How To Run A Profitable Solventless Lab Guide 101

Viviane Schute        

Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction


The end of a calendar year marks an opportune time to review the previous year’s financials and plan the year ahead. As we approach the end of 2023, now is your chance to assess your lab’s profitability and put some strategies in place to make 2024 your most profitable year yet. It’s not just about creating the highest-quality products, although that’s always a worthy goal. How you structure your operation, the best practices you put in place, and the little things your team does (or doesn’t do) day in and day out ultimately determine the viability of your business. 

Regardless of which segment of the solventless market you’re serving and which type of consumer you’re primarily targeting, a few key variables can have a significant impact on your lab’s bottom line. 

In this guide to running the most profitable solventless lab, we’ll examine some tips and tricks that will help you both deliver and capture maximum value. 

Process Workflow

Let’s start with an outline of the solventless extraction, including which products your business can create from each phase of processing. 

Fresh Frozen Flower
When the resin reaches peak ripeness, it’s time to harvest the flowers and quickly package and freeze them. Although the traditional option is to hang and dry flowers (in preparation for smoking), freezing them immediately after harvest helps minimize oxidation and preserve terpene content. Fresh frozen material is the gold standard in solventless processing. 

Read more in How To Pack and Store Fresh Frozen Cannabis.

Ice Water Extraction
The process of washing hash allows extractors to collect loose resin from the fresh frozen cannabis flowers. Extractors place the fresh frozen flowers into an agitation vessel, where the material mixes with ice cold water. The combination of icy temperature and gentle agitation in water causes the trichome heads to break free from their stalks. As this water and flower mixture drains through a series of nylon sieves, the resin gets caught while the water and unwanted plant material flow through. Each of the various sieves collects a different grade of resin, which extractors can either keep separate or combine together, depending on the end goal.

The resin is soaking wet after Ice Water Extraction, and is unusable in this condition. This leads to the next step in the solventless extraction process. 

Read more in Top 20 Best Tips for Washing Hash.

Drying Loose Resin
The most efficient and effective way to dry loose resin is with a freeze dryer. While air drying is an option as well, freeze drying is superior in terms of terpene preservation and oxidation minimization. A freeze dryer is a notable upfront investment, however it more than pays for itself in just a few runs. 

There are several products you can offer after the loose resin comes out of the freeze dryer, which include


Read more in How to Use a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer to Make Bubble Hash.

Processing Loose Resin
With some additional processing, the loose resin can become the base of other profitable solventless products. Heat curing the resin transforms it into a consistency that is ideal for several SKUs including

Pressing Rosin
Using loose resin to press rosin is where things really get interesting…and profitable. With a solid, commercial grade rosin press and skilled extractors following best practices, your lab can produce high volumes of premium solventless products. Rosin is where it’s at. 

Rosin is ready to go right after it’s pressed, and in this form it’s referred to as live rosin. Extractors can control heat and pressure during extraction in order to create a shatter consistency. Simply leaving rosin to cure in a sealed glass jar at slightly chilly room temperature gives it a cold cure. These rosin consistencies require very minimal post-production processing:

Some additional processing can transform rosin into other solventless products. Heating rosin in a sealed glass jar inside an oven changes it into the correct consistency to create the following:

From 1/2022 - 1/2023, solventless rosin cartridge sales have grown by 400%. In that same period, dabbable hash rosin sales have doubled. As of 2023, hash rosin consists of 21% of total dabbable concentrate sales in California and 22% in Colorado.    


As the market for cannabis concentrates matures, the volume of solventless extracts continues to increase. 

Read more in Guide To Different Rosin Consistencies.

Which SKUs To Manufacture 

The top 3 specific products, which retailers refer to as SKUs, that solventless labs should focus on in order to maximize profitability are 

1. Cold Cure Rosin 

2. Rosin Vape Cartridges 

3. Edibles

Solventless extractors make cold cure rosin inside sealed jars stored at room temperature for 3-7 days. Consumers love this SKU because of its shelf stability and wet texture. 

These products are in high demand, and they command a premium price point on the shelves. Full melt is a good option in mature markets, where there is a high volume of cannabis connoisseurs, buying solventless products at dispensaries. 

The lowest profit margins will generally be found in top grade cold cure rosin. While this SKU warrants top dollar, it’s also more expensive to produce. 

The highest profit margins are generally in edibles. 

Vape carts tend to do well in markets where dabbable concentrate sales volume is still low. 

Maximizing the Harvest

There are a few things you can do to maximize your resin harvest. Here are a few tips:

1. Only handle the cannabis flowers by the stem or branch. Don’t grip the flowers themselves, you will crust the trichome heads and damage the rosin. 

2. For fresh frozen flowers, freeze the flowers no more than 30 minutes after harvesting. 

3. Harvest resin at peak ripeness, using a microscope or jewelers loupe. Read more about peak ripeness in How To Harvest Cannabis for Peak Trichome Ripeness.

4. Make sure the flowers are frozen before sealing the plastic bags they’re stored inside. Don’t vacuum seal the bags to remove all the air, leave a cushion of air inside the bags. If you vacuum seal tightly and remove all the air, it will crush the resin. Read more in How To Properly Pack and Store Fresh Frozen.

