Table of Contents
- What Is Rosin?
- Before You Start Making Rosin…
- How Much Rosin Will I Get?
- Making Homemade Rosin with a Press
What Is Rosin?
If you’re thinking about making rosin, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into! Rosin is a solventless (that means no chemicals) cannabis concentrate that you can make at home. Since it’s solventless, it’s a lot safer than concentrates that use solvents like BHO or Shatter. Rosin is versatile; you can place it on flowers as a “topper”, or you can smoke it as a “dab” if you have the appropriate equipment. In fact, if you’re looking to turn your weed into a dab-able concentrate, rosin is a great way to go.
Freshly made rosin on a wax tool
Rosin vs. Resin vs. Live Resin
If you’ve been to a dispensary, or if you’re active in the cannabis community online, you’ve probably heard of these three similar-sounding things. They’re pretty different from each other, but it’s not as complicated as people make it seem.
Rosin is the result of putting cannabis under intense heat and pressure. If you stick some weed between two hot plates and press the plates together as hard as you can, a golden/golden-brown substance will spill out. That substance is rosin!
When you hear the word resin, it can refer to one of two very different things. One usage refers to “the sticky stuff” on your plants, aka the trichomes. This is the stuff you can collect in a grinder as “kief”. You could also use cold water to agitate resin off your weed (bubble hash) or freeze the trichomes off your weed (dry-ice hash).
Resin also refers to the black sludge leftover in bongs and pipes after extended use. This type of resin is also called “reclaim”, and many people smoke this leftover gunk so they don’t waste weed. Although this can be effective in a pinch, it’s about as gross as it sounds, and we don’t recommend doing it. The stuff is sticky, stinky (not in a good way) and it stains everything it touches.
A ball of black “reclaim”; the gross kind of resin
As the newest kid on the block, Live Resin is one of the most sought-after concentrates available. Live Resin is made from freezing a newly harvested plant then using additional means to extract the trichomes from the plant. This is usually done with a solvent and it takes some sophisticated equipment to do.
Wait, I’ve heard these names before…
If you think you’ve heard the terms “rosin” or “resin” before, it’s because you probably have! The lack of legal legitimacy makes it so that many of the terms we use as cannabis growers are repurposed from other stuff.
- Rosin refers to a substance used on the bows of cellos and violins. Rosin makes it easier for the bows to grip the strings of their respective instrument.
- Resin is a thick substance made by plants that is usually composed of terpenes. This definition is perfect for what we’re talking about, except that resin can refer to the sticky stuff from any plant.
Rosin vs. Bubble Hash/Kief/Dry Ice Hash
There are already a ton of cannabis concentrates, so it might be hard to remember what the difference is between them. Here’s a really quick breakdown of some differences between some of the heavy-hitters:
(from left) Rosin, dry-ice hash, bubble hash, kief
- Made with high-heat and intense pressure.
- Makes a strong, sticky substance that you can dab or put on flowers
- Combine weed, ice-cold water, and agitate to make Bubble Hash
- After drying, you’ll have a crumbly pile of tiny, super-potent pebbles and dust
- This stuff just falls right off of dry cannabis if it’s moved around enough
- Makes a golden-green powder that can be sprinkled on flowers
- Like Bubble Hash, but uses Dry-Ice instead of cold water
- Dry-Ice Hash is essentially Kief, but using dry-ice makes the process more efficient
If you’re going to make your own homemade rosin, there are two main methods: you can use a dedicated rosin press, or you can use a hair straightener. Both these methods will work, but they each have their strengths and weaknesses. In just a bit, we’ll go through each method of making rosin and some of the pros and cons of each technique.
Before You Start Making Rosin…
Rosin is just plain great! It’s impressive, fun to make, and even more fun to use. However, before you start on your rosin making journey, there are a few important pieces of information you should know:
- Rosin is weed intensive. It takes a bunch of weed to do, and if you’re lucky with a high-quality hydraulic press and a cooperative strain, you’ll get 25% of your weed-weight back as rosin. In my experience, a hair straightener should return between 5%-10% while a non-hydraulic press (like the one I use in this tutorial) will get you 8%-17% That number can get a little higher or a lot lower and that largely depends on your rosin press, your technique, and the weed you start with. Some strains will make lots of rosin, and some will make very little. Seriously, your weed will make a huge difference in determining how much rosin you can press out of it.
- If you harvest lots of weed at a time like with this method, you can go crazy making rosin without worry!
