Live Resin vs Rosin vs Distillate

Live resin, rosin, and distillate are all THC extracts but have important differences.

Read on to learn more!

cannabis plants and oil tinctures on a white table

Key Takeaways

  • Live resin, live rosin, and distillate are all THC extracts
  • Live resin and live rosin are made using fresh (“live”) cannabis flowers that are flash-frozen at harvest
  • Live resin uses an extraction process that includes chemical solvents like butane, while live rosin uses an all-natural, solventless process
  • Both live rosin and resin retain the natural terpenes and flavonoids of the cannabis plant that can improve its therapeutic effects
  • Distillate is produced using the dried flower and isolates cannabinoids from the other plant compounds, making it extremely versatile
  • Like live resin, distillate is produced using chemical solvents like butane
  • Distillate is the most widely available and typically the least expensive of the three

What Is Live Resin?

Live resin is a cannabis concentrate that is made by flash-freezing fresh cannabis flowers at harvest and extracting the plant's chemical profile using solvents like butane or carbon dioxide. This concentrate is named after the fresh—or live—cannabis flower used to create it. Unlike distillate, live resin retains the natural terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds that can improve the cannabis high and provide potential therapeutic benefits. This is also known as “the entourage effect.”

The entourage effect is a principle that explains how the active chemicals in cannabis work together to influence the body's response. This can lead to different outcomes depending on the combination of compounds. For instance, CBD can prevent some of the infrequent side effects of THC, such as increased hunger and anxiety, by preventing THC from interacting with receptors in the body. Studies have shown that consuming CBD, terpenes, and flavonoids together (as found in live resin or rosin products) can provide better pain reduction and anti-inflammatory effects than CBD alone.

Distillate products, which isolate a single compound, can create more intense overall effects, while live resin products have a greater emphasis on aroma and flavor with more subtle reactions. However, both live resin and distillate products can be influenced by the entourage effect, which can adjust the overall experience depending on the mix of compounds.

One difference between distillate, which is clear and odorless, is that live resin has a loose consistency, golden color, and herbal aroma. It typically contains a lower THC content than distillate but is rich in terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds that depend on the strain used.

Many cannabis consumers prefer live resin vs distillate because it tastes and feels similar to smoking actual flower, making it a delicacy among concentrates. It can be smoked, vaped, dabbed, or added to topicals for a potentially therapeutic experience. However, it can be more expensive compared to distillate due to the labor-intensive process of preserving the plant's chemical profile.

What Is Live Rosin?

Live rosin is produced similarly to live resin, using live plant matter instead of cured cannabis. The process to extract rosin is different and more labor-intensive, however. After harvest, the plant matter can be placed in an ice bath and then filtered through a series of various-sized micron bags. This process refines the material and isolates the THC-containing trichomes, with the remaining material eventually becoming bubble hash after drying. Like live resin, rosin includes the terpenes and flavonoids removed during the process of creating distillate, potentially enhancing the entourage effect.

To create live rosin, the dried bubble hash is pressed using a machine that applies heat and pressure. One difference from live resin is that this all-natural process produces the rosin without the use of butane or other chemicals. Because of this, rosin is often considered a superior—and more costly—product than resin or distillate.

What Is Distillate?

Distillate is a potent cannabis concentrate that is created when a cannabinoid, like THC, is extracted and isolated from plant compounds. It is highly regarded for its versatility and potency, and is one of the most common cannabis concentrates available today.

To produce distillate, dried and cured cannabis is extracted into oil, which is then distilled through a process that vaporizes crude cannabis oil. High heat is used to separate the cannabinoids from other plant materials and compounds, creating a nearly translucent, tasteless, and odorless liquid that is ideal for use in edibles and vape cartridges.

Distillate is highly potent due to its high cannabinoid content, but it can lack the potential therapeutic benefits that other cannabis compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, may provide. Terpenes are responsible for the unique flavors and effects of different cannabis strains, and can be added to distillate concentrates to create specific flavor profiles. Additionally, other cannabinoids can be added to distillate to achieve different therapeutic effects.

While distillate can be used in a variety of ways, including smoking, vaping, dabbing, and even sublingual administration, it may not provide the full range of benefits that other cannabis concentrates, like live resin or rosin, can offer through the entourage effect.

Distillate vs Resin vs Rosin 

As you can see, these three have some core similarities as well as some important differences. Distillate is more common and can offer a better value proposition for anyone looking to get the highest cannabinoid content, while live resin and rosin both retain the various plant compounds and properties that can maximize the entourage effect and maintain the natural flavor and smell of the plant they are derived from.

Reading next

a person holding a piece of candy in a flying aeroplane backdrop
a yellow beach cabana on a florida beach