Wet Trim vs Dry Trim Using Cryo Technology
wet trim vs dry trim

The wet trim vs dry trim debate affects every cannabis producer when deciding what to do with their harvested cannabis plants. Wet—or live—trimming is easier, it’s quicker, and it saves space in the drying room because the fan leaves and sugar leaves have already been removed before drying.

Aside from generally being considered a more practical approach to harvesting due to the nature of labor efficiency and clean-up to turn over a round, dry trimming is thought to produce a higher-quality smoking experience thanks to the slower drying process and ideal levels of relative humidity. On the downside, the length of time necessary to dedicate to wet trimming occupies valuable real estate in your bloom room while being processed. That time is often better spent or more efficient taking a complete room down as quickly as possible in order to turn the room over for its next flower production cycle.

If you’re still on the fence about wet/live trim vs. dry trim or you’re looking to improve your systems, it could be helpful to know that Cryo-Trim® is compatible with a wet or dry trimming process and produces fantastic results either way. Understanding how wet and dry trimming works with The Original Resinator (our proprietary cold-temperature trimming and extraction machine) can help you make an informed choice.

The Difference Between Wet Trim and Dry Trim Using Cryo Technology

Here’s the simple breakdown: The main difference between wet trim vs. dry trim with cold-tumble trimming is that freeze drying (aka lyophilization) is not necessary when cryo-trimming traditionally hang-dried or rack dry-and-cured cannabis or hemp flowers because the water has already been allowed to evaporate.

In contrast, it’s essential to utilize a freeze dryer to remove water via sublimation when working with live or uncured cannabis or hemp flowers. This results in live-dried Crop-to-Cure® cannabis in less than 24 hours for wet or live trimmed buds. Buds that are already dried and cured normalize in minutes after coming out of the Cryo-Trim® process, and a final clean up can be done almost immediately.

Let’s break it down a bit more.

Dry Trimming Cannabis with Cryo Technology

The Cryo-Trim® process can be used with traditionally dried and cured cannabis buds with no further drying required. When you place dried buds in The Original Resinator OG or The Original Resinator XL, liquid CO2 is injected to get the exterior of the leaves brittle enough to fracture and fall from the flower. The trimming machine is completely bladeless; it does not shave, shape, or contour the bud. Rather, the CO2 acts as a freezing agent, matching the rise and fall of the structure of the buds without adversely affecting the quality, trichomes, or cannabinoids during the trimming process.

Cryo-Trim® Doesn’t Increase the Humidity of the Buds

CO2 is hydrophobic (meaning it repels water), which is why a dry trim with CO2 does not cause condensation within the center chamber. Coupled with the fact that CO2 displaces oxygen, your traditionally dried and cured flowers are ready for a Cryo-Trim® directly from the drying rack or cure bin after the buds have been bucked from stalks and the big leaves removed from the inflorescence. Although cold temperatures are achieved and there may be some residual dry ice (“dry snow”) throughout the biomass, once removed from the Resinator chamber, the dry ice will normalize to the ambient room temperature in minutes and sublimate with no negative effects.

Best Relative Humidity for Dry Cryo-Trim®

While other mechanical trimmers will tell you that you need to have a relative humidity as low as 5-7% to be effective, The Original Resinator can work with buds/flowers at any RH% range. We prefer to work with buds when they are between 8-12% RH. This practice will aid in maximizing throughput and retention of your A and B bud ratios. After a dry trim, all that is left to do is a light cleanup of some remaining crow’s feet and occasional remaining sugar leaf for bag appeal.

Timeframe for Dry Trimming with The Original Resinator

The Original Resinator extraction machines get 85+% of the dry trimming job done in minutes. Some cultivars even come out of the Resinator package-ready. All that is required is to buck down your material before tumbling and a light cleanup after. What typically takes as long as 8 hours of hand trimming to accomplish can now be done with less than an hour of scissor-time per pound, including bucking and big-leaving on the front end (pre-treatment) and a light touchup on the back end (post-treatment). We say that your material comes out of the Resinator in the same condition it went in, only trimmed!

Wet Trimming with Cryo Technology

It’s only when trimming wet uncured/live flowers with The Original Resinator that we really need to think about the science of what’s happening in the machine. By injecting liquid CO2 into the Resinator chamber with live biomass, we are effectively lowering the temperature below the freezing point of 32°F. When we do this, we are now playing with the science. When freezing a live plant, we rupture the cell walls and therefore need to utilize advanced dry and cure techniques which require maintaining the cold chain of the biomass before ultimately processed.

Maintaining the Cold Chain with Lyophilization

In a wet / live Cryo-Trim® application, there would be adverse effects of oxidation, degradation, and discoloration after dropping below the freezing point, which is why we need to “maintain the cold chain” in our frozen and trimmed wet buds by placing them into a deep freezer as a staging area, prior to a pre-frozen. The result of wet trimming in the Resinator followed by immediate freeze-drying is effectively a Crop-to-Cure® time of 18-24 hours.

How to Store Buds After Freeze-Drying

After being pulled out of the freeze-drier, the biomass is stable and can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark environment. A humidor or moisture pack in a tote, bin, or sealed jar can be used to maintain optimum moisture levels; or just allowing the biomass to acclimate in an oxygen-rich atmosphere with an RH of 60% and ambient room temperature of 70°F will allow the biomass to gradually reach an ideal state for handling, testing, packaging, and consumption.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Cryo-Trim® Work?

