What Is Live Resin? Benefits, How to Use It, and More
Article written by
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Cannabis concentrates and extracts are available in many different forms. One of the newer types of concentrates is called live resin, which is extracted from fresh frozen cannabis right after harvest.
Live resin is an increasingly popular concentrate among cannabis consumers as it preserves the plant’s terpenes to deliver a complex, flavorful, and potent experience.
Get Your Medical Card
Connect with a licensed physician online in minutes.
What Is Live Resin?
Live resin is a form of cannabis concentrate created to preserve the unique flavor and aroma of fresh marijuana plants. The concentrate is considered “live” because it’s sourced directly from fresh frozen cannabis. This is different from cured resin, which is produced using dried weed.
To start the process, cannabis is flash or “fresh frozen” at subcritical temperatures using dry ice or a cryogenic freezing machine. The plant is then blasted with a solvent, such as butane or propane, before being pressed. This extraction technique is unique as it skips the curing and drying steps common to many traditional cannabis extracts.
When curing cannabis, trichomes on the plant’s surface are exposed to heat, oxygen, and light for an extended period, which may diminish its terpene content. Terpenes contribute to the unique flavor, aroma, and therapeutic profile of cannabis plants and are found on trichomes — along with other volatile (easily degraded) cannabis compounds.
In fact, studies have found cannabis can lose as much as 55% of its terpene content during the drying and curing process. Drying marijuana also requires multiple rounds of handling that can also damage trichomes.
By omitting these steps and freezing the plant straight after harvest, its flavor and potency are preserved. You can then extract the final product. Live resin is malleable, tacky, and ranges in hue from dark to very light yellow. Live resin can be packaged in jars or added to cannabis cartridges for vape pens.
Live Resin vs. Live Rosin
Here’s where things can get a bit confusing. If you haven’t heard of live rosin, it’s different from live resin — though the two share strong similarities in name, appearance, effects, and flavor.
Both products come from plant matter that has been fresh frozen rather than dried and cured. The two differ in that live resin blends fresh frozen cannabis with a chemical solvent before pressing it, while live rosin is a solventless process.
The use of solvents speeds up the extraction process but requires an additional step. Any chemical solvent must be purged from the extract as it can be dangerous if ingested. Reputable live resin manufacturers abide by strict quality control regulations to ensure no residual solvents are left in the final product.
Live rosin is perceived to be a cleaner, more natural cannabis product. It’s created through a process involving heat, water, and high pressure. The downfall is producing live rosin is more time and energy-intensive. For instance, the extraction process used for live resin yields about 40 pounds per hour compared to the smaller-batch rosin method, which produces about two pounds per hour.
That’s also why live rosin products are generally more expensive than live resin products. Other than how they’re made, both cannabis concentrates are very similar in potency, aroma, and flavor.
How Do You Use Live Resin?
Most cannabis consumers use live resin by dabbing it. If you plan on dabbing, you need a dab tool to handle the concentrate, as it can be super sticky. Dabbing also requires a dab rig, torch, and nail.
Dabs should be inhaled slowly to appreciate the diversity of flavors and aromas. Dabbing at a lower temperature (400-500 F) helps preserve the terpene profile, whereas dabbing at a higher temperature delivers more intense effects.
You can also vape live resin using a dab pen (also known as a wax pen or vaporizer). Note that dab pens are not the same as vape pens; they are specially designed to heat cannabis concentrates.
To use it, live resin is placed in the oven of the dab pen using a special tool. Sometimes you can purchase live resin in a disposable cartridge that’s screwed onto a vaping device. It’s also possible to sprinkle live resin into a joint or a bowl for an extra potent kick.
Regardless of how you choose to use live resin, be sure to store it in a cool place to preserve its consistency and quality. Live resin left in hot temperatures will become runny.
Benefits of Live Resin
Cannabis connoisseurs value live resin for its quality, high potency, and flavor. Live resin also boasts a diverse range of unique advantages.
Preserves Therapeutic Cannabis Compounds
For starters, this type of cannabis concentrate is ultra-flavorful and aromatic compared to other extracts. Those who appreciate the complex terpene flavor profile of cannabis favor live resin as it maintains each plant’s unique scent and taste.
As we mentioned, another major benefit of live resin is the extraction technique. Skipping the drying process protects trichomes, where terpenes and cannabinoids are found. The therapeutic benefits of cannabis are largely locked within these compounds, and safeguarding them through a less intensive extraction process results in a more potent product.
It’s also worth noting that experts suggest terpenes, cannabinoids, and other cannabis compound work together to harmonize the plants’ effects, a phenomenon called the entourage effect. Preserving higher levels of these phytocompounds may amplify this unique effect.
Efficient and Cost-effective
Live resin is a very efficient, cost-effective production process. Unlike other extraction methods that involve drying, curing, and trimming cannabis flower, live resin is created by harvesting plants and freezing them. A solvent is then used to extract the beneficial compounds. Live resin enables producers to create a high-quality concentrate at a competitive price.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
While there are a lot of advantages to live resin, it has some potential risks as well. The production process requires using chemical solvents, which must be thoroughly purged from the extract before consumption.
While reputable manufacturers are scrupulous in ensuring live resin concentrates are cleansed of any chemical residue, less trustworthy operators operating in illegal markets may not properly purge their extracts. Always purchase live resin from a licensed operator and check the brand’s third-party lab tests to ensure products are free from residual solvents.
Another factor to be wary of is the high THC levels in live resin extracts. The THC content in these marijuana concentrates can range from 65-95%. This delivers an extraordinarily potent, long-lasting high; if you haven’t tried live resin extracts before, use caution and check out these tips for beginners.
Get Your Medical Card
Connect with a licensed physician online in minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is live resin stronger than dabs?
Live resin will not necessarily contain a higher concentration of THC than other kinds of dab. However, live resin may deliver a more flavorful, fresher experience than traditional dabs, such as shatter, due to the retention of terpenes.
Is live resin better for you?
Compared with cured resin, live resin boasts a higher terpene content. Terpenes contribute to the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, so in this sense, live resin may be better for you than other forms of cannabis concentrates created using dried flower.
What kind of high do you get from live resin?
Live resin contains up to 95% THC, delivering an extraordinarily long, intense high. Live resin isn’t recommended for those who are only accustomed to smoking cannabis flower.