As far as cannabis extracts go, rosin is as natural as they come. Using only heat and pressure, you can get a concentrate that’s comparable in quality and potency to some of the most high-end stuff on the market.
Rosin is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as good as other concentrates like diamonds or live resin sauces. On the contrary, rosin is natural, easy to produce, and perhaps best of all, it can be incredibly potent. The concept is not new and no different than squeezing the oil out of olives – you take the raw plant matter, apply heat and pressure, and you’re left with with a smokable, oily, sap-like substance: rosin. Straight and to-the-point.
This process can be applied to kief as well, and even low-quality hash – turning both into a clean and solvent-free, wax that can be dabbed or added to your bowls, blunts, or joints in a matter of minutes. It’s a great way to make use of trim from top-shelf flower too, that would otherwise be tossed as waste material.
With rosin, the possibilities are seemingly endless. But let’s take a moment to learn more about this all-natural extract.
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What is Rosin?
Although we tend to think of rosin simply as a cannabis by-product, it’s actually a solid form of resin that is produced by many different plant species, mostly conifers. Rosin is an ingredient in printing inks, photocopying and laser printing paper, varnishes, adhesives (glues), soap, paper sizing, soda, soldering fluxes, and sealing wax. Rosin can be used as a glazing agent in medicines and chewing gum. In pharmaceuticals, rosin forms an ingredient in several plasters and ointments.
In terms of cannabis, rosin is a waxy, dabbable extract that’s incredibly versatile and easy to obtain. Depending on the amount of heat and pressure used during extraction, rosin can be manipulated into a variety of different textures and consistency, from thick and solid like a budder to thin and runny like tree sap.
The extraction process is much simpler than other concentrates. In short, high-quality plant material is pressed firmly between two heated plates. The heat, coupled with a quick burst of pressure, loosens up the trichomes (or resinous glands) off the plant, which is where all those yummy cannabinoids and terpenoids are contained.
What to look for when buying Rosin
There are few things you’ll want to keep in mind when buying rosin at a dispensary. Old dry buds that are void of any resinous crystals, or anything with mold or mildew, just won’t cut it for making rosin. When it comes to the visual characteristics, you’ll want to look for rosin that is clean and somewhat translucent with no plant material, and light amber or tan in color, like honey.
Don’t buy rosin that’s green, as this means there is too much chlorophyll in the wax and it’s pretty much a bunk product. Dark rosin usually means it’s getting older. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going bad or poor quality, it was simply extracted earlier than other, lighter-colored rosins.
You also need to make sure to smell the rosin (if possible, that might not be an option when purchasing pre-packaged products at dispensaries). Just like other concentrates, you can expect a potent cannabis smell from high quality rosin. If it smells like chemicals, or like hay, it’s trash and was made from lowgrade flower, so don’t buy it.
Make your own
If you don’t want to pay for it, you can always make your own at home; it’s easy! Let’s start with the simplest method, just buy a rosin press and follow the instructions. If you don’t feel like shelling out upwards of $150 though, there are numerous household tools and inexpensive items you can use instead.
All you need is a tortilla press or hair straightener (although a hair straightener with adjustable temperature settings is preferred), parchment paper, a rosin screen or dry mesh bag, and of course, your plant material – which can be either gently broken-down flower, dry sift (kief), or hash (doesn’t have to be the best hash).
Now back to the hair straightener. A hair straightener with 2-inch plates and a variable temperature that can be set to between 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit, or 121-149 degrees Celsius is ideal. If you go too high, the rosin will likely end up too sappy and difficult to work with. You may need to adjust the temperature each time, depending on how buds were cured.
First, you will need to arrange the plant matter in between two sheets of parchment paper. Most people arrange the flower into the shape of a square, to create an even surface area for heat distribution. Additionally, you can put your weed into a rosin screen or mesh bag before placing in the parchment paper, and this can help prevent plant matter from getting into the final product. Be careful with this, because if the screen is too large it’s basically useless; and if it’s too small it could restrict amount of rosin that flows through the mesh, resulting in a smaller yield.
Once you have your pot and parchment paper all set up, it’s time to grab the preheated hair straightener. Lay it on the edge flat surface, like a stapler, quickly and firmly press the parchment paper pouch for 4 to 30 seconds, again, depending on how the flower was cured.
If you’re looking for a quick, natural, potent, and cost-effective cannabis extract that you can make yourself, rosin is the way to go. And if you don’t feel like making the effort, you can pop into a dispensary and buy some, just make sure to use the tips listed above to get the best product for the best possible price.
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