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Live Rosin & High-Quality Solventless Cannabis Products Guide

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Friday April 16, 2021

Updated on 4/30/2021

By Matthew Mongelia

Introduction to Luxury Solventless Products

The conversation surrounding the “best” cannabis products is an age-old argument that might never be agreed upon universally. Differing opinions and preferences make comparing one product to another akin to apples and oranges, and in today’s legalized landscape there are offerings to satisfy customers at every price point and budgetary range. Looking beyond price point, many argue that solventless concentrates are indeed the highest quality cannabis products in today’s modern marijuana landscape. In fact, many businesses are now focused on cultivating cannabis plants to farm solely for resin and the production of top-tier solventless offerings. Don’t get us wrong, there’s still plenty of great cannabis flower hitting the market every day, but some of the best flower being cultivated in many legal marijuana markets will never reach dispensary shelves in flower form. To consume these exotic cultivars, consumers must turn to solventless products. These rare strains can achieve their truest form in solventless preparations, but how does one distinguish the best from the rest?

Join PotGuide alongside industry experts, PurePressure, in our complete guide to high-quality solventless products.

Current Solventless Product Landscape

A gram of top-shelf rosin is much more than it appears to be. That unassuming pale dollop of cannabis purity is the result of numerous artisans working together with some of the best materials on the market. It represents decades of refinement and cutting-edge techniques. And most importantly, it offers some of the best cannabis experiences available today.

A macro shot of a rosin press with rosin dripping out
Using high-quality exclusive product and a solventless extraction method creates the most pure and flavorful concentrate on the market. photo credit

Naturally, that finery comes at a price. It’s no secret that a single gram of high-quality rosin can go for $50-$80, and sometimes even over $100 (and more, depending on the tax rates where you’re purchasing). In many dispensaries across the US, you will find that $80 gram sitting alongside other far cheaper concentrates. Here in Colorado, $20 grams of hydrocarbon wax and shatter are readily available, and even quality live resin can be found at bargain prices. You may even find it next to cheaper rosin. But what is it that makes the top of the crop worth that extra cash? In understanding the steps that go into creating high quality solventless products, you may even come to see that price as a bargain.

Resin Farming vs. Flower Cultivation

Just as wine grapes are cultivated with the sole intention of becoming wine, high-quality solventless concentrates are made using cannabis that is grown exclusively for hash making. Often, you couldn’t buy such strains in flower form even if you wanted to, this bud is exclusive. Most of it will never see the light of day outside of a rosin gram. In the early days of rosin making, it was much more common to use what cannabis was on hand, even if you were using the best of the best. Today, hash makers have taken that to a whole new level. Such flower may come from exotic strains you’ve never even heard of. Unique genetic creations crafted by growers specifically for making the finest hash, the flower that goes into the highest grade rosin may very well be some of the best in the world.

Take into consideration that an ounce of flower (28g) yields about 3-5 grams of rosin on average. At the top of the top, let’s say you might be paying $360 for an ounce (and more in some markets). If you could magically turn that ounce into rosin without needing any equipment or expertise, you’d still be looking at $120 per gram.

An amazing looking bud cola with lots of trichomes and crystals on a plant
The cannabis used to make high-quality solventless concentrates is some of the most exclusive cannabis known to man. photo credit

Again, this is flower that you can buy, so imagine doing the same with rarer stock, and the price point shifts even higher. Next, factor in the resources to harvest live, fresh-frozen cannabis from that ultra-exclusive crop, and account for the specialized equipment it takes to separate out trichomes to make the ice water hash that will then finally be pressed into that top rosin (also requiring a professional press for optimal pressure and heat, of course)… 

$80 might start to sound reasonable in context. While still pricey in comparison to the other options that share a dispensary shelf, there’s a considerable amount of value in that price. Especially for anyone looking to treat themselves to a luxury experience and try something above their normal budget range. Don’t worry though, there’s plenty more to learn. Keep reading to take a deeper look at what it is that exactly defines high-quality in solventless cannabis products.

What Makes High-Quality Solventless Products “High-Quality?”

“High-quality” can be a vague term and is thrown around with abandon in today’s cannabis discussions. What exactly does it mean for concentrates?

Defining “High-Quality”

In order to achieve the best solventless preparations, great care must be taken at each step in production: the growing of superior-grade plants, harvesting them live, then flash-freezing the buds, turning that flower into ice water hash, and ultimately pressing at precisely the right heat and pressure to make rosin. An error at any stage in the process will degrade the final product and waste considerable resources.

Rosin’s best properties are tied directly to the care that goes into each of the steps mentioned above. As a result, solventless options tend to be some of the purest, smoothest, most flavorful concentrates that, as mentioned, come from premium starting material. When masterfully grown, prime strains will yield flowers with robust trichomes (the sticky resinous glands on plants that contain all the good things like terpenes and cannabinoids). 

A strain pic of Chemdog Bio Diesel with lots of trichomes
Trichomes are key when it comes to high-quality cannabis.

