Cannabis concentrates are increasingly popular and come in more and more diverse product types. Their quality and evolution stems from progressively rigorous manufacturing processes. All around the world and throughout history, these have also been referred to as cannabis extracts, and they are much stronger than flowers. Some concentrates are widely recognised, such as kief, hash, hash oil, wax, crumble, RSO, rosin or colophony, sap, and nectar, among others. The manufacturing process of each of these concentrates may be complex and potentially dangerous. There is a great array of extraction methods, many of which employ high-tech processes resulting in a highly concentrated product.
What Is Rosin and How to Make It
Colophony refers to trichomes containing resinous sap obtained by applying high pressure and heat on dried plant material, using an industrial heat press or even a hair straightener for pressing small quantities. This is a relatively simple technique that allows to obtain a high-quality finished product without using polluting and hazardous solvents. Other extraction methods use light hydrocarbons such as butane and/or propane. These complex, mechanical processes frequently require extensive purging to remove any residual solvents from the finished product. Because of this, rosin is usually compared to champagne, as both undergo delicate and refined manufacturing processes.
The term “colophony” originated as a method of making a product used to create friction with violin bows. In the case of cannabis, this method is extremely versatile, as rosin can be combined with marijuana flowers, or to transform hash and kief into a full-melt hash oil. The result is a translucent, highly aromatic, and viscous product. If extracted correctly, colophony can rival solvent-extracted products in terms of flavour, potency, and yield. Among all existing extracts, rosin is tied with ice hash as the most natural concentrate and a 100% chemical free product.
Rosin Yield with Zero Waste
Extraction performance is known as “yield,” that is, the amount of rosin produced over the amount of cannabis flower used. This is conditioned by how much resin is stored in the flowers according to the strains used. Some strains produce more resin and a higher yield, although this will range from 10% to 30%. What poses a downside for consumers is the large amount of flower required to obtain a significant yield. Apart from that, it is advisable that flowers are kept drying since the fourth day onwards, ensuring humidity and better results. The sweet spot for extracting rosin is between 120–165 °C, but this will depend on how experienced is person pressing.
Manufacturing colophony does not produce any waste. Heat exposure and pressure are enough to separate any plant material from its resin, isolating rosin throughout the process. The remaining part of cannabis after pressing is dry plant material, which is not advisable to smoke as it contains low amounts of THC, but still may be recycled into an ingredient in cooking recipes, ointments, body cream, or mother tincture, so as not to produce any waste. Rosin is used in vapes or pipes and just a small quantity will do, because of its high concentration—between 55% and 80% of THC content.
Rosin Presses and Cooperative Extraction
In some countries, such as Chile, Colombia and Argentina, hydraulic presses used for extraction are quite expensive. This is why cannabis co-ops resort to homemade pressing devices or mutual support; they share their presses and organise workshops on the production of rosin and other cannabis by-products. Cogollos del Oeste is an Argentine non-profit organisation with 10 years’ experience providing precise information and counsel on using and growing medicinal herbs, hemp, and cannabis sativa. Their activities include workshops on the extraction of rosin and other derivatives. Their mission is to promote education and achieve a comprehensible understanding about using and growing cannabis in Argentina.