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What is Live Resin? A Guide to the Terpene Gold Mine

By Jeffrey M.

Aug 14, 2023

What is Live Resin?

You are probably asking yourself, “what is live resin anyway?” Live resin is a popular cannabis concentrate known for its potent aroma and flavor profile. It is highly sought after by cannabis enthusiasts for its high terpene content, making it one of the most canna-flavorful concentrates available on the market. In this article, we will explore what live resin is, how it is made, its benefits, and how to consume it.


How is Live Resin Made?

Unlike other cannabis concentrates that are made from dried and cured cannabis flower, live resin is made from fresh, flash-frozen cannabis plants. The key to producing live resin is to preserve the delicate terpenes, which are responsible for the unique flavors and aromas of different cannabis strains. Strain differentiation, strain effects, and the aromatic preferences of each strain have become huge cannabis market contributors in recent years, which makes live resin a top choice in the world of concentrates (extracted cannabis oil.)


The process of making live resin begins with selecting high-quality cannabis plants at their peak ripeness. These plants are immediately harvested and frozen to preserve their terpene profile. Freezing the plant helps to prevent the loss of volatile terpenes that would otherwise evaporate during the drying and curing process.


Once the plants are frozen, they are then processed using a solvent-based extraction method, such as butane or propane. The low temperatures used during extraction help to preserve the terpenes and prevent them from degrading. This results in a concentrate that retains the full spectrum of flavors and aromas found in the original plant material.


After extraction, the solvent is purged from the concentrate through a process called vacuum purging, leaving behind a pure, highly aromatic live resin.


Terpene Preservation

One of the main advantages of live resin is its exceptional terpene preservation. Terpenes are organic compounds found in cannabis and other plants that contribute to their distinct smell and taste. They also interact with other cannabinoids to produce different effects. By preserving the terpenes through the flash-freezing and low-temperature extraction process, live resin captures the full essence of the original cannabis strain.


Terpenes not only enhance the overall sensory experience but also play a crucial role in the entourage effect. The entourage effect refers to the synergistic interaction between cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds in cannabis, which is believed to enhance its therapeutic potential.

Live Resin vs. Distillate

While both live resin and distillate are cannabis concentrates, they differ in their production methods and overall composition. Live resin focuses on preserving the natural flavors and aromas of the cannabis plant, while distillate aims for a highly purified and potent THC extract.


Live resin retains a higher terpene content, resulting in a more flavorful and aromatic concentrate. On the other hand, distillate is known for its high THC potency, often reaching upwards of 90% or more. Another important distinction between the two concentrates is their viscosity. Live resin has a thick, sugary-syrup consistency while distillate typically presents as a more translucent liquid-like oil.


The extraction process for live resin and distillate differs in several ways. Live resin extraction starts with freshly harvested cannabis plants that are immediately flash-frozen to preserve the terpene and cannabinoid content. The frozen plant material is then extracted under lower temperature closed-loop conditions using solvents like butane or propane, resulting in a concentrate that captures the true essence of the strain. On the other hand, distillate extraction involves treating dried and cured cannabis material with solvents such as ethanol or CO2 to remove the cannabinoids. This process focuses on isolating and purifying specific cannabinoids, primarily THC or CBD, resulting in a highly potent and refined concentrate. While both methods utilize solvents, live resin extraction emphasizes terpene preservation with the fresh plants and closed-loop low temp process, offering a more nuanced and flavorful experience. Distillate extraction, on the other hand, prioritizes cannabinoid isolation and potency. These differences in approach result in distinct concentrate profiles, catering to different preferences and consumption needs.


The Benefits of Live Resin

The main benefit of live resin lies in its rich terpene profile, which enhances the overall sensory experience and provides a more well-rounded high. The combination of cannabinoids and terpenes present in live resin creates a complex and nuanced effect that many users find more enjoyable compared to other concentrates.


Additionally, the entourage effect resulting from the intact terpene profile in live resin is believed to have synergistic therapeutic benefits.

How to Consume Live Resin

There are several ways to consume live resin, depending on personal preference and availability. The most common methods include:


  1. Dabbing: Dabbing involves heating a small amount of live resin on a heated surface, typically a nail or banger, and inhaling the vapor produced. This method provides quick and potent effects.
  2. Vaporizing: Live resin can also be consumed using a vaporizer designed for concentrates. We have discussed in detail how to use a live resin vape pen in a separate blog post. 
  3. Edibles: Live resin can be incorporated into homemade edibles by infusing it into oils or fats that are used in cooking or baking. This allows for a more discreet and longer-lasting experience. Distillate is usually preferred over live resin in edibles due to the strong cannabis-like flavor that will remain present in Live Resin (unless such flavor is preferred by the consumer!
  4. Topicals: Some manufacturers create topical products, such as creams or balms, infused with live resin. These topicals are applied directly to the skin and provide localized relief.


When consuming live resin, it is essential to start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed. Due to its high potency, it is easy to overconsume, especially for those new to concentrates.


Is it Legal?

The legality of live resin may depend on the jurisdiction you are in. In regions where cannabis is legal for recreational or medicinal use, live resin derived from cannabis can often be purchased from licensed dispensaries. However, in areas where cannabis is illegal, live resin is considered an illicit substance. If the cannabis plant contains low enough Delta-9-THC, it is considered hemp, in which case live resin would be considered legal if the final product created with the extract contains less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC. Vape cartridges and other products types made with hemp / CBD live resin can be legally purchased online with shipping to most USA states.


It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations regarding cannabis, Delta-9-THC, Delta-8-THC, and hemp products in your area before purchasing or using live resin.


In conclusion, live resin is a highly coveted cannabis concentrate known for its exceptional terpene preservation and rich flavors. Made from fresh, flash-frozen cannabis plants, live resin captures the true essence of the strain in a concentrated form. Its distinct aroma and taste, coupled with the entourage effect of cannabinoids and terpenes, provide a unique and enjoyable experience for cannabis enthusiasts.


Compared to other concentrates like distillate, live resin stands out for its higher terpene content and thicker sugary consistency. While distillate offers high potency, and the ability to manually add botanical terpenes for strong fruity profiles, live resin offers a more well-rounded and nuanced effect due to the intact terpene profile. This makes it a preferred choice for those seeking an enhanced sensory experience and potential therapeutic benefits.


The legal status of live resin varies depending on local regulations regarding cannabis, and whether the live resin is derived from a strain with low enough delta-9-THC (hemp). In regions where cannabis is legal, live resin can be found in licensed dispensaries for recreational or medicinal use. However, in areas where cannabis is illegal, live resin is considered an illicit substance, unless hemp-derived.


When it comes to consumption, live resin offers various options, including dabbing, vaporizing, incorporating into edibles, or using topically. Each method provides a different experience and allows users to customize their consumption based on personal preferences.


Live resin is a remarkable cannabis concentrate that showcases the natural flavors and aromas of the plant. With its terpene preservation, potent effects, and diverse consumption methods, live resin has gained popularity among cannabis enthusiasts. Whether you are seeking a flavorful experience or potential therapeutic benefits, live resin offers a unique and captivating journey into the world of cannabis concentrates.


Please note that the information provided in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical or legal advice. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional or legal expert regarding cannabis use and regulations in your specific jurisdiction.



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