As marijuana’s popularity is increasing, both growers and cannabis aficionados are looking into trying a variety of cannabis products apart from the standard joint, blunt, bong, edible, or pipe. New and more exciting ways of cannabis consumption have become a part of the cannabis culture, and vaping, dabbing, and applying topicals are just the tip of the iceberg. While we’ve gone over other methods of cannabis consumption on this site, including making dabs, making edibles like weed brownies, and even CBD tea, this article will focus on decarbing the weed to make rosin.
If this is your first time making rosin, fear not. This solventless cannabis product is fairly easy to make, as you can make it in the comfort of your own home, and use it in a number of different ways. Those of you who are interested in learning this technique, read on. But first, let’s discuss why decarbing weed is essential.
Decarboxylation and Why It Is Important to Decarboxylate Cannabis
The cannabis plant is made up of amino acids, hydrocarbons, terpenes, sugars, and most importantly, cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that produce psychoactive, anti-inflammatory, and sedative effects on users, which is the reason why a lot of medical and recreational users favor marijuana.
However, raw cannabis doesn’t give users their desired effects. Even though the cannabis plant has resinous and trichome-rich flowers, they are not psychoactive or sedative unless the weed is decarbed.
Decarbing is the chemical reaction that removes one carboxyl group from the “acid form of the cannabinoid” and releases carbon dioxide (CO2). Meaning, the tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and other cannabinoid chemical precursors convert to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids after decarboxylating.
Keep in mind that after 70% of the product is decarbed, THC starts to convert to CBN faster than THCA converts to THC, so you’ll get a less potent final product. Therefore, going for a lower temperature is always better for preserving the cannabinoid content of your cannabis. The decarbed plant material can later be used according to the preferences of the user.
What Is Rosin?
Rosin is a whole-plant, full-spectrum, solventless cannabis extract that you get from extracting the trichome glands of the cannabis plant (except hash rosin which isn’t considered full-spectrum). The final product is similar to butane hash oil (BHO), but you get it without the additional harmful chemicals. Rosin has a high concentration of THCA, cannabinoids, and terpenes, which is why a lot of cannabis users prefer it.
Rosin can be made out of marijuana flower, hash, and kief, and transformed into oil. The color and consistency of your rosin will depend on the pressure and temperature you use, and the final product can be shatter, badder, wax, taffy, or rosin coins – which can be consumed as rosin dabs.
Rosin vs. Resin
Some newbie cannabis users confuse rosin and resin. While rosin is made by extracting the cannabinoids and terpenes through heat and pressure, resin is made by freezing fresh cannabis to subcritical temperatures before and after the extraction. Therefore, resin keeps the plant’s terpene profile, while making rosin can result in the loss of some terpenes.
Why Should You Decarboxylate Rosin?
Decarboxylation or “decarbing” has become the new go-to method for converting the acid forms of the cannabinoids (THCA) into their psychoactive form (THC). Without the decarboxylation process, the cannabis flower doesn’t have any effects on users.
In order to make any form of cannabis edibles, you need cannabutter or cannabis oil, which are made by decarbing cannabis and infusing it into the oils. Cannabis decarbing also happens when you vape cannabis or smoke a joint, and this is the process that produces the high in users.
How to Decarb Rosin?
The chemical reaction that happens when we heat cannabis between 230 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit is called decarbing, and the process can last between 30 and 90 minutes. Decarbed rosin has a different terpene flavor compared to decarbed cannabis flower because, during the decarboxylation process, the flower loses more terpenes and gets a toasty flavor which is not the case with rosin. If you’d like to decarb rosin, you can do it by using the following methods:
- Decarbing rosin on the stovetop;
- Decarbing rosin in the crockpot;
- Decarbing rosin in an oven;
- Decarbing rosin in a water bath (the sous vide method).
Stove Top Method
This method of decarbing rosin requires a pan, a thermometer, cooking oil, and a heavy-proof glass container or a mason jar. The cooking oil should be placed in the pan over medium heat and should be about an inch deep. After the temperature reaches between 230 F and 250 F, you should put your rosin inside the glass container and place it in the oil. After a while, the rosin will begin to bubble which will signal that the decarbing process has started (and you should stir periodically to ensure an even decarb).
The process should last between 30 and 90 minutes, and you’ll know that the rosin is fully decarbed after it stops bubbling. Some people use boiling water to decarb it, however, water only heats up to 215 F, unlike oil which can be heated to higher temperatures.
If you want a more hands-off approach to decarbing rosin, you can use the crockpot method. Follow the same steps as the stovetop method and set the temperature of your crockpot to start decarbing.
A more simple method of decarbing rosin is the oven method. To decarb your solventless rosin in the oven, you’ll need a heatproof glass container (lined with a silicone or parchment paper or a baking sheet), and your oven preheated between 230 F to 250 F. Place the rosin in the glass container, decarb it in the oven, and stir often. The decarb process is complete once the rosin stops bubbling.
Sous Vide Method
For a gentler decarbing process, you can use the sous vide (water bath) method. To decarb this way, place your rosin in a zip bag and seal it with a vacuum sealer. Submerge the rosin underwater for 2 hours, and you’ll have your decarbed rosin ready to use.
To make high-quality rosin professionally, you’ll need a rosin press. However, the cost of a rosin press, which is used for industrial production of rosin, can be several thousand dollars. This method of decarbing rosin is the best as it allows you to control the pressure, temperature, and time needed to decarb the rosin more accurately. Rosin decarbed at a lower temperature is lighter and has a richer terpene profile (decarbing at a lower temperature preserves terps), while rosin decarbed at a higher temperature is darker. The rosin press makes it possible to extract rosin from the cannabis flower which can’t be done with other methods.
What to Do With Your Decarboxylated Rosin?
After you’ve made your rosin, you can use it in a variety of ways. For those of you who are fans of smoking, you can add it to your joint or blunt by topping the flower with rosin. Another option is vaping your rosin with a vape pen.
If you aren’t a fan of smoking or vaping, you can use your decarbed rosin to make edibles, topicals, and solvent tinctures. You can also make your edibles with rosin by placing them in coconut oil or butter, heating them on low heat, and using it to bake cookies or weed brownies. Another option would be to infuse gummies and other edibles with your decarbed rosin and give yourself a new edible experience.