What is Live Resin? Everything You Need to Know


Posted by Kymberly on 11/16/2023 in Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis and Live Resin

When we talk about live resin, we’re not talking about that tar-like black resin that clogs the inside of your pipe stems.

Instead, we’re talking about one of the most potent — and luxurious — types of cannabis concentrates on the market.

There’s a reason why so many cannabis connoisseurs prefer live resin to other concentrates like shatter, wax, and crumble.

Ready to learn why it’s so popular?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Live Resin?

Live resin is a type of cannabis concentrate renowned for its exceptional quality and aromatic flavor profile.

Most people use a vapor-inhalation process known as dabbing to consume it. The reason why live resin has such well-preserved flavors is because of the painstaking process that goes into making it.

It’s honey-colored and has the texture of a thick sauce or taffy. Like most concentrates, it’s also on the sticky side, so you’ll want to use a dab tool when handling it.

The live resin production process captures the cannabis plant’s full spectrum of trichomes and terpenes, giving it a rich fragrance, intense cannabis flavor, and unusually potent high. It typically contains anywhere from 65% to 95% THC.

If you’re unfamiliar with cannabis concentrates, think of live resin like a thicker, stickier version of hash oil. You can use cannabis paraphernalia like bongs, dab rings, and sticky nails to heat live resin and inhale the vapors to get high.

Many live resin concentrates are made from calming indica strains of cannabis, rather than energizing sativa strains. The result is an immersive body high that can be ideal for experienced cannabis users.

However, the potency of live resin can make it too intense for newer cannabis users. If you’re not used to consuming large quantities of THC, live resin can make you feel higher than you expect or prefer.

How is Live Resin Made?

There are so many types of cannabis concentrates on the market that it can be confusing to learn what makes them different.

To understand live resin, you need to know how it’s made. The creation process is what distinguishes live resin from other concentrates like shatter, wax, crumble, and the similarly named live rosin.

In general, cannabis concentrates are made from cannabis flowers that have been dried and cured.

When creating a cured resin, the first step is to dry and cure the plant. This exposes the trichomes to heat and reduces the terpene content. (Trichomes and terpenes are the chemicals in the cannabis plant that give different strains their unique flavor and aroma.)

What makes live resin better than most concentrates is that those valuable trichomes and terpenes aren’t lost during the production process.

That’s because the cannabis flowers used in live resin are flash-frozen as soon as they’re harvested. By flash-freezing the freshly picked flowers, it preserves the natural cannabinoids and terpene profile for a better-tasting, richer high.

More terpenes = more flavor and an intense high.

If you prefer a mellow high, live resin may not be for you. You’ll want to consider cannabis concentrates that don’t use flash-freezing in their extraction method.

Here’s a step-by-step look at how live resin is created:

  • Step 1: The cannabis plant is harvested and frozen with all plant matter intact.
  • Step 2: Next, the frozen plant material undergoes a solvent-based extraction process. Extraction usually involves the use of butane, propane, or butane hash oil (BHO).
  • Step 3: The plant is pressed to separate the cannabis oil compounds from the plant matter.
  • Step 4: The solvents are then purged from the oil, leaving behind only the concentrate.

What you get is a terpene-rich concentrate that smells good, tastes good, and makes for a powerful, long-lasting high.

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Scientist extracting Live Resin from cannabis plant

Who Created Live Resin?

Live resin as we know it today is only about a decade old. It originated in Colorado circa 2013 when two Cannabis growers and extractors created and perfected the process.

William “Kind Bill” Fenger and Jason “Giddy Up” Emo are credited with creating live resin.

Fenger and Emo thought it was a waste that up to half of the plant’s terpene content is lost during the drying and curing process used to make concentrates.

Together, they experimented with different strains and extraction techniques until they discovered a concentrate that captured the full spectrum of the cannabis plant’s flavors and aromas.

And so live resin was born. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Pros and Cons of Using Live Resin

Your enjoyment of live resin will depend on what you want out of a high.

Every cannabis product has its pros and cons. What works for one person may not work for someone else, and vice versa.

Before you run to the dispensary to buy live resin for the first time, it’s a good idea to read about its benefits and drawbacks.

The Pros of Using Live Resin

Below is an overview of what you can expect from using live resin to get high.

Great Smell, Great Taste

Live resin is far more flavorful than other cannabis extracts and concentrates because it’s rich with terpenes.

Unlike other concentrates, it preserves all of the terpenes that are found in the marijuana plant. This is what gives live resin its delicious flavor and pleasantly intense aroma.

If you’re still not sure what terpenes are, they’re chemical compounds that can be found in almost every plant. Terpenes are what makes roses smell like roses and marijuana smell earthy and woodsy — or like blueberries, citrus, or pine.

The cannabis plant contains more than a dozen different terpenes. Below is a list of some of the most common cannabis terpenes, with a description of how each one smells:

  • Myrcene (earthy, cloves)
  • Pinene (pine)
  • Limonene (citrus)
  • Caryophyllene (spicy, peppery)
  • Linalool (floral, sweet)

The Entourage Effect

The flash-freezing process preserves not only all of the cannabis plant’s terpenes, but also its cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are psychoactive compounds — think THC and CBD, among others.

When terpenes and cannabinoids are preserved together, as in the case of live resin, they create what’s called the “entourage effect.”

The entourage effect occurs when you consume a product that contains the full spectrum of cannabis plant elements. Terpenes boost the effects of the psychoactive compounds to deliver a more pleasing high with many therapeutic benefits.

