What is Rosin?

Stephen Andrews
07 Apr 2022

Cannabis extracts are available in various forms such as wax, shatter, isolate, badder, live resin and rosin. Some of these extracts look very similar, however, there are stark differences between each. Rosin is a solventless type of cannabis concentrate, which means its contents are free of any solvents or chemicals. All it takes to extract rosin is heat and pressure. Since it's a cleaner type of cannabis extract, rosin is also more expensive than other concentrates. However, the good thing is you can easily prepare it yourself, given that you have a few buds to spare and the right tool to pressurise and heat, i.e. something like a hair straightener.

Flower, kief and hash can all be juiced out for rosin dabs in a solvent-free way. Rosin usually has a yellowish or cream colour. It looks very similar to shatter or sap, so much that it's sometimes difficult to distinguish. Since it can have a sticky syrupy consistency, it can also look like buttercream. 

Rosin is rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. It's one of the cleanest, most organic extracts you can get from cannabis. Perfect for those who are into dabbing, it only takes a little of this type of distillate to feel an intense head high. 

How is Rosin Made?

Rosin is pretty easy and safe to prepare since it doesn't require solvents to extract. It is collected from the resin in flower, and also from bubble hash and kief, with the application of heat and pressure. Manufacturers use rosin bags or put the material for extraction between two sheets of parchment paper. The substance is then battered with a heated hydraulic press, and the result is a fresh load of rosin.

Extractors recommend exposing rosin to cold if the product is not for immediate use. Cold preserves the extract's consistency and prevents the substance from turning overly sticky, which is then difficult to hold and dab. 

How to Prepare Rosin at Home?

The things you need to acquire rosin are starting material (e.g., flower), some parchment paper, a tool for heating and pressing (hair straightener or flat iron), tool for collecting the rosin (dab tools or dabbers), and heat-resistant safety gloves. 

  1. Turn on the hair straightener or iron to a low temperature. The applied heat should not exceed 150°C. If it's hotter than that, the heated pressure will diminish the terpenes, resulting in a low quality finished product. Be cautious with the temperature setting and protect your hands with gloves. 
  2. Take a small piece of parchment paper, fold it in half, and put the dried flower in the folded paper. 
  3. Firmly press the parchment with the flower with the straightener or the iron. Hold for a few seconds, and when you hear a loud pop remove the appliance. The popping sound is when the resin melts out of the dried flower. 
  4. When you unfold the parchment paper, you will see a flattened chunk of weed. Collect the substance with a dab tool. Handle carefully as the rosin is extremely sticky as it's still very fresh. 
  5. Flatten the rosin to your preference and pluck out any remaining plant material. 
  6. Expose the collected rosin to a cold surface to improve its consistency. Use after a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks. With some strains, rosin gets better when a few weeks have passed.

How to Use Rosin?

The most popular method to use rosin is to vaporise rosin dabs. However, you can also spread it on a joint, blunt or spliff, just like any other type of extract. When you vape, one tip is to place the dab in the bowl before heating it, which would allow for a more gradual release of vapour and rosin content. In turn, you get smoother, nicer hits. 

What Strains to Use for Rosin?

All rosin yields are not equal. Some strains work better than others to collect rosin. Strains abundant in trichome production are the best choice to acquire this type of extract. The more resinous plants you use, the more rosin there is to collect. Here's a list of strains worth trying for pressing: 

  • Do Si Dos (rosin has an outstanding buttery consistency)
  • Gorilla Glue (this one is a safe choice for all ingestion methods)
  • Chem Dawg (or any other strain from the Chem lineage)
  • Sour strains (such as Sour Cream or Sour Kush)

Enjoy your rosin dabs!

Stephen Andrews