The highest concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids is in a tiny bulb at the top of the trichome, making for the best of the best that the plant has to offer. Those trichome heads will then be preserved thanks to being harvested live and flash-frozen, and then precisely separated without damage using micron bags and careful ice water agitation. 

The low temperature of rosin pressing maintains the integrity of the fine terpenes and cannabinoids while separating out the last tiny remnants of plant material left in the trichome heads. Each stage acts as a filter to sift out these little molecules of gold from the rest of the plant matter while maintaining their quality from when the plant was in its prime. Next, we’ll look at each of these elements individually to better understand their role in creating the best solventless products.

Fresh Frozen, Live Harvesting, and Flavor

When you pick a rose, you begin a timer for the flower’s degradation. Cut off from a source of nutrients, it will begin to wither. Cannabis flowers are no different, and that applies to their delicate trichomes as well. When cannabis is harvested, trichomes will begin to degrade almost immediately, which translates to degradation of cannabinoids and terpenes as well. Most cannabinoids, including THC, are easily affected by air, light, and heat, as we have covered elsewhere on the site.

Typically, after cannabis is harvested, it is hung to dry, then cured in order to remove moisture and preserve the cannabinoids and terpenes as best as possible for longer storage in a dry environment.

Traditonal curing process
Unlike other forms of cannabis, solventless concentrates do not go through the curing process.

This is especially important with flower that’s intended to be smoked. Without curing, the flower will be harsh and difficult to smoke due to a higher moisture and chlorophyll content. Without the curing process, too much water in the buds will invite mold and pests as well.

While growers can preserve a good amount of these beneficial compounds through curing, a sizable portion will be lost in the process. If you’re familiar with the concept of the “angel’s share” in whiskey making, a similar concept applies here. So how do concentrate producers get around this loss? When making certain types of concentrates, the flower itself is irrelevant and needed only for the content trapped in the trichomes. Thus, using the right techniques, the curing process can be effectively removed from the equation. Enter live-harvesting and flash freezing.

What is Fresh Frozen Flower?

In order to halt the cannabinoid degradation process, instead of cutting the branches, letting them dry, then harvesting the buds for curing, growers will cut the plants while they are still living and immediately freeze them stored in sealed bags. This vastly reduces the factors of air, heat and light from disturbing the trichomes and cannabinoids, ultimately resulting in more complex, flavorful cannabis products.

Terpenes are not one single type of substance, but a class of substances. There are many types, and some are more delicate than others. The live-harvest and flash-freeze combo can help to preserve them through the harvesting process, so that those coveted mono- and sesquiterpenes are more present in the final product, making it more flavorful and complex. 

Fresh Frozen Cannabis
Fresh frozen flower is typically used for solventless concentrates due to the lack of lost terpenes and cannabinoids. photo credit

Additionally, it will preserve the cannabinoids as well. For cannabinoids, the major worry for degradation is THC and other cannabinoids turning into CBN. While this isn’t bad per-se (there’s the anecdotal evidence that CBN makes one sleepy, but the science behind that claim is largely debated), the loss of THC and other cannabinoids from entourage is clearly noticeable, resulting in a lower-grade final product.

Live harvesting cannabis and using fresh frozen methods is the only method that enables a grower/extractor to maintain product at or below freezing temps from harvest to freeze dryer (more on live hash rosin process below), preserving all of the delicate terpenes and elements that make solventless hash consumption so desirable. If you can’t tell yet, this is a critical aspect of any reputable hash operation.

Preservation of Trichomes

Cannabis trichomes come in a few different types depending on their structure: sessile, bulbous, and stalked. All three have a main vessel with concentrated plant compounds encased within. The most desirable trichomes are the stalked trichomes, which have a bulb on the end packed with the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes on the plant referred to as the “head.” While encased within the trichome head, these cannabinoids and terpenes will be in their purest form, but only so long as they stay that way. These little orbs of goodness will rupture when touched (which is why weed is sticky), and as mentioned, degrade easily with exposure.

Stalked Trichomes
The head of stalked trichomes is where most of the cannabinoids and terpenes are found in the cannabis plant. photo credit

The highest-quality solventless product producers are able to keep these trichome heads intact throughout the harvesting and extraction process, so that when the product is consumed the effect and flavor profile will be as true to its prime state as possible. You can tell the difference easily by consuming a solventless, live-harvested preparation and any other method of consumption from the same plant. Flower and hydrocarbon extracts simply pale in comparison. Furthermore, in isolating the trichome heads, plant material (carbon) is decreased to the absolute minimum. Carbonous material is what turns to ash when burned. Thus, this is how things like ice water hash and full-melt hash are dababble.

The Highest-Quality Starting Material

As mentioned above, the best solventless cannabis products come from superior starting material. Exotic or premium strains grown with expert care are the only things that should go into the rosin and other solventless products you consume. Without superior starting material, all of the care to preserve trichome heads is for nothing, and the top hash makers are aware of it.

