Gloved hands holding cannabis concentrate in a clear, plastic jar

Live Resin vs Rosin, What’s the Difference?

You may not think there’d be such a big difference between live resin and rosin when there’s only a vowel that separates them. The truth is that resin and rosin may come from the same plant, but they’re created in very different ways. In this guide, we’re going to answer all your questions about live resin and rosin, including how they’re both made, how they’re both consumed, and our opinion on which is better (spoiler: we love them both).

What is Live Resin?

Live resin is a cannabis concentrate created using a solvent-based technique that’s applied to flash frozen cannabis flower. The solvents used to make live resin aren't really unique. We push butane, ethanol, propane, and supercritical CO2 through cannabis all the time. What makes live resin unique is that the process is done to marijuana that is flash frozen after it’s harvested.

You see, typically, before marijuana hits the shelves or is turned into a different product, it’s both dried and cured. Using this more traditional method can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes within the flower. By flash freezing the marijuana, we’re preserving more of those compounds we love in our cannabis before we start the extraction process. 

What Does “Live” Mean with Concentrates?

When a marijuana product is labeled “live” (e.g. live wax, live shatter, etc) this simply means that the extraction process was performed on fresh-from-the-greenhouse or fresh-from-the-garden, flash-frozen marijuana. Products with the “live” label are said to have a better flavor because more of the delicate terpenes are preserved by flash freezing the marijuana prior to extraction.

What is Rosin?

Rosin is a cannabis concentrate created with heat and pressure—no solvents required. Rosin can be created using dried and cured flower or flash frozen flower, but typically, if flash frozen flower is used, the final concentrate is referred to as live rosin.

While resin of any kind cannot typically be made at home—solvents can be flammable and dangerous, rosin can be made at home. Some cannabis enthusiasts even use a combination of wax paper and a hair straightener. The flower is clamped between the paddles of the hot iron, pressure is applied, and out comes the rosin. That said, because this is not exactly a regulated way of getting your rosin, we recommend purchasing your rosin from a state-licensed dispensary.

Live Resin vs Rosin: How Are They Made?

Live resin and rosin are made in two very distinct ways: live resin is made using a solvent-based extraction technique, and rosin is made using just heat and pressure, no solvents. Live resin—emphasis on live—is made using flash-frozen cannabis flower, but rosin is made using dried and cured marijuana. That said, if you’re interested in a solventless, flash-frozen rosin, just ask your budtender if they carry any live rosin. They’ll be able to point you to what they may have in stock. 

Live Resin vs Rosin: How Are They Consumed?

While live resin and rosin might be made differently, they’re consumed in much the same ways. Most cannabis connoisseurs choose to dab or vape their resins and rosins. They can also be added to your flower in hand pipes and water pipes. Some cannabis enthusiasts even dip their pre-rolls in a little bit of live resin or rosin to add potency to their product.

Live Resin vs Rosin: Which is Better?

Deciding on which product is better—live resin or rosin—is impossible because we enjoy them both. More importantly, your opinion of live resin or rosin is far more important than ours, and it depends entirely on your preferences, tastes, and expectations for your concentrates. Some cannaconnoisseurs prefer rosin because of its solventless extraction, insisting that solvents create slight differences in everything from the color to the flavor and potency. Others insist both offer unique and enjoyable experiences. The best way to develop your own opinion is to pick up some product for yourself.

Purchasing Live Resin & Rosin

If you’re ready to give these popular concentrates a try, head over to your local dispensary and ask a budtender to show you what they have in stock. They’ll be able to help you find the live resin and rosin, or point you to a similar marijuana concentrate that can offer a comparable experience. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a new favorite product.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.