What’s the Difference Between Distillate & Live Resin?

on December 4, 2020

Just recently developed in 2013, the process of using live resin has quickly captured the cannabis community as being one of the most highly revered concentrates. Meanwhile, the marijuana distillate has been a go-to for many edibles connoisseurs.


Distillate and live resin medical cannabis are polar opposites in the way they are derived, causing a completely different result for you as the user. But that isn’t the only difference between the two marijuana concentrates.


So let’s get to it: what’s the difference between distillate and live resin cannabis? 

PRODUCTION: LIVE RESIN VS. DISTILLATE

Live resin is produced by harvesting a live marijuana plant, then immediately flash freezing it. Finally, a professional will use lab-grade equipment to extract liquid resin from the cannabis right away.  


Conversely, distillates are produced by starting with marijuana at room temperature and combining either CO2, butane, or ethanol. Then, the mixture is distilled using heat, steam, and pressure.

GOAL: LIVE RESIN VS. DISTILLATE

The goal of live resin creation is to keep 100% of the terpenes intact. By keeping the plant frozen and “live” during the production process, this ensures the best possible terpene preservation.


But when it comes to distillates, the theory behind the concentrate is to create the highest amount of pure THC, which means removing as many impurities as possible.

PROFILE: LIVE RESIN VS. DISTILLATE

Terpenes include all the active compounds that give cannabis its flavor, aroma, and effects. With terpenes left untouched, live resin has the full spectrum of its original fresh plant profile.


Since distillates prioritize a stronger and more pure concentrate, the final product is less flavorful than its live resin counterpart. However, it’s ideal for those cannabis users who are looking for the stronger concentrate.

EFFECTS: LIVE RESIN VS. DISTILLATE

With levels of THC in live resin ranging from 20 – 50%, this concentrate will give you a subtle psychoactive high.


Meanwhile, with THC levels of 60 – 95% in distillate, you’ll get a much more intense high. 

CONSUMPTION: LIVE RESIN VS. DISTILLATE

Since creating live resin involves a cold process, the concentrate needs to be heated in some way to be consumed. One of the most popular ways to use live resin is by dabbing, but there are also now vape pens that can be used to consume it.


When it comes to distillates, edibles are ideal since much of the flavor has been removed throughout the production process.

AT A GLANCE: LIVE RESIN VS. DISTILLATE

CategoryLive ResinDistillate
ProductionFlash frozen and extractedCombined with CO2, butane, or ethanol, then distilled with heat, steam, and/or pressure
GoalPreserve terpenesPure THC
ProfileFull spectrum of flavors and effectsLess flavorful, very strong 
Effects20 – 50% THC; subtle high60 – 95% THC; intense high
(Common) ConsumptionDabbingEdibles


In short, those looking for a subtle high with more natural flavors should choose a live resin, while those looking for a stronger high and less concern for flavor should go with the distillate.


At Hive Medicinal, we’d love to help with your medical marijuana needs as your local Maine dispensary. Take a look at our current products or, better yet, stop by in person!

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