Shatter vs. Live Resin

Cannabis shatter with a glass dabbing tool

Nowadays, there is a lot of different options of cannabis concentrates and ways to obtain them. Now cannabis concentrates present practically a world apart for cannabis lovers who go crazy to know more and try for themselves better and more refined ways of enjoying the natural compounds of cannabis in its purest form.

This article will delve into two specific forms of cannabis concentrates widely popular worldwide, Live Resin vs. Shatter. Although both types of concentrate come from a process applied to cannabis known as BHO, they have significant differences that can make some users lean more towards one than the other. Which is better? Read a little more about the characteristics of each of these cannabis concentrates and decide for yourself which is the best option for you. 

Without further ado, let’s learn a little more about the difference between Live Resin and Shatter and how each one of them enhances your smoking experience.


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How is Live Resin Made?

The term “live resin” is the name given to a type of concentrate obtained from cannabis that is instant-frozen immediately after being harvested. Kind Bill, the creator of the live resin, called it this way since this type of concentrate preserves most of the plant’s active components and, therefore, smells exactly like the live flower. This type of concentrate is also often known as BHO (butane hash oil) since chemical substances or solvents such as butane, propane, CO2, or some combination of them is what processors use to obtain live resin.

These solvents separate the cannabinoid-laden trichomes from the rest of the plant matter, creating something known as “butane soup” that is collected and then processed to separate the butane from the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis. After this, the processors purify the resulting product to remove any residual solvents.

It is good to highlight that the slight variations in some parts of this purification process give rise to the different types of cannabis concentrates that we know today. This tends to generate a bit of confusion for users since, in general, the term live resin is the name given to a finished product already on the shelf. But in fact, the actual live resin is the product obtained immediately after extraction.

Processors then practice a series of post-processing techniques to obtain the desired end product. What we generally know as live resin would be more appropriately called “sugar,” which is nothing more than wax with crystals, giving that grainy or sugary look. Nevertheless, you can obtain a diverse variety of products from live resin, such as:

  • Pull & Snap or Shatter
  • Badder
  • Wax
  • Sugar
  • Sauce
  • Crystals

How is Shatter Made?

Shatter is one of the forms that BHO can take. It is a type of cannabis concentrate usually translucent and with colors ranging from bright honey amber to a darker yellow similar to olive oil. The consistency of the shatter is usually hard, although the texture may vary depending on the process used. 

The method used to produce shatter is very similar to that used to obtain BHO or live resin. The difference is mainly in the post-processing technique used to obtain the final texture and appearance of the shatter. Thus, processors usually use butane as a solvent to obtain shatter, as CO2 dries the moisture out of the plant matter, depriving the shatter of its distinctive appearance. 

Getting the shatter is mostly a matter of pressure and temperature during the shatter purge. Ultra-low temperatures and a precise pressure applied are what give shatter its distinctive translucent, glass-like appearance. To obtain shatter, processors usually apply temperatures of between 85 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, along with a pressure of -29 inches of mercury (inHg) for a period of 8 to 24 hours.

How To Consume Concentrates?

Cannabis concentrates today present various options that cannabis connoisseurs can choose from. If you are a cannabis enthusiast, perhaps the way you consume concentrates may be slightly different from what you are used to. However, adding a little badder, shatter, or hemp wax to your traditional joint is entirely valid to give it a different spin. 

Definitely, each type of concentrate has an ideal way to consume it. But, unless you choose a concentrate in edible form, some kind of balsam or cannabic topical, or cannabinoids in capsules, the best way to consume cannabis concentrates is to smoke them. However, there are different ways to achieve this.

For example, let’s say you have some live resin or shatter with you, and you wonder, ‘how to consume concentrates?’ The answer is very simple and is divided into two options: vaping or dabbing.

Vape Concentrates

Vaping is one of the most popular ways to consume concentrates today. It presents users with a convenient, simple, and sometimes discreet option to enjoy the benefits of cannabis virtually anywhere, as long as it does not imply a hassle for someone else. 

