Extraction Products

Wax vs. Live Rosin

Written by Petar Petrov

Cannabis wax and live rosin don’t have too much in common besides being very potent cannabis extracts and looking somewhat similar, especially in terms of color. Beyond that though, the process of obtaining them, along with the complications and even dangers that they may come with, are different.


Wax results when cannabis oil, extracted using a solvent like butane or propane, is whipped by hand to remove residual solvents. The agitation makes the product airy, and also causes the translucent oil to become opaque, since the THCA precipitates from the oil, and crystallizes. These products can also be called budder, crumble, and honeycomb. When it comes to wax’s benefits, the main one is obviously its potency, as it tends to be around 90% in THC purity.

The fact that waxes are associated with butane and propane extraction almost instantly evokes safety concerns. Even the smallest volumes of residual solvent are obviously more hazardous to our health than pure, chemical-free extracts which come from water-based or solvent-free extraction methods.

Live Rosin

Rosin is the result of a solvent-free extraction which requires nothing but a hair straightener or rosin press and some parchment paper. Making rosin is considered as one of the healthiest, safest, and easiest methods of extraction.

The main chemical difference between rosin and live rosin is the potential terpene profile and thus the taste and aroma. Terpenes are volatile molecules that can vaporize during the curing process.Rosin comes from cured flowers likely with a depleted terpene profile compared to fresh or freshly frozen flowers. So, live rosin is something like a step up from rosin, and naturally requires a little more time and effort, but luckily no health compromises.

Live rosin comes from bubble hash which as we know is also quite a safe and straightforward extraction method. Once formed, the bubble hash needs to dry, such as in a freeze dryer, for 24 hours. You do this for two reasons – freezing halts natural processes which lead to terpene degradation;drying helps remove residual moisture left in the live cannabis product. Moisture can lead to mold, and can also turn into steam and boiling water once the flowers are pressed with a rosin press, which can destabilize the product and ruin the desired consistency.

Once the bubble hash is dry, you need to place it in a 25-micron bag, often made from nylon, which you need for making the bubble hash anyway. Pressing the bubble hash in the filler bag with a rosin press produces live rosin.

Wax and live rosin may look alike, but they’re about as different as two cannabis extracts can be.Wax might be a bit more potent, but this potency comes at the risk of traces of residual butane. Live rosin offers cannabis users a product that is meant to retain much of the chemical profile native to the flower.

About the author

Petar Petrov

Petar is a freelance writer and copywriter, covering culture, art, society, and anything in-between that makes for a nice story. And as it so happens, cannabis is a great element to add to each of those conversations.