It seems like such a long time ago now that the market for cannabis products is relatively uniform outside of experimental exceptions. You had your CBD flowers, your Delta 9 THC flowers, vapes, and edibles. Nowadays, we have many more options at our disposal than we used to, and while that’s certainly a good thing, it also sometimes makes things a bit confusing.
Case in point, one increasingly common question in the world of marijuana products is, “What’s the difference between live resin and Delta 8 THC extract?” Today, we answer this question. In fact, we will go further than that, examining what makes Delta 8 and live resin extracts distinct and uniquely suited to different kinds of tastes.
How is Live Resin Made?
A live resin is a relatively new form of cannabis concentrate. In broad terms, live resins were not commercially viable until about a decade ago, and it has only been a few years since they’ve become widely available.
This is a concentrated marijuana extract produced by freezing the live hemp plant immediately after harvesting and then extracting the active ingredients in liquid form using specialized tools. Through this process, we already find some stark contrast to the more common extraction approach, which involves distillation using solvents like ethanol in addition to extreme heat.
With this technique, manufacturers can achieve high quality, but there is always a compromise in terms of the results as certain cannabinoids, terpenes, and other ingredients are inherently lost somewhere along the line.
A live resin, by comparison, is capable of retaining pretty much all of the crucial active ingredients of the cannabis plant since it is made from a live specimen, without extreme heat or the addition of any foreign substances. This makes it much easier to achieve super-highly concentrated extracts because there are never any compromises between potency and the variety or depth of the effects.
What is Delta 8?
Like live resin products, Delta 8 THC has made a name for itself in recent years and has only become more and more widespread on the market. This has led to confusion as to what Delta 8 really is, and what it is not.
In simple words, Delta 8 is a form of THC, similar to but distinct from the Delta 9 THC that we are all used to. When cannabis undergoes decarboxylation, its active ingredients activate into forms that can express their unique effects in the human brain.
Delta 8 causes roughly similar effects to Delta 9 THC, though without many of the side effects such as disorientation or paranoia that some experience. Delta 8 also tends to be a lot less euphoric in nature, with more strongly pronounced relaxing effects – making it a perfect option for medical cannabis users.
Since it naturally exists in minute amounts cannabis plants, it’s difficult to isolate Delta 8 without making a special Delta 8 THC concentrate.
Live Resin vs Delta 8
Now, the image becomes a little bit clearer. Delta 8 and live resins aren’t so much opposite choices on a spectrum; rather, they are inter-related factors to choose from when shopping for cannabis concentrates.
Any concentrate can contain Delta 8, Delta 9, CBD, or some other cannabinoid. Likewise, a concentrate can be a distillate or a live resin. Therefore, the question “are live resins better than Delta 8?” is more likely a slightly poorly-informed rendering of “are Delta 8 live resins better than Delta 8 distillates?”
We can answer the latter directly by comparing the two across the key indicators of potency and quality that matter: terpene levels and THC content.
Terpenes are an incredibly important and sadly often overlooked aspect of cannabis consumption. The right terpene balance is crucial for each strain’s unique properties to unfold. This includes taste, aroma, and mental and psychoactive properties due to the entourage effect.
When making a cannabis extract, particularly a concentrate, one of the top goals is to maximize the number of terpenes that make it into the final product, to have something that can accurately render the way that the live cannabis plant would interact with the user’s psyche.
The very best distillates, utilizing multiple solvents and cross-extraction to maximize terpene retention, can go head-to-head with some live resins in this field. However, especially when you factor in cost, live resins are many times more efficient and reliably provide higher terpene counts across the board.
The very best live resin products can retain up to 100% of the terpenes from the original plant – this is physically impossible to do using a distillation process. This is one of the biggest reasons why live resins have only gotten more and more popular since their introduction.
Obviously, when talking about Delta 8 products, THC levels are one of the foremost measurements of a concentrate’s potency. Higher THC counts mean faster-acting, longer-lasting, and generally more intense effects.
Since Delta 8 is much less likely to cause undesirable side effects compared to Delta 9, there is much less of a need these days to shy away from even exceptionally high-THC products. While, in theory, a distillate and a live resin can match each other fairly evenly in terms of THC levels, the hard truth is more complex than that.
In the mid-field, live resins and distillates do overlap, and THC concentrations of about 50% are fairly common either way. However, moving up the ladder, live resins are exceedingly difficult to find within the 70-90% bracket in terms of THC levels.
It seems that distillates reign supreme here – but why? The simple answer is that the distillation process, the same chemical process that invariably destroys a lot of valuable terpenes, also removes a lot of impurities from the extract. This helps producers make much more highly-concentrated products compared to what’s possible with live resins. This crucial difference is what defines the choice between Delta 8 THC live resins and distillates.
The bottom line? Choose a live resin for maximum terpene retention and vivid, complex effects. Choose a distillate if you favor potency and intensity of effects above all else.
At Botany Farms, we believe in live resins and their ability to reflect all the unique attributes that make each strain of cannabis unique and exciting to use. Our Live Resin Delta 8 THC Tincture is based on an existing CBD full-spectrum recipe, now with added Delta 8 for a smooth, easily controllable, and enjoyable THC buzz. The extract was gained from one of our favorite sweet-sour hybrid strains, Sour Space Candy, ensuring a rich experience that makes full use of the extreme terpene retention of this product.
Our same Delta 8 THC live resin is also available as a Cartridge, which packs all that energy and flavor into a smaller, more concentrated, and convenient form factor for smoking. In addition to the classic Sour Space Candy, our Delta 8 THC Carts are also available as Pine Walker and Pink Panther, some of our favorite Indica and Sativa strains, respectively.
If maximum potency and intensity of effects are what you’re after, we also offer a Delta 8 THC Vape Cartridge based on the traditional distillation process, with a cannabinoid count of a whopping 94.1%!
If you want to experience these exciting effects but aren’t quite ready to go all-in with a more potent Delta 8 product just yet, take a look at our Live Resin CBD + THC Tincture. Based on the same winning recipe as the Delta 8 Tincture above, this unique extract is geared for a much higher CBD count and a more relaxing, calmer effects profile. Perfect for beginners, medical users, and those who prefer a very understated high!
Of course, there are also some who’d always rather use a real flower than anything else. Don’t worry; we got you covered! We use our own, proprietary flash-freezing process for coating fresh buds with Delta-8 THC concentrate to create full-spectrum specimens that retain all the Delta 8’s unique effects and nuances.
We recommend Delta 8 Zombie Kush and our perennial fan favorite, Delta 8 Sour Hawaiian Haze. Whereas the former is a potent, buzzy, highly energetic Indica evoking classic Kush vibes, the latter is one of the best chill-out Sativa strains we’ve tried, with a fruity taste that only unfolds more with each passing minute.