Wet extraction (A.K.A fresh frozen extraction or live resin) uses butane to create crude oil. The primary difference between wet and dry extraction is that live resin extraction requires you to trim wet and then freeze immediately.
The wet extraction method involves harvesting hemp at its peak, bypassing the drying process. Rapidly freezing the trimmed hemp at this stage maximizes the amount of terpenes and aromatics in the hemp biomass. As with cooking, using fresh herbs (or leaves frozen when fresh) over dried changes everything, from how much of that ingredient you need to how it impacts overall flavor.
Terpenes are easily damaged through stress or heat, so the goal of wet extraction is to deliver a product as similar to fresh hemp as possible. The lack of drying minimizes oxidation, and degradation of compounds. Extraction happens in an unadulterated manner.
Wet trimming – the key to wet extraction
Trimming, a major part of the extraction process can happen wet or dry. Trimming hemp before drying is a wet trim because of the speed in which it’s done. Farmers who trim wet will cut the leaves off the buds within hours of cutting plants down. This allows growers to eliminate some of the guesswork involved in harvesting.
Similar to rigor mortis, immediately after harvesting, cannabis plants become stiff and swollen. Wet trimmers are able to take advantage of this turgid stage, and remove sugar leaf material while it is still stiff. Additionally, because wet trimming removes excess material, trimmed buds are smaller, and (if desired) dry more quickly.
How to wet trim
- Step 1: Remove the fan leaves that do not have any resin glands. (Keep the leaves with white crystals on them.)
- Step 2: Remove and save the sugar leaves.
- Step 3: Give the buds a haircut, trimming off the pointy leaves. (Do this on a table, so you can save the trimmings.)
Keeping it clean
Because plant resins are still wet, any scissors used to trim these buds get covered in resin, and will need more consistent cleaning. Keep rubbing alcohol,and paper towels handy to maintain clean tools.
People trimming the plant matter can also inadvertently contaminate a batch. Anything as simple as wiping your face, or checking a text message, can introduce bacteria or other contaminants while trimming plants. Make sure wet extraction takes place in a controlled environment.
A word on tumblers
Toward the end of the extraction process, you may decide to use a hemp tumbler. After you’ve processed your biomass, a tumbler makes it easier to separate your material into various sizes and qualities. Many wet trimmers use tumblers. While it can help separate your materials, mechanical tumblers can damage the delicate trichome heads, and mix together resin and chlorophyll. This can lead to a lower quality end product.
Managing workflow with wet extraction
Wet extraction isn’t a perfect solution to every problem. While it improves the flavor of the end product, if processors are not prepared, it can create a host of other issues.
Wet extraction is fairly time-intensive. It requires a lot more people to properly harvest, and trim the plants. Gradual processing of hemp is not really an option, when it comes to wet extraction. Harvesting too many plants can lead to there being more work to prepare the hemp than you can accomplish. This can let some over-mature trichomes begin degrading.
Get support whether you use wet or dry extraction
Given the complexities of the wet extraction process, it makes sense to find a trusted partner to talk to. ArborVita8 is here to help. You provide the soil and sunshine, and our expertise can guide you from seed to sale. Contact us today to learn more.