Cannabis Distillate vs. Live Resin vs. Live Rosin: What’s the Difference?

What's the difference between distillate, live resin, and live rosin?

Cannabis Distillate vs. Live Resin vs. Live Rosin: What’s the Difference?

What's the difference between distillate, live resin, and live rosin?

Let’s talk about cannabis concentrates! We’ve got live resin vs. rosin vs. distillate. Huh? Do these classifications have you confused? We love living in a state with easy access to a large variety of cannabis products, but sometimes the selection is so good that it can be overwhelming. 


It can be complex to navigate different strains and terpene profiles, and even more complex when those components have been processed and turned into a different product altogether. If you have ever wondered how a live resin gummy differs from a distillate-based gummy, keep reading.

Let’s break down the differences in three main types of cannabis concentrates: distillate, live resin, and live rosin. Concentrates are, well, highly concentrated, which makes them great for creating edibles, vapes, wax, topical balms, and more. Each type of concentrate has its own pros and cons, and methods of creation.

What is Distillate?

First, let’s talk about the extract that’s most commonly found in edibles and vapes: distillate. THC distillate is made from dried, cured cannabis flower that is then extracted, typically using a solvent like butane, CO2, or ethanol. It is then decarboxylated into oil. After that, the crude oil is distilled using a fractional short-path distillation process which combines heat and pressure to separate out the THC into a clear, highly potent, and odorless liquid. 

What is Distilling?

A quick rundown on the distillation process: different compounds have different boiling points. This means that if you know the boiling point of a compound such as THC, that individual compound can be extracted by heating oil and separating out what evaporates at its corresponding boiling point. Because distillation strips cannabis oil into nearly pure THC, some companies add terpenes back into their products for their aromas, flavors, and benefits.  If you see a distillate product that is labeled with a strain name, it is because terpenes have been reintroduced to mimic that particular strain’s flavor and effects.

What is Live Resin?

Up next: live resin. Live resin is made from fresh or frozen cannabis, rather than dried. Often, the cannabis flower is harvested at its peak and flash-frozen to preserve its many crucial compounds. Live resin is then extracted (again, typically using a solvent), decarboxylated, and ready to go. Live resin can take several forms of different viscosities. It is generally a sticky, dark yellow substance marketed as live sap, jelly, butter, sugar, badder, or shatter.

Shatter is a type of live resin cannabis concentrate that can be dabbed

Live Resin vs. Distillate

Is live resin better than distillate? Yes, if you are looking for a “whole cannabis” high. Without the distillation process, live resin retains terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds that combine to create what is referred to as the entourage effect. In other words, live resin generally makes for a high that is more similar to smoking flower than distillate. It is less intense but often more complex, and longer-lasting than distillate. The most popular way to consume live resin is dabbing, but it also can be found in vapes as well as some full-spectrum edibles.

What is Live Rosin?

Finally, live rosin is the most rare and sought after of the three concentrates and is rapidly growing in popularity. Live rosin is made by squeezing or applying pressure and heat to cannabis, hash, or kief. If you compare cannabis concentrates to orange juice, distillate is like orange juice from concentrate, while live rosin is freshly squeezed. The production process of live rosin produces smaller yields than distillate and resin, making it one of the market’s rarer and more expensive products.  

Despite its higher price, many people prefer live rosin because it is considered to be less toxic than other concentrates. It is made without solvents of any kind, making it more pure and potentially safer on lungs. Rosin can be smoked,  vaporized, or twaxed, which refers to the process of mixing rosin with dried cannabis before smoking to enhance the experience. 

Live rosin is also an excellent candidate for edibles as it maintains so much of the plant’s aromas and terpenes. Often considered the cannabis connoisseur’s choice, products made with live rosin provide more depth and dimension than other concentrates can offer.

Live Resin vs. Rosin vs. Distillate: Recommended Products

Ultimately, a resin or rosin edible or other product will give a much more well-rounded cannabis experience than distillate, but distillate is an affordable, tried and true, no-nonsense way to get you high. They all have their place in our hearts and on our shelves. 

For example, if you’re shopping for a cannabis vape at Timber, you’ll find that we have all three types available. Deciding on a distillate vs. live resin cart? What about live rosin? To compare, here are three weed vapes /carts that we recommend:

All of our products are third-party tested and proven to be pure, safe, and effective, so your final decision is truly based on personal preference and price point. 

Stop by your local Timber Provisioning Center to explore our premium selection of vape carts, edibles, shatter, wax, badder, and other concentrated cannabis products. Shop online for pickup or come on into one of our Michigan dispensaries and get a customized recommendation from our friendly budtenders.