Fresh Frozen Cannabis – Using Cold to Boost Flowers and Concentrates

When it comes to the growing cannabis industry, everyone wants the best product. And this means, producers are constantly finding ways to up their game. One of the latest trends in the cannabis world? Fresh frozen cannabis, and using cold to boost cannabis flowers and create concentrates like live resin.

When it comes to cannabis extracts, some of the most popular right now are delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC, two alternate versions of THC that provide users with slightly different benefits. Delta-8 THC actually causes less anxiety, promotes a clear-headed high, and comes with less psychoactive effects than standard delta-9. Interested in trying this alternate version? We’ve got some of the best delta-8 THC deals out there for you to check it out today!

When it comes to new products within a vastly growing industry, rife with massive amounts of competition, it can be expected that different techniques will be developed and used to increase efficacy of products. Sometimes these won’t be more than gimmicks – ways to increase interest from buyers without providing a real benefit. And sometimes, these techniques will truly be beneficial, offering a higher-level product. Such seems to be the case with fresh frozen cannabis.

What is fresh frozen cannabis?

How is a harvest usually done? Ever since cannabis began being planted as a crop, the standard harvesting method has been to air dry the cannabis. The basics involve hanging the plants out after they’ve reached their full potential, and taking off the leaves. Then the plants are put in a dark room, with the right temperature and humidity, for several weeks, or until the plants dry out to a desirable level. Many will then put the plants in a sealable container that can be opened at intervals to let air in and out. As stated, this is a basic process, followed by large-scale farmers, as well as home-cultivators.

If all of that sounds about right, the inclusion of using cold is a slightly different method, that can help boost the overall final product. So, what is it? It’s essentially a different method of harvesting, or rather, a new method to be employed in the harvesting process. In the fresh frozen process, the cannabis plants are cut, and all leaves, branches and stems are removed, but no curing is done.

frozen cannabis

At this point, the buds are put into vacuum sealable bags, often weighed to a specific amount by the harvester. The bags of cannabis are put into a freezer set at about -38 degrees F, and left there until needed, with the cold locking in and preserving all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Some producers go as far as using dry ice in their freezers to optimize the freezing process.

The bags can be left for however long necessary. When taken out to sell, or to make concentrates, all the chemical constituents will have remained intact, along with other materials of the cannabis plant which will not have degraded because of the cold. Terpenes and cannabinoids are known to degrade over time, and freezing the buds at harvest time, until they are ready to be used, is one of the best ways of preserving these constituents so that users can get the most out of their products.

Freezing food is not new

We’ve been freezing food as a population for quite some time now. Most people have freezers at home chock full of meats, vegetables, dairy products like ice cream, and even bread. Not only do we freeze our food as individuals, but often, the food we buy in restaurants went through a frozen period, before being thawed and cooked for us. Technically, we’re already aware of the idea that cold can preserve things, it just wasn’t necessarily something attached to the idea of cannabis until recently.

Freezing does a couple things that are beneficial for consumers. For one thing, freezing can preserve the food and the nutrient content in it. Food is biodegradable (assuming it’s real food, and not a processed mess), and breaks down over time. Its why bananas turn brown, it’s why flowers whither, it’s why its said that often nutrient content is lost from products like vegetables quickly after they are harvested. Cold slows down this process, freezing a food into its current state.

The other thing freezing does, besides staving off degradation of plant-based, and animal-based products, is to keep microbes from making it home, and growing. Think about how quickly bread or cheese grow mold. Think about the last time you got food poisoning, and the bacteria that passed from your food to your guts. And also think about those tiny little fruit flies that love your fresh produce, they aren’t microbes, but they can infect your food, and aid in the process of degradation.

Freezing keeps all of these things at bay as well, creating an unhospitable climate for microbes to grow, and insects to be attracted to. It should be remembered that freezing does not necessarily kill such microbes, but essentially puts them in a dormitive state. Once thawed, they can then multiply once again if the correct measures are not taken.

frozen foods

Benefits of fresh frozen cannabis

Simply freezing in order to stave off degradation of compounds, and to keep mold at bay, is useful for standard cannabis products, but it helps serve another purpose as well. These days, businesses are national or international, and often products must be shipped long distances to reach their destinations, or to get from one processing site to another. The ability to keep cannabis in a frozen state, allows the transfer of these goods without degradation, just like refrigerated trucks to move meat across the country.

