🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur
On the journey to creating ever-better rosin, improving your knowledge and perfecting your skills are vital. As with any other technique or art, frequent practice, experimentation, and constant innovation will make you better (and lead to a better product). One of the best ways to supply yourself with enough material, while at the same time controlling the maximum amount of variables, is to grow your own cannabis.
While it’s not absolutely necessary, it’s highly recommended to grow your own. In this article, we’ll discuss why.
Especially when you’re starting out, a lot of experimentation, observation, adjustment, and trial and error will help you advance quickly. In the process, you’ll be squishing a lot of flowers and making a lot of rosin. Having high-quality material readily on-hand and in bulk amounts is a huge advantage.
While you can definitely source flower from somewhere else, top flowers generally cost top-dollar. Economically, it makes more sense to grow your own. Despite the start up costs for a home grow, you’ll quickly make up the initial expense and soon have mason jars full of squishable buds.
That said, it’s important to make sure you’re growing high-quality cannabis. There are many free resources available online to help you, and quantity shouldn’t come at the expense of quality. The biggest factor in the quality of your rosin is the quality of your source material, so when growing your own, the top priority should always be to cultivate the highest quality flower possible.
Some strains of cannabis will produce more rosin than others, and growing your own allows you to experiment with a variety of strains. You can pull a harvest of home grown flowers every couple of months, and depending on your space, this allows you to experiment with a significant amount of flower from at least a dozen strains over the course of a year.
Identifying the strains that not only produce the most rosin, but deliver the effect that’s specific to your preferences, will be a huge win. While you could go to the dispensary and sample many different strains of flower, the consistency in quality and age is much harder to control. And again, it’s much more costly.
PROPER HUMIDITY & AGE
The humidity of the flowers you’re pressing can have a big impact on your rosin yield. Flowers that are too dry will re-absorb the rosin as it separates away from the plant material, and instead of running out onto your parchment paper, will stay soaked within the bud. Next to the quality of your source material, the humidity is the second most important factor in the quality of your finished product.
You should aim for 62% humidity, and this is much easier to achieve when you’re slow-curing recently harvested flowers at home, than to make the gamble that the flowers at the dispensary are the right moisture. Most flowers at dispensaries have been on the shelf, pre-packaged and drying out for a prolonged amount of time. Therefore, you often need to increase humidity by re-moisturizing the flowers before pressing.
While humidity of your flower impacts mostly rosin yield, the age of the flower has a big impact on the appearance of your rosin. Clear and light-colored rosin is the color to go for, which is the result of pressing flowers that haven’t had too long to oxidate. Pressing flowers that have just recently been properly dried and cured (at the minimum effective level) is the best approach, and the best way to guarantee this is to grow, dry, and cure your own flowers.
As stated above, dispensary flowers have likely been packaged for weeks and sitting on the shelf oxidizing. The best way to control the age of the bud you’re pressing is to grow your own.
KNOW YOUR VARIABLES
Pressing rosin is a blend of art and science (but it’s mostly an art). The science part comes in when you methodically test, record results, and tweak one variable at a time until you find the right combination of variables that produces the best result.
If you’re constantly getting different strains from different suppliers, that contain a variable amount of moisture with different ages, it’s going to be hard to do the dedicated experimentation that pressing great rosin will require.
By growing at home, you can harvest all the material from a single plant, and test that material at different heat, pressure, and time settings on the press. You’ll know you’re starting with high-quality material of the same strain, same moisture content, and same age. The idea is to keep all variables constant for multiple presses, while changing just one variable at a time and recording the result. If you’re always changing multiple variables (e.g. humidity, age, potency, terpene content) it can be harder to identify the exact changes to your process that created the right results.
With a home grow, you have much better control of your variables and you can really dial-in what works for each strain you’re running through the press.
MAKE DIFFERENT PRODUCTS
Finally, growing at home will give you the freedom to easily branch out from pressing only flowers, to pressing dry sift and bubble hash.
With the bounty of home grown buds, you can save your trophy flowers for smoking, use the smaller, less noteworthy nugs for pressing and making bubble hash, and the trim and popcorn nugs for dry sift.
Having access to a large amount of high-quality plant material gives you more flexibility to experiment with different types of pressing and to get a feel for how different source material reacts differently between the plates.
Depending on your goals, you could use an entire harvest exclusively for producing bubble hash, which you can then press to make incredibly pure rosin, and you can even experiment with fresh-frozen varieties (freezing buds immediately after harvest and then using the frozen material in ice water extraction to create bubble hash). Or, you could use half of the harvest for hash, and half for dry sift, or any combination of the above.
More cannabis material offers more opportunity to create various types of source material which yields different results. Only by trying them all will you know what works best for you and your set up.
While it’s possible to create excellent rosin without growing your own cannabis, the benefits of keeping a healthy, high-quality home grow will be quickly realized at the press. By controlling the quality and quantity of the source material at your disposal, you’ll expedite your learnings and quickly advance in the art of creating connoisseur-quality rosin.