The distillate vs live resin battle continues to be discussed in professional circles. Many budtenders these days will claim that live resin is better than distillate.
But why is that?
If you’re new to the idea that there are different forms of cannabis concentrates and they might have different effects – even if all you want is some weed carts which give you the experience you’re looking for – it’s definitely worth knowing just a little bit about how what live resin and distillate are and why you might choose one over the other.
First of all:
What is a budtender?
Budtender is a fun portmanteau of “bartender” and the marijuana “bud”. It’s sometimes used to casually, lightheartedly refer to anyone who works in a cannabis dispensary. But it’s also an actual set emerging profession in parts of the cannabis industry, which is undergoing rapid professionalization as well as legalization and expansion.
The role of a budtender is something similar to a sommelier when it comes to wine. They are supposed to be fully informed as to the qualities of the various cannabis strains and medical marijuana products which a dispensary sells. This might include:
- Differences in effect between strains
- The best way to consume certain strains
- Strains which might meet certain desires or preferences
- How to avoid unwanted side-effects, or which strains are less likely to produce them
It is not a budtender’s job to “upsell” or to convince you to spend more money. It’s their job to give you the same quality of in-depth advice and access to knowledge whether you are spending $5 or $500.
For most cannabis cafes and dispensaries, having a budtender on hand is the best way to keep their customers happy and informed as to what they are getting. As a consumer, a dispensary with an experienced, knowledgeable budtender is the best way to get what you need from your marijuana purchase and experience.
What is distillate?
Distillate is a catch-all term for cannabis concentrates in which all of the ingredients and materials found in the cannabis plant have been removed, save one.
The most common types of cannabis distillate are THC oil and CBD oil, the main ingredients being distilled for in these cases obviously being the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol.
Distillate is the highly versatile base on which all kinds of cannabis products rest:
- Vape pen cartridges
- Concentrates for dabbing
The goal when producing distillate is to create as pure a result as possible. If you’re buying THC karts, for instance, you should be able to see a label which displays how pure the product is as a percentage.
These days, you can get products which are 90% pure or higher. But that purity does come at something of a price..
Because all of the flavors and aromas of cannabis come from the various parts of the plant – particularly the terpenes, organic compounds within the plant – which are purposefully destroyed or removed by the distillation process.
This makes flavored THC cartridges a popular option. The pure, tasteless distillate is aided by a natural or unique flavoring. For example:
- KIND offers Sweet Karts with THC. These come in a range of fruity flavors.
- For those who prefer a natural taste, some KIND carts have natural terpenes and flavoring added back in again, restoring the familiar aromas of selected strains of marijuana.
Don’t let the bright colors and fruity flavors fool you though. Even Sweet Karts clock in at a whopping 80%+ THC purity. This gives them some serious potency.
What is live resin?
Live resin, on the other hand, is often referred to as a “whole plant” or “full spectrum” product (although, it’s important to note, not all full spectrum products are live resin). It is made by flash-freezing the cannabis plant soon after it has been harvested.
The advantage of this is that – unlike the methods used to produce other cannabis concentrates – no heat is involved. And it’s the heat which destroys the terpenes and the other relatively fragile components of cannabis during the distillation process.
This makes live resin great for a number of reasons:
- Flavor: it means that live resin oil cartridges and other products containing live resin have a much fuller, natural taste as opposed to distillate options.
- The Entourage Effect: while a distillate of a single cannabinoid – such as THC vape carts – can be very, very potent, they can never take advantage of the Entourage Effect. This is the powerful magnifying effect which happens when all of the cannabinoids and compounds found in cannabis work together at the same time. This means that live resin carts and other live resin products, while they might technically be less “pure” than distillate, can actually result in a far more intense effect.
- Therapeutic power: in addition, terpenes – which are found in all kinds of plants and even some insects as well as cannabis – are what give essential oils their therapeutic power. Retaining them in the final product – as well as the other cannabinoids, perhaps less well researched than CBD or THC, but which also have therapeutic benefits – is always going to be a good idea.
Distillate vs live resin: which is better?
Because of the benefits in terms of Entourage Effect potency, natural flavor and additional therapeutic power provided by the terpenes and other cannabinoids which remain in the final product, most budtenders these days will have a lot of good things to say about live resin.
But when it comes to live resin vs distillate, the kind of high you prefer might also play a role. Perhaps you don’t actually like the rich flavors of cannabis but just need the therapeutic effect. Or perhaps price is a factor. Because the one downside of live resin is that it can land more towards the higher end of the cost spectrum.
It’s for this reason KIND live resin cartridges aren’t the only thing in the range. Other K.I.N.D. carts loaded with THC and CBD distillate exist in a wide range of natural, fruity and other flavors. So you can always find what you want no matter your tastes and preferences.