This is why producers have begun to grow crops exclusively for resin farming and making solventless preparations: it allows their hard work to shine in its truest form. Were the same strain to be smoked, you’d be getting an inferior experience to what the plant has to offer. The majority of hash makers are consumers themselves and aim to craft their products to their own high standards. We will use the term “artisan” in this guide a few times to describe the best solventless producers, and that’s with good reason. While it is sometimes possible to find flower from these ultra-exclusive batches, it is usually only after repeated demand from consumers. In general, what you’re consuming has been set aside to create the best of the best.

Getting Started with Solventless Concentrates

With all this refinement, consumers have invented equally elevated ways to consume solventless extracts with advanced dabbing techniques. Inserts, torches, timers, complex displays of fluid engineering – an avid rosin consumer may very well have a miniature chemistry lab on hand to fully enjoy the complexities that solventless products can offer. However, none of that is needed to try them out and have a superior consumption experience, especially in today’s market.

Once thought impossible due to viscosity limitations, solventless vape cartridges have emerged across the marijuana landscape thanks to cutting-edge techniques and careful manipulation by hash makers. Advanced rosin presses, like the ones made by PurePressure, allow for fine-tuning every aspect of the rosin-making process to create these preparations.

The Puffco Peak, a portable dab rig
Many portable dab rigs on the market offer temperature control, to help ensure maximum flavor of your dab. photo credit

Similarly, things like electric dab straws and portable dab rigs, can allow for an easy entry into trying solventless products. Alternatively, if edibles are your preference, then the only required equipment is your mouth.

For some, the barrier to trying solventless isn’t price or interest, it’s availability. In some legalized markets, solventless cannabis products are just starting to emerge. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try solventless products. There are numerous DIY options available (start saving up that kief!), and always remember that demand drives supply. If solventless options aren’t available at dispensaries near you, ask for them. Dispensary owners determine their stock based on what people want, and as you request items, they are more likely to start looking for solventless options to provide. Dispensaries tend to talk to their suppliers as well, and if a given hash maker keeps hearing about the demand for solventless, they just might go out and get a rosin press to see what all the fuss is about.

Consuming Premium Concentrates

We have covered some of the aspects that make solventless cannabis products so valuable, but why do people seek them out?

Why Do People Consume High-Quality Concentrates?

High-quality solventless preparations improve upon the standard cannabis experience in almost every way. The difference is so pronounced that some find it difficult to go back to hydrocarbon options after trying solventless. Of course, there are many other extracts and concentrates on the market that offer excellent consumption experiences, and this is not to say that they should be discarded altogether, however, a clear distinction between the two remains.

The difference is somewhat like the gap between something strawberry-flavored and eating an actual strawberry. A piece of strawberry candy can often be bolder, brighter, and sweeter than the fruit it represents.

Strawberry Lollipop next to picture of real strawberry
Similar to how one can easily distinguish real strawberries from fake strawberries, solventless concentrates can be easily distinguished from other concentrates.

Amazing chemical processes working together create a delicious treat that is unlike any other, and there’s no doubting that it offers a fun, enjoyable experience. This is more or less hydrocarbon extract.

Now consider a perfectly ripe strawberry, freshly picked, artfully sliced, and served at just the right temperature. It is sweet, juicy, and delicious. Its flavors are brilliant and clear; its scent is pure and crisp. Its properties are not quite like the candy version, they are softer, more subtle. Consuming it has a fresh and clean feeling. That’s solventless.

Key Differences between Solventless and Hydrocarbon Extracts

While many factors boil down to personal preference, anecdotal claims support solventless products offering heightened effects, stronger flavor, and a more full-spectrum experience overall.

Improved Effects

One of the most commonly cited reasons for making the jump to solventless is the effects. Often, rosin and other solventless cannabis products are reported to give a more complex high, often anecdotally referred to as being more intense. There is no hard data to say that rosin is more potent than other concentrates (and often, because of the higher terpene content, might contain slightly less THC compared to hydrocarbon extracts). 

A woman smiling
Solvent extracts are known for having a more improved high compared to concentrates made through other extraction methods. photo credit

However, the reputation remains. This is likely due to a few factors working together, but in allowing for a wider terpene range with greater retention, the assumption is that it might have a stronger entourage effect. Many people incorrectly believe that the “entourage effect” means that terpenes actively affect the way that our body uptakes the THC in cannabis. Instead, it is believed to be the natural effects of terpenes and the effects of cannabinoids happening in tandem create the unique experience. With greater terpene content comes a larger entourage. Additionally, because cannabinoids have less degradation, this is believed to lead to the “clearer” head high that many solventless consumers describe.

Better Flavor

In preserving all of the minor terpenes that are often lost in curing, solventless products tend to have a much wider, more complex bouquet than other preparations. Preparations like Live Resin can still contain big, bold punches of terpenes and flavor, they tend to amplify the major terpenes present, rather than represent the full complexity including minor terpenes.

