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What is Cannabis Resin? Side Effects of Using This Substance

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, MD, MS

Updated on

23 Jun, 2022

Cannabis resin is a sticky organic substance produced in the glands on the surface of the plant’s leaves and flowers. These glands are known as trichomes. They emerge from many parts of the adult plant as an evolutionary response to environmental dangers such as UV rays, fungus, mold, and pests like bugs and animals.

These trichomes contain the cannabinoids that give cannabis the psychoactive properties that make it so well-known. One of the cannabinoids that are expressed in the trichomes is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, known popularly as THC. THC is the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis.

The texture and appearance of the cannabis resin can vary depending on when and how it is gathered. It has a range of colors and can be smoked on its own directly, or it can be added to other cannabis preparations. Often it is an extremely sticky substance between a light amber color and a dark, nearly black color. Each type also generally has its name as well.

There are a few ways to obtain the cannabis resin, it can be extracted from the plant specifically, or it can be extracted or “scraped” from the tools and pipes used to smoke the cannabis.

Some of these different preparations include:

  • Hash: This is a preparation often made from the trichomes that stick to the fingers and hands of the people manicuring the harvested plant. It is frequently scraped from fingers and hands, then rolled into a ball or pressed into a block or slab. Hash is considered to be a very powerful method of cannabis consumption.
  • Rosin: Rosin is the product of using heat and pressure on high-grade cannabis to extract the trichomes into a sticky, light-colored substance that is collected on parchment paper. Rosin is incredibly potent and can result in the user being more “high” than they are used to.
  • Wax, Shatter: This is the product of solvent or CO2 extraction, resulting in a product similar to rosin but with various textures. Frequently seen as a sticky substance that becomes brittle when cooled and can “shatter” if subjected to a sudden force. Concentrates like these are also considered to be dangerously powerful for some users.
  • Resin: Resin is most frequently used to describe the sticky tar-like substance left in the pipe after long periods of smoking. While there certainly are cannabinoids left in resin, it is often seen as a “last resort” when other cannabis preparations cannot be found.
  • Reclaim: Reclaim is the leftover condensates from initial smoking of rosin, was, or shatter in a “dab rig” or another similar smoking device. It is frequently darker and has a different effect than preparations that have not already been smoked once. Reclaim contains higher levels of ash and tar in it than when it is pure, so smoking it can have some adverse effects.

Side Effects of Using Cannabis Resin

There are several side effects of using cannabis resin. Whether dealing with resin or reclaim, other by-products have been left in the substance after smoking. In addition, after it has been smoked at least once, harmful irritants are left in the resin, such as tar, ash, and other carbon deposits.

These by-products can have many significant side effects on the user’s body. One of the first and foremost is the persistent and often severe sore throat. This is due mainly to smoking, but the ill effects on the airway can be exacerbated by the high temperatures of the smoked resin. This can also lead to the side-effect of difficulty breathing. This can be brought on by a combination of airway and lung irritations due to the higher temperatures often involved with smoking resin.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Using Cannabis Resin

If you or someone close to you has been using cannabis resin and is trying to quit, there are some withdrawal symptoms that you should be aware of. Many symptoms can occur while withdrawing from using cannabis resin, and while many people will experience some symptoms, it is not uncommon to only experience one or two.

The severity of the withdrawals is also linked to how often and heavily the user smoked cannabis resin. Some of the most common symptoms of cannabis resin withdrawal include:

  • Insomnia: When quitting cannabis resin, the user may feel restless at night and cannot sleep. This can last anywhere from days to weeks or months after quitting.
  • Nightmares: Cannabis can inhibit dreaming, so when quitting, there can be a resurgence in dreaming. In particular, extremely vivid dreams and nightmares are common.
  • Irritability: Irritability and mood swings, in general, can be common in those who are quitting cannabis resin.
  • Depression: As with many substances, quitting cannabis resin can result in feelings of depression or malaise.
  • Severe nervousness or anxiety: Far more common than many realize, the anxiety can accompany withdrawal from the cannabis resin.

If you believe someone you love has a problem with cannabis resin or may even be addicted to cannabis resin, you must reach out to them and let them know help is available. Seeking help for an addiction can be incredibly isolating, and the user will benefit greatly from those close to them letting them know they have a support network.

The next step often involves seeking professional help or guidance in treatment. Many facilities offer inpatient and outpatient services with a team of experts, and they will often customize the treatment plan individually for each user’s needs. Utilizing services such as this is the most effective way to ensure one successfully recovers from addiction and stays sober for the long term.

Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Content Writer

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being a mother to two beautiful children.

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