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Live Resin vs. Distillate: What’s the Difference?

Ethan Parker

Written by: Ethan Parker

Updated on May 1, 2024

Live Resin vs. Distillate: What’s the Difference?

In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis products, there are two terms that we frequently hear, cannabis distillate and live resin. The terms may sound a little scientific for new vapers. However, they are not, whereas understanding them and their difference is crucial for people navigating the world of cannabis consumption.

The terms live resin and distillate represent two different extraction methods of cannabis. These distinct extraction methods yield unique products with their own sets of characteristics, benefits, and applications.

In this article, CiliconPlus, a reputable manufacturer of vape cartridges, vape pens, and other vaping products is diving into the world of live resins and cannabis distillates. Keep reading to explore what sets them apart and how they contribute to the diverse array of options available to cannabis enthusiasts.

What is Live Resin and How Is It Extracted?

Live Resin

Live resin is a widely used cannabis concentrate known for its high potency, aroma, robust flavor profile, and mature levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Unlike traditional cannabis concentrates which are made from dried and cured cannabis flowers, live resin is extracted from fresh flash-frozen cannabis flowers. As soon as the Cananbis flowers are plucked from the garden they immediately go into the freezers. This is done to lock in the goodness of the garden and freshness in the cannabis flower. This special preservation of the plant’s natural compounds at their peak freshness is what distinguishes live resin from other concentrates.

Live resin has nearly the same characteristics as raw cannabis. It is because of the freezing process, as the final product includes sugar leaves.

The extraction process for live resin involves flash-freezing the freshly harvested cannabis flowers as soon as they are plucked from the fields, to lock in the delicate cannabinoids and terpenes before they have a chance to degrade. Once frozen with a special method that uses liquid nitrogen or other cryogenic stuff to freeze cannabis quickly, the cannabis material is then processed using solvents like butane or propane in a closed-loop extraction system. This low-temperature extraction method helps retain the authentic flavor and volatile terpenes of cannabinoids present in the plant. It results in a cannabis concentrate that captures the essence of the original strain.

Pros of Live Resin

Enhanced Flavor and Aroma

The most attractive characteristic of live resin is its enhanced flavor and aroma. It promotes a rich and complex flavor profile, with an aroma that closely mimics the scent of the original cannabis strain. This is due to the preservation of terpenes, a chemical compound responsible for the plant’s distinctive scent and flavor.

High Cannabinoid Content

Another excellent characteristic of live resin is its high levels of cannabinoids, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

Full Spectrum Experience

Live resin offers a full spectrum of effects. It may include medicinal benefits such as pain relief, relaxation, and mood elevation.

Versatility in Consumption

Live resin can be consumed in various ways. Including dabbing, vaporizing, or incorporating it into edibles.

Cons of Live Resin

Complex Extraction Process

Live resin has a really complex extraction process. It requires careful handling of solvents like butane and propane. Hence, it requires experience and appropriate handling and should not be tried by inexperienced at home.


It is costly due to the process and raw material requirements.


In its original form, live resin can be of a little too high potency for some people.

Limited Availability

Because the whole live resin product is based on fresh cannabis flowers, its availability can be limited. Especially where fresh cannabis plant material is prohibited by the government.

What is a Distillate Cart?


In simple terms, a distillate cart is an e-cartridge filled with distillate weed oil.

The process of cannabis distillation starts with separating a particular cannabinoid from the cannabis. The process of distillation also separates out the non-cannabinoid material like terpenes and flavonoids. It leaves a pure and potent oil. However, terpenes and nanovoids are added back to achieve the flavor and aroma during vaping.

What makes distillates amazing for cannabis cooking is their non-weedy taste and smell. One can easily benefit from its therapeutic and psychoactive benefits without getting that weedy smell in whatever they are used in. This is only applicable when trepenes and flavonoids are not added back to the oil which is usually done for vaping use.

The process of making cannabis distillates takes longer than the live resin extraction process. However, the product achieved through this process is highly versatile. It offers to refine the distillate cartridges to the desired and specific cannabinoids and/or THC levels.

Pros of Distillate Cart


The boldest feature of the distillate cart is its discreetness. It resembles vape pens and produces minimal odor.

