Cannabis 101 By Jolin Zhou|18 June 2024

Live Resin vs Distillate: Which One is Better?

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live resin vs distillate




The booming cannabis market offers a vast array of products to cater to diverse consumer needs. Among the hottest debates is live resin vs distillate. Though derived from the same cannabis plant, these concentrates boast distinct production processes, resulting in contrasting experiences.



This article dives into the key differences between live resin and distillate, including their characteristics, extraction methods, effects, consumption methods, and pricing.




What is Live Resin?




live resin




Live resin gets its name from the use of fresh, uncured cannabis plants. This approach preserves the full terpene profile and cannabinoids, creating a full-spectrum concentrate rich in flavor and THC content that closely resembles the original plant.



Live resin production begins by flash-freezing the cannabis at sub-zero temperatures (below -10°F) for 24-48 hours. This frozen plant matter then undergoes hydrocarbon extraction using solvents like butane, propene, or butane hash oil (BHO), known for their effectiveness in retaining terpenes. The extracted compound requires purging to remove residual solvent, leaving behind the flavorful live resin concentrate.




What is Distillate?








Unlike live resin, distillate is derived from dried and cured cannabis. The goal is a highly purified, potent, and versatile concentrate.



The process involves drying the cannabis by hanging it upside down or on racks. The dried plant is then dipped in solvents similar to live resin extraction. The extract undergoes winterization, a freezing process that removes unwanted impurities that could affect potency. Next, the extract is heated to trigger decarboxylation, converting THCA into the psychoactive THC. Finally, the concentrate undergoes multiple distillations to achieve maximum purity by removing and separating any remaining solvent residue.




Live Resin vs Distillate: A Tale of Two Cannabis Extracts




Once you understand the characteristics and production processes of live resin and distillates, the next big questions are: What are live resin benefits? What are distillate benefits? Let’s dissect these further and explore a live resin vs distillate comparison!



#1 Flavor and Aroma



Live resin reigns supreme for flavor and aroma, offering a diverse sensory experience with a terpene content of 4-12%. Distillate, on the other hand, has a negligible terpene profile, resulting in a near-odorless and flavorless concentrate.



#2 Potency and Effects



Live resin boasts a cannabinoid content ranging from 45% to 90%, while distillate offers an even higher range, reaching up to 99%. Despite its lower potency, live resin delivers a more balanced high due to its full terpene profile. Distillate’s focus on purity sacrifices flavor for an intense psychoactive effect.



#3 Versatility



Live resin’s high terpene content creates a unique texture, ranging from a sugary consistency to a budder-like glassiness. It’s commonly enjoyed through vape pens, dab rigs, joints, or bowls. Distillate’s versatility stems from its odorless and colorless nature. In addition to the methods used for live resin, it’s also well-suited for infusing beverages, edibles, and topical products.




Dabbing, Vaping, and Beyond: Consumption Methods




Here’s a breakdown of popular methods for consuming live resin and distillate:



#1 Dabbing



Using a dab rig, a dab spoon (preferably spoon-shaped for live resin) is used to collect the concentrate. The nail is then heated to 315-400°F to vaporize the concentrate, which is inhaled through the rig’s mouthpiece.



#2 Vaping



Vaping is a popular choice, especially for live resin. High-quality vape pens ensure proper vaporization and preserve the flavor profile. Simply attach the cartridge to the vape battery, and the device’s heating coil will vaporize the concentrate for direct inhalation. This method offers a discreet and convenient option for everyday use.



#3 Joint or Bowl



Live resin can be added to joints or bowls. However, be mindful of the heating temperature to avoid burning off terpenes and flavor compounds.




Cost Considerations




Live resin generally carries a higher price tag due to its complex extraction process and use of high-quality, freshly frozen cannabis. This premium reflects the closer resemblance to the original cannabis plant in terms of flavor and experience. Additionally, its intricate production process limits availability, further influencing the price.



Distillate, on the other hand, is more readily available due to its simpler production method, allowing for larger-scale production. The use of cured and dried cannabis flowers, considered less premium than fresh material, contributes to its affordability.




The Verdict: Live Resin or Distillate?



The final question is which one should you choose? It depends on your needs. If you seek a flavorful experience that retains the original taste of the cannabis strain and a balanced high, opt for live resin. Despite the higher price, it offers a unique experience.



If you don’t favor the earthy flavor and aroma of cannabis and want a more intense high, choose distillates. Besides a powerful high, they are more accessible and typically more affordable.



Both live resin and distillates are potent cannabis concentrates with unique characteristics. Whichever you choose, consume responsibly and source from reputable suppliers to ensure the highest quality products.


Author: Jolin Zhou
A dedicated content contributor at Artrix with a talent for exploring the cultural and economic aspects of the cannabis industry. Focused on product hardware, manufacturing, concentrates and oils, and market strategies in the cannabis vaping sector. Combines thorough research with real-world insights to inform and engage readers.