Live Resin Explained

live resin

Live resin is a cannabis concentrate like no other. In this article, we discuss the differences between live resin and dabs, discover how live resin is made, and learn whether or not they are for the amateur pot smoker.

If you’ve been dabbling in weed for a while, the chances are you’ve heard of “dabs.” If you haven’t, you’ve probably run across essential oil extraction. Dabs are cannabis concentrates made by extracting essential oils from the cannabis plant. They utilize a number of different extraction methods.

These essential concentrates are becoming increasingly popular as recreational and medicinal marijuana users explore ways to enjoy the substance without the drama that comes with rolling your own joints. Dabs are popular because they provide a much more intense “high” than smoking. They may even have better medicinal benefits. It’s quick to apply, easy to use, and only takes a tiny amount to reach the full effect.

What is Live Resin?

Live resin is a concentrate. But unlike other dabs, it comes from the live plants themselves. The THC concentrates, in general, come from dried and ground cannabis buds. These then go through a process to reach a purer form. The resin is extracted from fresh, uncured cannabis flowers, however. It is a rougher version of a dab.

Live resin looks a lot like other concentrates. Its waxy substance appears more transparent than the traditional THC waxes. It’s also used in the same way. But it offers a much more effective dabbing experience than its traditional counterparts.

How is it Made?

Live resin is made by initially “flash-freezing” the freshly harvested cannabis flowers. This keeps the frozen product at a constant temperature for the remainder of the extraction process. From there, the hardy plant material is processed repeatedly through one of many extraction processes, like the methods traditional concentrates are usually subjected to.

live resin

The essential oils can go through extraction by using the chemical butane or a supercritical carbon dioxide as solvents. Or it can go through a mechanical gathering process similar to making hash. Wherever possible, the extraction process should avoid the high temperatures associated with curing, as this will damage the terpene profile of the final product.

Butane Extraction

The most common method of making live resin is through butane extraction, which is the same process used in shatter and wax. In this process, the ground leaf material is combined with butane, which binds to the essential oils of the plant. These essential oils contain terpenes, cannabinoids, and various flavonoid compounds.

Once the plant matter has been filtered out, the butane is evaporated, leaving behind a waxy substance called live resin. The supercritical carbon dioxide method works similarly. But because the element has an extremely low boiling point, this process is better for preserving terpenes than for butane extraction.

While it may be tempting to think that you can make your own live resin at home, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to produce a high-quality product that’s consistent over several batches. Even if you’re able to find the equipment. To make an amazing live resin, you need to understand the basics of chemical extraction and review what each step is meant to achieve. You will also need access to specialized equipment, and chemicals – some of which are flammable.


Even the first step of the resin extraction can be dangerous, as exposure to liquid nitrogen can cause significant injury if not handled carefully. Also, while it’s true that live resin can be expensive to buy, chances are you’ll spend much more on reagents and equipment than you’ll save by making it yourself.

If you’re looking into amateur chemistry as a hobby, then learning how to make live resin can be an interesting and challenging project. Still, it may take you several months to master. If you’re just looking for a nuanced and delicious “stoner experience,” rather stick to the pre-made stuff.

How to Store Live Resin

You may get away with storing concentrates in jars in a cool room. However, live resin really does benefit from being stored in a cooler place. The main advantage of live resin – the terpene profile – is sensitive to heat. Even room temperature can result in the monoterpenes evaporating.

If you want to preserve the flavour profile of your live resin, store it in a fridge. Preferably, in an airtight, glass jar. The cold also helps the live resin keep its consistency and can result in a product that’s even better than the original.


To understand why live resin is so much better than traditional dabs, you have to know the chemistry behind the cannabis. Apart from cannabinoids, cannabis contains terpenes, which are hydrocarbons that give cannabis its distinctive aroma and taste.

These terpenes are divisible by two main groups: monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.

Monoterpenes usually have light, fresh aromas, while sesquiterpenes usually form the heavier aromas and flavours. Most monoterpenes leave off during the curing process. This leaves a product that’s heavy in overpowering aromas and flavours, but doesn’t have the lighter, complementary flavours to balance it out.

This profile then transfers to THC concentrates, which also tend to remove many of the remaining terpenes, resulting in a product that’s one-dimensional in flavour. It’s great for getting high, but there’s not much else to it.

Live resin contains both monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. This helps ensure a more pleasant aroma and taste. Additionally, there are still many undiscovered compounds in fresh cannabis. They may also have medicinal properties. But it’s likely that live resin may be a healthier choice than dabs.

Does Live Resin Produce a More Intense High?

Many enthusiasts will swear that live resin gives them a more intense high than a similar amount of wax or shatter. It’s true that concentrates really do pack more of a punch than the plant itself. Yet the number of cannabinoids extracted through the live resin process is identical to the amount extracted from dried and cured flowers.

The biggest difference between the two is the terpene profile, not the THC or CBD content. So, if you’re just looking to get high, you can safely stick to the more affordable concentrates. It may be best to leave the live resin to the pot connoisseurs.

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