What's the Difference Between Live Resin and Distillate Carts?

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Vaporizing is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways of consuming cannabinoids. With that being said, there appears to be a bit of confusion about what these vaporizers or cannabis cartridges actually contain.

No, these cartridges don't all contain the same things. Yes, they all contain some kind of hemp or cannabis extract. This means that cannabinoids and other substances are extracted from the plant matter, refined into an oil or similar substance, and then placed within a cartridge that is then vaporized using a special device.

However, there are many different kinds of cannabis and hemp extracts that they may contain. Just two of these include live resin and distillate, two fairly special types of extracts.

Today, we want to figure out what both live resin and distillate cannabis cartridges are. We want to find out what they are, how they're made, what makes them different, what makes them similar, and more. By the end of today's article, you should have all of the information you need to make an informed decision between live resin cartridges and distillate cartridges.

Key Takeaways

  • Live resin and distillate are both very potent forms of cannabis concentrates.
  • Live resin is made from live or flash-frozen plant matter, whereas distillate is made out of dried and cured plant matter.
  • The production of distillate involves more heat and pressure and also involves an additional refining process, therefore resulting in a much more potent final product.
  • Although the extraction process used to make distillate allows for a much more potent product, it also removes a lot of the original terpenes and flavonoids from the equation.

What Are Live Resin Carts?

First, we have live resin, which is a very special type of hemp or cannabis extract. One of the defining features of live resin is that it is made with live plant matter. This is different from most other types of concentrates, which are made using dried and cured plant matter.

Live resin is one of the only types of concentrates where the plant matter, the hemp or cannabis, is not first cured and dried. This makes a big difference in terms of the overall final product. Live resin generally contains almost all of the original cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids as contained in the original strain that the extract is taken from.

The fact that live plant matter, or sometimes flash-frozen plant matter is used, makes a massive difference here. Live resin products can contain a variety of cannabinoids, with THC and CBD of course being two of the most popular ones. Live resin often has a THC percentage anywhere between 45 and 60%, with over 50% being quite common.

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What Are Distillate Carts?

As you can probably guess, distillate is another type of cannabis extract, although a much more refined one than live resin. One of the defining features of distillate, as opposed to live resin, is that here, dried and cured plant matter is used, as opposed to living plant matter.

Another defining feature of cannabis distillate is that it is extremely refined. It goes through many more refining processes than live resin, which usually leaves you with a much purer product, especially in terms of potency and cannabinoid content.

So, live resin is made from flesh plant matter and isn't overly processed, whereas distillate is made from dried and cured plant matter, and is highly processed, resulting in a pure and super potent final product. Exactly how both of these are made will be discussed further below. Distillate tends to be extremely potent, usually at least 85% THC, if not higher.

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What is the Extraction Process for Live Resin?

The extraction process for live resin has one main feature that differentiates it from the extraction processes of other extracts. As mentioned above, this is the fact that live plant matter is used. To be specific, some people may use live plant matter as is, whereas others may flash freeze it first.

Some dip the plant matter in liquid nitrogen to instantly freeze it, whereas other people may just put it in an extremely cold freezer, usually below -10 degrees Fahrenheit, for around 36 hours. This freezing process helps make the extraction process much easier, although it does not affect the cannabinoid, terpene, or flavonoid content of the final product.

The main point here is that using live or flash-frozen plant matter helps to preserve more of the original cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, therefore allowing for diverse cannabinoid content, flavors that resemble the original strain, and a maximum entourage effect. After the plant matter is frozen, the extraction process is not all that much different from other concentrates.

Here, a closed-loop system is used for extraction. The cannabis or hemp buds are placed within a closed container, through which a solvent such as CO2 or ethanol is then blasted. Another defining feature of the extraction process here is that the solvents should be cold or chilled. The extraction process for many other concentrates involves a lot more heat and pressure, which can damage cannabinoids and terpenes.

Therefore, using a cold or chilled solvent allows for the maximum preservation of cannabinoids and terpenes. Once ethanol or CO2 passes through the plant matter, the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes stick to it, and then come out the bottom as one oily or gooey substance. This is then purged inside a vacuum chamber.

A vacuum is used to heat the product at a pressure less than atmospheric pressure, which causes the molecules to heat and release the gasses, therefore removing the solvent and leaving behind the cannabis extract, which in this case is live resin.

