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Why Live Resin Keeps its Terpenes

Friday, November 30, 2018 Comments (0)

Guest Post by Tony Hand Jr


One of the most potent forms of cannabis is live resin. The reason for this is because live resin hoards a load of terpenes. Terpenes are awesome because that’s where all the cannabinoids reside. What you probably don’t realize is that you burn a lot of terpenes off with a flick of a lighter inside your bowl of flower. This doesn’t happen with live resin. From harvest to extraction to storage, live resin maintains a majority of the plant’s terpenes. So, let’s break down why live resin keeps it terpenes alive. 


Live Resin Starts at the Harvest


According to, live resin has powerful terpene retention much in thanks to the care that is put into creating the concentrate. When grow masters cut the plant, they immediately freeze the product. As soon as you cut the plant from its food source, it closes off its stomata and gets ready to dry up. During this, terpenes are floating off into the atmosphere.


Think about handling a bud of weed. With every brush against your skin, valuable trichomes full of terpenes fly into the ether. It’s believed plants lose as much as 60% of their terpenes during the drying and curing process. By freezing the cannabis promptly, many of the trichomes will stay in place.


The trimmed plant matter is placed in a freezer at a temperature of 14° F. It’s left in the cold for no longer than 36 hours. Just as terpenes lose their potency in high temperatures, they degrade in colder weather as well.


How Live Resin is Made


When you cut a plant, you will notice it starts to sort of sweat. That means you are freezing a lot of excess water. You want this extra water because it helps the extraction process. Frozen water makes it easier for the solvent (butane) to extract the terpenes from the plant.


Due to the frozen water, live resin must be made at low temperatures. To maintain the integrity of the terpenes, the butane has to be around -20° to -50° F. This is why scientists make these products with commercial-grade equipment.


When the live resin makers are ready, they will take their frozen plant matter and run cold butane over it. The abrasive vapors of the butane will strip the cannabinoids and terpenes off the plant material.


The subfreezing concentrate is then moved on over to a second chamber. Here is where terpenes are separated from impurities such as fats. Once these materials are out of the product, the subfreezing concentrate is brought to a light boil. This will help burn off the butane.


After the butane is burned off, the resin is left to dry. It’s then scraped off the surface and voila! You have live resin full of terpenes.


Storing Live Resin


Since live resin makers go through a lot to maintain the integrity of the terpenes in their product, you should do the same when you buy it. Terpenes are hydrocarbons that are very volatile. This means that they not only have a strong scent, but they oxidize as soon as they hit the atmosphere.


To preserve your terpenes, you want to place your resin in an airtight container. While that seems like an easy feat, there’s one more thing you must keep in mind. Live resin is a concentrate. That means it can be very sticky. Therefore, your airtight container should also be stick-proof.


Place your concentrate onto wax paper for a quick fix. Wrap it up and then place in wooden drawer. If you have a lot of resin, you can forgo the wax paper and just place in an airtight glass container. For bigger mason jars, you might want to get a small pair of tongs or dabber to get the resin in and out without getting your hand stuck!


Otherwise, you can invest in a dab container. These are small non-stick containers that sort of look like grinders. They’re easily portable. Plus, getting a dab container is a great way to keep not only your live resin fresh but bud too.


No matter how you decide to store your resin, make sure it’s in a dark place. Look at milk jugs in the grocery store. They promote their “UV-Blocking” bottle that preserves the vitamins in their product. Light causes chemicals to get excited. This promotes oxidation. As a result, your live resin will start to lose its terpenes. If the live resin makers go through the care to preserve the terpenes for you to smoke, so should you.

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