Because of these therapeutic benefits, many consumers of live resin use it to:

  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Minimize epileptic seizures and spasms

Having said that, the potency of live resin means that it may not be the right choice for everyone.

Some people may have a better or more therapeutic experience if they use less-concentrated cannabis products. Because it’s a matter of taste and preference, your mileage may vary.

The Cons of Using Live Resin

Now that you know some of the benefits of using live resin, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why it may not be the right cannabis product for you.

Too Potent For Some

As discussed above, the high potency of live resin can be too intense for even experienced cannabis users.

Experts recommend that you start with a very small, very low dose until you know for yourself what effect it will have on you.

A Long-Lasting High

A live resin high can last a long time – sometimes up to several hours.

Even if cannabis consumption is nothing new for you, it’s best to use a small amount when trying it for the first time. This is especially true if you’ve never used a concentrate before.

Keep in mind that it is illegal to drive or operate any type of motorized vehicle when you are under the influence of THC.

Because the high from live resin can last for hours, be careful about timing. It’s best to wait to use it until you’re certain you won’t need to drive or operate machinery for the rest of the day.

Man Smoking Cannabis

Read About: Solvent vs. Solventless: How Are Cannabis Concentrates Made?

How Do You Use Live Resin?

Whether you want to use live resin for its therapeutic benefits or powerful, intense high, you have plenty of options for how to consume it.


Many people who use live resin prefer to dab it. Dabbing usually involves heating the live resin on a hot surface before using a dab ring to inhale its vapors.

Other tools that are often used to dab include dab tools, dab pens, torches, nails, or e-rigs.

Dab rigs are water pipes that vaporize cannabis concentrates. You heat the nail with the torch, which creates a vapor that you then inhale throughout the mouthpiece of the rig.

For more discreet usage, consider using a dab pen, which has a built-in heating element to vaporize the concentrate for you.


If you’re already comfortable with vaping, you’re in luck. Vaping is a popular method for consuming live resin.

You can purchase disposable live resin vape pens, as well as vape cartridges (aka “live resin carts”), which heat the concentrate so that you can inhale the vapors.

Dabbing and vaping are similar in that both require you to inhale vapors, rather than smoke. The main distinction between the two is the heating method they use to produce the vapor.

Smoking With Dried Flower

Although smoking live resin isn’t common or recommended, it’s also not unheard of.

The reason why it’s not recommended is because the oils in live resin have a lower smoke point. That means that when it’s subjected to high heat, rather than the gradual heat used to produce vapors, it can scald the delicate terpenes and flavor compounds.

If you do want to smoke live resin, most people do so by sprinkling a small amount on top of dried cannabis flowers while packing a bowl or joint.

Applied Topically

You can also infuse live resin into a carrier oil or alcohol and apply it as a topical agent to the skin.

To do this, it must first be decarboxylated. Decarboxylation is a process that occurs through heat as well as through time. It’s what activates the THC and other cannabinoids to produce their desired effects.


Live resin is now available in edible forms, such as gummies, which are infused with decarboxylated resin. Decarboxylated resin can also be added to tinctures or added to food or beverages.

Note: No matter how you intend or prefer to use live resin, always store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Where Can You Buy Live Resin?

In states where medical and/or recreational marijuana are legal, you can purchase high-quality live resin products in state-licensed dispensaries.

Licensed dispensaries only sell regulated products, so this is the only way to ensure that you are buying a product that’s both safe and effective.

If you buy live resin from a source other than a licensed dispensary, it could be harmful to your health. Unregulated products can contain higher than safe levels of the solvents used in the extraction process, which can potentially cause damage to the lungs and respiratory system.

To legally purchase live resin or any other type of cannabis product, you’ll need to shop at a dispensary in a state where recreational adult use marijuana is legal. Or, you can obtain your medical marijuana card if your state has legalized cannabis for medical use.

How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card

The easiest way to apply for a medical marijuana card is to use an online resource like Marijuana Doctors.

At Marijuana Doctors, we connect you with a licensed healthcare professional in your state who can evaluate you for medical marijuana treatment.

Depending on where you live, you can meet with a physician either in person or by virtual appointment. If the doctor determines that your health condition qualifies you for medical marijuana (qualifications vary by state), they will give you a certification for medical marijuana so that you can apply through your state’s health department.

Click here to find a cannabis doctor in your state now.

Is Live Resin Legal?

If your local dispensary sells live resin, it is legal for use in your state, but be mindful of how much you possess at a time.

Even states that permit the sale of marijuana, whether medical or recreational, have laws that limit how many grams of CBD or THC you can purchase or possess at one time.

Since state marijuana laws often change, it’s wise to stay updated about the current status of cannabis in your state or region. Make sure that you’re never carrying more than the legally permitted maximum. Otherwise, you could be subject to fees, fines, and even imprisonment, depending on your state’s current marijuana laws.

If you already like the complex aromas and flavors of cannabis, then you’ll love live resin. The live resin extraction process makes it possible to enjoy every last terpene for a high-quality cannabis experience.

It also allows you to experience a powerful high which, depending on your personal tolerance, may be too intense for some. Always use a small amount when trying live resin for the first time.

Curious about applying for a medical marijuana card so that you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of live resin? Contact Marijuana Doctors now to get certified for medical marijuana use in your state.

Up Next: Exploring New Cannabis Trends: 5 Products to Look Out For

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