Now, as you will see further below, the process used to make distillate then goes one step further, which as you can probably guess, involves distillation.

What is the Difference Between Live Resin and Distillate Cartridges?

There are some pretty big differences between these two types of cartridges, live resin, and distillate, so let's take a quick look at what all of these are.

Potency vs Flavor

With live resin, terpenes and flavonoids are prioritized. Because the plant matter is not dried and cured, the THC content is not allowed to increase very much, but the flavonoids and terpenes are all preserved.

This means that live resin is not quite as potent as other types of concentrates, because the original plant matter was not allowed to cure, with the curing process being responsible for a great increase in THC content. That curing process can effectively double THC contents, but it also kills a lot of the flavonoids and terpenes.

Distillate, on the other hand, is made with dried and cured bud. This means that the final product is much more potent. That drying and curing process allows the plant matter to have much higher levels of THC, but also much lower levels of terpenes and flavonoids. The result is that live resin cartridges are extremely tasty and have plenty of flavor, mainly resembling the original strain, but they aren't overly potent.

On the other hand, distillate cartridges are far more potent and have higher cannabinoid contents, yet have much lower terpene and flavonoid contents, therefore being much less flavorful. They usually don't have a flavor that resembles the original strain.

So, to summarize, the biggest difference here is that live resin cartridges are much tastier and less potent, whereas distillate cartridges are much more potent but less tasty. The former tastes much better, but the latter will get you much higher.

The Entourage Effect

Let's also keep the entourage effect in mind here. For those of you who don't know, the entourage effect happens when cannabinoids and terpenes are combined.

Cannabinoids are of course known for potentially getting you high and providing many benefits. Terpenes on the other hand, while they will not get you high, can still provide you with a variety of potential benefits.

These potential benefits include things like helping you sleep, making you feel calmer, improving your mood, taking away pain, and so on. As you might be able to recognize, these are many of the same potential benefits as cannabis cannabinoids may have.

Now, when you combine both together, cannabinoids and terpenes, these individual benefits may be greatly increased. For instance, if THC alone can reduce inflammation, and a specific terpene also can reduce inflammation, when they work together, this anti-inflammatory benefit should be much greater.

Because distillate doesn't have many terpenes at all, this entourage effect is minimal. On the other hand, because live resin contains a lot of terpenes, this entourage effect is much more pronounced.


Another big difference here is the cost, and this mainly has to do with the extraction process. The main point to keep in mind here is that distillate requires an additional process to produce the final result, which is of course the distillation process. Furthermore, because distillate uses dried and cured bud, it takes a lot longer to make.

It takes several weeks, if not months, to fully cure and dry weed. This extended timeline and more difficult and time-consuming process result in a more expensive product. That said, this is why resin also isn't particularly cheap, especially when compared to more basic cannabis concentrates.

Live Resin vs Distillate: What Are the Similarities?

There are also some similarities between these two types of cannabis or hemp concentrates, so let's take a quick look at what these might be.

  • Both of these products are generally made with similar extraction processes. Yes, we said similar, but not the same. Generally speaking, solvents such as CO2, ethanol, or even butane are used to extract cannabinoids from the original plant matter. A vacuum chamber is also used to purge the solvent from the cannabinoids in both processes.
  • Both live resin and distillate, are designed to be vaporized. This means that they are designed to be heated up to the point where the cannabinoids turn into a vapor that you can then inhale, unlike combustibles like raw flower, which force you to light the plant matter up. In other words, concentrates like these tend to be much friendlier for your lungs than smoking. Vaporizing isn't nearly as harmful to your respiratory tract as smoking. Both live resin and distillate can be put in a cartridge or vaporized in a dab rig.
  • Both of these types of concentrates are still extremely potent, much more potent than regular cannabis flower. For instance, regular cannabis flour usually contains between 10% and 30% THC. On the other hand, live resin usually contains between 45% and 60% THC, with distillate containing 85% THC or more. Both of these products are super potent and will most definitely get you very.
  • Another big and very important similarity here is that as long as they fall within legal limits in regards to Delta-9 THC, both distillate and live resin cartridges are also perfectly legal for purchase.

Distillate vs Live Resin: What are the Extraction Processes?

