The Difference Between Live Resin & Live Rosin

Field Live Resin Packaging


Concentrates have gotten more popular than ever. What was once a niche part of the industry has grown in the last few years to become one of the most asked about items at this year’s Emerald Ball.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the cannabis community and the application of modern technology, more and more people have discovered that the real gold in California is at the end of a dab tool.
Today, many smokers are familiar with the fantastic flavor live resins produce, but not as many people know the difference between that and the shelf marked “live rosin.”
And while we know there’s a whole multiverse out there, from shatters and badders to cold-cures and jams, today we’re sticking to the fundamental differences between live resin and live rosin.


First, we have to start by explaining what we mean by live. Seen all over dispensary menus, the terms “live” and “cured” refer to how the cannabis was prepared and stored before being extracted.

Cured resins/rosins use cannabis that’s been dried in a cool, dark environment to remove the remaining moisture before being sealed to protect the delicate flowers from handling. Just like in the jars you can find on shelves at your local dispensary.

Live means that the flowers were flash-frozen immediately after being harvested, before even the most delicate terpenes could start degrading but with all the moisture still inside the plant. This process requires more equipment, space, and power but gets you a closer representation of the plant’s terpene profile.

Some studies suggest that as much as 40-50% of terpenes can be lost during the drying and curing process, giving a dramatic rise in the demand for fresh frozen concentrates. Many now believe this is an extractor’s absolute best chance to show off all the unbelievable flavors each strain hides.


A general description of the difference comes from how they get extracted. Live resins combine frozen cannabis flowers with solvents like butane, alcohol, or CO2 to separate cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material.

The resulting mixture is purged of any leftover fats or lipids and purified to remove the solvent. Live resins have also revolutionized the  cartridge scene, allowing dabbers the kind of on-the-go experience we used to only dream about, but at nearly the same cost as a cured resin cartridge.


Flower Rosin is created using heat and pressure to press and squeeze a bud, separating the resin glands from the plant. Making live rosin is a bit more complicated, since you can’t just take cannabis right from the freezer and start pressing it because of the moisture still inside the plant.

First, extractors begin by agitating the buds with ice and water to shake the resin glands off. Then, they scrape and dry these trichomes into a powder that can be sieved, sifted and separated by how well it melts. High melt product is taken to the presses, placed in a mesh bag, and squeezed into a river of liquid gold.


It all comes down to preference. Both of these are award-winning creations that keep blowing people away with their ability to capture the essence of a cannabis strain in a consumable form.
Live resin concentrates continue to refine themselves throughout this time of rapid expansion, holding firm to their reputation for preserving the flavors and terpenes in each strain. They’re easier to store and maintain, are often more affordable, and allow a broader spectrum of starting material to create each batch.

Live rosins undeniably bring out the most subtle flavors and effects from a strain. However, they cost more and require attention and care to preserve the fragile terpenes, shapeshifting in dramatic ways if left out.

Each represents tradition, artistry, and the relationship between producer and plant. As anyone fortunate enough to taste the same strain in both forms knows, it’s like hearing two incredible performers singing the same song. The melody is the same, but they hit slightly different notes.

Matt Jackson

Matt Jackson

A writer, content creator, & event coordinator, Matt Jackson is a polymath whose been working with cannabis for almost two decades. Check out more of his work.