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Rosin Carts & "Live Resin or Distillate?" with Raw Garden

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

I sure as hell didn't see this one coming but then something clicked and I began to see some upside. Cartridges are terrible. Period. I hate the things and the ineffective oils in these products. I don't think I need to tell you how little regard I hold for BHO in 2021, but BHO vaporizer cartridges set the bar as low as we could possibly go. Somebody quick! Call James Cameron!

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And just like that, as I am typing this article it dawned on me that this article will allow me to shed light on those mass producer's known as Raw Garden. But first, solventless cartridges are all the hype and like I asked a few months back:

Why the hell is everyone so bent on stuffing their gorgeous rosin into a cartridge?

The obvious answer is money. So, I spun this one real quick to equal better hash for lower prices with more options for the heads. The hash-heads. At least that's the result I'm hoping for if the plan or goal is to cash in on the cartridges. Since a large and vast consumer population has taken to these mechanical cartridge contraptions for their discreet and convenient use, a solventless cartridge will be a major improvement. At least now, when that one or two times per year rolls around that I'm forced to go without or hit a pen, I'll have options I can actually choke-down.

Cart Mania

With the widest sector of consumers using these horrible distillate pens often labeled as "live resin," people are receiving a product that is hardly cannabis as nature intended. Companies who acknowledge the use of distillate often add food grade terpenes to their oil giving consumers one of over two hundred cannabinoids possible and a few fake terpenes. A far cry from the dynamic chemical properties in the plant's trichome glands. The high concentration of THC in distillate, provides a decent kick of a short-lived, anxiety inducing, fleeting rush of a high that provides almost zero therapeutic potential, while always delivering that lingering scratchy cough. Anyone who has used a few cartridges can relate. You couldn't sell a customer anything less and still call it cannabis.

Live Resin Remains Highly Undefined

Many claim their cartridges to be "live resin". THC and terpenes is what live resin contains at a minimum. Mixing extracted terpenes in with distillate, while certainly not the same as live resin, it is technically speaking, the same thing. While live resin is normally extracted with butane from crops that are frozen at harvest to retain more terpene content, all that goes right out of the window, since everything is heated in the oven to achieve the right consistency before stuffing it into a cartridge. Whether there's live resin in the cartridge, or distillate and non-cannabis derived, food-grade terpenes, the final cartridges are both technically speaking, free to call their product a "live resin" cartridge. Trust me, it gets a lot worse...

Corporate Status Quo

The manipulations in this market are vast and deep, maximizing profits at every turn along the way. A decade plus of medical and recreational markets left general consumers, mainly industry workers, unaware of the basic concepts and principles of cannabis extraction. Big Cannabis kept the blanket pulled-up-over everyone's eyes just long enough to woo us with chemicals and take charge of the industry's status quo, directing their massive marketing teams, sales-forces, and retail operators to spew forth the rhetoric of corporate cannabis.

Vapes Here To Stay

With the demand for convenient and self contained units, it doesn't look like vaporizer cartridges are going anywhere anytime soon, other than solventless. With so many still turning to bho carts, (many purchase the same 3-4-5 cartridges every month) the solventless cart is a welcomed upgrade when viewed contextually. And since they're here to stay, at least for a while, dialing in a solventless rosin cartridge will be the ticket to economic freedom & success for many solventless producers. Most companies will dedicate their less desirable batches of hash and rosin to the cartridges, and despite a lower quality of starting material, the final price never reflects this. Considering they're only half-gram cartridges, the profits double again. Since the hash rosin must be inserted into the oven and heated for a duration of time before liquefying and reaching the proper consistency to fill the cartridge, the quality, color, and stability of the rosin has little effect on making a sell-able cartridge product.


Cartridge Heroes

Since I'm talking about cartridges, I figure this is a good time to zero in on those cartridge heroes, and the "best selling extract in California," Raw Farden. Running only auto-flower plants on their massive outdoor property, harvests come super fast for these Super Chads (a.k.a. Shads). Auto-flowers go straight into the flowering stage and skip the vegetative phase entirely thanks to the work of genetic engineering. Their website makes no mention of this claiming instead:

"We have multiple harvests per year without light supplementation or deprivation to bring the highest quality products to the consumer,"

or in other words, they grow auto-flower seeds. From the very jump and initial impression, these guys are blurring the lines with shady marketing copy.

More Shady Marketing

For a company that doesn't sell cannabis flower, only chemically extracted BHO products, their site focuses heavily on the farm to ignore the disgusting chemical processes used to make every product. Focusing on the farm allows them to appear green and friendly, distracting from their low-grade and mass produced products. Educating the public about the process would only lead to decreased business, explaining why very little information was ever shared with consumers over the last decade. Manipulative marketing terminology and a lack of distinct definitions is compounded by the ambiguity of chemical procedures. Much like the big edible companies who have cornered the market with their extremely low quality distillate edibles, the exact same mass-produced distillate is used to make nearly all of today's BHO vaporizer cartridges.

