How to make rosin
Rosin is a cannabis concentrate that is solventless—it’s not made with any solvents or chemicals. Relying on heat and pressure to extract cannabis compounds, rosin is considered a cleaner extract, but it’ll cost you: Rosin is typically more expensive than concentrates made with solvents.
Learn more about how to consume rosin, and how you can even make it at home, below.
What is rosin?
Rosin is a cannabis extract made using heat and pressure—cannabis plant material is placed in a press with heated pads and then compressed, squeezing out hot oil. The process is solventless, so no solvents or chemicals are used in creating rosin. This process was originally used to create rosin for violin bows, which is where the concentrate gets its name.
Rosin is ready in minutes and doesn’t require any extra steps to purify or dilute the extracted oil. Making it is simple, and anyone can make rosin at home with a few household tools (more below).
Many cannabis extractions are further refined to remove other compounds, but rosin is a full-spectrum extract, containing the cannabinoid and terpene profile of the original plant.
What is the difference between rosin and resin?
Many confuse “rosin” and “resin” because the two terms sound so similar. Broadly speaking, resin is the sticky substance secreted by trichomes on marijuana plants. If you smoke enough flower in a pipe or bong, there will be a buildup of resin in it.
Resin can also be a type of concentrate extracted from cannabis through a solvent extraction method, involving chemicals such as butane, propane, etc., in a closed-loop extraction system.
As we’ve mentioned above, rosin is solventless—it is extracted through heat and pressure, without any chemicals. Both resin and rosin are made from dried cannabis material.
These extracts can be complicated further with the terms “live resin” and “live rosin”—the “live” simply means that frozen cannabis plants were used to produce them instead of dried flower.
The process for making rosin is typically more labor-intensive and costly, so rosins tend to be more expensive than resins. Because rosins are solventless, they are thought to be cleaner because they don’t use chemicals.
As resins require solvents and a closed-loop system, they should only be created by licensed professionals in a certified lab.
How to make rosin
A great thing about rosin is that you can safely and inexpensively make it at home in a few minutes with ordinary household tools.
Rosin can be made with cannabis flower, kief, or hash. The higher the quality of starting material, the higher the quality of the pressed rosin. Pressing kief or trim won’t get you as great a rosin as pressing top-shelf nugs.
When pressing cannabis plant material, a hot light yellow or amber oil will ooze out. Be careful, it’ll be sticky! Be sure to give yourself plenty of space, and watch that the oil doesn’t get all over the place.
Additionally, use caution when pressing rosin because the press will be hot.
Tools to press rosin
- Cannabis material, either flower, kief, or hash
- Hair straightener, with a setting of 300°F or lower—higher temperatures can ruin terpenes and flavor
- Parchment paper, preferably unbleached
- Collection tool, such as a dab tool
- Heat-resistant gloves, for safety
Directions to press rosin
- Set hair straightener to lowest setting, between 280-330°F.
- Cut out a small 4×4” piece of parchment paper and fold it in half.
- Place cannabis material in the folded parchment paper.
- Position the hair straightener around the cannabis material in the parchment paper, making sure all material is between the hot irons.
- Apply firm pressure for 3-7 seconds; you should hear a sizzle before releasing pressure, which indicates oil has melted off the plant material.
- Remove and unfold the parchment paper.
- Using a dab tool or other device, discard the flattened cannabis material and pick out and discard any additional pieces.
- Scrape the rosin into a container, such as an air-tight glass jar, and let cool to solidify a little. Dab away!
How to use rosin
Making rosin can be a great way to refine and purify low-grade cannabis, such as trim or low-grade hash. It’s also great if you have a lot of cannabis, such as if you’re growing your own.
Rosin is often dabbed like any other dab, in a dab rig, e-rig, or dab pen, and it is typically done so at a low temperature. Rosin doesn’t need as much heat as other dabs, and low temperatures will preserve its terpene profile and flavor.
Some people also dry out rosin and sprinkle it onto a bowl or in a joint for an added kick.
Patrick Bennet contributed to this article.