Live Resin Vs. Distillate – What’s The Difference?

Nikhil Goswami

The 420 aficionados always try finding out new ways to get high. To help them explore new avenues, marijuana growers and manufacturers frequently keep shifting the form factors. This shift has awarded the canna verse a wide range of alternatives, including broad spectrum, full spectrum, distillate, isolate, and live resin.

While all of these forms share some common denominators, they are slightly different. Typically, live resins and distillate are predominant for vaping. Therefore, if you prefer stuffing cartridges or vape pens over rolling joints, you may need to understand how these two differ. This will allow you to make the most out of your vaping experience as you can customize it in your way with the best-suited weed form.

What Does Live Resin Refer To?

Put simply, manufacturers extract live resin from a fresh cannabis flower. The lofty reputation of this relatively new cannabis product comes from its distinctive aroma profiles and intense flavors. Since its invention in 2013, its pleasing canna users with its robust potency and premium quality.

Manufacturers extract this cannabis concentrate from freshly harvested marijuana plant material. They flash-freeze the plant material at sub-level temperatures and blast it with butane hash oil, propane, butane, and other solvents. This is one of the unique extraction methods. Probably, this is why live resin has been able to attract the attention of millennials.

The manufacturers typically skip the drying and curing steps while extracting live resin, and they replace the said step with freezing the live plant right after harvesting. Since the product is extracted from frozen live plants or frozen cannabis flowers, it falls under the category of “live cannabis products.”

The process of extracting live resin guarantees precise preservation of highly valuable trichomes. To clarify, trichomes contribute to the flavor profile of a strain. Terpenes and cannabinoids grow and thrive in trichomes.

Typically, live resin is thick and saucy. Besides, somehow, they are identical to caramelized honey. The terpene profile of a cannabis plant remains untouched when you use fresh flowers, ensuring complex nuances and bold flavors. The live resin extraction process keeps these flavor-inducing terpenes intact. As a result, you get a form of cannabis that bursts with unique flavors and locks the delectability of fresh fruit and astringent herbs.

Live resin incorporates potentially therapeutic flavonoids. These flavonoids can give you a better high. Live resin features the naturally occurring chemical profile of the plant, making it a refreshing vaping, dabbing, or smoking agent. Advocates claim that inhaling live resin renders the feeling like smoking actual flowers. If you are looking for live resin carts, then you can go through this amazing article.

What Does Distillate Refer To?

The distillate is a vicious and golden liquid made by refining cannabis resin. Distillates typically contain only CBD and THC molecules, making them one of the purest cannabis products. Typically, this cannabis concentrate comes out while isolating cannabinoids like THC from the plant compounds. This extraction removes most waxes, lipids, and fats from the plant profile.

However, it keeps the plant’s terpene, cannabinoid, and THC profiles intact. The goal of cannabis distillation is to remove all the plant factors that impact the volatility, potency, and purity of the stuff. It focuses on isolating the desired and therapeutic cannabinoids that induce euphoria and offer therapeutic benefits.

The production of distillate is more of a process than a thing. It’s worth knowing that manufacturers cut, dry, and cure the cannabis plants to extract oil. This crude cannabis oil is highly potent, and the manufacturers typically craft them into different concentrates like budder, shatter, wax, etc.

This crude cannabis oil undergoes a detailed heat and pressure-driven process to make distillates, and it’s officially known as fractional short path distillation. This method allows the manufacturers to extract every cannabis compound by leveraging their different boiling points.

Distillation aims to separate THC from other plant matters and create an extremely potent product that comes in an odorless and transparent liquid form. The distillation process lets the manufacturer customize the final product in their way. In addition, it guarantees better consistency.

Different post-processing techniques provide the manufacturer with an abundance of the final product’s smell, feel, appearance, and taste. The customization opportunities with distillates are always more extensive and comprehensive. Due to its translucent and odorless nature, distillate can be a perfect base for different vape cartridges and cannabis edibles.

The Differences Between Live Resin and Distillate

The primary differentiating factor between live resin and distillate is their terpene content. The extraction process of distillate eliminates the terpenes, while live resin locks almost every terpene of the plant matter. To simplify the concept, you can take the example of juice.

Live resin is almost like that fresh, squeezed juice you extract from the fruit. On the other hand, the distillate is the readymade concentrated juice you buy from the departmental store. There are several additional differences, and they include the following.


