By now, we all know what cannabis and marijuana is – but does answering the question of “what is rosin” come quite as easily?
The truth is we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to cannabis consumption. Cannabis legalization has opened the door to decades of suppressed research and we are just now beginning to dive deep into some of the more nuanced benefits of cannabis. Many of us have found cannabis strains and products that have become fundamental to our lives.
But with the field constantly evolving, some of the terminology and the differences between products can become muddied.
You might not have heard of rosin, but you might have heard of resin. More confusion lies in the fact that both resin and rosin could potentially mean 2/3 different things depending on who you’re asking!
From an innovative cannabis concentrate and cannabis trichomes to an undesirable byproduct of the smoking ritual itself, we’re going to explore the many varied definitions of resin and rosin to help everyday tokers like yourself make the right choice when it comes to purchasing cannabis products.
Rosin – A Deeper Look
Prior to cannabis rosin, rosin extract from pines and other coniferous trees have been used by violinists and other string musicians to rub on their instrument. This was done to create friction between strings and help produce sound.
It was known as violin rosin. So the answer to “What is rosin?” might have a few unexpected answers.
What makes it so innovative?
Well, up until a few years ago we were smoking pure flower. To make this flower all you needed was a suitable terrain, a processing method, and voilá – time to smoke up.
Resin (the marijuana plant’s trichomes and cannabinoids) extraction took us one step forward. With it we were able to combine the ideal amount of cannabis components into one single product called a “concentrate.” Rather than relying on an expertly grown and balanced strain, resin extraction has given us a product that, if done right can easily exceed the potency of smoking flower alone.
However perfect it might seem, there are underlying issues with concentrates; solvents are added to complete the resin extraction and it could potentially end up going directly into your body along with the plant’s cannabinoids and all the other good stuff that comes with the cannabis plant.
Before rosin came along, we were stuck with extraction techniques that involved using somewhat dangerous substances known as solvents. When amateur producers create concentrates, some of these solvents can remain in the final product and wreck havoc on our bodies.
With rosin, that concern is no longer as valid.
Why? The answer lies in its unique production process.
How Is Rosin Made?
Unlike its butane hash oil cousins, rosin extracts require only heat and mechanical pressure to make. If you’re planning on making this at home, rosin can be produced with the use of a hair straightener and a non-stick surface, like parchment paper.
Not only is rosin an easy alternative for cannabis enthusiasts, but it’s also an alternative for the use of solvent heavy extraction techniques.
The rosin press method used in this technique takes already cured cannabis which is then put through a “sandwich oven-like” device. It then heats the plant and simultaneously presses it. After this, a gooey liquid known as rosin oozes out without any need of using solvents.
This is an important point to note – the non-use of solvents means that the plant’s original terpenes, flavour and taste are preserved as much as possible. Aside from live resin, it’s most likely the closest you’ll be to get to taste what “fresh” cannabis should taste like.
This liquid quickly solidifies into a substance with a different consistency, which you can collect after it’s finished drying.
If you’re familiar with live resin, live rosin can be made by pressing cannabis buds that have been flash-frozen at the point of harvest.
So, is there any difference between rosin and its counterparts?
Let’s take a look at them before we can answer this:
Cannabis oil refers to any cannabis extract that takes the plant’s most precious components and groups them in to a single liquid product. Some examples include tinctures, honey oil, cannabutter and of course, canna oil.
Perhaps it’s easier to think of oil in the form of a tincture, but tinctures aren’t necessarily oil. Like all of the items on this list, cannabis oil is an extract or concentrate that uses a different type of extraction method, sometimes involving solvents depending on the method used. It tends to be quite vicious and dark unless it has been winterized and refined.
Wax is another cannabis concentrate that falls into the category of butane hash oil. It’s made through employing solvents such as butane and hexane to extract desirable compounds out of marijuana plants before it’s purged.
To make wax, marijuana flower is submerged in a solvent for a period of time in order to strip marijuana plants of all of their cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds.
This process also removes the plant’s chlorophyll, fats, and lipids. To purify this concentrate, this mixture is refined in a process known as winterization, which removes the non-desirable components of the plant and leaves behind a refined oil. This oil then undertakes further processing to purge the remaining solvents before and then collected to be used in dab rigs, vapes and bongs.
Shatter is a golden-colored concentrate that follows much of the same production processes as wax. The only main difference between shatter and wax lies in its physical appearance. Wax tends to have a more firm, crumbly texture whereas shatter features a glossy, translucent appearance. Like wax and oil, shatter also involves the use of solvents in order to extract desirable compounds from the plant.
Is Rosin Better Than Shatter?
Shatter has been a popular mainstay of the cannabis community for decades, and for good reason. In the world of dabs, nothing is more emblematic of stoner culture than shatter. Everything from its glossy appearance to its highly potent THC profile screams suggests that it was made specifically for tokers, by tokers.
With all that being said, shatter is not for everyone. Its potency is usually too extreme for casual smokers and it’s usually a small subset of a much larger cannabis community that enjoys the potent, heavy-hitting experience of dabbing concentrates such as shatter.
If you’re debating whether to buy rosin vs shatter, the only real answer boils down to personal preference.
Are you worried about potential solvent contamination in your cannabis concentrates? Are terpenes important for your smoking experience? Do you prefer a more natural extraction process?
If you answer “yes” to any questions listed above, rosin may just be the concentrate for you.
You can experiment to the point of greening out to determine which one is the reigning champ of concentrates, but what’s the point? It really all comes down to personal preference.
Just because rosin doesn’t use solvents doesn’t mean it’s inherently superior compared to other cannabis concentrates. What’s important is that you take the time to try out these concentrates for yourself and find one that works for you!
What is the Difference Between Rosin and Resin?
Rosin is a cannabis concentrate made using only heat and pressure to press down on cannabis flowers.
Resin can either refer to trichomes (AKA kief) found on cannabis plants OR the black, tar-like substance that collects on pipes and bongs after heavy use.
A fourth definition, although this is starting to fall out of vogue, uses resin to refer to compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes that are found within the cannabis plant.
Should You Try Rosin?
Made without solvents, you can enjoy rosin through vaping, dabbing or through a joint or a bong. Simply break off a small piece and insert it in to your smoking device of choice! For the rookie toker who wants to take their smoke game to the next level, rosin is a great introduction into the world of cannabis concentrates. You can rest assured that this solvent-free cannabis concentrate is as potent and as tasty, if not more so, than shatter.
From the cannabis community and from the team of rosin smokers at Stoney Ave, we hope that this deep dive into rosin helped shed some light on this innovative and still somewhat unknown cannabis concentrate and has encouraged you to try some for yourself!