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

distillate vs live resin
By Halla Mannering Updated March 8th

Fact-checked by Deb Tharp

When it comes to cannabis options, the creation process and extraction method1 can have a significant effect on the high they provide. Among cannabis concentrates, many people wonder whether they should pick a live resin or distillate option.

In this article, we discuss the differences between the two, as well as their relative pros and cons.

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What is Live Resin?

Live resin is a concentrated form of cannabis that results from freezing fresh flower and then putting it through an extraction process that utilizes a solvent, such as ethanol or butane. Because the cannabis is rapidly frozen, the plant’s properties are preserved, and its terpene profile is protected.

There are different types of live resin, including sugar, sap, and sauce. Live resin is typically consumed through vaping or dabbing. It’s also possible to use it in combination with a bowl or blunt.

Because live reason retains the plant’s complete terpene profile, it can provide an enhanced experience and a stronger high. This option is different from other concentrates2 because it preserves the flower to a higher degree and relies on low temperatures along with a solvent for the extraction process.

If you’ve heard of live rosin, you may be wondering if it’s the same as live resin. Live rosin and live resin are two completely different things. Live resin uses fresh cannabis, solvents, and very low temperatures, while live rosin doesn’t use any solvents in the extraction process.

What is Distillate?

live resin

Distillate, also known as liquid gold, is a type of cannabinoid concentrate with a more complicated extraction process than other options available. Distillate has an extraction process similar to other products, but adds one extra step. By heating the mixture and causing vaporization, a specific cannabinoid can be separated from the rest of the compounds.

The final distillate product is lighter in color once the process is completed and is as pure as it can possibly be. A THC distillate is plainly, simply, nearly completely pure THC. Distillates are extremely concentrated, and their specific effects will depend on the original strain.

If you’re an experienced cannabis user and are looking to upgrade your experience, then a distillate could be the right solution. Distillates are typically only recommended for those very familiar with cannabis.

Live Resin vs. Distillate: How Are They Different?

Live Resin vs. Distillate:

It can be confusing to understand the differences between live resin and distillate, but there are a few notable things that set them apart from one another.

The extraction process for each product is different. Live resin products involve freezing the plant and then continuing the extraction steps, while distillate takes the concentration process one step further by then heating it back up and isolating a specific cannabinoid.

If you want a higher THC content, then distillate might be right for you. Another difference is the amount of terpenes preserved in each process. While live resin does contain terpenes, distillates do not.

When it comes to live resin vs distillate, both can be smoked off the top of a bowl. Many people find this is a convenient method of consumption; they can add into their cannabis routine. 

Live resin is a full-spectrum extract, while distillate is not. If you’re trying to decide between distillate vs live resin and want a comprehensive terpene profile, then live resin is probably right for you. Because distillate is not full-spectrum, it’s less likely to induce the entourage effect that live resin does.

Pros and Cons of Using Live Resin

live resin pros

There are so many reasons why live resin is a great option for cannabis users. Live resin is a comprehensive option that allows you to get the wide variety of benefits cannabis provides. If you have cannabis experience but aren’t ready for the full effects of distillate, then live resin could be the perfect option. While it can depend on where you’re located, live resin is typically more available than distillate, and it’s also going to be more budget-friendly.

Because of the terpenes that remain in live resin, it does have a smell when smoked. Some people have no problem with this smell, but for others that live in an apartment or somewhere where smoking isn’t encouraged, it can be a deterrent to selecting this option. Some people choose options other than live resin because they’re looking for a longer and stronger high than it can provide.

Pros and Cons of Using Distillate

Due to its elevated THC content, distillate will get you high… really high. It doesn’t have a smell and is extremely pure, which can impact your cannabis experience. Distillate goes through a very specific creation process, which can provide some people with peace of mind and the assurance that they’re getting a more refined product.

When it comes to distillate vs live resin, the former is only recommended for those comfortable with cannabis and aware of how they experience its effects. Distillate is typically more expensive and can be more difficult to find in dispensaries. Some don’t prefer distillate because it can be incredibly challenging to manage doses, something that can have a significant impact on your cannabis experience.

Live Resin vs Distillate: Which Should You Choose?

distillate vs live resin

There has not been much research to specifically examine the benefits of live resin vs distillate. However, there are some studies that have found the advantages of specific terpenes, which suggests that live resin could be a good option if you’re looking for specific benefits. 

For many medical cannabis users, distillates are an appealing option because of their stronger effects and longer-lasting highs. Many medical marijuana patients are looking to get the most out of the money they spend, so distillates can be an effective way to do that.

Live Resin vs Distillate FAQ

If you have questions about live resin and distillate, you’re not alone. There’s a lot to learn about these extracts, and it can be overwhelming when you first dive into all the information available. Here are some commonly asked questions about live resin vs distillate.

Which one is cheaper? 

Live resin is typically cheaper than distillate, but it’s still not the most budget-friendly option compared to other cannabis products. Extracts tend to be more expensive, but that makes sense because of their high concentrations of cannabinoids.

Which is more potent? 

Distillate is more potent than live resin. It can be difficult to understand the dosage of specific distillates, so speak with a dispensary employee if you have questions about the specific product you’re purchasing.

Which one provides a longer-lasting high? 

Distillates provide a longer-lasting high than live resin does, which some people prefer. However, if you want a quick cannabis session, distillate is most likely not going to provide the length of results you’re looking for.

Does live resin or distillate smell better? 

The answer to this depends on whether or not you like the smell of cannabis. Live resin will have a smell similar to smoking flower, whereas distillate won’t have any smell.

Which product is best if I haven’t tried cannabis before?

Neither! If you’re new to using cannabis, consider opting for an option that isn’t a concentrate. It may be overwhelming if you start with a concentrate product, and that could result in having a “bad” high. While live resin would technically be better than distillate in this situation, neither of them are ideal and most likely shouldn’t be considered for new users.

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How can I know if live resin is safe to use? 

In general, it’s safest to purchase products from a reputable, trusted brand. Doing research about a company can be a great way to make sure you feel comfortable using their products.

Could I have a bad experience using live resin or distillate?

As with all cannabis products, there is a possibility you could have a bad high. The best ways to reduce the chances of having a bad high are to make sure you’re using a quality product, know the dosage you’re consuming, and have adequate experience with cannabis before trying a concentrate.


1 Lazarjani, Masoumeh Pourseyed, Owen Young, Lidya Kebede, and Ali Seyfoddin. 2021. “Processing and Extraction Methods of Medicinal Cannabis: A Narrative Review.” Journal of Cannabis Research 3 (1).

2 “Exploring Cannabis Concentrates on the Legal Market: User Profiles, Product Strength, and Health-Related Outcomes.” 2018. Addictive Behaviors Reports 8 (December): 102–6.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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