When cryo-trimming, we inject liquid CO2 into our Resinator chamber while gently tumbling the plant material to allow the exterior leaves to fall through our 1/4″ mesh screen. We rotate our drum for less than a minute per pound. Micro CO2 injections cause the exterior leaves to become brittle and fracture quickly from the flowers—ready to collect for additional processing with a quick swap from our custom mesh trim screens for a Cryo-Sieve® process to one of our micron (µm) rated screens.

How Was the Cryo-Trim® Concept Developed?

Cryo-Trim® is a revolutionary new and patented process. The Original Resinator was developed by growers and processors for growers and processors. We know that innovation requires education; we always remain students first. We continually strive to expand our knowledge base through research and development while sharing our craft and love for cannabis with new innovative products and techniques.

Does Freezing the Buds Knock Off the Trichomes?

We are often asked: “Doesn’t freezing the buds knock off the trichomes?” That is a good question and a common misperception. No, it does not. We generally go to “ice cream” temperatures of 10°F to 30°F when trimming, and coupled with short run times, that temperature range delivers very favorable results. In fact, we have found that even when dropping to as low as -20°F within the internal chamber of the Resinator that there are no adverse effects or reduction of whole-body trichomes.

Kiefing vs. Trimming with CryoTrim®

Temperature and time-spun are the primary contributors to the difference between kiefing and trimming with CO2. When we are kiefing, we go to subzero temperatures as low as -85°F (as opposed to the “ice cream” temperatures required for trimming). Kiefing may be done for biomass reduction or trichome collection. Anything over 200 µm is considered biomass reduction while anything below 200 µm is trichome collection.

For trimming 1 pound, we only spin for 30 seconds to a minute on average. When kiefing, on the other hand, we will spin from 2 to 30 minutes on average, or up to an hour in some applications, accompanied by sub-zero temps. Depending on the application or refinement, you can modify the parameters accordingly.

How Many Pounds Can I Trim with The Original Resinator?

Trim as much as a pound or more per minute! With the OG, one person can trim up 80 lbs in a single 8-hour shift, and with the XL (accompanied with a second drum kit and two operators), you can trim up to 144,000 grams or 300+ lbs in a single 8-hour shift.

When you load the machine with cannabis flower, you can inject liquid CO2 into the chamber and achieve very cold temperatures. This allows the exterior leaves to become brittle enough to fracture off of the flower and fall through the mesh screen without damaging, bruising, or compromising the integrity of the flowers.

What Is the Load Volume for Cryo-Trim® with The Original Resinator?

As a trimmer, The Original Resinator OG has a 1.5 lb capacity while The Original Resinator XL has a 7 lb capacity. If you load 5-7 pounds, you would spin for 5-7 minutes. This is a guideline, as not all flowers are created equal. In fact, often only 30 seconds per pound is necessary. This, of course, is directly related to how well the product has been grown and prepped. Refer to our Operating Guide for suggested run times, speeds, and load sizes.

What Do Cryo-Trimmed Buds Look Like?

When prepared properly, we often experience results that exceed our expectations. When compared side by side to a hand trim, it is often indistinguishable as to which is Cryo-Trimmed and which is hand-trimmed. Cultivators and processors alike can appreciate the resulting quality of the Resinator bladeless trim.

The better you have bucked and big-leaved your material, the less time is necessary to achieve desired results. Completing this prep beforehand leads to increased processing times but can also increase production volume. And when every percent counts, this leads to a better bottom line.

How Well Are the Cannabinoids Preserved with Cryo-Trim®?

The CO2 trimming process works with ease and efficiency, preserving the structural integrity and botanical essence of the flowers by keeping trichomes intact and maintaining terpene profiles. According to our Certificates of Analysis for hundreds of 5 lbs tests in two independent labs, we lose on average .03 to .08% of the THC and CBD from raw flower to post-Resinator trim, which is comparable to—if not better than—the cannabinoid loss that results from the average hand-manicure with scissors, trim trays, and finger hash.

What Are the Advantages of Cryo-Trim® over Bladed Trimming Machines?

Aside from the amazing bag appeal, presentation, cannabinoid and trichome preservation, convenience, and efficiency, the resulting whole-bodied, high-quality trim that remains after CO2 separation is preferred over a scissored or bladed trim due to the lack of chlorophyll and plant particulates found through trimmed clippings as a result of utilizing a bladed surface. This trim then makes for better extracts and pre-rolls. Resinator trim is sought after by processors for its premium quality. Once you experience the Resinator difference, you will wonder where we have been all your life!

Wet Trim vs. Dry Trim? With Cryo-Trim®, You Can Do Both!

With The Original Resinator, the wet trim vs. dry trim debate is largely a matter of personal preference and how much time you have—not to mention whether you want to be on the cutting edge of the live dried revolution.

If you have adequate drying space and prefer the results of letting the buds dry slowly, The Original Resinator can help you save time and money vs. hand trimming with a spectacular result.

If you live in a humid climate and need a faster drying process (to prevent mold growth) or you just enjoy the profile of a live-dried smokable flower, take advantage of Cryo-Trim® technology for mold-free, trimmed-and-dried live buds that are ready for market in 24 hours. Check out The Original Resinator OG and The Original Resinator XL, and experience bladeless trimming the way it was meant to be experienced.

TJ Arnovick

Cannabis extraction expert and founder.