In just a few short years, we’ve seen the cannabis industry go through worlds of change. Concentrates have taken the market by storm — offering discreet use, high cannabinoid counts, terpene-rich flavors, and a deep, heady high. Today there are so many different types of cannabis concentrates out there, knowing where to turn and what to buy can be quite a challenge, even for seasoned connoisseurs.
But the trick to finding out what’s good in the concentrate arena is first knowing how it’s all made. As hardcore OGs out to bring you fire weed in all its viable forms, we love it when you find the best cannabis experience for you, and we want you to recognize high quality when you see it. That’s why we’re dishing out a complete guide to solventless and solvent-free concentrates — the differences between them, the rich tradition of solventless hash-making, and how West Coast Cure’s Solventless Live Rosin represents the best of the best in our dank corner of the cannaverse.
Solventless and Solvent-Free – What’s the Difference?
Browsed the concentrate section of your local dispensary lately? You’ve probably seen everything from full-spectrum extract and fresh-pressed rosin to THCA diamonds and live-resin vape cartridges on the shelves. So what are the critical differences between all these cannabis products? While consumption methods play a huge role in categorizing them, the major difference between all these products lies in how they’re made. And all of them are made either with or without solvents.
Solventless concentrates are made by applying heat and pressure to plant material. Dry-sift hash (made by agitating trichome glands through a series of filter screens) and ice water hash (made by freezing the trichome glands off with ice water) are both modern versions of the ancient art of hash-making. Whether done at an industrial level or at home using common DIY methods, the goal is to remove the bud’s trichome glands, packed with all those cannabinoids and terpenes, mechanically rather than chemically. The result is an oily, resinous form called Rosin, considered to be a cleaner extract and preferred by cannabis enthusiasts for its pure, terpy taste.
We tend to categorize solventless rosin by its texture and consistency. Sugar, badder, and sauce are all popular concentrate forms available to today’s consumers. But why familiarize yourself with the characteristics and consistencies of the various forms? Because the more you know about the differences, the easier it is to find what’s best for your consumption preference. Whether to vaporize evenly in your new portable device, or to enhance the potency of a freshly rolled joint, there’s a rosin product out there to match the occasion.
Solvent-Free (Live Resin)
You’ve probably heard the terms “concentrate” and “extract” used fairly interchangeably in today’s cannabis circles. But technically, an extract is a type of concentrate that uses a chemical solvent to separate cannabinoids, terpenes, and other desirable compounds from cannabis plant matter. The most common solvents used in making cannabis extracts include butane, ethanol, supercritical CO2, and propane. When an extract is solvent-free, the solvent has been thoroughly purged, leaving only a clean extraction of pure cannabis content behind. This should not be confused with solventless concentrates, which are mechanically separated with no solvent introduced.
Today, live resin is the most popular (and often dankest) solvent-free concentrate. Made from fresh, frozen flower instead of dried and cured bud, live resin preserves more of the plant’s tasty terpenes and flavonoids for a full spectrum of effects and flavors. West Coast Cure’s Live Resin line is a prime example of high-quality butane hash oil, carefully extracted from fresh flower and loaded with all the hazy, tasty compounds that the real heads crave.
Rosin vs. Live Resin
So which is better: rosin or live resin? Both can be highly potent forms of top-shelf concentrate, and both are popular today in various clean, convenient products. Many connoisseurs and intermediate consumers go with rosin to avoid any risk of exposure to residual solvents. That said, any brand worth its salt will have an extraction process that guarantees a top-notch, solvent-free live resin.
At West Coast Cure, we revel in the creation of pure, high-quality, terpy-as-hell weed products, whether they be solventless or solvent-based. But what we really love about solventless is that it gives us the chance to set new industry standards. Think of it as an open canvas upon which we can do our finest work — capturing the dankest essence of a mind-melting nug and bringing it to you in a delicious, highly consumable package.The bottom line: we love the untainted, undeniable quality of hash, and we’re serious about sharing that joy with others.
What’s the Difference Between Rosin and Live Rosin?
You may have also seen “live rosin” around and wondered what made it special compared to just rosin. Again, the difference lies in how the material is prepared before going through a press. Anytime you see the word “live” in front of rosin or resin, the product was made from “fresh frozen” which implies that the buds were frozen immediately after harvest instead of undergoing a traditional drying step. Rosin can be pressed from hash, kief, or dried and cured bud, as well as from ice hash.
Take our Live Rosin Fresh Press as a fire showcase of live rosin production. Starting with full-term, whole plants from such Emerald-Triangle greats as Booney Acres, Humboldt Kine, and Emerald Queen Farms, we take fresh frozen material at peak maturation, delicately separate the trichome glands from the plant material, and then press the ice water hash delicately wash and separate the trichome glands from the plant, and then press the ice water hash in a heavily controlled setting so the terpene content is locked in until you heat it for consumption. We also take our Live Rosin Fresh Press and leave it to cold cure into a Cold Cure Badder, preserving all the good stuff that makes live rosin a uniquely rich, flavorful experience.
How to Dab Live Rosin
For the casual stoner, vape cartridges have become the primary and most convenient form of consuming concentrates (more on them later). But dabbing remains the preferred method for those who truly love the far-out, heady experience of a full-spectrum concentrate. Dabbing is the act of vaporizing and inhaling concentrates through a heating apparatus such as a dab rig or e-rig. A “dab” is simply a vapable hit of concentrate.
