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Live Resin vs. Distillate: A Deep Dive into Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates are all the rage in the cannabis community these days, and it’s easy to see why! They’re known for their strong effects, flexibility, and the wide range of experiences they bring to the table.


These concentrates pack a punch, being highly potent forms of cannabis that are made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids in several ways. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned user, getting to know the different types of cannabis concentrates can really help you customize your experiences to match exactly what you’re looking for.


In this blog, we’re going to dive into two standout types of concentrates: live resin vs distillate. Each of these has its own special traits, ways they’re made, and effects, which means choosing between them isn’t just about what you like—it’s about finding the perfect match for you.


We’re here to walk you through a detailed comparison of live resin and distillate, focusing on how they’re extracted, their taste, strength, and how you might use them. By the time we’re done, you’ll have a clear idea of what makes these two concentrates different and how to pick the best one for your next smoke session.


Understanding Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates are potent products derived from the cannabis plant, packed with high levels of THC and other cannabinoids. They aim to deliver a stronger effect, flavor, and aroma than traditional buds.


The key to their strength is the extraction process, which varies widely, including CO2 extraction, BHO (butane hash oil), and solventless methods like rosin press. Each method affects the concentrate’s potency, taste, and aroma differently.


Besides THC and CBD, terpenes are crucial in concentrates, giving cannabis its distinct smell and flavor. They also enhance the overall experience by contributing to the entourage effect, where the interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes may increase the therapeutic benefits of cannabis concentrates.


a man with long blonde hair smoking a vape pen


What is Live Resin?

Live resin is a top-tier cannabis concentrate known for capturing the rich aroma and flavor of fresh cannabis. It stands out because it’s made by immediately freezing the plant after harvest, preserving the terpenes and cannabinoids usually lost in dried and cured plants.


Live resin extraction involves solvent-based methods, typically using butane or propane, to pull essential compounds from the frozen plant. This process captures a broad spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, ensuring the final product closely reflects the original plant’s chemical profile.


Live resin concentrates feature a golden, syrupy appearance, easy to handle, and are characterized by vibrant, diverse flavors and aromas that mirror the fresh cannabis flower. The high terpene content not only enhances its taste but also boosts potency and effects.


Users often report a richer, more fulfilling experience with live resin, highlighting its deep therapeutic benefits and full cannabis flavor.


What is Distillate?

Distillate is a highly refined cannabis concentrate known for its potency and purity. It undergoes a detailed distillation process, beginning with extracting crude oil from the cannabis plant. This is followed by winterization to remove fats and other impurities.


The process includes decarboxylation, converting THCA into psychoactive THC. The crucial step, short path distillation, purifies and separates cannabinoids at a molecular level.


Distillate is a clear, odorless, and tasteless oil, perfect for many cannabis products. It’s a thick, transparent liquid that’s both pure and potent. Its versatility makes it ideal for edibles, allowing for accurate dosing, vape cartridges for a clean hit, and topical products for efficient cannabinoid absorption through the skin.


For those seeking high potency and versatility in cannabis use, distillate is an excellent choice.


Key Differences Between Live Resin vs Distillate

When comparing live resin to distillate, the differences begin with their extraction processes. Live resin is created using frozen cannabis plants, which preserves a wide spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, offering a rich, flavorful experience akin to the original plant profile.


In contrast, distillate undergoes a rigorous distillation process to achieve high levels of purity and potency, resulting in a clear, tasteless, and odorless oil.


This difference in production significantly impacts their terpene content and flavor profiles; live resin boasts vibrant, diverse flavors while distillate lacks taste and smell, making it a versatile base for other products.


The potency and effects of these concentrates also vary; live resin provides a comprehensive experience with enhanced therapeutic benefits due to its rich terpene profile, whereas distillate offers high THC levels ideal for users seeking a potent psychoactive effect.


Consequently, live resin is best for those looking to enjoy the full flavor and aroma of cannabis, while distillate is suitable for users valuing potency and versatility in their cannabis products.


How to Use Live Resin

Live resin is super versatile. Dabbing is a popular method where live resin is vaporized on a hot surface and inhaled, providing an immediate and intense experience. This method is particularly favored for its efficiency in preserving the terpenes’ flavor and aroma.


Vaping live resin through specially designed vaporizers or vape pens is another option, offering a more discreet and portable way to enjoy its full-bodied taste. The controlled heat in vaping devices ensures that the delicate terpenes are not destroyed, allowing for a rich flavor experience.


Additionally, live resin can be sprinkled on flower in a bowl or wrapped in a joint, enhancing the potency and adding a flavorful kick to your cannabis. This method is ideal for those looking to elevate the sensory aspects of their cannabis without the need for specialized equipment.


Pros and Cons of Live Resin


  • Rich flavor and aroma: Live resin is unmatched in its ability to retain the natural terpene profile of the cannabis plant, offering users a complex and robust flavor and aroma that closely mimics the fresh flower.
  • Entourage effect from terpenes: The high concentration of terpenes in live resin contributes to the entourage effect, enhancing the therapeutic benefits of the cannabinoids by facilitating their absorption and interaction in the body.



