Live Resin: What Exactly Is Live Resin?

Some of the best dabs around today are what’s called live resin. While it’s still BHO, the main difference and key to its flavor is the starting material: live resin uses fresh, frozen whole cannabis flowers as opposed to buds that have been dried and cured. Extracting the oil from fresh plants captures a unique aroma that gets lost in the curing process. Check out the real deal resins as High Times breaks down the latest info on live resin.

Extract artists and dabbers applaud live resin for its high terpene content, but what do lab-tested terpene profiles of live resins have to say about it? Some of highest terpene concentrates at the 2015 Michigan Medical Cannabis Cup were live resins, but lab tests tell an even more interesting story than that when taken into context. Terpene analyses confirm that live resin indeed has more of a “fresh plant” terpene profile than cured-bud extractions.

According to research done at the University of Mississippi (Read: What Does Drying Buds do to Terpenes?) the essential oil of fresh cannabis has higher amounts of monoterpenes compared to sesquiterpenes. Upon curing, monoterpenes evaporate more quickly due their smaller size, and the terpene profile grows richer in sesquiterpenes. Not only that, but curing can lead to the loss of up to 55 % of the essential oil, a.k.a. the terpenes.

But what, might you ask, are monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes? Monoterpenes are light terpenes like myrcene, limonene, terpinolene and linalool. These aromatic compounds are responsible for the lighter, aerial and floral aromas of the cannabis scent. Sesquiterpenes, the heaviest terpenes, are compounds like caryophyllene and humulene. These terpenes are responsible for the heavier undertones of the cannabis scent; think pepper, oregano, hops, mangoes, etc.

Using data from the 2015 Michigan Medical Cannabis Cup, High Times was able to look at the averages of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes in live resins compared to standard BHO. We found live resin is around 2 % richer in monoterpenes than non-live resin. More drastically, live resin contains 11 % less sesquiterpenes by weight than non-live resin.

This difference in the relative terpene content explains a large part of live resin’s fresher flavor profile, but what about THC? Is live resin more or less potent than standard BHO dabs? Live resin doesn’t contain more or less THC on average. Check out the High Times Special Dab Issue for Ry Prichard’s account of the origins of live resin and for more information on how it’s made.


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