The Heylo Cannabis Blog

"Live Resin" Vape Cartridges are Mostly BS. Here's why.

"Live Resin" Vape Cartridges are Mostly BS. Here's why.

December 15, 2022
The term live resin is used on a huge number of vapes and other cannabis products like edibles. Let's explore the noise around this term, and how to find truly high-quality products.

In a previous blog we defined what live resin is and why it is popular on cannabis retail shelves.

While acknowledging that Heylo doesn’t sell a live resin vape, we did our best to provide an impartial view on this category of concentrates. We certainly believe there is a place for quality live resin vapes on retail shelves. That said, we see a number of issues in the current live resin vape market and will bring those issue issues to light here. 

Real live resin vs. cured resin vapes

If you’re just here to understand the difference between a live resin vape and a cured resin, take a look at our “What is Live Resin?” blog. Another resource: distillate vs. full-spectrum oil

A legitimate live resin vape will involve the following steps: 

  1. Source fresh or flash-frozen cannabis
  2. Process material with hydrocarbon extraction (likely butane or propane*) OR solventless extraction (best)
  3. Post-process extracted material into vape-ready oil

This compares to the process of a cured resin vape

  1. Source cured cannabis (Heylo sources the same flower you would smoke)
  2. Extract the material (We use CO2 extraction, here’s why)
  3. Post-process extracted material into vape-ready oil (Explore the Heylo RawX process)

Don’t get us wrong - there are real live resin products out there 

Before we dig into the problems with live resin vapes, it’s worth re-asserting that there are companies in the market making real and high-quality live resin products. How can you assess whether a live resin product is legit? Ask a budtender about the company’s extraction process, whether or not distillate is used in the oil, and their methods of sourcing material (are they using high-quality cannabis?). 

* Hydrocarbon extraction poses risks to consumers when the solvent is improperly or incompletely purged. If you’re consuming a vape processed with hydrocarbons, ensure it is coming from a highly trusted source. 

The 3 biggest problems with “live resin” cannabis vapes

We’ll dig into the following problems we’ve seen in markets we follow, including Washington State, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Ohio. 

  • Zero regulation around the term “live resin” and “live resin vape”
  • Misuse in marketing and on vape labels
  • Lack of knowledge among budtenders and consumers

1. There’s no regulation around the term “live resin”

One of the downsides of cannabis being a new, emerging industry is a lack of regulation where it matters (and over-regulation where it doesn’t). For instance, while the agencies that oversee cannabis in each state work hard to catch up to trends and changes in the market, they are many years behind in regulating new products or marketing strategies.

Live resin is just one example, but it is a major one. In most states companies are free to label any product “live resin” due to a lack of regulation or standardization. Yikes. 

2. The term is being misused in marketing and on labels

“Live resin” is appearing on all sorts of products, but mainly vapes, without clear cause - other than the marketing appeal of the term. This misuse has led to lawsuits in states like California, and is reflective of most, if not all, state markets in the United States. 

3. A lack of knowledge around the term

We’ve surveyed dozens of budtenders and consumers in multiple states to understand on-the-ground knowledge of the term in year 2022. The perspectives we heard we’re fascinating, including: 

  • “Live resin means anything that is full-spectrum”
  • “Live resin is a term for high terpene vapes”
  • “Live resin just means the vape is higher quality”

All of these statements were shared by budtenders in Arizona and Washington State. None of these statements are true.

If you're looking for quality taste and effects with a safe oil?

Go beyond “live resin”

Using the term “live resin” as a qualifier for a product that has good flavor or one that is consciously made with the consumer experience in mind is downright dangerous. As we’ve explored above, a lack of regulation around the term “live resin” has resulted in companies abusing its marketing appeal by slapping the two words on product packaging, regardless of the contents. 

On top of this, a legitimate live resin product may not even yield the experience a consumer is looking for, compared to a cured resin product.

Instead of looking for the term “live resin”, what could consumers look for?

  • Full-bud material
  • 100% cannabis 
  • Solventless extraction or another clean method, such as RawX 
  • Full lab test results, publicly visible  
  • Description of company’s process/method of extraction

Authored by

Daniel Luebke

Daniel is the Director of Marketing and Brand at Heylo Cannabis. He likes exercising both hemispheres of his brain in environments that require analytical and creative thinking. Daniel studied economics at Northwestern University before working for a fast-growing Silicon Valley company as the first marketing hire. His transition to the cannabis industry came when his partner, Lo, dove head first into launching Heylo in 2017.

Join the Discussion

heylo cannabis hat

Shop Heylo Swag

Shop Now