Plus, with the cannabis industry growing at the rate it is, another issue occurs. Often, the supply exceeds the actual demand, party because of it being a competitive market with a lot of new companies producing products. If a company overproduces, and doesn’t want to lose its precious stock – but doesn’t know when it will be able to unload it, freezing provides a way to hold onto it longer, without having to worry about it being ruined over time.

For this reason, many producers are now freezing their entire harvest from the get-go, to ensure that if they don’t need all their stock immediately, that it doesn’t get ruined by heat, sunlight, drying, standard degradation, mold, or any other culprit that can effect the shelf life of cannabis. It also comes with some other benefits, like getting rid of the drying out and curing processes, which are very time consuming. And providing the ability to freeze in the water of the plant, along with cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.

Live resin

One of the cool things to come out of the freezing cannabis process, is live resin. Live resin is yet another kind of cannabis concentrate, in the same category as hash oil, shatter, and wax. However, live resin concentrate is specifically made through cryogenic freezing. For cryogenic freezing, a newly harvested plant is frozen to -292 degrees F. This is considered a ‘full spectrum’ process since the entire plant is being used including the branches, leaves, and stalks.

Live resin shatter is superior to its non-frozen counterparts in that it has a better-preserved terpene profile. Extractions that use butane hash oil, or C02, without freezing, require a level of heat that can destroy most of the terpenes and other plant constituents. The freezing process to create live resins, bypasses this issue.

Think about the standard after-harvest experience. The cannabis is generally cured in a way to promote it slowly drying out. This can take many weeks of time, time in which the plant is exposed to things like light, heat, oxygen, and physical disruptions. Now consider that most cannabis products are produced by these means, and many won’t really live up to their potential because of it.

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Making live resin

To be clear, creating live resin is not the easiest process, and not the most inexpensive either. Even making something like delta-8 THC is a little more doable for the average person. Creating live resin requires the plants being flash frozen immediately, and for those low temperatures to be maintained through the entire extraction process.

In a closed loop system, butane and propane are cooled to the same cryogenic temperatures. Butane is pressurized, and then pushed from one tank, and through another tank where the cannabis is. As it goes, it dissolves trichomes, while bonding with terpenes and cannabinoids, carrying it all with it into yet another tank.

live resin

After going through the cannabis, it goes into another tank where it releases the waxes, lipids, and fats that it collected. It goes to yet another tank from there where the butane is heated to remove it, leaving behind a concentrated oil. Any solvent remaining, goes through a pipe to end in the tank it started, finishing the closed-loop. At this point the resin is very volatile – meaning more easily vaporizable, and it vaporizes out any remaining C02. At the end of the process, the live resin made, will be less than 4% of its original weight.

Considerations for fresh frozen cannabis

There are a couple important considerations when dealing with fresh frozen cannabis. The first is that cultivators don’t have a huge amount of time to waste in between cutting the plant, and getting it in a freezer. In order for optimal storage, the flowers shouldn’t be left out for over an hour after being cut. In just two hours from being cut, the monoterpenes in a plant will start to degrade. Many terpenes will be lost within the first few hours after a plant is cut.

Another issue to consider when relying on a freezer, is electricity. Power outages are not the most infrequent occurrence in life, but a simple power outage could mean the difference between a freezer full of frozen cannabis, and a freezer full of thawing, and therefore degrading, cannabis. Professional operations will likely have access to a generator to ensure that regardless of power issues, that the electricity doesn’t stop flowing.

Conclusion

As the cannabis industry grows, producers are trying more and more avenues to create better and better products. With this new application of freezing cannabis to preserve it, and using cryogenic temperatures to create concentrates like live resin, customers are getting more intense products. Now, granted, people have been using cannabis for thousands of years without freezing it, and reaping its benefits just fine. But processes like this do open the door to far superior products than have been available previously.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a medical professional, I have no formal legal education, and I’ve never been to business school. All information in my articles is sourced from other places which are always mentioned, and all opinions stated are mine, and are made clear to be mine. I am not giving anyone advise of any kind, in any capacity. I am more than happy to discuss topics, but should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a professional in the relevant field for more information.