Live rosin is one of several types of concentrate tailor-made for proper vaporization, offering the high cannabinoid count, terpy flavors, and winning texture of a true quality dab. Our badder, for example, is slowly and continuously whipped with light heat until it reaches a cake-badder consistency. This process creates a uniform matrix between the terpenes and THC-rich crystalline, resulting in a clean and easy dabbing product.
One of the major pros of dabbing is that it produces a vapor instead of smoke via combustion, making it potentially cleaner to inhale when done at the right temperature. 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 Celsius) is typically the window to aim for when heating your dab rig, as higher temperatures may torch your dab. Dabbing also gives you greater access to terpene flavors and tends to deliver a unique, clean head high, avoiding the extra haze from smoking cannabis flower. As a terpene-heavy, plant-only form of concentrate, live rosin is arguably the ideal substance for a solid, enjoyable dab.
If there’s a notable disadvantage to dabbing, it’s in the equipment and learning curve required to do it successfully. Traditionally, dabbing is done with a dab rig — a glass water pipe that looks like a small bong. Dab rigs also include a banger or nail, the small “bowl” that you heat with a torch and drop your dab in. Today’s hash lovers are also keen on terp slurpers — bangers connected to an extra dish with small slits at the base, allowing airflow to push residual wax back up the main chamber. As always, the goal is optimal vaporization and full flavor, even at lower dab temperatures.
Dabbing techniques vary slightly from person to person, but here’s a basic step-by-step guide to dabbing sure to get any newcomer off on the right foot:
- Heat your banger with a torch for 30-60 seconds.
- Let the banger cool down a bit so as not to scorch your dab. The proper wait time will depend on your banger, but generally it takes between 30 to 90 seconds.
- With dabbing, the more precise the temperature the better. Consider investing in a dab thermometer so you know right when to drop your dab every time.
- Place your live rosin or other concentrate in the banger.
- If you have one, put your carb cap over the banger. Carb caps help to trap the heat in the banger, vaporizing your dab more evenly and thoroughly.
- Inhale the vapor slowly and consistently. Unlike a typical bong hit of flower, dabs require a long, slow inhale as the majority of the concentrate does not vaporize instantly.
- Exhale the vapor.
- Allow your banger to cool down, then immediately clean it to avoid buildup. Swab with a qtip or a glob mop, specifically designed for dab cleanup.
- Change your rig water when your dab session is over.
It didn’t take long for vape cartridges to become a staple of the modern weed world, casting a wide net for both veteran stoners and casual consumers. Offering greater discretion and a fast-acting, potent high when smoking or equipment-heavy dabbing isn’t tolerated, Cartridges are often filled with THC distillate, sometimes augmented with strain-specific, cannabis-derived terpenes for flavor. Live resin has become the name of the game in recent years, valued as a purer expression of the plant that retains other cannabinoids and terpenes for a greater overall effect.
But only solventless cartridges deliver the unfettered full-spectrum experience of a rosin dab in convenient cart form. West Coast Cure Rosin Cartridges are a strain-specific line of cannabis rosin available in 510-threaded carts and best used with West Coast Cure vape batteries. Again, temperature control is key to getting the most out of your rosin, which is why our CUREpen Pro battery offers in-depth heat customization through a wide range of voltage settings. Whether you are looking for richer terpene flavors, or a more intense effect and thicker clouds, you can easily experiment, personalize your experience, and optimize your flavors with hardware that meets the tricky, sticky nuances of a quality rosin cart.
Solventless in Edibles
Edibles were the flagship DIY product of the cannabis world for decades, and folks continue to create high-powered cannabis experiences for themselves baking potent canna brownies or cooking with cannabutter. Commercially, edibles most often take the form of precisely dosed gummies, brownies, cookies, chocolate bars, and more.
In addition to getting a long-lasting high without inhaling your bud, evenly dosed edibles offer greater control over effects. Edibles are made either by adding cannabutter to a particular food or infusing it with a cannabis concentrate or canna-derived THC distillate. Most gummies, for example, are infused with careful doses of THC liquid.
So what does solventless rosin mean for edibles? As is the case with other solventless rosin-based products, a solventless edible means you’re protected from encountering, however unlikely, the residual solvents you might encounter in a non-solventless concentrate. Rosin is typically a full-spectrum product, which means it maintains the full cannabinoid and terpene profile of the plant from which it was pressed. Your standard THC-distillate infused edible, however potent, will tend to offer a one-dimensional high. Rosin-infused edibles are much more likely to deliver the deep, holistic, warm-and-fuzzy feeling that mother nature intended.
Which is Right for Me?
When choosing the concentrate that’s right for you, knowing where you can turn for a quality product is half the battle. After that, it’s simply a matter of matching an occasion or lifestyle with the most optimal consumption method. Maybe you’re looking for something you can hit quickly and discreetly on the go. A rosin cartridge will probably be your best bet. Ready for a full connoisseur’s experience? It might be time to fix yourself up with a dab rig and a quality live rosin fresh press, cold cure badder, or live rosin diamonds.
If you’re going for rosin, it’s important to find brands that not only appreciate fire weed, but are passionate enough to partner with seasoned artisans in every step of the process — from growing and curing top-shelf flower to mastering the art of hash-making. As purveyors of nothing but clean, quality cannabis in all its forms, we stand by all our products because we know they’re skillfully crafted for consistency and flavor. It’s what makes us one of the most trusted brands among rosin enthusiasts and hash heads. We’ve been hunting and hand-selecting the gassiest genetics for decades while supporting California’s most innovative farmers, cultivators, and hash masters. Craft matters, every step of the way, especially when it comes to live rosin.