What Are Trichomes?
It is impossible to have a discussion about rosin without discussing trichomes - the glandular waxy “heads” that contain the majority of the plants cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. These heads will differ in size and thickness based on a multitude of factors including growing conditions, grow lighting (if grown indoors), nutrients, VPD and even harvest conditions. We create all of our solventless products by mechanically separating these heads from the plant matter.
What is Hash?
As mentioned, trichome heads contain the majority of the plants cannabinoids. When you separate those heads from the plant matter you are making hash. Hash has a deep seated history in the east, in countries such as Afghanistan, India, Iran, Morocco, and Pakistan. In the western world hashish is becoming more popular as cannabis users look for alternatives to smoking dried flower.
Hash is extracted using mechanical (solventless) separation. Traditionally using dry sift and screens to separate the trichome heads from the plant matter. Modern bubble hash is made using ice water to help protect the sensitive heads from being damaged and oxidized during the extraction and sifting process.
Solventless VS Solvent-Based Extractions
Rosin -in all of its forms- is a solventless extraction method. The trichomes are separated from the plant mechanically, even in the use of ice water the trichome heads are carried by the water and not dissolved into it. This is in contrast with solvent based extraction methods that use sub critical CO2, ethanol or butane to dissolve the cannabinoids and terpenes.
What Is Rosin?
Rosin is created by squishing trichome heads using heat and pressure (typically in a hydraulic press with heated plates) to release a pungent oil called Rosin.
Black Cherry Punch Hash Rosin by Fume Labs - The product is purple due to naturally occurring anthocyanins
Flower Rosin vs Hash Rosin Vs Live Rosin
Rosin comes in three main forms depending on the input material used.
Flower Rosin extracted by Fume Labs
Flower Rosin - is made by putting dried flowers directly into nylon bags (25-120 micron) and squeezing out the resulting oil. The advantage of flower rosin is that it is usually higher in terpenes, resulting in a “saucier” product, relative to most hash rosin. The disadvantage of flower rosin is that it is usually higher in contaminants such as chlorophyll because the plant matter is not separated from the trichomes before pressing.
Hash Rosin being pressed at Fume Labs
Hash Rosin - is made via a two-stage extraction process. First trichome heads are separated from dried plant matter via dry sift or ice water extraction. This makes hash which is then squished through fine nylon bags (25-36 micron) to create hash rosin. Hash rosin is typically more stable and easier to handle than flower rosin. It is also typically lighter in colour than flower rosin, although this is not always the case.
Live (Hash) Rosin - is made using the same process as hash rosin, except fresh frozen material is used instead of dried flower. This results in capturing the “live profile” of the plant. The live profile is higher in volatile monoterpenes that are lost during the drying process. Live rosin is usually the lightest and sauciest of the three types of rosin and typically has the highest terpene content. Live rosin is low yielding and is the most expensive of the three main types of rosin.