Better Product

We’ve already discussed the best solventless cannabis products begin with the finest cannabis, and how it remains unadulterated throughout the process. Not a single chemical should ever touch the product, exposure to heat and light are mitigated throughout the production, and the finishing steps involve only heat and pressure. In terms of purity, solventless products are unparalleled in the world of cannabis.

Full-melt water hash
Solventless extracts, like full-melt water hash, maintain their purity because of the lack of chemicals used in the extraction process. photo credit

As mentioned, hydrocarbon extracts are a miracle of modern engineering and chemistry. Extract producers separate the desirable constituent parts chemically by using a solvent to strip cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter. After the terpenes and cannabinoids have been collected, the solvent is then purged from the mix either chemically or using ovens and pressure chambers. Because of this, concentrate makers can turn lower quality cannabis into higher-quality concentrates, however the same is not true of solventless products.

Solventless Product Availability

Solventless cannabis products are nothing new and are actually one of the older preparations of cannabis. Hash made from pressed kief has been around for centuries if not longer, and the superior method of bubble hash (made using ice water and sifting bags to separate trichomes) goes back decades itself. Modern rosin-making techniques are more recent, taking these time-honored methods and refining them with dazzling precision and cutting-edge techniques.

Fresh-frozen hash washing
Many solventless extraction methods have already been around for centuries. photo credit

The explosion of interest in concentrates that has emerged since Colorado first started sales back in 2014 (and even before that in the California medical market) has led to a rapid evolution and proliferation of techniques that were previously only used by a select few concentrate producers. Somewhat ironically, the rise of hydrocarbon preparations, and the interest in advanced techniques that make them, helped the modern rosin market take off. Increased demand has led to increased supply. What was once hard to find is now readily available in most established legal cannabis markets.

This has led to a significant drop in price, while still maintaining the high standards that top-quality solventless products are known for. As previously mentioned, access to rosin preparations then became even more widespread with the advent of shelf-stable solventless vape products. It is becoming increasingly commonplace to see solventless products compete with live resin and other top extracts, and that’s excellent news for consumers.

Even more, pressing rosin at home has become much more widespread as well. Companies like PurePressure offer industry-leading presses for both commercial and at-home applications. If you aren’t satisfied with the availability of rosin in your area, purchasing a rosin press is always a great option!

The same might not yet be true in emerging markets where prices remain at a premium but is highly likely to normalize over time. As mentioned, you yourself can play a role in that, both in consuming and requesting solventless products. If you’re curious about exploring the higher-end of what modern cannabis has to offer, there’s never been a better time than in our current moment with increased availability, lower prices, and convenient flameless options for beginners.

Solventless Products on the Market

As mentioned above, the availability of high-quality solventless products has exploded in recent years. What’s even better is that there are many different types of products available to fit the needs and preferences of every consumer. Take a look below as we go over some of the most popular luxury solventless product categories.

Live Hash Rosin

Live hash rosin is the most sought-after solventless product on the market right now and comes in several different consistencies. Regaled for its detailed aromas, potency, and nuanced flavor profiles, live hash rosin provides consumers with an unparalleled concentrate experience.

Live Hash Rosin
Scientifically and anecdotally, live hash rosin is seen as one of the best solventless products on the market. photo credit

Considered the crème-de-la-crème of cannabis concentrates, live rosin is produced from superior starting material carefully grown to encourage pristine resin growth. In layman's terms? The best flower being grown by licensed cultivators is used for live hash rosin production. In fact, many producers won’t even let the flower they grow for hash rosin production hit the shelves at dispensaries. That means that the only way to access some of the best cannabis being grown by world-class cultivators, you have to turn your gaze to live hash rosin.

Artisan practices aside, when you look at the cold-hard science and facts, live hash rosin offers premier preservation of a cannabis plant’s true flavor and effect profiles, with zero chemicals making contact with plant matter at any stage of the process. Even more, the process itself is relatively simple, which makes the skill of the hash producer and the quality of the resin of paramount importance. Essentially, the process is as follows:

  • Cannabis is cultivated with extreme care to encourage trichome growth
  • Plants are harvested and immediately frozen to retain “living” qualities
  • Frozen plant matter is washed into bubble hash
  • Bubble hash is collected immediately and placed in a freeze drier
  • Freeze-dried bubble hash is pressed on a rosin press with heat and pressure
  • Pressed rosin is collected and finished off with varying techniques for different consistencies

As you can see, in this process the resin glands of the cannabis flower never become unfrozen until they are ready to be pressed into rosin. This preserves the resin in a way that is unrivaled in other forms of hash production and maintains essential components like mono- and sesquiterpenes. In the frozen state, the processed trichomes are as close to the natural “live” characteristics of the live plant as possible.

When pressed into live hash rosin, the trichome membranes break down, merging the resin into one mass of essential oil – called live hash rosin. At the point of collection, live hash rosin is a rich, light golden color and ready to be manipulated manually to form various consistencies.