When it comes to comparing live resin and distillates, consumption turns out to be a primary factor. Live resin features a honey-like and heavy appearance. You can smoke it using nectar collectors, vaporizers, dab rigs, or wax pens. You can even use a roll or joint for smoking live resin. However, you should be mindful of the smoke temperature.

It’s worth knowing that live resin is a more volatile oil, and besides, it boasts a lower smoke point. Therefore, you may burn the cannabis terpenes if you use high heat. This, eventually, may ruin the flavor, leading to a stale smoking experience.

However, if you use a vape pen or a cartridge, you don’t need to worry much about the temperature. Smoking live resin using a vaporizer or a cartridge typically offers a vivid and juicy experience, complemented by a salivating taste.

Cannabis distillate, on the other hand, is extremely versatile. You can use them in vapes and joints. Due to its high concentration, distillate may offer a more intense smoking experience. However, because of its odorless and tasteless nature, it may lack flavor factor.

In such cases, you can use distillate as a base and blend some flavors to retain a flavorful and delectable smoking experience. You can even add a little THC distillate to your joint by spreading it onto your rolling paper and filling the paper with ground-up dried flowers. This method will not only allow you to use fewer flowers, but it will surely take you to the moon. You can even consider edibles when it comes to distillates.

*Note: Live resin is made using a cold process. Therefore, you need to heat it in some way to consume it. 

The High

You can find an easily spottable difference when it comes to the high. The high associated live resin is identical to that of dried flowers. Live resin contains a THC level of 20-50%, typically giving you a subtle euphoria. You will feel relaxed and unwinded; however, you won’t see the stars marching on the road. To keep it simple, live resin’s high is balanced, soothing, and soft.

On the other hand, the distillate contains 60-95% of pure THC. Well, that’s a true dose! You may expect impossible things to happen depending on how your body reacts to THC. This is not to scare you, but you may fly like a bird, play a baseball match in the milky way galaxy, or enjoy a bumpy roller coaster ride on the moon’s rocks. Therefore, distillates may not be for beginners.

Concisely, if you are fond of a gentle high accompanied by a blast of natural flavors, you should always stick to live resin. Contrarily, stoners who are not much bothered about the flavor and looking for a stronger high should bet on distillates.


The extraction method of live resin and distillates varies hugely. Live resin involves a classic step-by-step cold extraction method. First, the manufacturers source cannabis, and then they freeze it. Once done, they put the live plant matter into a vacuum oven for the next 24-48 hours. This comprehensive flash freezing dries up the product, and however, it keeps its terpene compounds intact. Finally, the manufacturer grinds up the matter and runs it through solvent extraction to produce the final result.

Conversely, the step-by-step extraction method of distillate involves heating up the cannabis in an open flame. Some manufacturers use hot gas as well. Once the distillation is done, the manufacturer collects the product in a condenser to help it return to its liquid form. The method is almost similar to that of distilled water production.

Terpene Content 

When comparing distillate and live resin, terpenes work as a must-consider factor. For live resins, terpenes do all the wonder. These natural compounds of the cannabis plant enrich live resins with their distinctive smell. Typically, there are two groups of terpenes – monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.

Monoterpenes feature tinier molecules, contributing to the plant’s fresher and lighter aromas. On the other hand, Sesquiterpenes hold larger molecules, creating more robust undertones. A live marijuana plant is always packed with higher amounts of monoterpenes.

Live resin derives from live plant matter, and due to this reason, it’s rich in monoterpenes. Thus, they boast a refreshing aroma and rejuvenating nuances. However, terpenes quantity in live resins may vary depending on the strain of cannabis used. Higher terpene strains create a final product that is richer in terpene content.

On the hand, distillates use heat, steam, and pressure, which terpenes can’t resist. This is why distillates are free from flavonoids and terpenes, making them odorless, translucent, and tasteless.

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect can work only when different terpenes and cannabinoids work together. Due to this reason, many schools of thought believe that the entourage effect of your body responds well to live resin as it keeps the plants’ compounds together. On the other hand, distillates may not be a good inducer of the entourage effect because its free from terpenes.


While producing live resin, the manufacturer aims to keep 100% of its terpenes intact, which is why they keep the plant alive while extracting live resin. Contrarily, the goal of distillate production revolves around the idea of creating the highest amount of pure THC. Due to this reason, its extraction process removes every form of impurities.

Therapeutic Effects

When it comes to therapeutic effects, live resin scores more than distillates. It locks almost every active compound of the live plant, including therapeutic cannabinoids. Naturally, this ensures the therapeutic efficiency of the form.

