In the increasingly crowded market for cannabis concentrates, a new category has emerged called “Solvent-less extractions”.
Some patients and recreational consumers concerned with health issues are beginning to show a preference for concentrates made without potentially harmful solvents like butane. Even with CO2 extractions, the final product is washed or cleaned in a chemical solution. Solvent-less extractions utilize processes involving heat and pressure and can be performed with a wide range of equipment, from bathroom hair straighteners and flat irons to the industrial-grade laboratory gear that we use at Diversified Medical.
One increasingly popular example of a solventless concentrate is rosin, sometimes called “rosin tech.” Rosin is rapidly gaining popularity for several reasons, the biggest arguably being that it can be produced safely using cannabis flowers without the use of any dangerous solvents. Put simply, rosin is a cannabis resin extraction method that utilizes heat and pressure to produce a hash oil concentrate that is completely free of harmful solvents.
Technically, the extraction of rosin combines heat and pressure to melt the bulbous, resinous heads of trichomes found mostly on the buds and sugar leaves of the cannabis plant. Rosin can be extracted from cannabis flowers (buds), kief, or hash. According to Errlax, a hash and concentrate expert in Colorado, rosin is “a solvent-free hash oil product that rivals hydrocarbon extractions in aroma, aesthetic, and—most importantly—medicinal efficacy.”
All cannabis consumers, particularly patients, should be concerned with the health issues regarding their herbal medicine and concentrates, especially if those extractions are created using potentially harmful—and highly explosive—solvents like butane. By utilizing a solvent-free process, the question of residual chemicals and their potential damage to one’s health becomes moot; one needn’t be concerned with a residual substance that was never there in the first place.
While flowers from cannabis strains range in THC potency from about 7% percent up to 29%, concentrates like our rosin will typically test out at 70% to 80% THC, rivaling the THC levels of shatter, budder, and wax. Some concentrate enthusiasts have claimed that rosin will be the death of all butane extracted products in the near future. The legislative bodies that are trying to regulate cannabis in Canada at the city, provincial, and federal levels have shown a high level of concern for butane extracted products, and have said they would like to ban them in favor of solvent-less products. Many edible companies that have been using butane extracted oil or BHO in their manufacturing process are trying to source pure cannabis rosin in an effort to be prepared for any new requirements in this area.
The problem for everyone that wants to ride the rosin train for profit is that rosin does not lend itself to mass production or high profit margins for several reasons.
First, even though we at Diversified are equipped with a 50 ton shop press that is fitted with 7 inch heated plates, the most rosin that can be produced in a single day does not come any where near our current demand by individual patients alone, much less other companies that want to buy in quantity. We hear of those claiming radically high returns when they press their own rosin. Rosin yields can be as low as 2.5% and as high as 18%. Very rarely does the yield get any higher. You can run the numbers yourself and you’ll see that it can cost you more to press your own rosin than to buy it on any given day.
Second, we are learning through trial and error that each cannabis strain will have not only different yields, but totally different physical properties also. We’ve seen rosin that will stay like shatter when refrigerated, but some strains will produce a rosin that is so gooey and sticky it literally must be put in the freezer to allow the user to pull out a single “dab” easily. You can’t just press any flower and expect high quality “useable” rosin. If you start with problem flower you’ll end up with low grade, bad tasting rosin that can be extremely dark in color. Thus we have begun to blend the correct strains to produce the finest rosin we can possibly produce. Rather than try to bring our patients strain specific rosin, we will produce rosin that is labeled as either indica or sativa, from our own crop, that have the best qualities our patients are seeking.
“The consistency of the final rosin will vary, especially given the highly variable nature of the buds and equipment used to create it. However, it should generally resemble a stiff shatter, a flexible gooey wax, or an oily residue. Colors cover a wide range based on flowers or hash used.”
Third, the best rosin is produced when the fresh flower is pressed at EXACTLY the right time in the curing process. Many growers allow their flower to dry to perfection, but then it continues to dry over time, loosing its moisture, and thus radically lowering the flowers rosin yield. We’ve learned that in order to maintain our high level of product quality at Diversified, the rosin we sell to our patients needs to comes from our own crop that we control. That way we can select the best flower from our own crop, and press it for rosin while its still at a high moisture content at just the right time in the curing process.
Fourth, pressing and collecting rosin is a serious hassle. Its not anywhere near easy, just the opposite. Rosin is the most difficult concentrate to work with. We’ve consulted with many growers and shatter producers who wanted to press their own rosin. With our demand so high, we’ve never treated our knowledge as proprietary or kept it secretive in any way. Because anyone whose set up a rosin press will usually only operate it for a short time. Typically within two weeks they’ll throw in the towel when they realize that the labor cost, the loss of rosin in packaging and dosing, the frustration they find with different strains, all lends to rosin not being a money making venture.
Fortunately for our patients, profit is not our motivation. Serving our patients and our clients is our primary focus. You can know that our rosin sells for a price that is just above our cost on any given day for any given strain. Try it!