If you’ve heard people talk about rosin, it’s easy to get lost. The word “rosin” has several meanings – and only one of them is a marijuana product.
And if people mumble, things get even more confusing when trying to distinguish between rosin and resin. Because rosin sounds a lot like the word “resinwhich is quite another thing. Resin, like rosin, can even refer to multiple things – and multiple marijuana products – depending on the context.
You don’t want to end up buying the wrong type of rosin (or resin), so let’s clear things up.
Not sure what kind of rosin people are talking about? First, take a look around. Are you at a bluegrass festival? Or anywhere near an orchestra? If so, maybe people are just talking about rosin, the powdered sap residue it sounds like a drug, but is actually used by some string players to keep their musical gear at the right level of viscosity. Violin players will “rosin” their bows. (In this context, “rosin” can be used as a verb, as well as a noun.) Some banjo players put rosin on their fingers, to keep their peaks firmly fixed at their fingertips.
Fun fact: this type of rosin often looks like some kind of crushed white powder drug. This can lead to musicians having some interesting airport interactions because they can explain themselves.
Violin Player’s Rosin vs. Cannabis Rosin
The rosin associated with some stringed instruments is made by heat the resin produced by the pines, also known as tree sap. When the liquid terpenes in the sap are burned, it turns the liquid into a solid, which is crumbled and used by musicians. (This type of rosin is also used in other products, such as adhesives.)
Today, this process is essentially the same as that used to make a new type of cannabis product. This THC-rich product is also called rosin. It is made by extracting cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and terpenes (or aromatic compounds) using heat and pressure.
Fundamentally, rosin is made by pressing cannabis or cannabis-derived products, such as hash or kief. Some consumers make their own rosin at home using a hair straightening tool (also called a flat iron), a beauty product you can buy for around $30. According to these DIY rosin makers, all you need to do is put your cannabis product in parchment paper, heat up the press, and squeeze. A tiny amount of brown sugar syrup drips. You can also use a rosin extraction machine squeeze the rosin.
In the DIY rosin community, people disagree about the possibility of using cannabis flower. Some connoisseurs insist on starting with hash or kief, instead of flower. Either way, they insist on the golden rule of all concentrate manufacturers: input quality, output quality. The quality of the starting material is essential to the quality of the finished concentrated product.
Rosin is becoming increasingly popular, and some dispensaries even have their own rosin-making stations. They are basically heated presses that you can use on the cannabis product you have just purchased.
If you insist on making your own cannabis concentrates at home, rosin is a great option. It’s safer than doing something like Butane hash oil (or BHO), because you won’t blow yourself up.
Solvents like butane are highly flammable. In 2014 alone, more than 30 people in Colorado were injured in 32 butane blasts involving the production of hash oil.
Rosin is also a great option for cannabis users who like to dab high potency, tasty concentrates, but want to avoid solvents.
Solvents can be a hot topic among extraction experts and cannabis connoisseurs. Some insist that solvents are essential for extract terpenes and cannabinoids cannabis. Most extraction professionals who use solvents insist that the solvents are completely (or almost completely) burned off during the final stages of the process. But some consumers are troubled by the potential health risks to consume traces of chemicals such as butane.
This can be especially important for medical marijuana users with compromised immune systems, allergic sensitivities, or lung health issues.
Rosin is created using a solventless extraction process, such as using a rosin press, unlike other concentrates. This is why it is considered one of the “cleanest” cannabis concentrates.
Rosin vs Resin: Completely Different Things
Even though you know resin and rosin are different things, you might not know how many different things can be meant by the word “resin” alone.
The definition of old-school stoner “resin”
If a hippie who frequented Woodstock in 1969 tells you he has resin, you probably don’t want it. It probably refers to tar-like substance left in its much used, glass bowl never cleaned.
In desperate times this stoner would scrape the sides of the bowl, using a tool like a paper clip or anything lying around his car.
Because burn a cannabis flower doesn’t extract 100% of its THC, you can theoretically still get a tiny bit of THC if you smoke that sticky black residue again. (And if you don’t gag on the burnt flavor.)
This definition of resin has faded from the stoner lexicon. It’s probably because you have to be very, very desperate to smoke this kind of resin, and this kind of desperation was more common before dispensaries.
Shortcut for “Live Resin”
An important distinction to make when comparing rosin and resin is that living resin is considered one of the best cannabis concentrates for consumers who want full flavor and cannabinoid profile of their strains. It is made by cryogenically freezing the whole plant immediately after harvesting, before the extraction process. This preserves the terpenes, which is why Live Resin is sometimes referred to as a “whole plant” or “full spectrum” extraction.
But live resin is made using solvents, which is why some health-conscious consumers are turning to rosin.
If you’re still confused about resin vs rosin, It’s good. Maybe you just need to keep trying both, until you get the right result.
But maybe you can skip the old-school resin version. (And certainly don’t try anything with banjo player rosin.)
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