Concentrated cannabis oil comes in various forms, including THC distillates, CO2 oil, and live resin. Read below to learn more about live resin cartridges and whether they are the best solution to your vaping needs.
Live resin is extracted by freezing and processing live cannabis plants, hence the term ‘live’ in the name. The process begins right after the buds and sugar leaves are harvested, flash-frozen by either dipping the material into an insulated cylinder of liquid nitrogen or by placing it in a cooler of dry ice. The live resin is then extracted by passing butane or other solvents through the material, releasing the trichomes. The mixture is then heated in order to vaporize and remove the solvent, after which the live resin is cooled and condensed back into liquid.
Unlike in distillates, the process is gentler, so all the different compounds found in cannabis plants are preserved. They work in live resin to create an ‘entourage effect’, which allows for a pleasant yet intense high despite its lower percentage of THC. More importantly, however, live resin maintains the aromatic terpenes and cannabinoids, giving cannabis its unique natural flavors, making it a full-spectrum extract. This means you could taste the original plant with every hit, and there is as wide a range of live resin cartridges as there are cannabis plants.
The variety of live resin concentrates may differ in appearance and viscosity depending on the strain of the source plants. They range from light gold to deep amber in color based on their terpene content and from thinner and more fluid concentrates like sap and sugar to thicker concentrates like sauce. The concentrates with lesser viscosity lend themselves better to vaping. Live resin products can be composed of pure live resin or live resin blends, the latter of which is mixed with additives and diluents to make it more conducive to vaping.
On the other hand, the lack of heating in the process means the cannabinoids are not activated. Unlike distillates, ingesting live resin would not get you high. To gain the psychoactive effects, you can heat it by vaping or dabbing, but vaping is by far the more convenient method. Live resin is best stored away from heat, light, moisture, and open-air in order to preserve its strength and flavor. An airtight and lightproof container can keep the cannabinoids from degrading and the terpenes evaporating. Of course, high-quality vape cartridges, usually made of glass, metal, or ceramic, readily provide this protection.
By last year, the sale of live resin cartridges had climbed sharply in California, forming 29% of vape units sold, up from 12% in 2019, and generating $136 million in revenue. It also makes up 28% of vape units sold in Oregon (up from 9%) and 5% in Nevada (up from less than 1%). Due to their perceived higher quality and popularity among cannabis connoisseurs, live resin often comes at a premium compared to CO2 and distillates. The average price of live resin is around $35 and $80 per gram, with the high-end variety approaching $100 per gram. The mouth-watering flavorful vapor of live resin is entirely worth it for many.