We are entering the era of live resin extracts - what are they and why are they such an important new advancement in CBD?

We are currently experiencing a cannabis revolution. One of the fastest growing areas of the hemp industry is concentrated extracts such as waxes and CBD crystals.

A recent report by ArcView Research and BDS Analytics suggests that the concentrate market alone will reach nearly $ 8.5 billion by 2022. In 2018, concentrates accounted for almost 27 % of all cannabis profits in the United States.

These are impressive numbers - if interest in concentrates continues at this rate, they will be the dominant form of cannabis products over the next 3-5 years.

As cannabis concentrates gain in popularity and more and more people add to their use, we are beginning to see more and more news in the field of cannabis concentrates. One of the most interesting that has emerged recently is live resin extracts - extracts from cannabis plants that are still alive.

In this article, we will examine live resin extracts in more detail - we will look at how they are produced, compare them with other extracts and explain why we believe they will become the standard for cannabis concentrates in the near future.

It's a big topic, so let's get started without further delay.

What is a living resin extract?

Live resin is extracted from live cannabis plants. It is made from plants that have not been dried, crushed, cured or any process that is "deadly" to the plants.

Cannabis plants can survive for several hours after being separated from the roots, but they dry out after harvest.

Extracts from live resins come from fresh live plants. They contain high concentrations of terpenes, which maintain the strong smell of the plant.

Traditional extracts from dried plants lose up to 95 % of their terpene profiles before the extraction process begins. This means that most of the original scent of cannabis does not get into the final extract.

Extraction from living resin yields the highest terpene content of all extraction techniques. These terpenes are important because they offer many of their own therapeutic benefits and give the extract its characteristic odor.

Where do live resin extracts come from?

Although no one knows exactly where or when live resin extracts were invented, you can thank William "Kind Bill" Fenger, who introduced them to the mainstream.

Kind Bill aka "Godfather of Live Resin Extracts" has been producing cannabis extracts since the 1980s. He first came up with the idea of using fresh cannabis plants back in 2010 and spent the last decade perfecting his art, creating the product we know today.

Extraction from live cannabis plants was also performed by others - the usual method was to use freshly frozen flowers and extract with butane in an open system.

This method works, but it is extremely dangerous because butane can ignite and explode during the process.

In addition, the yields were simply too low to really be taken into account. You lose a lot of cannabis in the process, and that ultimately means a loss of money, so it has been largely ignored by commercial companies.

In 2013, Kind Bill teamed up with a man named Giddy Up - the founder of the extraction cannabis company EmoTek, and came up with a better way to commercialize live resin extracts.

This process uses a device called OBE-Dos - it is a closed system with ultra-cooled hemp flowers and butane. These units create ideal conditions for the extraction of resin from the live hemp plant as a whole. This method is so effective that it is finally economically viable to commercially produce extracts from living resin.

Companies around the world are now buying their own OBE-Dos units or equivalent systems to start making money on this new form of cannabis concentrate.

What do live resin extracts look like?

These concentrates look very similar to any other hemp concentrate - the difference is in the smell and chemical profile. They often have a strong golden color due to the effect of fresh plant resin pigments before they have a chance to oxidize. Living resins also have a waxy, sometimes slippery consistency.

Live resin extracts can be found in the form of waxes, shatters, dabs and pre-filled vaporizing pens and refills for vaporizers.

One of the key differences between live extracts and traditional concentrates is the way they change over time.

While normal shatters and waxes retain their color and consistency, live resin extracts can evolve over time - starting with a pleasant texture, then turning cloudy and finally creating a finer texture. This change occurs as the terpenes evaporate and the stability of the resin begins to disintegrate.

You can use live resin extracts at all stages - but it is best to eat it fresh. The shorter lifespan of live extracts is a side consequence of the fact that it is a high-quality fresh extract.

Extracts of live resin from technical hemp

The original interest in live resin extracts came from the space of users of recreational marijuana using varieties with a high THC content. Today you will find extracts from live resins made from hemp varieties with a high CBD content.

Technical hemp plants produce terpenes just like others. These terpenes can offer much more than just taste. Many of them have their own therapeutic benefit.

We expect that in the coming years there will be a great development in the field of extracts from live cannabis resins, because people will be more aware of the benefits of terpenes.

What are the benefits of live resin extracts?

1. Extracts from live resins have a higher terpene profile

Live resin extracts are particularly rich in terpenes compared to other concentrates.

The reason is that terpenes evaporate quickly after harvesting, drying and processing. Only a fraction of the original terpene profile remains in the final product. Some experts believe that conventional resin extracts contain only about 5 % of the original terpene profile. Live resin extracts contain up to 90 % of the original terpene levels in the plant.

A key part of maintaining the terpene profile is the lower temperature process.

Terpenes are volatile compounds - meaning that they are small enough to evaporate at high temperatures. Even room temperature is enough to evaporate most terpenes - so the actual extraction from living resin requires cooling the plant and solvent to very low temperatures.

2. Extracts from live resins may contain higher concentrations of CBD and THC

A similar benefit of live resin extracts can also be seen with cannabinoids. When a plant is harvested, these compounds immediately begin to disintegrate and change as the plant begins to die. This also occurs due to heat.

One of the most important changes is the conversion of CBD and THC to a cannabinoid known as CBN (cannabinol).

CBN is a much stronger sedative than CBD and gives the final concentrate a stronger "nail-to-couch" feel. This also means less CBD in the final product than you may want.

3. Extracts from live resins make it difficult for companies to use bad cannabis

The use of live plants for the extraction process gives the final product an aromatic profile almost identical to that of a fresh plant - it is so easy to identify low-quality plant extracts right from the start.