When you vape, you heat the cannabinoids in your concentrate to the point where they release their therapeutic vapors, thus allowing you to inhale them. To achieve this, you only need a tool known as a concentrate-friendly vaping pen or vaporizer, fill the vaping chamber, turn on the device, and wait for it to heat up to the desired or ideal temperature to vape your concentrate.

Vape pens can be disposable or reusable. In general, the ideal ones for vaping live resin or shatter are reusable, specifically concentrate-friendly ones. Some reusable vaping pens work with pre-filled cartridges or only with cannabis vaping juice and do not come equipped with the system and voltage necessary to vape concentrates in their solid form. Therefore, if you are thinking of acquiring a vaping pen to enjoy your concentrates in it, make sure that it is indicated to vape concentrates in solid form.

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Dab Concentrate 

Dabbing would practically not exist if it weren’t for cannabis concentrates. And it’s such a popular way to enjoy cannabis these days that you now see dab rigs posing on dispensary shelves alongside bongs and hand pipes. 

To dab, you just need to heat the bowl or “banger” of your dab rig with the help of a butane or propane torch until it is red hot. This will allow that, once you place your concentrate in the banger with the help of your stick tool, it quickly reaches its boiling point, thus releasing the vapor full of cannabinoids that you are going to smoke.

In addition to traditional dab rigs, there is also an option known as an E-nail, which eliminates the need for a torch. E-nails are dab rigs that come with a voltage box from where you can regulate the temperature to which the resistor connected to the banger heats up. This resistance brings the banger to the ideal point so that the concentrate will boil as soon as you put it on the nail.

However, we must highlight that the ideal dabbing temperature will depend on several factors, especially the type of concentrate you want to dab and whether it is liquid or solid. Cannabis concentrates in their liquid form usually have boiling temperatures lower than that of solid concentrates.

Difference Between Live Resin And Shatter

Although they are both BHO, live resin and shatter have characteristics that make them quite different. However, these differences lie primarily in their appearance. In principle, live resin and shatter are almost the same types of concentrate, only with a different final finish due mainly to post-processing techniques applied to achieve the appearance and desired final texture.

As we already mentioned, the most significant difference between shatter and live resin is the appearance. On one side, you have the shatter, a type of concentrate that maintains its crystal structure, creating an almost transparent translucent final product with a bright amber color. On the other hand, what most people know as living resin, which is actually sugar wax, is a type of concentrate that has lost its crystal structure due to agitation during the purging process. Therefore, it does not allow you to see through him. In turn, the living resin has a sugar-like appearance generated by small crystallizations of trichomes. 

THC Levels

Regarding THC levels, as we are actually talking about two different types of BHO, these levels will be practically the same. They will depend mainly on the strain or raw material used to obtain the concentrate. Although THC-dominant concentrates are generally the most popular on the shelves, we should mention that both shatter and live resin can also be CBD. It all depends on the raw material used to obtain the desired final product. 

Nevertheless, live resin can feel overall more potent than other concentrates as it retains more cannabis active components like terpenes and flavonoids, which generate the popular entourage effect. All terpenes and flavonoids working along with cannabinoids make the effects of consuming live resin feel more full-bodied than shatter.

Terpene Levels

When it comes to terpenes, living resin definitely has the upper hand. This is because the process used to obtain the shatter completely destroys the terpenes and flavonoids and leaves the THC in a more pure or isolated state. Therefore, live resin can also be more flavorful and aromatic than shatter as the first one preserves the smell and taste of the living plant. It is one of the great attractions of this type of concentrate.


The texture of live resin may vary a little depending on the processing it receives. Still, it is usually a bit waxy and, in some cases, like medium-diluted sugar. On the contrary, shatter has a hard-candy to translucent gummy appearance and depending on the applied process, it can sometimes be a bit more malleable and sometimes more brittle.