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Live Resin vs Distillate 

With vape carts continuing to rise in popularity, a lot more people have started to ask me, what’s the difference between a distillate vape cartridge and a live resin vape cartridge? Is there a difference? …there certainly is!

When it comes to .510 vape cartridges, most people go for the distillate, likely because of the cheaper prices and because it’s all they know and what they’re most familiar with. But how familiar with distillate carts are you actually? I know when these carts first came out, all I knew about distillate was that it contained a high THC percentage. As a former THC chaser, that was enough information for me. Now that I have more knowledge on the subject though, I have certainly changed my ways of thinking when it comes to vaping.

When I first started vaping cannabis carts, I was looking for two things; high THC and a tasty flavour. That basically describes 90% of all distillate carts so I had plenty of options to choose from and was loving this new way of enjoying cannabis. It took me awhile to get used to the high though as it’s nowhere near the same as smoking dried flower, but I was really enjoying the portability and discreetness. At first, I tried a new cart every purchase, just to see what was out there, but after a while, I started keeping the same 2-3 carts in my rotation.

Purple Monkey by Good Supply was my absolute favourite; the taste was out of control good. It tasted exactly like a grape soda or a piece of grape bubblicious. It was addictive though, and I wanted to inhale on it all day, so I eventually had to take that one out of my rotation. The last time I smoked that cart was right before going into a Snoop Dogg concert (pre-covid). I smoked the entire .5 gram cart in the parking lot, within the hour, before heading inside for the show (to put that in perspective, a cart that size would normally last me 3-5 days). I remember they wouldn’t turn the house lights down at the start off the show; it was so bright in there and you could see everyone in the crowd quite clearly …that was tripping me out. I wanted the lights to go off so bad but they wouldn’t. It was probably only a few minutes but it felt like hours. I was so uncomfortable and just sat there, still as a pilon, for the entire two-hour show. It was not the most fun and it was that day that I decided I would have to retire the Purple Monkey for good.

It was around that same time that live resin and full spectrum vape carts started hitting the market; perfect timing as I was already looking for something new to enjoy. As I mentioned, I was a THC chaser at the time so the lower numbers on the live resin carts had me hesitant to try at first, but once I found out what they actually contained, I was all over them, especially the ones from San Raphael and Greybeard …and I’ve never looked back.

Without getting too technical, I’m going to try to explain the main differences between the two. The major difference is that distillate is made by stripping and extracting the THC from dried, cured flower while live resin is made from frozen cannabis, utilizing the entire plant.

For distillate, they use an extraction process that separates all the cannabis compounds individually. The oil is then refined, using what’s called a ‘fractional short-path distillation process’. At this point, the oil is just pure THC, with no terpenes remaining. To give the cart some flavour, botanical terpenes are then added, giving it that potent flavour that you get with every exhale. It’s delicious …but for me, something is missing; the natural terpenes!

That’s where live resin is different. As soon as the plant is harvested, it is immediately flash frozen, keeping all of the cannabinoids and terpenes intact. Why is this important? It’s important because you need all of that stuff in order to get the full cannabis experience. Without terps, all you have is THC. Some of you are probably thinking, "what’s the problem with that; THC is all I’m looking for”. The problem is that without the natural terpenes, you don’t get that “full spectrum” effect; the effect that your body and mind is craving…cannaboids (THC, CBD, etc) need terpenes, just like pizza needs cheese. A cheese-less pizza may satisfy your hunger, but it’s just not the same without the cheese.

In short, distillate has high THC but also has added ingredients; live resin has lower THC but keeps at the plant’s natural terpenes intact. What does that mean for you? Basically, if you only have THC, you’ll get pretty high, pretty quick, but that high will also disappear fairly quickly as there is nothing harmonizing it all together to give you the plants full intended effects. On the other side of the coin, live resin doesn’t contain as much THC but it does have all the plant’s natural terpenes, giving you a high that closer resembles smoking dried flower. 

To put it in perspective, think of distillate as juice from concentrate while live resin is 100% pure fruit juice. A lot of people love juice from concentrate; they enjoy the taste and don’t care if it only contains a small percentage of real juice along with other additives. Others, however, will only drink 100% pure fruit juice, wanting to ensure they get all the juices natural ingredients and vitamins. Both juices are fine, it just comes down to personal preference …just like these vape carts.


This blog was not written to change your mind from one form of vaping to the other; my sole intention here is to educate you so that can make your own decisions based on the knowledge I’m providing you. A lot of people think a cart is a cart and that’s simply not the case. There are some major differences between the two but both have their own purposes in the cannabis market; one is not better or worse by any means, just different. As I like to say with all cannabis products, everyone has their own individual preferences, that’s why there is so much out there on the market. To each their own!