As we look at the data since legalization, there is no doubt that cannabis has continued to grow in popularity, but what is it that truly has consumers coming back time and time again?
It’s the combination of effects, flavours, and smells that all lead to that coveted consumer experience. Even prior to the inception of the legal cannabis industry in Canada, people found ways to process their cannabis that focused on capturing more than just THC or CBD, but rather focused on capturing a true representation of the entire plant by retaining the plant’s terpenes.
Since the introduction of Cannabis 2.0 products in 2019, the concentrate sector has grown in popularity as new products continue to enter the market.
Live Resin: A Whole-Plant Extract
Live resin lives at the top of the concentrates category, which represents a wide range of product options for cannabis consumers who are interested in finding other ways to consume their cannabis. These concentrate products are known for packing a bigger punch, both from a flavour and potency perspective.
Live resin is unique in this category due to the flash freezing process, which locks in the terpenes and cannabinoids at the time of harvest. This maintains these high levels of terpenes throughout the entire refined hydrocarbon extraction process.
What Are Terpenes and Why Are They So Important?
Terpenes are not unique to cannabis and can also be found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, and spices. This is why you will often notice familiar tastes and aromas in your cannabis. Terpenes contribute to more than just your plant’s aroma and flavour though and can play a role in the effects of the product. It is well known that terpenes also have the potential to interact with and alter the effects of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. This is otherwise known as the entourage effect.
To ensure that the highest levels of terpene content remain in live resin products, the plant is frozen immediately at harvest, rather than drying the flower, to lock in the complete profile of the plant. Using fresh-frozen cannabis as the input is important for terpene-rich live resin, but in order to ensure the terpenes are protected throughout the extraction process, a sub-zero solvent is also required. Keeping the solvent at extremely cold temperatures before and during extraction ensures the terpenes are preserved throughout the entire process.
Consuming Live Resin
When it comes to consuming live resin, flexibility is key.
Some of the most common ways to consume live resin are by using a dab rig/e-rig, concentrate pen, or a vape cartridge. As dabbing may require equipment or accoutrements that one would typically use in their home, accessories like live resin vape cartridges have been introduced to allow consumers to enjoy this high-quality product on the go in a discreet, easy, and ready-to-use format.
Live Resin Market
There’s an increased demand for terpene-rich products, as seen in recent projections that demonstrate the concentrates’ market will reach nearly $8.5 billion by 2022 and account for 36% of all cannabis purchases. In Ontario alone, legal concentrate sales have grown from $371,263 in Q1 to $4.5 million in Q4 2020. As retailers and producers continue to educate the consumer on the benefits of terpene-rich product offerings, expect to see continued growth in the concentrate category as the market matures.
Geoff Hoover is the CEO, Thrive Cannabis, a vertically-integrated cultivator and processor of premium craft cannabis and cannabis concentrates.
Main photo courtesy of Thrive Cannabis