The global cannabis industry and consumers alike owe a debt of gratitude to William “Kind Bill” Fenger, now part of multi-state operator Acreage Holdings (CSE: ACRG.U). Kind Bill is widely recognized as the founder of live resin production. For the uninitiated, live resin refers to a concentrate produced using freshly harvested or immediately frozen plant material that does not undergo drying or curing. The resulting concentrates, produced almost exclusively through hydrocarbon extraction, feature unrivaled quality – rich in terpenes with a resulting flavor profile that fully captures the essence of a given harvest.
According to a report published in 2018 by ArcView Research and BDS Analytics entitled Concentrates: The Hottest Product Category in Cannabis – “retail consumer appeal is propelling concentrates toward an estimated $8 billion in retail sales by 2022, outpacing growth in traditional flower.” According to the same report, concentrates represented only 10% of legal sales in the United States in 2014, and were expected to eclipse 27% by the end of 2018. Our internal estimates suggest that concentrates in California may exceed $2.7 billion in retail sales annually when the market matures.
Not only are they an exciting way to consume cannabis – live resin concentrates are becoming more mainstream. The category includes everything from vape cartridges to “dabs,” which are becoming less of a niche and more of a trend. Consumers are flocking to the ease and discrete nature of cartridges, which previously lacked the true “cannabis experience” since they are typically produced with THC distillate. Live resin production is changing that for good. “Dabs” are also becoming easier to consume with revolutionary rigs, e-nails, and portable devices.
Live Resin is a Superior Product For Consumers
“For quality vape cartridges, live resin produced through hydrocarbon extraction is the only true representation of each strain’s unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles,” Steve Castillo of Team Elite Genetics says. “What most people don’t understand is that the majority of distillate-based vape cartridges on the market are made from poor quality or even dirty trim which is later remediated. When it comes to live resin though, you can’t fake it.”
Producers of distillate and distillate-based products are officially on notice. Cartridges outpace any other category of concentrates by a wide margin, and live resin cartridges will change the way we consume cannabis from vape pens. Why consume a basic, distillate-based, often adulterated product when you can experience the essence of the plant and your favorite strain through a live resin cartridge? Most distillate-based products feature harsh chemical fillers and “terpenes” from who- knows-where.
Your answer might be simple – you haven’t had the option, or you didn’t know any better. Do yourself a favor and try live resin today, whether through a cartridge or a dab rig.
According to Jason Nelson, SVP of Production for multi-state operator Cresco Labs (CSE: CL) “Fresh frozen extracts preserve the maximum cannabinoid and terpene content associated with the raw flower by flash freezing freshly harvested material, just prior to extraction. Cresco’s highest quality extracts known as sugar, sauce and THC Diamonds are all produced using live resin technology.”
As consumers finally turn to live – distillate products might just take a dive. It’s only a matter of time before live resin makes its way into topicals, tinctures, and other manufactured products.
Live Resin Features Lower Risk For Cultivators
Johnny Cultivator can spend 90-120 days from start to finish on their production process, with two to four weeks adding incremental risk from mold, mildew, pests and more through the drying and curing phase. Then he gets to trim the product with expensive staff or machinery. At the end of all those costs, he may lose an entire harvest from mold and need to extract it anyway!
Instead, Johnny Cultivator can harvest the full plant, put it in an extremely cold freezer, and sell it, or pay for it to be processed into a superior product through live resin technology – one that may soon cost less than distillate to produce.
In California, the cultivation tax on trim is $44 per pound, $148 per pound on flower, and only $20.64 per pound on live or frozen full plant material. While live resin production features lower yields because of water weight, impending supply increases from cultivation in California will favor the economics of live resin production versus distillate. The market is completely flooded with distillate, and the product is inferior for any educated consumer who has tried live resin. The price of trim continues to increase, while the price of distillate is tanking. How is that sustainable?
If you are growing – why take the incremental risk of drying and curing? Because the market is presently favoring distillate and flower. But times are changing.
According to world-renowned brand, leading cultivator, and multi-store retailer Connected Cannabis, live resin captures the essence of their award-winning strains. Per Caleb Counts, founder of Connected: “when properly executed harvests for whole plants are freshly frozen, coupled with a flawless cultivation season and hydrocarbon (“BHO”) extraction – the combined process captures the unique and exotic terpene profiles that our strains have come to be known and desired for.”
Live Resin Provides Differentiation For Extraction Companies
All of this talk about consumers and cultivators – but what about actually making live resin concentrates?
Live resin is best (and, some would say, only) produced using solvent (hydrocarbon) extraction, which features an extremely limited number of licensed producers in California. Previously designated a felony in California prior to legislation our parent company helped draft and sponsor in 2016 (State Bill AB2679) – solvent extraction requires expensive infrastructure and protocols to ensure it is conducted safely. There are simply higher barriers to entry for extractors using solvents when compared to other types of extraction like ethanol and CO2. Capacity is, therefore, extremely limited in California at this time. But the juice is worth the squeeze. Producing more specialized products versus ordinary crude and distillate helped us become a leader in California BHO while the distillate market continues to tank.
As solvent-based processors and BHO experts, nothing makes us more proud than live resin produced from our Coachella facility. The industry and consumers are evolving, and live resin is going to change the game as we know it.
Visit the Coachella Manufacturing booth at the High Times Cannabis Cup Central Valley on April 20th and 21st, and the High Times Cannabis Cup Bay Area on June 22nd and June 23, and judge for yourself.
Coachella Manufacturing is a California leader in solvent-based extraction. We provide live resin production for leading brands, including Connected Cannabis, Team Elite Genetics, Phoenix Tears, Cresco Labs, Tyson Ranch, The Humboldt Cure, Humboldt’s Dankest, and more. Look out for our own brands in 2019: Coachella Premium and STONED. Visit CoachellaManufacturing.com for processing inquiries. Mention this article and receive 20 pounds of free concentrate processing on your first order (minimum of 120-pound order applies).