We already covered the extraction process for live resin in quite some detail above. What is important for you to know is that the extraction process for distillate is somewhat similar, especially in the beginning stages. With live resin, live or flash-frozen plant matter is used, but with distillate, dried and cured plant matter is used.

As mentioned above, this results in a much more potent product with higher THC levels. A big difference in the extraction process here is that the solvent used for distillate is often much hotter and not chilled. This doesn't affect the cannabinoids, but it does kill a lot of the terpenes and flavonoids.

Once the butane, ethanol, or CO2 comes out of the bottom of the closed loop system, along with all of the cannabinoids, it then also has to be purged, just like live resin. It's put in a vacuum chamber to remove the solvent from the cannabinoids, thus leaving behind a waxy or oily substance that contains very high levels of cannabinoids.

The Distillation Process

As the name implies, distillate is distilled, or in other words, it goes through an additional refining process to make it much purer. This distillation process involves heating the extracted cannabis oil in a closed system until it vaporizes into the air, travels through the closed system, is cooled back down, and turns back into what we know as distillate.

The extracted cannabinoid concentrate is distilled just like when you make alcohol. The cannabis oil heats up, turns into vapor, releases its impurities into the air in the process, and then reforms as a solid oil consisting mostly of just cannabinoids.

The defining feature here is that the distillation process removes the vast majority of impurities from the cannabinoid oil. The distillation process removes remaining impurities, plant matter, moisture, remaining solvents, and more or less everything else but the actual cannabinoids, which are usually THC, thus leaving you with an extremely pure and potent product.

Does Live Resin Get You Higher Than Distillate?

The important note here is that distillate can be anywhere from 50% to 100% more potent than live resin. Therefore, as you can probably guess, distillate does get you much higher. If distillate contains 90% THC and live resin only contains 45% THC, you can guess which one you are going to feel more.

That said, as mentioned above, live resin is much more likely to produce what is known as the entourage effect. It's not exactly like feeling high, but it can be beneficial in some ways. However, the bottom line is that if you are looking to get as high as possible, it's distilled that you want.

How Does the Flavor of Live Resin Carts Compare to Distillate?

In terms of flavor, live resin usually closely resembles the flavor of the original strain. This is because live resin contains all of the original terpenes and flavonoids of the original strain. These flavors tend to be quite tasty and super diverse.

On the other hand, because distillate does not contain any or at least not many of the original terpenes and flavonoids, it usually does not have quite as diverse of a flavor. Yes, it can be a bit bitter and have a very slight taste of plant matter, but that's about it. It has a much subtler and more muted flavor. However, many manufacturers do put terpenes and flavonoids back into their final distilled products, that's to add some good flavor to the mix.

Depending on the exact terpenes added back into the distillate, it may end up being tastier than live resin. Yet, this is only the case if manufacturers decide to add terpenes back into the distillate after it has been made.

What Are the Benefits of Terpenes in Carts?

One of the most obvious benefits of having terpenes in cartridges is the flavor. They just tend to taste much better than cartridges that don't have many terpenes. The other big benefit here is the so-called entourage effect, which is when various cannabinoids work in combination with terpenes to provide you with added benefits.

For instance, THC alone may be able to help reduce your anxiety, as may a specific terpene. Yet, when both work together, the anti-anxiety effects may be doubled, or even more. Cannabinoids and terpenes work together to amplify their individual benefits, or in rare cases, may even create new benefits that only happen when both work together.

Are Live Resin Carts Better Than Distillate?

It really would not be accurate to say that one is better than the other. Live resin tastes much better and often has a better entourage effect, whereas distillate tends to be much more potent and provides you with more bang for your buck in terms of cannabinoid contents. Therefore, which one is better for you really just depends on what you prefer.

Final Thoughts: Distillate vs Live Resin Carts

The bottom line here is that if you get the chance, you recommend trying both live resin and distillate. Chances are you'll like the flavor of the former, but the potency of the latter. You may even start using both of them in combination.

Where to Buy Live Resin Carts Online

If you want to buy some live resin carts online, then look no further than right here at Botany Farms. We have some awesome products for you to check out. These include our very own THCV Live Resin Pink Panther Vape Cartridge, this Live Resin Delta-8 Sour Space Candy Cart, or this Live Resin Delta-8 CBN Pine Walker Cart.

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