What is Fresh Frozen Marijuana?
Thanks to rapidly growing legalization, America’s cannabis industry has seen plant science and product development advance more in the past decade than possibly ever before. And no place is that rapid-fire R&D more readily apparent than the world of cannabis concentrates.
After decades of mixing bubble hash into spliffs and sprinkling kief on top of bowl packs, the dab revolution has taken hold and revolutionized the extract market over the past 10 years. Starting with butane hash oil (BHO) blasted in backyards, the cannabis community now obsesses over solventless rosins, low-temp dabs, hand-blown rigs worth $20 thousand, and more highly refined extracts and accouterments.
At the top of that list are “live” concentrates made using whole-plant fresh frozen material. Live dabs and vape cartridges are highly sought after and often carry a higher price than their dry counterparts. If you’re still wondering why fresh frozen cannabis is so popular, what is live resin, or can you freeze marijuana at home, we’ve got everything you need to know about going the cold route with your next harvest.
Why Are Weed Growers Freezing Marijuana?
Before we get into the hyper-specific aspects of fresh frozen cannabis production, it is important to know why cultivators across the country are buying up dry ice and deep freezers every harvest season. To be clear, fresh frozen cannabis is used for concentrated extraction purposes only. Sure, the bud still looks amazing and the trichomes still shine, but freezing cannabis is in direct opposition to the drying and curing process that produces flower for smoking.
Instead, fresh frozen techniques forego the entire drying process and head directly from the garden to the freezer. While the drying room is a necessary step for smokable buds, the lengthy open-air process also degrades delicate terpenes and converts THC into the heavy-handed cannabinoid CBN. By using dry ice and deep freezers to lower the temperature of weed as soon as it is cut down, growers can retain the most characteristics of the living plant possible.
When the extraction process is executed with solvents that are also kept at freezing cold temperatures, the resulting concentrates contain extremely high terpene and cannabinoid contents, giving users an experience that many growers say is the truest essence of the cannabis plant.
How Do You Freeze Weed?
Alright, so now we know why growers are buying up deep freezers and what happens when you freeze weed, let’s dig into the process of producing concentrates from fresh frozen pot. Like all cannabis products, it all starts in the garden.
Whether the weed is grown in soil or hydroponically, under the sun in the great outdoors, in a greenhouse, or fully indoors, harvest season comes along with universal characteristics. Big buds begin to dwarf broad fan leaves, the smell of strong terpenes permeates the entire cultivation site and cannabinoid-rich trichomes quickly transition from transparent to cloudy to deep amber. But once it’s ready to cut, the next step will determine the future of your crop.
For cultivators freezing cannabis for extraction, containers of dry ice are brought into the garden so that plants can be frozen as soon as they are cut from their roots. From there, the cannabis is sealed in vacuum bags and stored in deep freezers that drop to temperatures as low as -38 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, that’s very, very cold.
From there, the frozen marijuana is either ground up and pushed through a traditional hydrocarbon extraction process using super cold butane, propane, hexane, or other chemicals, or it is agitated in ice water to create a solventless concentrate. At the end of the day, the extraction process for fresh frozen flower is very similar to that of dried and cured bud, but with decidedly different end results.
What Is Fresh Frozen Bud Used For?
When you’re shopping at a dispensary, the easiest way to know if the concentrated cannabis product you’re buying came from a fresh frozen extraction process is the word “live.” Whether it is fresh frozen live resin or live rosin, any cannabis product with the word “live” in the name – live budder, live wax, live sugar, etc – denotes a fresh frozen production method.
So what is the difference between fresh frozen rosin and live resin? The former describes any fresh frozen extracts made using a chemical solvent. The live resin category covers concentrates made with butane, CO2, ethanol, propane, and other solvents. Similarly, live resins can come in a variety of consistencies depending on the quality of the flower and environmental factors during the extraction process.
Live rosins, on the other hand, are produced using a solventless method. Usually, that means agitating fresh frozen buds in a large vat of ice water until the THC and terpene-packed trichome heads are separated from the rest of the bud. Once the wash is complete, fine mesh bags trap the precious gold hash and let the water wash out. Next, the resulting trichomes are collected and freeze-dried. Lastly, the fresh frozen solventless hash is pressed intolive rosin. Both live rosin and live resin are perfect for dabbing and carry broad spectrums of cannabinoids and terpenes for that make for face-melting smells, otherworldly flavors, and an exceptional high.
Outside of dabs, live resins are taking on another life in vape cartridges. Despite its short lifespan, vape cartridges have already undergone a few product make-overs. Originally made with BHO cut with food-grade glycols, carts went mass market with the introduction of distillate extracts. Recently though, health concerns and demand for strain-specific vapes have made live resins incredibly popular with cartridge manufacturers. In addition to carts, live resins and rosins can be infused into foods, beverages, and even topicals for a true full-spectrum experience.
Cannabis Companies That Are Freezing Fresh Bud
Across the legal weed industry, cannabis companies are reserving larger quantities of every harvest for fresh frozen concentrate production. In California, Raw Gardens freezes its entire crop for live resin concentrates and cartridges. In Colorado, 710 Labs has become one of the industry’s most popular brands thanks in large part to their top-shelf selection of live rosins. Likewise, multi-state operator Blue River Terps is using proprietary mechanical separation techniques to produce a variety of solventless live rosins in a slew of different consistencies, including one of the industry’s first fully solventless rosin vape cartridges.