- Making rosin involves high levels of heat. Be careful not to burn yourself during the process of pressing, no matter which method you use.
- You will have to experiment a bit. Although you can use the default settings provided below, you’ll do even better if you test out different strains, temperatures and length of pressing time.
Captured rosin looks almost like a Rorschach test
How Much Rosin Will I Get?
This is a common question growers have before they invest their homegrown weed into making rosin. There isn’t an exact answer since no one can predict the future. However, there are a few factors that will give you a good idea of what to expect from your next pressing.
- Strain – The strain you use will make a huge difference! Some strains make tons of trichomes and will give you good returns on rosin, some strains will make next to nothing.
- Pressure – The more pressure your rosin press can produce, the more rosin you’re likely to get.
- Grow Method (Lights) – Powerful grow lights are more likely to produce weed with lots of resin. So, good lights = more rosin!
- Heat – In short, less heat (down to 220°F) will produce a better product, but less yield. Higher temps will produce more rosin of lower quality.
- Moisture – Too-dry buds will soak up much more of your rosin before it can make it to your parchment paper. Buds at about 62%RH will work great.
- Age – Although we can’t say this definitively, our testing shows that newer bud seems to put out more rosin than older bud. This could be a side-effect of moisture, but again, we don’t have proof besides informal testing.
- 5-10% return from a hair straightener (in good scenarios)
- 8-17% returned from a manual press
- 20-25+% from a hydraulic press
Factors 2 and 4 are largely dependent on your rosin press. In general, you can expect the most rosin from a hydraulic press, a fair amount of rosin from a manual press, and the least from a hair straightener.
If you want a high-quality rosin press, be prepared to PAY! These are prices displayed at a local hydroponics shop.
(Note how the price jumps from $500 to $2000. Guess which ones are hydraulic…)
All 6 factors will drastically affect how much rosin you’re able to press out of your cannabis. When pressing your rosin, try testing out these factors individually. Not only will you have a good time producing rosin, but you’ll learn the best way for you to maximize the amount of rosin you get in while maintaining the level of quality you like.
Make Rosin with a (hydraulic) Rosin Press
Check out the EasyPresso 6 -ton rosin press
This is the model we own and used in this article; it’s a midrange press that gets the job done!
- Easier method
- More efficient; you’ll get more rosin per press
- Fun! Making your own rosin is actually fun with a press!
- Uses hydraulic to increase the amount of pressure you can apply
You’ll want to thoroughly read the instructions for your rosin press before you use it. Although the instructions are simple, they can vary quite a bit depending on who makes the press.
- Rosin Press
- In this tutorial, I’ll be using the EasyPresso 6 -ton rosin press, but there are higher grade (more expensive) ones available
- Minimum 5g of weed (you’re going to want more, but only press as much as your machine says you can press)
- Parchment paper (do not substitute with wax paper)
- You can get squares or a roll
- Pollen press
- Wax collecting tools
- 25-micron press bags
- Plug in your rosin press and turn it on.
- You’ll need to figure out what temperature works best for each strain, but 220°F is a good place to start.
- While your press heats up, grind up 1-5g of cannabis. You can also use whole nugs to avoid wasting resin.
- You can also press kief, dry-ice hash, or bubble hash.
- Use your pollen press to turn your weed or hash/kief into a disc of weed.
- (Optional) Make an envelope out of parchment paper for your weed. This part isn’t necessary, but it helps keep the coin in place while you’re getting started pressing.
- Place the disc in a 25-micron bag. This will keep flower out of your rosin.
- Warning: the micron bag will absorb some of the rosin. It’s annoying, but it keeps your rosin pure and it prevents your weed from reabsorbing the rosin you just pressed out of it.
- Place your micron bag containing your weed disc at the back of the envelope.
- Open the heated plates of your press.
- Place the envelope on the bottom plate and then press your weed by closing the plates (consult your rosin press instructions)
- Leave the disk between the plates at 220°F for 60-90 seconds.
- You’ll have to experiment to find the best heat/time combination for the strain you’re doing, but that’s part of the fun! Leaving it in longer gets more rosin, but at a lower quality.
- Carefully open the plates (please don’t burn yourself) and remove the envelope.
- Carefully open the envelope. Note the sticky substance all around your weed. That’s homemade rosin!
- Do a little celebratory dance. It’s mandatory.
- Take out the used disk of weed without letting it touch the rosin and allow the rosin on the parchment paper to cool for about a minute.
- Use a scraping tool to collect your new rosin.
- (Optional) Press your weed once more to get all the rosin you can.