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Recipe: Live Resin Maple Syrup & Maple-Butter Nut-Mix

Maple syrup is one of Canada’s greatest culinary contributions to the world, producing more than 80% of the entire world’s supply. As far back as 400 years ago, Indigenous people of North America were tapping, harvesting, and cooking this sweet amber nectar. As legalization made cannabis another hallmark for this country, it seems warranted (and […]

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What is cannabis concentrate live resin—and how should you use it?

With so many different types of cannabis concentrates, it can sometimes be hard to figure out the differences between them all. Here is an introduction to what live resin is and how to use it. Live resin in a nutshell Live resin is a high-quality concentrate often consumed by cannabis smokers using a dab rig, […]

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Stache Products’ Rio Makes Dabbing Easier Than Ever

The dabbing lifestyle is hot — literally. Blasting a banger with a blowtorch until it has reached several hundred degrees and letting it cool down just enough to vaporize your cannabis concentrates may offer quite the hit, but it has its setbacks. 

Being forced to meddle with the torch can lead to safety issues and other difficulties. Electronic nails and rigs are an alternative but tend to be less portable, and we all know the disappointment that arises when a battery is depleted when you’re ready for the new rip.

Knowing there had to be a better way, the savvy entrepreneurs at Stache Products invented the RiO, AKA the “rig-in-one.” This small-but-mighty dab rig has a built-in blowtorch and is still compact enough for on-the-go dabbers. We got our hands on the Rio to see how it stacks up to the traditional rig set-up — read on for our thoughts!

First Impressions: Pretty and Intriguing 

Out of the box, we were impressed by the high-quality EVA foam carrying case which houses the RiO components. With a zipper enclosure, cloth handle and a pocket for accessories, the case takes up less real estate than many of the large, James Bond-style cases we see people schlepping their rigs in at events.

The RiO itself has a sleek, resin base that holds the torch, which has only the business end protruding out. Above this holds a glass bubbler rig with 14mm shower head perc, which the included 14mm male quartz banger fits inside of perfectly. Two silicon plugs for travel, a glass carb cap, and a dab tool complete the set.

The majority of seasoned dabbers would know exactly what to do with all of these components, but a rookie would not. The included directions only tell you how to fill the torch with butane (sold separately) and not much else. A simple YouTube search will fulfill any other knowledge gaps, but with additional user instructions, the RiO would be truly foolproof.

Ideal for Fans of Cold Start Dabs 

To use the RiO, gently turn the torch valve counterclockwise until you hear a hiss. Then, simply hit the button to ignite. Because the torch is positioned directly under the banger, the RiO is ideal for fans of cold start dabbing, meaning the material is already inside the bowl prior to heating. The banger itself has a cylinder in the middle, making for an even melt. 

With the heat source being so close to the banger, it becomes hot very quickly, so it’s important to keep a close eye and act accordingly. It’s also not necessary to turn the valve all the way – only enough for it to produce a flame. Once it’s lit, it can be adjusted to your preference. We only had to heat it for about 15 seconds before the live resin started bubbling. This made for a deliciously terpy hit, which the water within cooled considerably.

No Battery, No Coil, No Problem

The RiO is a fantastic dab rig for use at home and on-the-go. The integrated torch is a game-changer, offering a compact and easy-to-use vaporization experience. With a product slogan of “no battery, no coil, no problem,” the RiO allows for a traditional dab experience without the muss and fuss. Simply add butane and your favorite cannabis concentrate, and you’ll be on your way. 

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Cooking With Cannabis 101 – Cannabis Concentrates

This week’s “Cooking With Cannabis 101″ series will teach you how to cook with cannabis concentrates including live resin, shatter, and distillate. For a guide on cannabis decarboxylation, click here. Today, you’ll learn how to make: Butter with Live Resin Tincture with Shatter Oil with Distillate Cooking with cannabis is an excellent way to consume […]

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Select Elite Live Cartridge Review: Purity, Potency & Flavor

Vape pens are at the top of the list for convenience and discretion, but they often disappoint for a number of other reasons: weird fillers, excessive artificial flavoring, mediocre taste and lack of potency, to name a few. And after 2019’s vaping illness outbreak, consumers are wise to be cautious about what they’re inhaling.

