If you’ve been into a cannabis store in the past few years you’ve likely heard or seen the term “live resin” spoken by budtenders or labeled over product packaging. The term has garnered significant attention - and confusion - among consumers and budtenders alike.
A true live resin product is straightforward to define. It is an extract made from fresh, uncured flower. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) spells out a more thorough definition as:
Live Resin (n.) – a cannabis extract product produced from plant material that was harvested and stored such as to preserve the chemical profile of the living plant
This question is more open to debate. The central idea of live resin is that fresh, uncured cannabis flower has a higher level of terpenes prior to extraction. It is true that the highest quantity of total terpenes will be present in the flower at harvest. However, this quantity as a percentage of the total weight is actually higher after the flower has been cured (since the flower will lose significant mass from evaporating water).
A potentially more persuasive argument in support of live resin centers around the distribution of terpenes found in the flower. Fresh flower has a higher quantity of monoterpenoids like myrcene and pinene compared to cured flower. So, in theory, if you prefer the taste and effects of the lighter terpenes, you may also prefer a live resin vape. If, however, you prefer the terpene profile of smokeable flower, cured resin would be more akin to your liking.
Live Facts: Properly cured and stored cannabis flower should experience relatively little terpene loss as it transforms into the types of buds you find on the retail shelf.
An important distinction exists between “live resin” and live rosin. Live rosin is a solventless extract made from pressing fresh buds or fresh flower hash to extract cannabinoids and terpenes (using a rosin press). This can also be done with cured flower, in which case it would just be known as “rosin”.
We’ve used “live resin” in quotes because, sadly, many vapes marketed as live resin are no such thing. If you are in the market for a “live resin” vape, beware of the potential issues that exist for consumers in retail stores, even in mature markets like Washington and California. We will detail issues with live resin marketing in a subsequent blog, which will include reference to a class action lawsuit underway in California.
If you’re curious, Heylo doesn’t make a live resin product. We’ve experimented with the process and haven’t found a compelling reason to use fresh frozen plant material. We didn’t find that the product effects (or the taste, for that matter) surpassed that of our vapes made following the RawX process with full-bud cured flower.
A true live resin vape is neither better nor worse than a quality vape cartridge made with cured flower. Assessing quality is mostly a matter of personal preference, although there are some obvious markers of an honest product. The most important questions to ask when trying to understand the quality of a vape:
What are your thoughts on live resin vapes? What do you look for when shopping for a high-quality cannabis product, and what do you avoid?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.