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Live Resin VS Distillate: Cannabis Concentrates Compared

Navigating different cannabis products can become seriously confusing, even to the most experienced consumers. 

Take concentrates, for example, which have gained immense traction in the industry over the past few years. There are countless types of cannabis concentrates available, but they’re definitely not all the same. 

Two popular concentrate options are live resin and cannabis distillate. 

They’re both concentrates and contain some similarities, but also contain some definitive differences worth exploring. 

What are the differences between these two popular concentrates? And which concentrate is best for your personal needs? 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about live resin vs distillate.

live resin compared to distillate

Key Takeaways: Distillate VS Live Resin

  • The live resin extraction process retains the natural aromas and terpene profile of each cannabis strain.
  • Distillate is a much more concentrated form of pure, isolated cannabinoids.
  • Because there are so many compounds in live resin, you’re more likely to experience the entourage effect.
  • Live resin is better for experiencing the flavor bomb of a particular weed strain, while distillates are more potent and concentrated.

What’s In Live Resin?

So exactly what is live resin? 

We’re glad you asked. 

This  highly concentrated cannabis extract is famous for its potent aroma and flavor.

Live resin is created from freshly frozen cannabis flower. 

This makes it different from other concentrates, which are made from buds that are dried and cured. Terpenes often degrade during the drying and curing process. Ultimately, this can

affect the quality of the final extract. By freezing cannabis flowers when they’re fresh, the original aromas and flavors are preserved. 

Live resin has an intense flavor and aroma than other types of concentrates. It also has a much higher cannabinoid percentage than other products like cannabis oil. 

It’s the flavor and aroma, however, that are one of the biggest differences of live cannabis resin and distillate.

What’s In Cannabis Distillate?

Cannabis distillate is an entirely different story than live resin. 

Put simply, distillates typically contain pure THC or CBD that’s isolated from the rest of the plant’s compounds. 

The distillate extraction process is much more difficult than live resin extraction. It contains several steps that require various solvents to create a product that is a pure, isolated cannabinoid. 

In the end, there’s nothing in cannabis distillate except an isolated cannabinoid (typically CBD or THC).

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Live Resin VS Distillate

When comparing these two products, you’ll ultimately discover they’re quite different. 

The only real similarity is that they’re both concentrated cannabis products. 

Following we’ll take a deeper dive into the differences of THC distillate and live cannabis resin products to get a better idea of just how different they really are.

Extraction Process 

The extraction process of live resin and distillate is vastly different. 

The live resin extraction process starts by freezing the buds at a temperature way below zero. This flash-freezing protects the cannabinoids from degradation. 

It also protects the parts of the cannabis plant that produce precious  chemical compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes — the trichomes. 

Next, the freshly frozen buds are added to a solvent, which extracts the oils from the plant. The final process of creating live resin is to evaporate off the solvents that were used to extract the oil. 

Ultimately, live resin mimics the plant’s  natural cannabinoid and terpene profile.

The distillate extraction process is much more involved.

After the initial extraction (whether ethanol, butane or CO2), oil then goes through the process of winterization where compounds like fats, chlorophyll and waxes are removed. 

It’s done by adding ethanol to the extracted oil and then storing it for at least 24 hours in below freezing temperatures. It results in a liquid much like crude cannabis oil. Next, this mixture is filtered and decarboxylated to activate the cannabinoids. 

It’s the final step when the actual distillation occurs. During this process, the oil is heated under a vacuum at varying temperatures and then recooled to separate the different compounds in the oil. 

Multiple distillation passes can occur before distillate is ready. If you’ve ever come across distillate that is practically transparent, it likely went through this final process several times. 

So, in the end, we’re left with an isolate of a single cannabinoid but with zero live terpenes.

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Distillate and Live Resin Difference: Terpenes 

Another major difference of live resin and distillate? 


As we’ve said, distillate is processed at temperatures that isolate specific cannabinoids but get rid of all other compounds, including terpenes. 

To combat that, producers sometimes add terpenes to the final distillate to mimic the aromas and flavors of the original plant.

Live resin retains its natural terpene profile and preserves the full spectrum of compounds contained in the plant’s trichomes.

Not only does this highlight a critical difference between the way these cannabis concentrates are made, but it also says something about the two as individual products. 

Distillate is only an isolated concentrated cannabinoid, whereas live resin preserves  the natural features of each strain.This includes other cannabinoids aside from THC or CBD that help lend to the entourage effect.

Potency & Synergies 

In terms of potency, it’s pretty hard to beat distillates. They will almost always have a higher concentration of isolated plant compounds like THC compared to live resin. 

Live resin, however, retains the natural terpene profile found in the plant’s flower, which is actually a huge bonus in terms of potency.

This is due to the entourage effect, which suggested that cannabinoids and other compounds (like terpenes and flavonoids) synergize and highlight each other’s effects. 

This is a huge case in favor of full spectrum extracts, full spectrum cannabis concentrate products and live, as the high from a live resin could be stronger than from a distillate.

Is Live Resin Better Than Distillate?

So when it comes to distillate and live resin, which is better? 

This, like most things cannabis, live resin vs distillate comes down to your own personal preference and uniquely individual needs.

Live cannabis flower resin is much more flavorful than distillate. Because it’s flash frozen, its production process preserves many of the plant’s natural features. It’s also the best way to preserve the flavors and aromas of a particular strain of weed. 

Distillates, however, will have higher amounts of pure cannabinoids such as THC or CBD. 

So, in the end, the match between live resin vs distillates is a tie. And really comes down to the desires of the individual consumer. In some cases, using a  full spectrum extract makes sense, and in others, it doesn’t.

For example, individuals that can’t use THC for whatever reason may find a CBD distillate is the optimal choice. If someone just wants to get high, a THC distillate will definitely do the trick. 

Those interested in the full spectrum benefits of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabis compounds will benefit more from live resin.

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Are Live Resin Carts Worth It?

Yes, live resin carts are totally worth it, if only just for the fantastic explosion of flavor and aroma you’ll get from them. 

Seriously, they’re like nothing you’ve ever tried before. 

It’s also great to try live resin carts to compare how they affect you compared to other cannabis concentrate products. 

There’s also really no better way to experience the entourage effect than with live resin cannabis carts. 

So, if you use vape pens, live resin carts are worth checking out. THC live resin will definitely be an unforgettable experience compared to waxes or cannabis oil.

Wrapping Up Distillate VS Live Resin

Live resin is made by flash-freezing the freshly harvested flowers of the cannabis plant.

Cannabis distillate, on the other hand, goes through a much more complex process that results in a product with an extremely high concentration of an isolated compound.

Both contain cannabinoids like THC and CBD, but only live resin preserves each strain’s unique flavors and aromas. 

Also, you’ll be more likely to experience the entourage effect —whereby cannabinoids synergize and make the effects stronger— if you use live resin.

Ultimately, the decision between live resin vs distillate will depend on your preferences and what you intend to use your weed products for.