If there’s one thing that’s for sure, fresh frozen cannabis concentrates aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Are you prepping your own harvest to put your next batch of weed in the freezer? Or do you have a favorite brand of live rosin that we missed? Hit us up in the comments and let us know your thoughts on fresh frozen bud.
Thanks to rapidly growing legalization, America’s cannabis industry has seen plant science and product development advance more in the past decade than possibly ever before. And no place is that rapid-fire R&D more readily apparent than the world of cannabis concentrates. After decades of mixing bubble hash into spliffs and sprinkling kief on
What is “Fresh Frozen” Cannabis and Why Is It So Popular?
The fresh-frozen buzz is growing in popularity among cannabis consumers as the demand for high-potency extracts soars. What once was an outlandish concept is now considered standard for a portion of a cultivator’s crop, some farmers choosing to freeze the crop entirety. As we move forward with the evolution of the industry, our techniques and practices evolve as well, aiming to match our end goal with our customer’s desires. While we will always cultivate under our organic and sustainable standard, we have added new traditions to our harvest procedure, offering both fresh-frozen products and air-cured flowers to our clients.
The standard air-drying method has been around since the legacy farmers planted the first cannabis seeds in Mendocino County ground. While all dry/cure methods will vary from farmer to farmer, the general idea involves hanging the harvested cannabis plant, stripping it of the larger leaves, allowing it to dry in a dark room under optimal temperature and humidity settings for up to a few weeks, then bucking it down to finish the cure in a closable container that can be burped regularly. The fresh-frozen method, on the other hand, takes the harvested cannabis plant and removes all the leaves, branches, and stems. A farmer then takes these fresh buds and vacuum seals them in a plastic sleeve, usually weighing one to four pounds each. These sealed bud bags then get placed into an industrial freezer set at -38 degrees Fahrenheit, locking in all the delicious terpenes and cannabinoids until it’s ready for use at a later date. In an effort to produce the best fresh-frozen material on the market, we personally take this procedure a step further by placing dry ice in our freezers at the time we first add in the harvested cannabis, keeping those buds in pristine condition. We then additionally apply layers of dry ice across all of the freezers to balance out the drying process.
With fresh frozen, the bag appeal of the flower isn’t what a buyer is typically interested in – they’re instead intrigued by a diverse terpene and cannabinoid make-up sourced from plants that were grown cleanly and flushed entirely. When the fresh-frozen product is sent through the extraction process, not only will the terpenes and cannabinoids be extracted, but the residual components will, too. Because of this, buyers must seek out farmers that cultivate organically and without the use of chemical pesticides to protect against failed lab tests and maintain safety for the consumer.
Sourcing from a farm that has experience with fresh-frozen harvests will also ensure the harvesting procedure is done correctly and efficiently. Through all of the trials and tribulations, these farmers have learned the risks and challenges associated with this method, and they know how to counteract them. When last year’s week-long power outage hit Mendocino County, our farm felt the darkness. With fresh-frozen material in our freezers, we learned the importance of having solar generators as a backup power source.
But why should a buyer be interested in purchasing fresh-frozen buds? Well, for one, to keep up with the demand for extracts. Fresh frozen is a go-to product for creating live resin , an extract category that is popular among all levels of the cannabis consumer market. Live resin cannabis oil can be used in pens, vaporizer cartridges, and dab rigs, remaining flexible to the user’s preference. But fresh frozen cannabis is being used beyond just live resin as it’s seen in the manufactured-goods market as well. From candies to topicals to tinctures and drinks, these frozen buds can be turned into distillate and used in edible recipes.
Another reason is the difference in shelf life and preservation of our precious terpenes and cannabinoids. Degradation is much less of a worry for products that are immediately frozen after harvest. When traditionally dried and cured, the buds will start to lose their terpene value to oxidization, eventually drying out to a dusty texture, and, in time, becoming overall less desirable to smoke. When frozen, all of those delectable compounds stay preserved, and the freshness lasts longer than it would otherwise. Both cultivators and extractors enjoy this benefit as they don’t have to anticipate loss to aging products.
A farmer that has experience with the fresh-frozen harvest method will understand the importance of cultivating cleanly, executing the harvest properly, and preparing for unforeseen challenges. These are the cultivators that promote your success by providing you with exceptional products every time. If you are a buyer interested in expertly prepared fresh-frozen material, Giving Tree Farms has got you covered. We offer traditionally dried and cured buds as well, so whatever your customers are demanding, we can help you fill the inventory. Please submit a Wholesale Account form on our website, and we will reach out to you with more information right away!
The fresh-frozen buzz is growing in popularity among cannabis consumers as the demand for high-potency extracts soars. What once was an outlandish concept is now considered standard for a portion of a cultivator’s crop, some farmers choosing to freeze the crop entirety. As we move forward with the evolution of the industry, our techniques and practices evolve as well, aiming to match our end…