Different Hash Rosin Consistencies

If you’ve ever been to a dispensary looking for solventless concentrates, you might have found yourself wondering what all the different names mean and if there is a difference between them all. Well, the answer is not so simple and probably best answered with a “yes and no” outcome. At the end of the day, all these products could be called “live hash rosin.” And if you’re looking for live hash rosin, you’ll be more than happy picking up any top-tier gram from your favorite dispensary.

However, if you are looking for a specific dabbing experience, it’s best to understand the different consistencies and what product you like. For example, a live hash rosin in classic coin style could have a similar aroma and flavor profile to a rosin jam badder. In this scenario, most people select by preferred consistency. Do you like breaking off a nice piece of shatter-y concentrate? Go with the coin style. Do you find it easier when your concentrate is malleable and scoopable without much effort? Badder is for you.

Some people do feel there is a difference in effects across various live hash rosin consistencies, but for anyone looking to get into the world of high-end solventless concentrates, it’s best to explore a few products first and figure out which suits your preference the most.

  • Classic Coin style live rosin is named that way for its circular appearance and resemblance to actual gold currency. Coin-style rosin is unmodified post-press and simply collected and jarred.
    Classic coin style live rosin
    Coin live rosin is easily identifiable due to its coin-like shape. photo credit
    This consistency of rosin must be kept refrigerated to retain the glassy appearance. At room temperature or heated situations, coin-style rosin can nucleate into a more chalky, buddery consistency.
  • Jam is a relatively new preparation in the solventless world, popularized by extractors from the Colorado company, Olio. Essentially, rosin jam looks similar to a traditional live resin mixture. Looking like a wet mix of badder and crystals, this preparation is well-known for its ease of use and intense aromas/flavor profiles. Rosin jam is also produced with several curing techniques allowing stability at room temperature – a key feature for many people who find refrigerating their concentrates to be a hassle.
  • Badder/Batter/Budder is rosin that experiences a heavy “whipping” process post-press in order to evenly distribute terpenes around and create a “wetter” final product.
    Rosin butter
    Many people like rosin budder to do its easy-to-manipulate consistency. photo credit
    Rosin badder is typically soft to the touch of your dabber and very easy to work with, as opposed to the sometimes difficult coin style variety.
  • Sauce is most commonly used in the production of solventless vape cartridges (see below), however, you will sometimes find it in combination with THCA crystals or other “diamond” preparations. Rosin sauce is made from an intricate extraction process, involving the separation of terpenes and essential oils from THCA. From there, the liquid preparation is either used for cartridges or mixed back together with the THCA for crystal formation techniques.

Difference between “Live” and Non-Live solventless products

A quick note: consumers should be aware that the “live” designation is only given when the starting material was live-harvested and flash-frozen. The highest-quality solventless products make use of live starter material, however, it is possible to make solventless concentrates from bud that has been traditionally cured first. These solventless preparations are still good and carry some of the same great qualities as live solventless, but a significant portion of the vibrant terpene and cannabinoid content that high-quality solventless products are known for will be lost to the curing process. If you’re looking for the highest quality, “live” is usually the best bet.

Solventless Vaporizer Cartridges

For anyone on the fence about the dabbing process or investing money into a dab rig setup, solventless vape cartridges offer the perfect solution. Many people have become familiar with vape pens for the discretion, convenience, and effects they offer. However, what some people might not realize is that solvent-based vape pens (e.g. distillate, live resin, CO2, etc.) require chemical interaction and, in some preparations, advanced refinement to remove impurities and produce a clean finished product.

With solventless vape cartridges, there is no chemical interference and therefore no way to improve the quality or appearance of a product through refinement or any stage of the production process. Just like in live hash rosin preparation, the only way to achieve a high-quality end product is by using only the highest quality starting material.

A rosin cartridge
Rosin carts allow consumers who are new to concentrates to try solventless products, without needing a whole dab rig setup. photo credit

Because only the highest quality flower is used to create solventless vapes, consumers are also likely to find their favorite exotic strains and terpene profiles in both cartridge and standard jarred gram variety. What we’re getting at here is that both live hash rosin and solventless vape cartridges are of superior quality and, while different, offer a similar experience for people based on their preference. 

As noted previously, rosin carts are the perfect introduction to solventless concentrates and offer any interested consumer an easy and efficient method of consumption. With the growing amount of brands putting solventless cartridges on the market, these high-end products may become much more popular in the coming years as more options flood dispensary shelves.

Advancements in Rosin Vaporizer Processes

In the early days of vape cartridge production, converting a solid concentrate into a liquid preparation that evenly vaporizes in a cartridge format was thought to be practically impossible. As we all know though, the cannabis industry has its way of innovating at an impressive capacity. After the onset of hydrocarbon-extracted sauce and live resin carts, it became clear that solventless cartridges were definitely in the realm of possibility.

Jar tech for solventless cartridges
Solventless technology has grown drastically over the past few years, which is why consumers can now find solventless cartridges on the shelves. photo credit

Through careful manipulation of parameters, hash makers have perfected a strategy that has opened up the market and created a viable product category with large potential to advance even further. With vape cartridges as a whole gaining increased market share year over year, it’s a no-brainer that the rosin vaporizer field will begin to see increased competition. For businesses, this signals a critical moment in production focus – either get on board with the trend or risk getting left behind. As consumers, this means that there will be increased availability of solventless vaporizer options and choices for you to enjoy at the dispensary front.

