinoids, which is wisely dubbed the entourage effect.
For more information on how terpenes interact with cannabinoids for maximal health impact check out this article of ours which revolves solely around that subject matter.
How to make rosin
Unlike the methods of extraction which rely on the use of highly combustible and overtly dangerous solvents (butane, as in BHO or butane hash oil, or propane), professional rosin creation doesn’t involve anything other than a machine press which heats up the hash to a very moderate temperature.
Because of this the overall risk of injury is greatly diminished, especially for cannabis connoisseurs who’re interested in making their own personal extracts in the privacy of their home.
Making rosin is also very cost-effective when we compare it to other concentrates, because other extraction methods include the cost of installing a professional ventilation system, and demand for a proper storing of dangerous solvents.
When we combine safety with a very reasonable price, we can objectively determine that pressing rosin is really a superior extraction method as far as concentrates go.
There are two different methods with whom you can make rosin, and the first is a DIY inexpensive version of the more serious, more professional and far pricier counterpart.
To find out how you can make rosin with just a hair straightener and some parchment paper head to this article, and follow the precisely mentioned guidelines.
On the other hand if you’re interested in the more serious and objectively far better way to create your own rosin, continue with this text.
This will require you to purchase a press that’s designed exclusively for the task of making resin, which will set you back anywhere from 3000 to 10.000 US dollars, which is quite the sum, but still a lot cheaper than any closed-loop extraction systems used for solvent-based extractions.
There are some less expensive press units that rely on manual pressure, but create heat on their own, and they will set you back anywhere from 300 to 1000 USD.
The steep price of professional presses explains why high-end rosin is so expensive, simply because the person making it has to invest a significant amount of money.
So let’s see how exactly these presses work.
The first thing needed to be done is to turn your sift filter micron bags inside out. They come in many variations (such as 25u, 45u, 73u, 120u,160u etc), which will determine the purity of your rosin.
You’ll also need two identical bags, which will go one over the other. Make sure you don’t have any hairs or other tiny contaminants in the bags.
Use a funnel to pour the hash into the first micron bag. For the best results the hash needs to be created with the dry sifting method and afterwards sieved in a cold room or a freezer.
Dry sift is the use of fine-mesh screen to manually separate the finer and smaller parts of the cannabis plant from the unimportant plant material. These smaller particles include only cannabinoids and trichomes, and the end product of dry sifting has a very grainy and coarse texture.
If you want to store the dry sifted hash before using it, use the exact same technique as storing the newly created rosin for longer periods of time.
You can read about all the details in the “Long Term Storage” section.
When you get it out of the cold room (or a fridge / freezer) high quality hash will have a very powdery feel to it, and will quickly start greasing up on room temperatures.
This is something you definitely want to avoid when making rosin.
Once the micron sift bag is filled (you should fill about 80% of it), place it near the press for 2 to 5 minutes, so the hash starts to gel a bit, as this will make the end product better.
You should also place the bottom part of the mold to warm up on the press (82C° – 180F° or less), also for 2 to 5 minutes. It should feel warm to the touch)
Next even out the hash in the micron pouch so it becomes as evenly distributed as possible.
Fold the first pouch and insert it into the other micron bag, with the folded side going in first. Make sure that the side seams align perfectly.
Place the parchment paper over the press where the newly created rosin will pour over, and perform the so called stamping before pressing the hash completely.
This is done so the hash evens out additionally, and once that’s done you’re ready for the actual pressing.
The temperature of the plates should be about 82C° (180F°), and make sure you don’t go over 155C° (240F°), because some terpenes found in cannabis evaporate on temperatures higher than this.
You definitely don’t want to get rid of any terpenes as they play off cannabinoids for a more potent effect, and some even have therapeutic effect by themselves.
Hash that was made from a strain that is rich in terpenes will result in a rosin that comes out of the press in a thicker less liquid form (like budder or batter), than rosin from a strain that had lower terpene levels.
Also if left at room temperature most rosins will quickly become less gooey and begin to harden.
To sum it up every individual strain will result in a rosin that has its unique density and texture, which are directly dependant on the cannabinoid / terpene quantities. Other factors include the age of the material used, and how the plant was grown / how it was harvested.
How to smoke rosin
Whether you’re using a dabbing rig or a vaporizer unit capable of vaporizing extracts, you have a couple of options available when consuming rosin.
