Cannabis 2.0: The Live Resin Revolution
By Geoff Hoover, CEO, Thrive Cannabis
If you work in the cannabis industry, you know that there are always trends and fads. I can name a dozen off the top of my head that have hit the market with great fanfare, only to fizzle out a few months later. A healthy dose of skepticism is a good thing. But I’m especially excited about live resin, more specifically it finally having its time to shine, because it actually looks like it’s going to be around for a while.
Live resin is an incredibly flavorful cannabis concentrate. In non-technical terms, if THC-based vape distillate is like juice from concentrate, live resin is like freshly-squeezed orange juice – it has more flavour, more aroma, and represents the whole plant. That’s because most common distillates use dried cannabis as the input to the extraction process, whether the plants were grown indoors or outdoors. Live resin, on the other hand, is an extract that is made using fresh- frozen cannabis as the input. After extraction, the resulting live resin has a much higher terpene content compared to concentrates made from dried cannabis because the drying step inevitably leads to lost terpenes. And for a lot of customers, terpene content is a key factor in their buying decision.
Not only is live resin a superior product to vape oil made from distillates, it’s also a proven market winner. After the Canadian cannabis market crash of 2019, and the ongoing saga that is COVID-19 in 2020, it’s no secret that the weed industry is hurting. Many of the market leaders from even two years ago are scaling back operations, shedding staff, and experiencing poor stock performance. There are a myriad reasons for this, but it comes down to basic economics: oversupply on the production and retail end impacts profitability. Unfortunately, many of those multibillion-dollar cannabis dreams will forever remain in the fantasy realm.This is where live resin can be a profit leader for cannabis companies looking for new markets and new applications. In fact, it is among the most profitable legal cannabis products available in North America today.
Of course, what really matters is not science or economics: it’s consumer preference. Again, live resin is proving to be a fan favourite. Live resin vape cartridges are unique because they allow people to enjoy a high-end whole-plant extract in a format that’s really convenient – it doesn’t require the use of a dab rig, like solid live resin concentrates do. Live resin also offers a richer and more nuanced experience: better aromas and flavours (it actually tastes like cannabis, rather than grape Kool Aid, for example) plus the full-spectrum of cannabinoids – not just THC – in synergy with higher terpene levels, provide users entourage effects that are hard to emulate with distillates.
Making live resin products is time-consuming, expensive, and requires a great deal of technical knowledge. In theory, it’s a pretty-straightforward process, but there are a lot of ways to mess it up. Companies that want to get into this business need to be serious about quality and maintaining standards. Because of the amount of precision it takes to make these items, there isn’t much room for error. Equipment that is even a few degrees too hot (or not hot enough) of extractions that are only a couple of seconds off the mark can literally ruin hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of flower. Want to get into the game as a producer, it takes a lot of time and effort. But as a consumer, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the world going by.
Geoff Hoover is CEO of Thrive Cannabis, an Ontario-based innovator in the legal cannabis industry. He has nearly two decades of startup and entrepreneurial experience with a focus on the biotech sector. He holds MBAs from Cornell’s Johnson School of Management and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University with a focus on international business.
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