How is Solventless Vaporizer Cartridge Oil Made?

While exact methods are typically proprietary and kept privy to few people, the general method of producing vape cartridge oil is very similar to a “rosin sauce” extraction method where high quality (6* typically) bubble hash is pressed multiple times to isolate the THCA from the resin and essential oils. Once two separated products are achieved, they are recombined in a calculated blend to ensure proper viscosity and even vaporization without clogging.

The viscosity of oil used for solventless vaporizer cartridges is crucial to a good consumer experience. Many companies spend a lot of time on R&D to perfect their blends and consistencies.

The process for making rosin cartridges requires extreme skill, accuracy, and high-quality starting material. There’s a reason why solventless cartridges fetch a higher price valuation than other products and it shows in the quality. It’s also very easy to visually assess the quality of a rosin cartridge, as products that are rushed or created from poor starting material will appear dark in color* and give off undesirable, “planty” flavor. The good news is that many producers who make these products are extremely passionate about rosin and will do everything they can to provide superior level quality with every inhale.

**Occasionally, a crop with an abundance of anthocyanin (which gives plants like blueberries their deep color, and purple weed strains their distinct hue) will result in darker rosin and concentrates due to the naturally higher levels of pigment. For example, DJ Shorts Blueberry is known for producing darker concentrates. These instances are relatively rare but do happen, so be aware, and maybe ask the budtender a few questions about your purchase before outright assuming a product is faulty. The flavor and smoothness should still be good indicators of a product’s freshness.**

How to Consume Rosin Vaporizer Cartridges

Consuming a solventless cartridge is quite simple and very similar to using any other vape pen mechanism. However, being aware of a few details can be helpful. The majority of rosin vape products are compatible with a 510-threaded vape battery and rarely come in some of the more specialized types of cartridges that proprietary brands use (think of the Juul-styled carts you may occasionally see). If you’re looking to purchase a vape specifically for consuming rosin cartridges, it is best to go with the 510 style, and ideally one with a variable voltage setting (typically, between 2-3 volts is optimal for rosin; and staying under 3 overall is a good guideline).

510 Style Vape Battery
All that is needed to smoke a rosin vape cart, is a standard 510 style vape battery. photo credit

One other small consideration to improve your experience is to always let your oil warm up slightly before taking a draw. You can accomplish this by holding the cartridge in your hand, or using a preheat feature if your battery allows. This will loosen up the oil and ensure it is the correct viscosity for your hit. Failing to pay attention to this aspect isn’t the end of the world by any means, but your cartridge may need a little extra pull if it is a denser oil.

Rosin Edibles

While newer to the market than live hash rosin and solventless vape cartridges, rosin edibles are growing in popularity quite rapidly. Plus, they offer a great alternative as an easy entry point to solventless products for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with vaporization or dabbing. What’s even cooler is that rosin edibles are not only becoming more available at dispensaries but also very simple to make at home and dial in your own dosing.

Solventless gummies
Gummies are an easy way to consume solventless concentrates, without having to deal with smoking. photo credit

Similar to any edible production process, the first step in the solventless iteration involves decarboxylating your starting material. When using rosin for your infusion this step is no different. Just like flower, rosin too needs to be decarboxylated before use in any oral ingestion methods. Now, you might be thinking “doesn’t a rosin press use heat for extraction?” and you’re absolutely correct! However, the duration of heat used while pressing rosin is not nearly long enough to instill any conversion of THCA to the psychoactive counterpart, THC (AKA, decarboxylation or the releasing of a carboxyl grouping from a cannabinoid). In fact, many connoisseurs and hash producers alike will tell you that a quality rosin press is one that can produce rosin with little to no activated THC in the finished product.

How do Solventless Edibles Differ from Others?

One thing that many people comment on when referencing rosin edibles is their flavor and effect. While much of these claims are anecdotal, there are some underlying factors that may be behind the claims.

For example, in reference to flavor, many people find traditional edibles to give off a slightly hashy aftertaste. Of course, there’s no issue with that at all, however, it could be from the fact that many traditional edibles aren’t made with fresh frozen starting materials like rosin edibles. When considering that rosin edibles use the same high-quality cannabis to produce their products, it isn’t too far-fetched to say that enhanced flavor could be coming from fresher starting material and a higher terpene content.

When it comes to the effects of rosin edibles, a similar argument could be made. For the same reason that fresh frozen flower as a starting material could offer a more flavorful experience, it could just as easily offer a clearer high due to minimal cannabinoid degradation post-harvest. When THC is exposed to oxygen and sunlight, it can degrade into the cannabinoid CBD, which is well-known for its sleep-inducing effects. Have you ever been tired or drowsy after eating edibles? Or maybe you know a friend who won’t consume edibles because they always make them too sleepy. Well, you might consider trying rosin edibles as an alternative and seeing if there’s a difference.

