Can you tell a live resin from a distillate?

February 18, 2021

Live resin is a growing product category in cannabis that is used to describe a cannabis extract derived using a certain process meant to preserve natural terpenes and plant flavor.

The live resin process begins at the cultivator where free bud and sugar leaves are harvested, flash frozen (at temperature varying from -10℉ and -80℉) and vacuum sealed to prevent volatile compounds from escaping. This is in contrast to drying and curing where the plant moisture levels are intentionally reduced to enable long-term dry storage before passing on to a distributor.

The frozen cannabis is then subjected to a low temperature closed loop extraction process, most commonly butane hydrocarbon extraction, at temperatures between -20℉ and -50℉. Once the extract has been obtained from the plant material it is then carefully vacuum cured in a warm bath to remove the solvent while maintaining as many volatile components of the plant as possible. The most common consistencies of the resulting extract material are sap, sugar, badder, jelly, and budder.

Live resin product ready to be capped for distribution.

Products created using the live resin process will naturally have higher levels of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes than products derived from the same plant material using a different process, such as distillation. Some manufacturers will attempt to replicate the live resin terpene and flavor profile by adding mono- and sesquiterpenes back into their concentrate. Live resin mimics can be made at much lower cost than true live resin owing to the lower cost of the distillate process and raw materials.

Learn more about why this important from a false advertising perspective here.

Interested in knowing if your “live resin” was created using a live resin process or if it is a mimic? Chemical analyses can readily distinguish between live resin and distillate mimics. Contact us to learn how.

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