High Potency

Distillate cartridges are popular for their high potency and specific cannabinoids. They are often available with 90% or above THC content. Their high level of potency makes it ideal for those looking for intense and lasting effects.


There is a wide range of distinct potencies and flavors of distillate cartridges available. It provides users with a good number of products to choose from according to their personal preferences.

Cons of Distillate Cart

Entourage Effect

Due to their extraction process, distillate cartridges lack some essential plant compounds and often contain purified THC content. It means that the users have to compromise on synergistic effects known as the entourage effect, which is well-spoken for increasing the therapeutic effects and benefits of cannabis.

Artificial Flavoring

The distillate cartridges come with artificial flavorings to enhance the taste and aroma of the vapes. This artificial flavoring could be harsh and undesirable for some. However, they can always ask for products that are free from artificial flavoring.


Distillate cartridges demand compatible batteries. Also the consumption devices of certain quality. The users have always kept an eye on battery levels to ensure the smooth working of vaporizers. This can be inconvenient when traveling or going somewhere where charging points will not be easily available.

Live Resin vs Distillate: What is the Difference

Live resin and distillate cartridges have been around for quite a long time. Both are cannabis concentrates but undergo two different extraction methods. They have their own benefits and provide a high-quality vaping experience. However, it is crucial to understand their differences.

For general knowledge, we should know that live resin and distillate get their flavors mainly from cannabis plant material and other natural resources. These resources include terpenes, fruits, and on a more advanced level cross-breeding techniques.

But, above in the article, we learned that irrespective of their different extraction process, both live resin and distillate contain solvents, and sometimes artificial flavor too. Then, what is the difference?

So to know further, let’s dive into the debate of live resin vs distillate cartridges to know their key differences.

Extraction Techniques

Both cannabis concentrates, distillate carts, and live resin are extracted from cannabis flowers. The key that produces two different products from the same source is the difference in their extraction process. Live resin concentrates are achieved through flesh-freezing the freshly plucked cannabis flower and then blending those frozen flowers in cold temperatures. The process for extracting distillate is quite different. It involves drying cannabis flowers, extracting oil, and then mixing it with solvents before filling in the e-cartridges.


In their most raw forms after extraction, live resin contains 4-12% of terpenes. On the other hand, distillate cartridges contain no terpenes, because it is separated during the distillation process. Later on, it is re-inserted into the distillate. So, the amount of terpenes that you will get in the distillate may vary and you can have options to select from.

Cannabinoid Content

In live resin cannabis concentrates the THC content typically ranges from 45-95%. It is also packed with CBD, containing up to 90% of the compound. While cannabis distillate concentrated form contains 90-99% of the primary cannabinoids, whether CBD, CBG, CBN, or THC[1].

Aroma and Flavor

As we know nicotine vapes come in many artificial flavors like grape, apple, and mango. On the other hand, cannabis vapes take their aroma and flavor mainly and mostly from terpenes, fruits, and, cross-breeding techniques.

But live resin uses freshly frozen cannabis flowers, so it preserves its original taste immediately after being plucked. It means live resin provides an original, strong aroma of weed. While the distillate cart separates all the components during oil extraction. So, it provides more of a blunt flavor and smell, quite discrete.

Live Resin vs. Distillate: What should I use?

The answer to this question solely relies on the cause you want to use it for. If you want to enjoy it just for vaping, we have described both live resin and distillate cart enough to understand them and select one according to your personal preference.

But, if you still want a comprehensive answer what should you use particularly for casual vaping, live resin, or distillate? so the answer is live resin. It is considered good for vaping as it has the original aroma and taste of weed and relatively lower cannabinoids than distillate concentrate. So, live resin provides you with a blast of original flavor without getting too high.

However, if you want to use it for medicinal use then you might go with distillate carts. They provide control over the amount of cannabinoids and terpenes, as well as they’re quite discrete due to their minimal aroma and taste. So, it will not disturb your daily life with weed’s smell and bold taste, while providing you with maximum benefits.

Live resin vs distillate – which gets you higher?

The answer is distillate! due to its higher content of cannabinoids and THC. The distillate’s high is always stronger than the live resin’s high.

Ethan Parker