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The Real Difference Between Live Resin & Distillate

You want to know what's amazing about our industry?  The cannabis industry has a knack for just consistently making amazing products and with that, an endless list of new ways of getting high.  In fact, just in the last ten years, the cannabis industry has developed some neat names to really reel in a new population of people that are genuinely curious to try us out.  Terms such as full-spectrum, isolate, distillate, and live resin are all hot buzzwords that have the ability to invite new users in as well as allows a deeper understanding of veteran users to truly maximize their cannabis experience.

Two terms that we want to focus on today are: distillate and live resin.  Both are incredibly popular options to consume directly or when it's infused into say, a Weedsy Infused mini pre-roll.  Let's explore the differences between the two and let's get to the bottom of whether one may be better than the other.


WHAT IS DISTILLATE?

Distillates are a form of cannabis concentrates that really earned its name and reputation based on how the concentrate is processed.  Typically, upon harvest of a cannabis yield, the plants must be cut, dried, and cured so it may be converted into a crude oil.  The crude oil then undergoes a process called fractional short-path distillation.  This is a process that effectively uses solventless extraction techniques such as pressure, temperature, and/or filtration to effectively remove what needs to be removed and accentuates what the brand wants to highlight.

Since distillates are more of a process instead of a result, the whole point of a distillate is to emphasize the Delta-9 THC and/or flavoring in the form of terpenes in the oil and remove any other undesirables.

Due to the malleable nature of the distillate, both the THC vape and infused flower markets exploded.  Now, you very much have the ability to walk into a dispensary, try a bomb strain and have it taste like something other than cannabis plant material.


WHAT IS LIVE RESIN?

If distillates are a process that inherently chooses to be selective, live resin is the opposite.  At the peak of the harvest, cannabis plants are cut down and flash-frozen to preserve its trichomes then broken down into an oil that contains all plant parts.  This means the cannabinoids, trichomes, terpenes, flavonoids, and everything else distillates generally tend to remove.  Following the logic of the entourage effect, it generally improves the efficacy of the product to have the entire plant working in synergy to achieve a better experience.

Due to live resin containing the entire plant, it is generally frowned upon to add or remove what is naturally contained in the plant.  It is very rare that you'd come across live resin with added flavoring or significantly more THC content than you might expect from a strain.


DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DISTILLATE AND LIVE RESIN

One of the most pronounced differences between distillate and live resin is the terpene quality contained in the live resin.  Since this full-plant extract is flash-frozen, the cannabinoids, terpenes, and trichomes are still very much alive versus its distillate counterpart.

For some perspective, if cannabis concentrates were to be compared to the different forms you can eat an orange, live resin would be the actual orange and distillates would be like drinking orange juice.  Depending on your preferences, one can prove to be a better option than the other.


THE EXTRACTION PROCESS IS ENTIRELY DIFFERENT

Since live resin is made from frozen cannabis and distillates are made from dried and cured cannabis, the process to extract both are wildly different.

The distillate process generally goes through a fractional short-path distillation process that effectively removes the undesirable plant material.  Undesirables such as fats, lipids, and flavonoids are removed in favor of more THC, more terpenes, and/or flavoring to boost both the potency and taste of the finished product.  The end result measures out to distillates having a much higher cannabinoid percentage, but is void of all terpenes.

On the flip side, live resin contains ALL of the terpenes, trichomes, and other flavor and scent characteristics that define a strain's appearance and experience.  Upon extraction, the mixture is decarboxylated and is ready to go.  Due to the less strenuous extraction process, live resin typically contains less cannabinoids, but more of everything else.  Which means the finished product is a little less flavorful, but more true-to-strain, resulting in a fuller experience once the psychoactive high hits.

NIGHT AND DAY DIFFERENCE IN TERPENE CONTENT

If distillates favor a high cannabinoid content then live resin would highlight a higher terpene content.  Terpenes are not only responsible for the smell but also the taste of each strain.  They are found in various combinations and work together with cannabinoids and flavonoids to produce a full spectrum of effects for both the body and mind.

Unlike certain cannabinoids, terpenes are inherently non-psychoactive.  They do, however, play an essential role in the overall  effect cannabis delivers.  Like everything else contained in the plant, terpenes work synergistically alongside cannabinoids to create what is known as the entourage effect.  The entourage effect modulates various bodily functions responsible for everything from sleep to appetite to mood and pain response.

The entourage effect only works when there is a multitude of cannabinoids and terpenes working together.  Most experts believe that keeping the plant's compounds together is the best way to maximize its benefits from the plant.  This is where live resin tends to shine over distillates when it comes to the overall high experience.  Just think about it, since distillates favor the high cannabinoid percentage, to add back in a non-cannabis-derived terpene such as strawberry flavoring does wonders in terms of the taste and smell, but do little to improve the overall psychoactive experience.


the actual experience between distillates and live resin

While we can go all day and night breaking down the differences between distillates and live resin, choosing something over the other ultimately comes down to user preference.  Sometimes you want to smoke an ultra-vibrant and tasty strain that might literally taste like an apple.  Other times, you might favor something a little more natural but get incredibly high in the process via a live resin-infused pre-roll.

When it comes to the associated high of each, live resin tends to produce similar effects to what you would feel if you smoked flower.  It'll be a little less potent and flavorful, but the effects are sure to slap you into an elevated daze with little effort.  Consuming distillate will produce a more intense high at first, but tends to be short-lived since there is a lack of other beneficial plant parts to engage the entourage effect.


WHERE DOES WEEDSY FIT INTO ALL OF THIS?

When we first dropped our original five Weedsy Infused mini pre-rolls, we happily sought to deliver an intense high using as little of the product as possible.  Remember that we launched in the middle of the pandemic and the entire aspect of sharing your bud was always and still is an egregious no-no.  So we thought, huh...how would we get people high as a kite as discreetly as possible?  Hmmm...why not take locally-sourced exotic flower that already possesses everything you'd expect from a gas strain and infuse it with a flavorful distillate.  The end result would still trigger the entourage effect while also slapping the living $@&! out of you in the process.  And once the distillate high wears off, you're left still in a balanced haze.  So, without a doubt, we're proud to use distillates for our original collection of products.  But, it doesn't just stop there.

We wouldn't be talking about the wonders of live resin without actually offering it up in our products ourselves.  After all, we're all about using as much of the plant as possible to offer up an ever-more pleasurable cannabis experience.  While we cannot say for certain how exactly we'll be including live resin in our products, here's your invitation to start the buzz!


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