One of the best ways to ensure a safe and enjoyable vaping experience is to stick with a trusted, vetted brand — one that is transparent and tests the hell out of everything they sell. Oregon-based Select manages to do all that while producing a great-tasting, highly effective cannabis oil. 

Select bills their new Elite Live oils as having “the ease of oil, the feeling of flower,” and they deliver on that promise. Too often, concentrate and edible makers try to mask the taste and smell of cannabis in their products, which is not only ineffective, but also manages to make the taste worse (cue over-fragranced vape pens that smell like Pine-Sol and Febreze).

Select oils actually taste like cannabis, which is refreshing. The latest trend is blending the flavor and scent of cannabis into the mix, and in these formulations, the pine, citrus or pepper elements are present without overpowering the green flavor. The result is a fresh, natural-tasting vapor with no chemical undertones. 

Another distinguishing feature of Select’s oil cartridges is the heating element. Select won early fame for their innovative cartridge design, which includes a ceramic core and organic cotton wick. Not only can you taste the difference in the vapor, but fans say it’s a safer choice than typical heating elements like metal or steel. 

Select oils are infused with freshly harvested terpenes instead of cured plant matter, which explains the “live” part of the Elite Live carts. Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds that give plants their distinctive scent. Many terpenes have their own therapeutic value: Pinene is considered anti-inflammatory; linalool and limonene have been shown to have relaxing properties; others, such as caryophyllene and cineole, display neuroprotective qualities. Terpenes are now thought to contribute significantly to the characteristics and quality of a cannabis high.

select elite live

I sampled four different Select Elite Live oils: Gelato, Lemon Tree, Mandarin Cookies, and Forbidden Fruit. For me, the varying terpene content of these extracts gave each oil a very distinct flavor and effect.  

1. Gelato

Derived from an indica strain, this oil did what indicas are supposed to — relax the hell out of you. It was like a weighted blanket for my brain that left me feeling super relaxed and grounded (luckily, I tried it in the evening). The flavor was smooth, earthy and peppery. The effects were ideal for deep-body tranquility, solo contemplation and winding down for the night. I wouldn’t recommend this oil for a busy social situation, as I didn’t feel very chatty. (I also couldn’t track anything complex: I tried to watch “Last Week Tonight” and couldn’t follow John Oliver’s arguments, but switched to “The Golden Girls” and was immediately on the level.) So don’t take your MCATs or go on a first date while using this oil. But if you suffer from insomnia or nighttime anxiety, this is the one I would recommend. 

2. Lemon Tree

Good for daytime activities, this sativa hybrid oil felt both lightly energizing and head clearing, with a fresh, clean taste and aromas of lemon and pine. It offers a more mellow sensation than the other three. In fact, this is a great ideal starter oil for folks who are newer to cannabis or just want to be slightly high.

But more avid cannabis consumers also enjoy a mellower high sometimes – you don’t always need the cannabis equivalent of four shots of espresso. Sometimes you just want an herbal tea so you can perk up, be a little more present and create a calm, balanced vibe. That’s what Lemon Tree did for me. I recommend this oil for cleaning, organizing, practicing yoga or doing outdoor activities – especially ones where you’ll need some ability to focus.

select elite live

 

3. Mandarin Cookies

This hybrid formulation had the citrusy smell and flavor of Lemon Tree, but a much stronger, earthier flavor along with a hint of sweetness. Perhaps it was the power of suggestion from the name, but Mandarin Cookies felt like a dessert oil — a perfect treat on a vacation or after a sumptuous brunch. I tried the Mandarin Cookies while at the beach, and swimming in the ocean never felt better. I was also coping with some intense sinus pain, which this oil greatly reduced. I was high, but totally alert, upbeat and able to carry on a conversation. It’s not always easy to find good moods in 2020, but this oil helped me get there.

4. Forbidden Fruit

An indica-hybrid, this formulation is truly one of the most delicious, full-flavored extracts I’ve ever tasted, with fruity notes of citrus, berries and spicy pine. (If you’ve ever tried chili mango, it’s a similarly delectable combination of sweet and spicy.) It provided a dreamy, magical high, plus relief from nagging disc pain in my neck. The feeling it provided was uplifting, sensory and euphoric. I only wish I knew more about the specific terpene combination of this product, which I’ve already dubbed “the joyful oil.”

