What is live resin?
Live resin has become the go to buzz word for marketers and cannabis manufacturers alike, popularized for its acclaimed terpene-rich, flavorful, aromatic qualities and its ability to preserve the integrity of fresh flowers throughout the extraction process. Most stoners and canna-connoisseurs are quick to toss the phrase around when touting the quality of vape cartridges and extracts, but what does it really mean? And what does it mean for CBD and delta-8 cartridges?
Live resin is broadly defined as an extraction technique that utilizes fresh frozen cannabis flower to produce concentrates.
When cannabis is first harvested and fresh, it is at its most rich in terms of potency, flavor, and overall quality. Overtime, the trichomes, which contain cannabinoids like THC and CBD as well as the terpenes that determine the flavors and effects of a given strain, begin to degrade rapidly. By freezing the flower after it’s harvested, cannabis extraction labs can preserve the trichomes so that the original form of the flower, when it’s at its peak, translates more accurately and richly to the final product.
Live Resin Dabs vs Live Resin Vape Cartridges
When people talk about live resin, they’re not always talking about the same thing. There are two types of live resin products you can find on the market: dabs and vape cartridges, the latter being produced with live terpenes.
Live Resin Dabs
Live resin dabs are made much like traditional dabs, which are produced by stripping the trichomes from cannabis flower with solvents such as butane and alcohol. What they’re left with after this process is a dense, honey-like, golden to golden-brown substance that can be consumed by placing it on heated glass, also called a dab rig, for vaporizing, or in an expensive vape pen designed specifically for consuming dabs, also called a dab pen. The only differences between traditional dabs and live resin dabs are that instead of using regular flower, flash frozen flower is used, and the solvents that are used for live resin are cooled to below freezing temperature, while those used for traditional dabs are not. So basically what I’m trying to say is that live resin dabs are way cooler!
Dabs were the first form of live resin to enter the market and when consumers initially fell in love with the product, there quickly became a strong demand for a more convenient, affordable way to consume the beloved concentrate.
Live Resin Vape Cartridges
The most obvious way to satisfy this demand was live resin vape cartridges. This would allow people to not have to worry about properly heating their dab rig, maintaining it, or lugging it around with them. It would also open up the market to casual cannabis users that don’t have the niche knowledge of the nuances of consuming concentrates. Sounds great, right? Just throw some live resin dabs into a cartridge. The only problem is that the consistency of live resin dabs doesn’t allow for them to be vaped in traditional, universal 510 carts. So vape manufacturers had to find a creative solution to this problem of consistency, which ended up being live terps, otherwise known as live resin terpenes.
Live terps are produced from freshly harvested, uncured flower through a process called steam distillation. Other terpenes may be harvested from older flower and in some cases, are botanically derived from non-cannabis plants. They may also be produced through hydrodistillation.
Essentially, a live resin vape cartridge consists of cannabis distillate infused with live terps. By mixing in live terps with cannabinoid distillates such as CBD, manufacturers are able to create solutions that have the proper consistency for vape cartridges and still largely preserve the original terpene profile and integrity of popular strains.
So are live resin vape cartridges really even live resin?
It depends who you ask, but in large part the ship has already sailed on this debate. In California alone, live resin vape cartridges account for 29% of total vape sales, amounting to a whopping $136 million in annual revenue. Whether, or not the word is being used as originally intended, it has taken on a new meaning that the market has embraced.
One of the most popular live resin vape producers, Raw Garden, found themselves in the crosshairs of this debate when they were hit with a class action lawsuit after labeling their cartridges as “Refined Lived Resin.” Those who brought on the lawsuit argue that labeling their vapes as live resin is misleading because live terpenes mixed with distillate isn’t the same as live resin dabs. Raw Garden obviously disagrees and the resolution of the suit is yet to be determined.
What does live resin mean for delta-8 and CBD cartridges?
Live resin delta-8 and CBD cartridges are just hemp derived distillates infused with live terpenes. They’re considered to be the highest quality hemp carts because they best reflect the true intention of proven strains in flavor, aroma, and effect. If you love the effects when you smoke OG kush, but you’d rather experience it in a more mellow way with CBD, then a CBD cart with live OG kush terps may be your best bet. Similarly, if you can’t get your hands on your favorite marijuana strain because you’re in a state where it’s illegal, then finding a delta-8 cart with the strains' live terps is a good way to get as close as you can to achieving the same experience.