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What is rosin?

June 30, 2020
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Imagine being able to enjoy your shatter without the side of solvent. Now you can, thanks to an emerging solventless technique called “rosin” technology.

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What is rosin?

Items needed to make rosin include dried cannabis flower, a hair straightening iron, a metal tool, and wax paper

Rosin refers to an extraction process that utilizes a combination of heat and pressure to nearly instantaneously squeeze resinous sap from your initial starting material. The term “rosin” originated as a method of making a product used to create friction with violin bows.

What is rosin made of?

This cannabis product is extremely versatile, as rosin is made of marijuana flower, hash, or kief and transformed into a full-melt hash oil. The result is a translucent, sappy, and sometimes shatter-like product that can be consumed as rosin dabs. If executed correctly, rosin can rival the flavor, potency, and yield of other solvent-based extraction products.

Is rosin full-spectrum?

Also known as whole-plant extracts, full-spectrum extracts are known by that name because they retain the cannabis plant’s full profile and typically contain a variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds. They’re quite difficult to produce because many extraction methods filter out some components during their refinement process.

Depending on how it’s extracted, rosin (especially flower rosin) can be considered full-spectrum. Hash rosin, however, is more commonly a select-spectrum extract.

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Rosin vs. resin

How is rosin different from resin? Broadly speaking, resin refers to a viscous substance derived from plants. Live resin can be made from cannabis concentrate by taking fresh cannabis and freezing it to subcritical temperatures both before and during the extraction process. This allows the live resin to retain the plant’s terpene profile, whereas with rosin, certain extraction processes may result in a loss of some terpenes.

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Why is rosin so popular?

Macro photo of cannabis rosin extract on a dab tool

One reason for rosin’s newfound popularity is that it’s a solventless technique, meaning the process does not require use of any foreign substances. Instead, rosin uses a mechanical process involving heat and pressure to extract the resin from the plant. Other extraction methods utilize light hydrocarbons such as butane and/or propane. Often, these complex and mechanical systems require a lengthy purge to safely remove most, if not all of the residual solvents from the final product.

Rosin, on the other hand, simply uses heat and pressure and does not require any additional cleaning, so your final product is clean and ready in just minutes. When compared to BHO (butane hash oil), the two are aesthetically indistinguishable. Rosin, when made properly, retains just as many valuable terpenes that account for aroma and flavor. However, in a lab test, rosin will never contain a single parts per million (PPM) of residual hydrocarbon. In other words, you are essentially getting shatter without any solvents when using this process.

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Perhaps the most important reason why rosin has been so widely adopted is the sheer simplicity of this technology, allowing enthusiasts with no background in chemistry or botanical extractions to try it out for themselves with minimal risk. You can make rosin at home with just a few household items—check out our step-by-step guide on how to make rosin dabs.

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How to make rosin dabs

Compared to the days it takes to safely make BHO products, you can see why rosin is a popular trend in cannabis culture. Never before has there been an arguably more versatile, efficient, and safer method of achieving a high-grade solventless hash oil than rosin. Innovators are already creating industrial-sized presses that are capable of processing large amounts of hash oil within seconds. These machines scale up to multiple tons of pressure to extract at extremely low temperatures, thus preserving valuable terpenes.

Many dispensaries are now utilizing this technology and stocking their shelves with rosin. Today you can find it in almost every legal market. The horizon is bright for rosin, and this product will surely continue to make waves in the cannabis industry.