Adding Terpenes

Anyone familiar with Paw Garden knows that they consistently put out new genetics or combinations of genetics that are all basically the same thing. When extracting for their vape cartridges, everything is run through a closed loop CO2 extraction or BHO (butane etc.) extraction before further distillation nets nearly pure THC, removing everything else. From here they are free to mix whatever cute combination of terpenes back into each distillate based-cartridge and pretend each one is a different genetic or "strain."

With thousands of genetic names, they are clearly mixing and matching terpenes to create a very manipulative "Live Resin cartridge" that they claim "by definition, [Raw Garden’s product] is not distillate." Notice how they claim it isn't distillate, but only "by definition," something we covered above. In fact, they go on to define distillate as an extract from trim material, which is usually true, but any form of cannabis can be distilled. By their own skewed definition it's not a distillate, but even based along standard industry definitions as discussed above, the inclusion of terpenes to the distillate base make it technically speaking, not distillate. They have enough word play going on that nothing they utter can be taken at face value.

Close Reading

They weren't the first or the last to manipulate terminology to serve their own ends.

"Our cartridges only contain single-source cannabinoids and cannabis derived terpenes", which when read between the lines says we concoct cultivars. By extracting and distilling they isolate THC (or CBD) and each terpene that survives these harsh processes can be mixed back into the final base or saved to make other flavors. More close reading is required to handle these bullshit artists: "In the Raw Garden process, the cannabis terpenes are preserved and each batch uses only strain-specific cannabinoids." Notice how they confirm prior suspicions, claiming only strain-specific cannabinoids, but this does not include using strain specific terpenes. They mention it twice, and both times neglect to include terpenes as strain specific, even referring to their terpenes as "cannabis derived". Every distillate contains strain-specific cannabinoids, (distillate is the plant’s THC cannabinoid) as you can see them dancing around the topic.

Raw Garden's Live Resin Diamonds appear to be another application of the disgusting Color Remediation Column. They claim this removes fats and lipids, but with no adequate reason for doing so. It makes the product white to clear and more visually appealing by running the cannabis oil through silica gels and fryer grease filtration powder. I assume their cartridges use CRC also, as this technique has become all but standardized in chemical solvent extraction labs.


About a year or two ago Lowell dropped a "solventless" pen that was and I quote, "A Cold Pressed" rosin vaporizer pen. It took awhile before I ran into someone using older equipment and running CO2. After referring to this overnight extraction process as "cold pressed," it dawned on me that Lowell was playing the "solvent-free game" as I like to call it. Using terminology that signals positive well-being but playing with the words just enough to confuse and mislead. Believe it or not, solvent-free was first introduced and used to define distillate! This process of distillation removes 100% of residual chemicals from the first BHO extraction phase. Solvent-free refers to using chemical solvents for extraction but the distillation process makes sure all of the solvent is purged from the product. Unlike all of Raw Garden's test results that were positive for traces of residual (leftover) butane in their live resin sauce:

Live Resin Extract (Not a Cartridge).

But the testing for their "live resin cartridges" mirrors a distillate and shows no trace of residual solvents:

No Residual Solvents (A sign of Distillation)

Either way Raw Garden is the ultimate corporate cannabis brand, pumping out the most cost effective products with the greatest margins for profit, without regard for culture, quality, or the plant. Just say no to BHO.

Back to Solventless Rosin Pens

Punch Extracts is developing their solventless pen, I hope to see here in the next couple of weeks. Dablogic has been working tirelessly to dial in a solventless cartridge they can be proud of and I can say that they're certainly onto something and moving in the right direction. The Emerald Kid has a solventless cartridge hitting the market that is a solid product I was able to try. I see Jungle Boys with their solventless pens. I'm yet to try 710labs solventless pod system but don't plan to either. Blue River claims to have made a breakthrough in solventless cartridges that will drop in California in the coming weeks and I will be sure to let you know what I think.

hash rosin in the jar
I'll Keep my Rosin in a Jar, thank you very much.

Whoever's solventless cartridges take off will probably have the freedom and flexibility to concentrate on making the very best batches of hash and rosin and let all the rest go to the vaporizer market for round #2. Rosin Pens might be the economic answer to consistently producing the best hash and rosin for people like us. I have expected hash makers to use their lower tier, second press, or later washes for hashish edibles as a way to make their hash and rosin more viable, but have been surprised to see almost no one doing this. Every solventless brand I speak to has gummies or hash edibles planned or on the horizon but only Papas select and 710 have pulled the trigger.

Solventless Transformation

The industry is transforming as we all expected, now the idea is to support solventless, while refusing the products from Corporate players. A couple hundred people is all it takes to cause serious market influence.#NOBHO Under any corporate structure, quality is the furthest concern, with maximizing profits as the only aim and we're the mark. Refuse all BHO and if you absolutely need to use a cartridge, GO SOLVENTLESS!


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