I took a (distanced) dance class after imbibing, and every single song sounded like gold. Plus, I was bursting with new ideas for a creative project. I recommend it for both socializing or solo time, as well as brainstorming, creativity, art-making and movement. Going forward, Forbidden Fruit will be a staple of my cannabis cupboard. 

All four of the oils sampled here are THC-rich (between 78 and 82 percent THC) with just trace amounts of CBD. If you adore THC as I do, that’s a huge positive. Consumers with lower tolerance may want to start with just a small draw, and keep in mind that “concentrate” means the effects of the plant are concentrated.

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The Definitive History of Live Resin

The term live resin was coined by Colorado hash legend Kind Bill in the summer of 2013. It originally referred specifically to the butane hash oil (BHO) made from fresh frozen trim, a process that’s been around since the early 1990s, when Kenneth Morrow of the infamous Trichome Technologies began employing and writing about it.

In Colorado, fresh frozen (also called wet plant extraction) is an extremely popular hash making technique for cold water and BHO hashes. In this process, fresh trim and/or buds are harvested and immediately frozen – usually in glass tubes for BHO blasting or bags for cold water. As with many great inventions, the fresh frozen process was discovered accidentally, when Bill needed work for his hash makers and decided to run some fresh material. After they blasted and opened the container of BHO, the whole room filled up with an incredibly rich, terpey smell. He immediately knew he was on to something.

Given that terpenes degrade extremely fast, the fresh frozen process is beneficial because it removes a much higher amount of terpenes. Imagine grinding up a bud but not rolling it up immediately – the smell begins to dissipate quickly. After this discovery, they started making all their hash this way and immediately began attracting a loyal following for their products. As word circulated through Colorado about this new style of hash making, others followed Kind Bill’s lead and began using fresh frozen trim to make their hash.

Nikka T of Essential Extracts was the first major cold water producer to pick up on the new trend. Within short order, he was winning Cannabis Cups around the nation with his delicious terpene-rich, golden melts – many of them classic “clear dome” full melts. There are dispensaries that sell what they call full melt hash. When you light it, it doesn’t come anywhere close to fully melting. True full melt will not only behave as the name suggests, it will also have a clear dome of resin which rises up from the pipe or rig when lit. This “clear dome” hash is truly the finest that the cold water world has to offer and the fresh frozen process produces some of the best versions.

The prevalence of greater amounts of fresh frozen material in Colorado was surely due to the abundance of flowers in the marketplace. This was before legalization started in 2014 and soon after there was a shortage of high-quality material to make hash. Essential Extracts even went offline briefly due to this shortage. Fortunately for hash connoisseurs in Colorado, they are back up to full production. The laws regarding vertical integration in Colorado changed on Jan. 1, 2014 and now the opposite situation is happening – markets are starting to be flooded with product, dropping wholesale prices. This is great news for concentrate makers and patients, but not so good for growers.

California started seeing “live resin” products begin to hit the shelves of dispensaries about a year ago. The meaning of live resin transformed when it hit the Golden State. Fresh frozen trim is not common in California. Dry trim, on the other hand, exists in massive amounts. The new California version of live resin was now being defined as BHO hashes that were still capable of changing form after being blasted. Until a BHO extract is taken to its final stable or “absolute” form the terpenes are in a state of flux and therefore still considered “live.” You can see this process with some shatters when upon exposure to air they begin to crystalize. This happens due to the terpenes changing form. When Kind Bill was asked about this new, expanded California definition of live resin, he said he was comfortable with it. It will be interesting to see if this new definition catches on in Colorado, Washington and other legal and medical markets.

New techniques and definitions are spread, adopted and changed at a rapid pace in this industry. One of the strongest proponents of these new definitions is a concentrate from Nectars Collective. The collective’s founder was part of making the original Holy Water before leaving and making the same product – but calling it Terp Juice. The product is made from all small buds and has a terpene content of almost 25 percent terps versus the 3-5 percent more commonly seen in most concentrates. The cost of using flowers and the small returns drive the price up to over $100 a gram to patients.

To counteract this high price point, Nectars started mixing small amounts of the juice with either a crumble or a shatter. These resulting products are labeled as jelly and nectars. These are priced around $60 gram retail. The Terp Juice is not considered live since it’s at an absolute or stable state. When mixed with the crumbles or the waxes it still will move towards its final state, thus still being live, by the California standard.