You can either vaporize it with lower temperatures, which is a better option for really feeling the terpene signature of that specific rosin, or you can go with higher temperatures where the vapor will be bigger and thicker.
Lower temps also slightly delay the psychoactive effects of rosin, while with higher temps the rosin instantaneously hits you like a ton of bricks.
What’s also very important when choosing a desired temperature is the so called vaporization point for both cannabinoids and terpenes, because if you go lower than these temperatures, you won’t experience the complete cannabinoid / terpene profile of that particular rosin.
With vaping It’s best to always go over these temperatures a little bit, just to ensure that every active chemical compound fully evaporates.
For rosin this is somewhere between 250C° (500F°) and 282C° (540F°), because this solventless extract doesn’t go through the process of removing fats and lipids from it, and this makes it more delicate and thus requires less heat in comparison to the concentrates that use solvents in their creation, like BHO for example.
Because rosin doesn’t require dewaxing like the hydrocarbon extracts, you can expect some residue after your dabbing / vaping session, and this is especially something to keep in mind when using vaporizers, as the residue will get your device really sticky and resinous.
To avoid any issues with your device make sure to clean it after every rosin session, using isopropyl alcohol (ISO) and cotton swabs.
How to store rosin?
In order to preserve the potency and freshness of your rosin you have to store it properly.
There are a couple of ways to achieve this, and they differ if you plan you to store the extract for a shorter, or a longer period of time.
It’s actually simpler to store concentrates than flowers, and just like with buds, there are four factors to be considered; heat, moisture, air and light—you want to avoid all these as much as you can.
Short term rosin storage
Depending on the strain it was created from and the quantity of terpenes in the end product, your rosin will be more or less gooey, but it will most likely be too sticky and liquid for glass containers and jars.
The issue with glass is that you won’t be able to remove all the resin from it, and cleaning the jar is also going to be a nightmare.
It’s much better to use silicone containers for the short term storage of rosin, as it’s much easier to get the resinous remains off of them.
This is a great way to preserve your rosin for up to 7 days but no longer: Silicon containers aren’t air tight, and long term exposure to air will lessen the potency of your rosin, due to oxidation.
Just make sure to get medical grade silicone so you don’t end up with any unwanted particles in your resin.
Long term rosin storage
For longer periods, you should cover your rosin in parchment paper, place it in a sealed food bag and then into an airtight container.
The ones that remove the remaining air after sealing are preferable. The final step is to put the container in a dark, dry and relatively cool place.
For people living in really warm climates the best long term solution is to store the rosin in a refrigerator or a freezer. Follow all the steps mentioned above and remember that your biggest enemy is humidity, which is avoided by vacuum-sealing your extract.
Another very important factor to watch out for is letting your airtight container reach room temperature once you get it out of the refrigerator / freezer.
If your open the container while it’s still cold, you actually risk contaminating your rosin.
This will make dabbing less pleasurable because of the water trapped in your extract, and can even cause damage to your vaporizer, in case a large quantity of moisture managed to enter your rosin.
To avoid all of this just let the container sit in room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
Are concentrates the future?
Even though they are currently mostly used for recreational purposes, cannabis concentrates have a great potential for people who are consuming pot for specific medical conditions.
The thing that hinders the use of canna-extracts for medicinal purposes is that no scientific studies so far used these high-concentrated forms of cannabis to analyze their effects on medical issues.
What makes them extremely promising in my opinion is all the anecdotal evidence of RSO (Rick Simpson Oil), which is basically just another variation of a cannabinoid-packed cannabis concentrate, with THC levels of over 90%.
In the case of RSO it is evident that larger concentrations of both cannabinoids and terpenes seem to have a much more beneficial effect on numerous ailments and diseases, comparing to the consumption of buds.
This is because the amount of these active chemical compounds entering our body at once is far greater when using high concentrated oils and extracts.
I’m uncertain if the medical establishment is deliberately avoiding performing human studies with these potent cannabis extracts, but as far serious conditions go, concentrates seem like a far better solution, as they are the absolute same thing as pure cannabis, but in much higher concentrations.
Luckily when full blown legalization hits Canada, both medical and recreational users will be able to buy and make their cannabis extracts and derivatives, and mainstream science will hopefully pick up the pace in the meantime.