BE AWARE! While rosin edibles are great for beginners, it’s important to start slow if you haven’t tried them before. Even if you’re experienced with solvent-based edibles, solventless varieties could come on stronger and quicker than anticipated.

The final aspect to consider when evaluating the anecdotal question of “Are rosin edibles better?” is the application of strain-specific products. In rosin edible production, much of the products currently hitting shelves are strain-specific and made to replicate the effects of the plant it was produced from. Traditional solvent-based edibles are typically more blended and not produced with one sole cultivar. Again, there is nothing wrong with this method, however many people have expressed extreme interest in strain-specific edibles and their ability to provide a more consistent and predictable high. 

Rosin Edibles to Check Out

Sometimes it can be tough to find new and emerging products at first. We assure you though, there are plenty of rosin edibles on the market! Check out some of our favorite brands below

Popular Rosin Edible Brands:

  1. Blue River Terps (Available in Multiple States)
  2. Papa & Barkley (California)
  3. Arcadia Brands (Oklahoma)
  4. Dialed-In Gummies (Colorado)

If your dispensary doesn’t currently offer any solventless edible products, be sure to let them know. Many shops are looking to stock their shelves with the most popular products and there’s no denying rosin edibles are well on their way to achieving that status.

How to Make Your Own Rosin Edibles

If your dispensary doesn’t have any options at the ready, making your own solventless edibles at home is always an option! Preparing homemade edibles with rosin is a great way to make use of extra rosin on hand, increase the effectiveness of mid-tier rosin, or simply just dial in a strain you want that’s not currently offered in stores! Check out the video below to learn how you can make your own potent yet delicious solventless edibles from the comfort of your own home!

Remember, as long as you remember to decarboxylate your rosin the sky is truly the limit for what you can make. Once you get the hang of things, it’s pretty easy to use rosin for all your favorite edible preparations!

Solventless Tinctures

Consuming cannabis via tincture offers some unique advantages over other methods, depending on the consumer’s goals and circumstances. In general, consuming by tincture can be used to sidestep many of the drawbacks of other delivery methods. There’s no smoking or combustion involved, so it avoids taxing the lungs, yet can uptake in 20-30 minutes, so it won’t take as long as an edible for effects to kick in. Tinctures can be made with variable potency or ratios of CBD to THC, making them capable of covering similar needs as either concentrate or low-dose cannabis depending on how they are made.

Due to their overall lower health impact, tinctures are one of the most prevalent preparations for health-conscious consumers and are typically permitted by even the strictest medical cannabis programs.

Solventless-based tinctures carry many of the same benefits as solventless edibles, having superior strains and starting material, a wider flavor profile, and the purity of being chemical-free. The last quality is especially ideal for medical marijuana patients who may have stricter dietary concerns, and be more sensitive to any unnatural ingredients.

Though many tinctures are made using alcohol, solventless tinctures tend to make use of MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides, which allow for optimal bonding with fat-soluble THC) derived from coconut or palm kernels.

A cannabis tincture
Tinctures have the lowest health impact of all consumption methods. photo credit

For non-medical consumers, solventless tinctures are still desirable and are often anecdotally described as having stronger effects, while maintaining a clearer head (likely for the same reasons mentioned previously, a more robust entourage effect and fewer degraded cannabinoids). Tinctures already embody the purity of cannabis by eliminating barriers that other preparations face, and elevating them to the realm of solventless products has divine results.

Solventless Tincture Brands to Look For

The landscape surrounding solventless tinctures is still growing. As such, more and more products will continue to come online as demand grows. Check out some reputable products below to get started!

Be Sure to Check Out:

How to Make Your Own Rosin Tinctures

While there are some options available in the market, finding solventless cannabis in tincture form is still a bit rare. However, turning rosin into a tincture is a very simple process that you can do at home!

Begin by decarb-ing your rosin in the oven using the method seen in the edibles video above. As mentioned, decarboxylation converts the THC-A to THC so that it is bioavailable. For one gram of rosin, the percentage of THC listed on the packaging will help you to determine potency. Take the percentage and multiply it by 10 to get the milligram amount of THC. Thus 1 gram of rosin with 70% THC will be 700mg of THC.

Steps For Making and Consuming a Solventless Tincture:

  1. Combine your decarboxylated rosin with 1 cup MCT oil
  2. Determine your desired dose size (For reference, a standard tincture bottle holds 29.5ml, and a cup has about 236ml, and 1mL=1,000mg. “Solve for x” as they say.)
  3. Start slow, calculate effectiveness
  4. Increase dose slowly as needed until desired palliative effects are met

In this scenario, you can reduce the amount of MCT oil used as well to make the mixture more or less potent overall. Just keep in mind how many ml are at play and the math equation to determine potency should remain the same!