  • Generally higher price: The intricate process of producing live resin, involving flash freezing and specialized extraction methods, results in a higher price point compared to other concentrates.
  • Lower potency compared to distillate: While live resin offers a rich spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, its THC concentration is typically lower than that of distillates, making it potentially less appealing for users seeking maximum psychoactive effects.


black and yellow labeled bottle with gold liquid inside 


How to Use Distillate

Distillate’s unmatched purity and potency make it incredibly versatile as well.


Vaping distillate is a popular choice, offering a clean and controlled way to enjoy its effects. The clear, potent oil works perfectly in vape cartridges or pens, providing a discreet and convenient option for on-the-go use.


Infusing edibles is another excellent way to utilize distillate. Its odorless and flavorless nature allows for precise dosing without affecting the taste of the final product, making it ideal for crafting consistent and potent cannabis-infused foods.


Lastly, sublingual application is a fast-acting method; placing a few drops under the tongue can offer rapid absorption into the bloodstream, providing quick relief and effects. Each method presents a unique way to experience the pure and potent benefits of distillate, catering to various lifestyles and needs.


a syringe of thc distillate


Pros and Cons of Distillate

Distillate’s unique characteristics make it a standout choice for many cannabis users, but as with all products, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider.


  • High potency: Distillate has an exceptionally high THC content, making it one of the most potent cannabis products available. This ensures a powerful and long-lasting effect with just a small amount.
  • Versatile uses: Its odorless and tasteless properties make distillate incredibly versatile. It can be used in:
  • Vape cartridges for a clean and controlled experience
    • Edibles, allowing for precise dosing without impacting flavor
    • Topicals, offering pure, potent cannabinoid application directly to the skin
    • Sublingual drops, providing quick absorption and effects



  • Lack of terpenes: During the distillation process, most terpenes are removed along with impurities. This means distillate lacks the full spectrum of cannabis flavors and aromas, as well as the potential entourage effect that terpenes contribute to.
  • Less complex flavor: Without the terpenes, distillate does not provide the complex flavors and aromas found in products like live resin. This may be a downside for users who enjoy the rich sensory experience associated with cannabis consumption.


The Role of Terpenes in Cannabis Concentrates

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in various plants, including cannabis, where they play a crucial role in shaping the plant’s unique scent and flavor.


In cannabis concentrates, terpenes not only contribute to the sensory experience but also significantly impact the therapeutic effects of the product through a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. This effect suggests that cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) work more effectively when present alongside terpenes, enhancing the overall benefits of cannabis.


Live resin, often chosen for its preservation of terpenes, offers a rich and complex array of flavors and aromatic profiles, closely mimicking the original plant. In contrast, distillates, while boasting high potency, lack these terpenes due to the intensive extraction process, resulting in a less nuanced sensory experience.


This distinction underscores the importance of terpenes in determining the quality, efficacy, and desirability of cannabis concentrates, highlighting the intricate balance between flavor, aroma, and therapeutic potential.



In the dynamic world of cannabis concentrates, distillate and live resin stand out for their unique qualities. If you’re into the rich flavors and aromas of cannabis, live resin is ideal for you. It captures the fresh essence of the cannabis flower, offering a complete sensory experience and the entourage effect.


On the other hand, distillate is known for its purity and high THC content. It’s very powerful and versatile, though it lacks the complex terpene profiles found in live resin.


Choosing the right concentrate depends on your preferences for flavor, aroma, or effects. Both live resin and cannabis distillates offer distinct advantages, and experimenting with both can enhance your cannabis experience.


Whether you prefer the full-spectrum experience of live resin or the potent, clear high of distillate is entirely up to you! So, here’s to finding your perfect cannabis extract…


a green cannabis leaf against a light pink background


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are live resin carts healthier?

Live resin carts are often perceived as a healthier option because they retain more of the natural terpenes found in cannabis, which may contribute to the entourage effect and potentially offer a more therapeutic experience. However, the overall health impact depends on individual use patterns and the quality of the product.


2. Does live resin carts move faster?

If by “move faster” you mean whether they are absorbed or take effect more quickly, the answer is not necessarily. The absorption rate and onset time depend more on the consumption method (vaping, for example) rather than the concentrate type (live resin).


3. What is the difference between live terpenes and live resin?

Live terpenes refer specifically to the aromatic oils extracted from fresh cannabis plants, without processing into a concentrate. Live resin, on the other hand, is a type of cannabis concentrate that retains these terpenes because the plant material is frozen immediately after harvest and kept frozen throughout the extraction process.


4. What does live resin mean in carts?

Live resin in carts means that the vape cartridge is filled with a concentrate made from live resin, ensuring that the final product maintains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes from the fresh cannabis plant, providing a richer flavor and aroma compared to other types of concentrates.