Whether you accept one or the other definition or none at all, what’s most interesting is that our industry continues to create, innovate and move forward producing amazing new versions of the cannabis products that could only be dreamed about before. Five years ago, the industry didn’t regularly engage in lab testing and now any legitimate dispensary tests its medicine. Most of the early BHO at that time was highly contaminated. Now, the quality of many BHO products, both those made from fresh frozen or dry trim, speaks for itself.

The cannabis industry continues to grow, morph and change faster than anyone can keep up with it. Our ability to change, adapt and innovate is one of our greatest strengths. This ability will allow us to face the challenges together and bring the benefits of this healing plant we all love so much to the rest of the world.

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now

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Terp Terms 101

As legalization speeds (or crawls)
forward and we learn more about the plant and how best to enjoy it, a whole
slew of new words and scientific terms have made their way into the mainstream
of cannabis culture and it can be hard to wade through the haze and keep up.

But worry not — your days of working off third-rate definitions from the internet are over. Here’s an overview of some terms, each in their own way associated with terpenes (the compounds that give cannabis its tastes and smells) from the scientific stuff to the slang, excerpted from “Beyond Buds: Next Generation,” a guide to cutting-edge cannabis consumption written by Cannabis Now contributor Ed Rosenthal and Associate Editor-at-Large Greg Zeman.

Study up, and you won’t leave another
concentrate-focused conversation feeling like the only kid in class who didn’t
do the assigned reading.

BHO: An abbreviation
for “butane hash oil”; can refer to any number of concentrates derived from
butane extraction; also can refer to raw, unpurged, liquid solution of butane
and extract bubble hash.

Closed loop:
An extraction approach that recycles the extraction solvent and contains the
process inside a closed system, as opposed to open blasting.

Crystalline: Refers to the molecular structure of a solid; the more orderly that structure is the more it will resemble a crystal. This is the natural state of “pure” cannabinoids, which are solids, and which can be purified and refined using recrystallization processes.

Decarboxylation: the removal of a carboxyl, which is a carbonate molecule (COOH). When carboxyl molecules are attached to the THC molecule, it is called THCA, or THC acid. In this form, THC lacks most of its psychoactivity. Decarboxylation removes the COOH acid molecule, leaving behind THC. Mild heat is often used to convert THCA to THC. This happens during drying, vaporization and smoking. Some decarboxylation happens naturally as marijuana cures and ages.

Diamond mining: Also
known as “Jar Tech,” this is a simple process for recrystallizing freshly
extracted BHO; this process works best using live resin.

Distillate:
The refined high-cannabinoid extract produced by distilling concentrates;
increasingly the most popular option for filling vape pen cartridges.

E-nail:
An electrical heating element for a banger or nail attached to a temperature
controller, allowing for consistent, targeted temperature dabs with no need for
a torch; apart from a quick swipe of a Q-tip, there is no downtime between
dabs.

Live resin: BHO
produced using live or flash frozen live material; the higher terpene content
makes it an ideal choice for producing sauces, sugars and other BHO
consistencies that rely on recrystallization.

Nucleation:
A natural separation process that occurs in all mixtures; in cannabis
concentrates, this means the separation of the cannabinoid solid from the
terpenes, which are natural solvents and fundamentally liquid.

Oil: A catch-all term that refers to any cannabis concentrate produced through solvent extraction, not generally used for hash or rosin.

Open blasting:
The original BHO extraction process; filling a tube with weed, blasting butane
through the tube and collecting what comes out the other side for purging; not
actually as dangerous as often presented, but more or less a non-starter in the
current regulatory climate.

Oxidation: The
action of oxygen when it unites with another substance chemically. This happens
quickly in fire, but also takes place at a much slower pace at room
temperature. For marijuana and its products, oxidation is deterioration. The
oxygen in air interacts with marijuana to reduce its THC content.

Purge: The
act of removing a solvent from a solution, as occurs during BHO or CO2
extraction.

Resin glands: General term for all trichome types on the cannabis plant.

Rosin:
The refined product of applying heat and pressure to raw buds or hash.