On the other hand, distillates are much more THC-focused. Therefore, its therapeutic benefits are limited to that of THC only, and it can’t offer the medicinal benefits of other cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant.

Live Resin Vs. Distillate – The History

Like their extraction method, terpene content, and consumption techniques, the history and origin of distillate and live resin also vary. Read on and find the source from where they have come from.

The History of Distillate

Distillate’s history is deeply connected to that of distillation. The earliest known instance of distillation comes from ancient Alexandrian, Egyptian, and Roman alchemists, and Alexander of Aphrodisia introduced the distilled water concept, which was later enhanced to alcohol distillation.

Previously, alchemists believed that distillation helped release the core essence of any substance. The first known evidence of alcohol in alcohol distillation was sourced from Arab chemist AI-Kindi. Probably, it dates back to the 19th century. In the 12th century, the process enhanced its footprint in Italy, and the School of Salerno started teaching distillation.

The process stepped into Germany by 1500, and the German alchemist Hieronymus Braunschweig published the first book on the subject. Distillation kept on evolving across centuries. New methods like fractional distillation, vacuum distillation, and steam distillation emerged, which are still employed by manufacturers for extracting cannabinoids from plants. Using this method, contemporary manufacturers create premium quality THC distillates.

The History of Live Resin

The first batch of live resin showed up in 2013, thanks to the creators – William Fenger, Kind Bill, and Jason Emo (Giddy UP). Compared to the long and ever-evolving history of hemp and marijuana, live resin is relatively new. To give you a little context, Kind Bill is admired as a hero of sorts in the cannabis world.

On the other hand, Fenger was the first legal marijuana grower in Colorado. He was deeply influenced by the smell of buds. Giddy UP, the founder of Emo Tech Labs, is passionate about exploring the secrets of different marijuana formulas. These three teamed up to celebrate the joy of creating an all-new extraction technique. This association gave birth to the legendary live resin.

The three musketeers discovered the unique method of extracting the fresh aromas of monoterpenes and the more intense flavors of sesquiterpenes from live plant matter. These adept cannabis research professionals cracked the brilliant technical secret of locking the incredibly volatile terpenes. Kind Bill took some freshly harvested cannabis, and he went ahead to freeze them at a remarkably low temperature. Leveraging butane, he successfully separated the therapeutic cannabinoids from the trichomes of the live marijuana plant.

The method took out beloved liquid gold, which the world calls live resin. Today’s manufacturers follow the path shown by Kind Bill when it comes to making avant-garde live resin.

Live Resin vs. Distillates – What Hits Harder?

Well, the answer is self-explanatory! Both live resin and distillate are unique and enjoyable in their way, and none of them is better or worse. Besides, each of these forms has a separate fanbase. Thus, you should always pick the best alternative to your preferences and requirements.

Distillates are more potent; however, they are odorless and tasteless. Live resins, on the other hand, are more dynamic and rejuvenating. If you are looking for a more discreet variant, you can stick to the distillate. Besides, distillate may be your ideal pick if you are looking for a high that hits you hard.

On the other hand, if it’s all about enjoying the gentle and euphoric effects of cannabis, you can rely on live resin. Concisely, it’s all about the sensory experience you want to retain from your pot. Think mindfully and get your stuff. You can even try switching from other variants to these two to bring a little change in your stoning experience.

Can You Make Your Concentrate At Home?

Well, how could you do it? Making distillates or live resin requires professional expertise. In addition, they need specialized facilities and equipment. Are you sure you have them all at home? Moreover, do you hold the desired level of adeptness and experience to create mind blowing live resins or distillates?

If all of the answers come out as a big yes – best of luck! – you can go ahead and attempt to concentrate. However, if you don’t have any of the mentioned qualities or setup but still want to try making your concentration, who can resist you from trying out your luck? Good luck if you are ready to put your beloved stuff on uncertainties!

Distillates Are Not THC Extracts

Now that you know how distillate and live resin are different, here’s something else that you need to consider. Though they are identical, THC distillates and THC extracts are not the same. Both use solvents; however, the application method is different.

With extraction, the chemical compounds of the marijuana plant are isolated depending on their solubilities. This process essentially uses a specific solvent in liquid form for separating and dissolving other substances.

Distillation, on the other hand, involves the application of heat to separate a fluid mixture of two or more substances. To keep it simple, THC extracts are purified in either liquid or solid phases. Contrarily, THC distillates are purified substances in their liquid-only phase.