5. Defoliate the cannabis plants one week before harvesting. 

6. Avoid the temptation to harvest resin on the earlier side in order to optimize for clarity of your concentrates. Allow the resin to fully mature, which will entail slightly darker color. 

7. Hand trim the flowers, don’t machine trim.  

Producing Resin That’s Ideal for Solventless Extraction


Both genetics and cultivation techniques impact the viability of resin for solventless extraction. Starting with powerhouse cultivars is a must. The right cultivars for solventless extracts have copious trichome production, clear abscission points, stable trichome heads that won't easily break open, fluffy and airy buds, and high potency resin are qualities that make cannabis strains good for washing hash. 

Yield is a significant consideration when selecting the right cultivars to process in your lab. Consider the following guidelines for yield:

1-2% Low yield, sometimes less than breakeven. Okay for special run genetics 

3-4% Base yield range for acceptable profits 

5-6%+ Very high yielding range, highest profit potential

Keep in mind that consumers don’t care about your lab's yields, they care about the flavor (terps) and effect. It’s also important to keep up with market demands regarding terp profiles and change up your offerings depending on what’s trending. 

Read more in  

How To Identify Cannabis Cultivars for Solventless Extraction
The Relationship Between Plant Genetics & Extraction Methodology 
Genotype vs. Phenotype: What’s the Difference & Why It's Important To Solventless
Which Cannabis Cultivars Are Best for Washing Bubble Hash

Cultivation Techniques for resin are not the same for growing for flower weight only. Find more information about growing resin for solventless here:

Cultivating Cannabis Specifically for Resin Production
Cannabis Nutrient Selection and Its Relation To Resin Color, Quality, and Clarity

Pitfalls That Decrease Profitability

1. Neglecting terps for the sake of yields 

2. Mixing by hand instead of machine mixing in Ice Water Extraction 

3. Ice Water Extraction in a room that’s warmer than 50-55F 

4. Using contaminated lab tools 

5. Running out of freezer space to store fresh frozen material between batches 

6. Purchasing flower in bulk before doing a test run 

7. Focusing on too few SKUs 

Best Practices

1. Prioritize the reputation of your brand 

2. Purchase equipment and build out your lab with intention, and hire a skilled hash maker to run the operation 

3. Design your lab with expansion in mind 

4. Vertically integrate your operation if possible, as control over all inputs and processes generally leads to more consistent, higher-quality products 

5. Use tissue culture propagation to replicate and preserve special cuts that you identify 

6. Don’t stop research & development at any stage of your business; continue experimenting and innovating


Solventless extraction is poised for continued growth and innovation. The journey from fresh frozen flower to premium solventless products involves meticulous attention to detail at every step. By adopting best practices, such as using a freeze dryer for efficient resin drying and focusing on high-demand SKUs like cold cure rosin, rosin vape cartridges, and edibles, labs can position themselves for maximum profitability in 2024.

Cultivation techniques and genetic selection ensures a robust resin harvest. To navigate the evolving landscape, labs must stay attuned to market demands, cultivate strains optimized for solventless extraction, and avoid pitfalls that could undermine profitability. As the industry matures, labs need to prioritize brand reputation, invest in intentional lab design, and continue research and development, fostering a culture of experimentation and innovation. In doing so, labs can not only meet current market demands but also anticipate and shape the future of solventless extraction.

Thoughts? Let us know by joining our secret Facebook group. Hang out with a community of like-minded solventless heads like yourself. Ask our head extractor questions, share your latest press and learn from hobbyists and experts in the industry.


What is the significance of fresh frozen material in solventless processing?
Fresh frozen material is crucial in solventless processing as it helps minimize oxidation and preserve terpene content. When harvested flowers are promptly frozen, it prevents the degradation of essential compounds, making fresh frozen material the gold standard in solventless extraction.

Why is a freeze dryer recommended for drying loose resin in the solventless extraction process?
A freeze dryer is preferred for drying loose resin due to its efficiency in preserving terpenes and minimizing oxidation. Although it involves an upfront investment, the benefits in terms of product quality and consistency quickly outweigh the initial costs.

What are the top three solventless products that labs should focus on for maximum profitability?
Solventless labs should prioritize Cold Cure Rosin, Rosin Vape Cartridges, and Edibles to maximize profitability. These products are in high demand, command premium prices, and cater to a broad consumer base.

How can labs maximize resin harvest for solventless extraction?
To maximize resin harvest, labs should handle cannabis flowers carefully, freeze them promptly after harvesting, harvest at peak ripeness using a microscope, and implement proper defoliation techniques. These practices contribute to the production of high-quality resin, a crucial factor in solventless extraction.

What pitfalls should solventless labs avoid to ensure profitability?
Solventless labs should avoid neglecting terpenes for the sake of yields, opt for machine mixing over hand mixing in Ice Water Extraction, maintain a room temperature below 50-55°F during the extraction process, and refrain from using contaminated lab tools. Additionally, labs should steer clear of purchasing flower in bulk before conducting a test run and diversify their product offerings to avoid focusing on too few SKUs.


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