If the manufacturer does not use the best plants to produce the extract, you will feel it.

This is not the case for isolates from which all other compounds have been removed from the extract. Without a certificate of analysis, it is almost impossible to say anything about the quality of the hemp used to produce the isolate.

The vast majority of CBD products on the market are made from low quality plants and were made by simply converting them to isolate. High quality materials are raw flowers, full spectrum extracts and live resin extracts.

In addition, companies often add terpenes to their products to regain their taste and refer to them as broad-spectrum extracts. The problem is that these terpenes are often synthetic or come from completely different plants than cannabis.

If you are buying a product made with live resin extract, there is a much better chance that you are buying a quality product.

How do live resin extracts compare to other types of products?

Most CBD products on the market are made using a CBD isolate or a broad-spectrum extract. They work well, but it is very difficult to determine the quality of these products only by taste or appearance. In this regard, a laboratory test is needed to separate the good from the bad.

Some companies produce full-spectrum extracts that retain part of the plant's terpene profile. Full-spectrum extracts are usually produced using dried plants and therefore lack a full terpene profile. They have a similar taste and smell to a fresh plant, but they do not resemble what a live resin offers. For this type of extract, it can be difficult to determine the quality of the starting material.

Live resin extracts are the new "gold standard" for full-spectrum extracts. They capture the entire phytochemical profile of the plant - including cannabinoids, terpenes and other phytochemicals. With the help of these extracts, you can easily find out what the quality of the initial cannabis was according to the color, structure and smell of the extract.

Here is a brief breakdown individual types of products:

1. Full spectrum extracts

At present, it is the closest thing to live resin extracts that we have on the mainstream market. Full-spectrum extracts preserve as much of the chemical profile contained in hemp as possible.

The plants are first dried and cured and only then undergo this process, so that a large amount of terpene is no longer present at the time of extraction.

Full-spectrum extracts are used to make all types of products you can think of. You can find them in the form of concentrates, such as shatters or dabas, or in a mixture with other compounds for the production of oils, e-liquids, gummy candies or ointments.

2. CBD isolates (distillates)

This is by far the most common source of CBD on the market. It is made by removing all other cannabinoids and terpenes from the extract - it remains pure CBD.

They can be purchased as purified CBD crystals or in combination with other ingredients to create all other CBD products.

The problem with isolates is that you have no idea what the original state of the cannabis that was used to make them was. Companies often sell the lowest quality leaves, prunings, flowers and even plant stems to extraction laboratories to create this extract. It is then sold to CBD companies around the world. They make their products from it.

3. Broad spectrum extracts

Broad-spectrum extracts are a combination of the two mentioned above. They use CBD distillate or isolate and combine it with other cannabinoids and terpenes to make the product more like a full-spectrum extract - with a few differences.

This has clear advantages - for example, the ability to offer a product similar to full-spectrum products while ensuring that these products do not contain the psychoactive (and illegal) cannabinoid, THC.

However, this form of extraction also has its disadvantages.

Many companies claim that their products are "full-spectrum", but in reality use only CBD isolates and a few added terpenes - often simple terpenes such as limonene or beta-caryophyllene, which are either synthetic or derived from plants other than hemp.

This is misleading because the right full-spectrum extract has up to a dozen or more cannabinoids and several hundred different terpenes - a radical difference.

Comparison of extracts from live resins with other cannabis extraction techniques

Type of extractBenefitsDisadvantages
Live resin extract• Contains the highest possible amount of terpenes
• Incredibly strong taste profile
• The use of high quality plants cannot be pretended
• On average, more expensive than other types of extracts
• Texture and taste may disintegrate over time
Full spectrum extracts• They include a more complete phytochemical profile than isolates
• They offer part of the original taste profile of unprocessed plants
• Relatively cheap production
• The taste and terpene profile of the live resin extract is missing
• Can be masked with other terpenes to hide the use of low quality plants
Broad spectrum extracts• They offer a cannabinoid profile similar to full-spectrum extracts, but do not guarantee zero THC content
• Usually cheaper than live resin extracts and full spectrum extracts
• May contain synthetic terpenes and chemical additives
• They are often marketed with misleading terminology
CBD isolates (distillates)• They offer a very cheap source of CBD or other specific cannabinoids
• Better for use with other supplements or medications
• Other phytochemicals that support the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids are missing
• Lower quality, moldy or contaminated plants are often used in production

Why is the future of CBD in live resin extracts

Most CBD products on the market are made from concentrates in one form or another, regardless of whether they are considered "full-spectrum" or "isolates". Companies either create their own extracts or buy them from someone else. It is then mixed with carrier oil or other ingredients to form an ointment or food.

In the last few years, extracts from live resins have found themselves in the background. Most companies simply ignored them due to their higher production costs and shorter shelf life than other concentrates.

But times are changing.

As more people realize the benefits of live extracts in terms of taste and overall quality, this form of extract gains an important place on the market.

The key advantages of extraction from live resins are the extremely high terpene content and the ideal cannabinoid profile. Extracts from live resins yield better products overall, even compared to full-spectrum extracts, which are currently generally considered by consumers to be the best option.

More importantly, live resin extracts require manufacturers to use only high quality cannabis plants. You can't make live resin extracts without a first-class starting material - you just can't.

As time goes on and customers become more aware of the benefits of live resin extracts over traditional extraction techniques, you can bet that the market for this product will grow dramatically.

The largest area in which this new form of extraction enters the mainstream is with vaporizers and cartridges in them.

It is definitely worth watching this area.

"We are currently experiencing a cannabis revolution"

"If the manufacturer doesn't use the best plants to produce the extract, you'll feel it"

"The right full spectrum extract has up to a dozen or more cannabinoids"

Photo: istock.com