Rosin tech:
A mechanical extraction or refinement process for buds and hash respectively;
heat and pressure are used to coax a potent, flavorful, full-spectrum product
that is dabbable.

Shatter:
A highly regarded type of BHO characterized by its translucence and its
brittleness at room temperature; can range in consistency from “true” brittle
shatter (like golden or amber glass) to a sappy snap n’ pull consistency.

Solvent:
A substance that dissolves another substance, creating a solution — water is
the most basic solvent in the universe; because cannabinoids and terpenes are
oils, solvents used to extract them include alcohol, petroleum-based liquids
and liquid CO2.

Subcritical:
CO2 extraction done below the critical temperature and pressure
point of carbon dioxide when it turns to liquid.

Sugar:
In this context, refers to “terp sugar,” which is a sandy, granular variation
of BHO that has a damp appearance and consistency from terpene saturation.

Supercritical:
An unusual phase that occurs when a substance is held at or pushed past its
critical point when it changes from gas to liquid or similar. A supercritical
substance has different characteristics (solubility, diffusivity) than the same
substance has as a liquid or a gas; it is considered a “cloud.”

Winterization:
In bio-industry, the act of removing waxes from
an oil, usually through the application of cold temperature.

TELL US, is there any cannabis lingo that’s left you puzzled?

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Live Resin Vape Cartridges from NUG Labs are an Explosion of Terps

Live resin is named as such because it is processed with fresh plant material instead of dried and cured plant matter, thus leaving it “alive.” It can vary in consistency – from a shatter to a sticky sugar –  and packs a huge punch of flavor due to its high terpene content. This high terpene count results from a flash freezing method, which uses only freshly harvested buds and sugar leaves to make the extraction.

Oakland-based NUG Labs, with one of the most advanced cannabis extract facilities in California, has perfected this flash-freezing method to preserve the terpenes that make up each unique strain and distill them into a vape cartridge of full-spectrum goodness. At the moment of harvest, the flowers are immediately frozen to get ready for live resin extraction.

“We didn’t want to sacrifice the complex terpene profile and entourage effect that each strain’s unique terpene signature provides,” said NUG Labs procurement director Max Levine.

Drying cannabis isn’t a bad thing, but terpenes are inevitably lost in the process, ultimately changing the flavor profile of the flower. This is why concentrate lovers are so fond of the taste of live resin. And if it’s available in ready-to-go vape form, even better!

What’s in the Cart?

Unlike many other vape cartridges — even some claiming to be live resin — there is absolutely nothing added to NUG Labs’ live resin carts.

“The tricky thing with cannabis extract formulation is getting that perfect synergy and balance of flavor and effects between the cannabinoids and terpenes, without sacrificing potency,” explained Dan Crisafulli of NUG’s marketing team.

“We wanted all that in a cart without using distillate, additives, or anything that muddles or distracts from the expression of the cannabis plants we extract, ” he added.  

Not only was NUG Labs able to successfully perform this balancing act of potency and flavor via their proprietary extraction method, but they were able to do so while offerring cartridges at an affordable price point.

“Most carts in our price and potency range are either adding distillate or lack the terps and entourage effects that truly characterize the high of the strain,” Levine said.

But NUG Labs discovered how to get live resin into the unique form-factor of a 510-thread cartridge, ready to be enjoyed just about anywhere.

Cultivated outdoors in the California sun, NUG Labs offers an all-star lineup of premium live resin vape cartridges consisting of six unique strains: Blue Steel, Ambrosia Salad, Ancient Gorilla 4, Berries and Cream, Chernobyl and Strawberry Banana.

NUG Live Resin Vape Cart Strawberry Banana

The Strawberry Banana, a collaboration between DNA Genetics and Serious Seeds, is described by YouTube cannabis reviewer Jose From The Bay as tasting “exactly like a smoothie.”

The quality of the cartridge itself is important to note. After rigorously stress and heat testing every cartridge on the market, keeping an eye out for leaks, leaching and reliability, NUG landed on a ceramic-coil, lead-free model from AVD. Their 1-gram cartridges also come in stylish, child-proof packaging.

“We set out to create the truest representation of the plant in a vape cart that, at the same time, is stellar in every other category,” Crisafulli said. “And we’re all really proud to have achieved that.”