FAQs Related To Live Resin & Distillates

What types of live resin products are available?

The live resin extraction process is gradually earning more popularity. Many cannabis consumers prefer live resin because of its fruity and tangy flavor, heavenly nuances, and mind-blowing delectability. To cater to the varied preferences of live resin lovers, manufacturers have made it available in different consumption alternatives. You can use live resin as cartridges.

You can enjoy an amazing vaping experience with optimal flavors by inserting these carts into vape pens. Additionally, you can use dab pens to enjoy more precise control over your pot. You can also consume live resin in edible forms like sauce, crumbles, sugar, and butter. There are even shatters that resemble peanut brittle. You can choose any of these available alternatives according to your preference and convenience.

How is live resin different from cured cannabis resin?

The difference between cured cannabis resin and live resin is pretty simple. The cured ones feature a source flower that undergoes the curing process. The live ones, however, don’t involve this step. Here, it’s worth mentioning that curing is a specialized process that aims to preserve the optimum smoothness, flavor, and potency of the harvested cannabis flower. It gently removes the natural moisture in the cannabis plant, which creates room for an enhanced consumer experience.

However, curing may often remove the plants’ natural terpenes and a few other cannabinoids. The live resin uses plant material that’s frozen right after harvesting, and it involves a flash frozen technique that applies liquid nitrogen or dry ice.

Manufacturers may thaw off the plant material or put it in an ice bath before conducting the process. It depends on the types of cannabis concentrates they are making. Since the live resin skips the curing process, it may create a concentrated product that helps retain the natural cannabinoid and terpene profile better.

Why do consumers prefer THC distillates?

THC distillates are highly potent. Typically, they contain 60-95% of THC, making them one of the most purified versions. THC distillates are versatile; you can consume them using a vaporizer or a rolling paper. Besides, you can also top your salad or burgers with a distillate sauce or simply go for chewing fruity THC distillate gummies.

Furthermore, the edible form of distillates undergoes decarboxylation, making your stuff even more versatile. You can incorporate them into your diet and enjoy their euphoric and therapeutic benefits. This advantageous approach to distillates has made them pretty popular in the world of cannabis.

What’s more discreet – Live resin or distillate?

Technically, distillates are more discreet. Since the terpene profile of cannabis contributes to its smell and flavors, live resin gives off a distinct aroma when you light it up. The distillate doesn’t contain terpenes, making them almost odorless. Therefore, if discreetness is your preference, you may turn to distillates.

What does dicarbine live resin refer to?

Decarb or decarboxylation refers to the process of activating the cannabis compounds or cannabinoids by employing heat. Decarboxylation is the only known method of retaining the intoxicating effects of pot. While edibles undergo decarbing during the curing phase, for smokes and vapes, decarboxylation naturally occurs when you light your stuff up.

Can I consume distillate during pregnancy?

Well, it depends on the nature of your distillate – is it THC dominant or CBD dominant? While both THC and CBD offer some therapeutic benefits, THC causes an arguable buzz that may not be convenient for mothers to be. CBD, on the other hand, is not buzzy, and according to anecdotal evidence, it may help to relieve the symptoms of nausea associated with pregnancy.

However, the cannabis research is still in its infancy, and there is an ocean of things that are not known yet. Therefore, considering the sensitivity of a phase like pregnancy, you should not put yourself on a cannabis regime without consulting your doctor. Be it a THC distillate or a CBD one, ask your physician before you consume it.

Even if you consume cannabis in pregnancy, ensure you don’t smoke or vape it. Smoking comes with carcinogenic effects, and it may harm the development of your unborn fetus.

How to consume distillates?

THC distillate is quite versatile, and it lets you customize the way of consumption. You can chew it up in the form of edibles or sprinkle it on your rolling paper before stuffing it with flowers. You can even use distillate as the base in your vaporizers or dab rig.

Conclusion: What’s Better Live Resin Or Concentrate?

The constant innovation and development of new products characterize the cannabis culture. Distillate and live resin are the by-products of this vigorous effort of innovation, and probably, this is the only similarity they share. They are opposite in how they are sourced, terpene profile, goal, and THC content. However, the competition seems void when it comes to scoring them, depending on their efficiency and performance.

While some find live resin more appealing for its exceptional flavor profile, others are crazy behind the buzz and hit that distillate offers. Therefore, this debate ends on the note of announcing both of these variants as winners. Simply consider your preferences and pick your cup of coffee (well, more precisely, a bag of cannabis)!

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