Solventless Topicals

Your skin is the largest organ of your body (wild!) and is replete with cannabinoid receptors. While topical solventless preparations won’t get you high, they can help with pain, inflammation, and a number of skin ailments. The broad and well-preserved cannabinoid profiles of solventless products make them an excellent choice as a base for topical applications while avoiding the chemical solvents known to dry out skin (such as alcohol).

Solventless Cannabis and Skincare

Today’s high-end beauty and skincare products understand the vital role that our skin plays in our lives, and in turn, focuses on purity to make the best products while protecting our vital organs. Cannabis topicals made with solventless concentrate mirror this ethos perfectly. For those with sensitive skin or using cannabis topicals to treat a skin condition, removing all chemicals and potential irritants is vital to ensuring that the product is effective, and doesn’t worsen the situation.

Cannabis-infused lotion
While cannabis-infused topicals will not necessarily get you high, you will still receive plenty of benefits from applying them. photo credit

With solventless preparations, there is no worry about unnatural compounds. The resulting balms and lotions have only plant-based ingredients, and, as mentioned, the best available cannabis plants at that. Better preserved cannabinoids and terpenes mean more for your skin to uptake, ultimately making for a more efficient product as well.

How to Make Your Own Solventless Topicals

Similar to making tinctures, you’ll start by decarboxylating the rosin. This can be done at home in the oven at 230-250° F. Put your gram of rosin in a glass measuring cup with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, cover with foil, and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Allow the rosin and the oil to melt together, occasionally agitating the covered cup to break down any chunks of rosin, and ensure even distribution. 

Leave the mixture in the oven until tiny bubbles start to form, (this may take longer than 30-40 minutes, but shouldn’t be left for too long). Once the bubbles stop, remove the measuring cup from the oven (careful, it will be hot) and allow it to cool with the foil on until you can comfortably touch it. Once cool, remove the foil and lightly swirl to mix. At this point, you have the option of adding in a few drops of essential oil such as eucalyptus or lavender to enhance the aroma and benefits of your balm. Lightly swirl the glass to combine the drops of essential oil with your mixture, you can also stir with a metal spoon.

Pour the liquid into the container(s) that you want your balm in. The container that the rosin came in works well, but be sure to clean it with alcohol first because it’s usually sticky. Similarly, you can reuse cosmetic containers if you have any, but be sure to clean them out first as well.

Once you have filled your containers place them on a plate and set it in the freezer or fridge until hardened. After it solidifies, your balm is ready for use! For maximum effectiveness, storing your balm in the fridge can help to keep it solid, and better preserve the cannabinoids.

Why You Should Try High-Quality Solventless Cannabis Products

Though we’ve discussed the refinement, superior materials, and overall value of top-of-the-line solventless cannabis products, the essential question remains, why should I try them?

It is likely that if you’re reading this, you have some level of experience with other cannabis products and enjoy them already. Cannabis is enjoyable in many forms, and the option of higher-quality solventless products doesn’t automatically invalidate those other preparations. However, it does have the tendency to make them pale in comparison.

Rosin on parchment paper after press
Once you experience the purity and flavor from solventless extractions, you'll never want to go back! photo credit

Many who try solventless products find it difficult to go back, and that’s because there’s such a significant leap in the overall quality. And among solventless preparations, the best has a similar gap when compared to the rest. Live harvesting, flash freezing, selective breeding and growing, careful separation of trichome heads, all of these carefully executed steps truly do add up. The resulting products are unlike any other.

If you’re looking for a wholly different experience with cannabis, one a bit more elevated and complex, give solventless a try. There is a transformative quality to it, that not only exemplifies the genre it belongs to but expands it, like discovering good whiskey or cheese. It makes you sit back and go, “oh, this is what cannabis can be.”

How to Get Started With High-Quality Solventless Products Today

Exploring the world of solventless cannabis products has never been easier. Check if your local dispensary carries any of the high-quality options mentioned throughout this guide, from premium rosin and crystal water hash to topicals and edibles. Depending on your market, there may be numerous options to choose from. Especially in the form of rosin, solventless is becoming increasingly popular.

We’d like to remind you to be especially wary of “solventless” options made with distillate. While distillate involves only minimal solvents in the form of CO2, and that CO2 is purged in the refining process, these are not true solventless products. A true solventless product will be made with only cannabis, heat, and pressure.

Rosin pressing in a rosin press
A true solventless product is only made with cannabis, heat, and pressure. photo credit

If the base ingredient of that product isn’t rosin or ice water hash, that’s not the solventless you’re looking for. Unfortunately, some companies are aware of the rising popularity of solventless options and have begun to attach the label a bit liberally.

If your local spot is missing solventless options, you can still make an impact by requesting them. Dispensaries are businesses like any other, and demand helps to drive supply. The people producing and ordering these products need to know there’s a market to sell them to, and courteously letting them know that you’re looking to purchase can help get that ball rolling. And don’t forget, you can always get going with your own rosin press set up and start making solventless products at home as well. With the rosin press technology provided by companies like PurePressure, nearly any solventless preparation is possible to DIY. Whatever you choose, you really can’t go wrong when dealing with high-quality solventless products!

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