TELL US, have you ever tried live resin?

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The Decade in Dabbing

Over the last 10 years, the art of separating
trichomes and terpenes from plant material became a true science and we’re
going to take a look at the road that got us to today where we now have the
best hash in history.

Hash has an important place in the last decade. Not only because we all got blasted, but because it led to some of the decade’s biggest medical advances in cannabis. If not for a bunch of monkeys in Israel eating some hash we wouldn’t know about CBD!

Now that we’ve set the bar for just how important concentrates were, let’s talk about what they weren’t at the beginning of the 2010s and, the truth is, they weren’t that nice. There were a few dudes doing wax OK in 2010, but for the most part, wax wasn’t purged that well, lost anything unique and special about the plant material, and smelled like some kind of dollar store scentless candles. Thankfully we’d get through this phase that lasted from the late 2000s to early 2010s at a decent pace.

Former High Times editorial team member Bobby Black was the main person covering the dab beat at the start of the last decade. He also was one of the folks that pushed to get a BHO category added to those early U.S. Cannabis Cups.

“At first, High Times didn’t even want to
cover dabs,” Black told Cannabis Now. “They thought it was too dangerous and
they didn’t want to cover it. I was like, ‘Look we have to cover this. This is
our culture.’”

Black won the debate and provided the earliest
window into American dab culture. The tradeoff was that he had to put a lot of
disclaimers constantly reminding people to not try and make BHO at home.

One of the premier things to pull us out of the dab Dark Ages was dewaxed slabs of shatter hitting the world in 2010. I actually worked at a club in Berkeley that had been getting ISO melts from these UC Berkeley Chemistry students and feared the worst about where things were going. Then I saw a piece of gorgeous shatter from Rump Wax and figured everything was going to be OK.

For Black, his first experience with live resin stuck with him.

“I was at the Cannabis Cup in Denver, the
first big legal one, GiddyUp from Emotek came up to me, opened a little jar,
and I had never seen or smelled a concentrate as pungent as GiddyUp’s,” Black
said.

The Live Resin fresh frozen era was certainly fun, and also the same time period ushered in the rosin age. While most were from a hair straightener, presses started to get dialed in leading to the larger commercial presses we see today. And the rosin tasted so bomb!

Then we figured out how important terpenes are to flavor and we started to understand how they interacted with the THC and other cannabinoids to define a lot of the experience you would have. We also quickly figured out concentrates were even better when they were wet and juicy.

I think the year everyone grew out all that
Tangie we didn’t need was when I first came across the earliest really
impressive sauces without diamonds. We’d start to see really nice whipped
batters with strong terpene profiles that are still delicious as hell, some of
the Strawberry Bananas from during the later part of the Obama administration
have an eternal place in my heart.

Eventually, we’d see terpenes and THC completely separated from one another and reunited in the form of diamonds and sauce. The modern debate now raged whether the best diamonds or batter rule all. Rosin is obviously as popping as ever because it’s easier to manufacture when it comes to permits, but a lot of people aren’t that good at it.

Also notice in that timeline that we didn’t
mention those nasty CO2 dabs that tasted like cough syrup, I’m glad that fad
lasted like a week.

Nevertheless, while all those wild things we mentioned were happening, the apparatuses we used to smoke concentrates went through their own revolution. Gone were the 2-foot bongs of yesterday as we moved on to smaller pieces that kept all the complexities of a dab’s flavor condensed for maximum enjoyment.

The transition from titanium to quartz was also welcome. The original carpenter style nails with a dome all sucked whether they were quartz or metal. Once e-nails came it seemed more bearable out of convenience, and then we started to see the hybrid nails with replaceable quartz rings. Thankfully the quartz bangers took over once China figured out how to make them.

We eventually went digital in an effective way as The Puffco Peak is basically the first generation iPod of dabbing. They’ve already upgraded the atomizers, so we’re excited to see what they come up with to improve it in the generations to come.

For much of the last decade, the dab scene was
where the cutting edge happened in cannabis. Lab testing, terpene awareness,
and arguably some of the greatest events and sesh parties to ever take place
have always been a part of this community. Hopefully, the industry in the 2020s
along with continued regulatory oversight can keep up with where dabs are
poised to go this decade.

TELL US, have you ever taken a dab?

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