Difference Between Full Spectrum and Live Resin

The ongoing evolution of the cannabis industry has brought forth a myriad of products, each with its distinct properties and effects. Among these, two have been the topic of avid discussion and comparison: full spectrum and live resin. This article delves deep into the nuances of these two extracts, highlighting their differences, similarities, and ideal use-cases.

What is Full Spectrum and What is Live Resin?

Full Spectrum: This term generally refers to cannabis extracts that maintain the full profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in the cannabis plant. Instead of isolating specific compounds like THC or CBD, full spectrum extracts ensure that the user gets the combined effects of all the compounds in the plant, often referred to as the “entourage effect.”

Live Resin: Live resin is a type of cannabis concentrate made by extracting the plant’s compounds from fresh, flash-frozen cannabis flowers, rather than dried and cured buds. This process retains a broader profile of terpenes, which are often lost during the drying and curing process. As a result, live resin often has a more aromatic and flavorful profile compared to other extracts.

What is the Main Difference Between Full Spectrum and Live Resin?

The main difference between full spectrum and live resin lies in their production processes and the cannabinoid and terpene profiles they capture:

  • Full Spectrum: This extract is derived from dried and cured cannabis buds. The term “full spectrum” indicates that the product contains a complete range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds naturally present in the cannabis plant, without any component being removed or isolated. This allows for the “entourage effect,” where the combined components work synergistically for enhanced effects.
  • Live Resin: This extract is made from fresh cannabis flowers that are flash-frozen immediately after harvest, rather than being dried and cured. The rapid freezing helps to preserve the terpenes, which are volatile and can be lost during the drying process. As a result, live resin typically has a richer and more robust terpene profile compared to other extracts, delivering a more aromatic and flavorful experience.

In essence, while full spectrum extracts aim to provide a comprehensive representation of the dried cannabis flower’s components, live resin seeks to encapsulate the essence of the fresh, live cannabis plant.

Key Differences Between Full Spectrum and Live Resin

  1. Origin of the Material: Full spectrum extracts can be derived from dried and cured cannabis buds. In contrast, live resin uses fresh, flash-frozen flowers.
  2. Terpene Profile: Live resin tends to have a more robust and diverse terpene profile due to its extraction from fresh plants.
  3. Texture and Consistency: Live resin often has a more viscous and sticky consistency, while full spectrum extracts can vary in consistency.
  4. Flavor and Aroma: Owing to its rich terpene profile, live resin generally offers a more vibrant flavor and aroma compared to most full spectrum extracts.
  5. Production Process: While both involve extraction, live resin requires specialized equipment to handle fresh, frozen plant material.
  6. Price: Live resin is often more expensive than full spectrum products due to its intricate production process.
  7. Availability: Full spectrum products are more widely available, whereas live resin is more of a specialty product found in select dispensaries.
  8. Shelf Life: Due to its high terpene content, live resin might degrade faster in terms of aroma and flavor compared to some full spectrum extracts.

Key Similarities Between Full Spectrum and Live Resin

  1. Entourage Effect: Both full spectrum and live resin aim to provide the benefits of the entourage effect by preserving a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes.
  2. Extraction Based: Both products are the result of extraction processes, designed to concentrate the beneficial compounds of the cannabis plant.
  3. THC and CBD Content: Both full spectrum and live resin products can contain varying levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.
  4. Regulation: In regions where cannabis products are legal, both full spectrum and live resin are subject to similar regulations concerning production, labeling, and sale.
  5. Medicinal Applications: Both have medicinal applications and can be used for various ailments, depending on their specific cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
  6. Consumption Methods: Both can be consumed through similar methods such as vaping, dabbing, or adding to edibles.

Pros of Full Spectrum Over Live Resin

  1. Availability: Full spectrum products are generally more widespread and accessible in dispensaries compared to live resin.
  2. Cost: Due to its more straightforward production process, full spectrum is often more affordable than the specialty product of live resin.
  3. Shelf Life: Full spectrum extracts, when stored properly, might maintain their potency and profile longer than the highly aromatic live resin.
  4. Consistency: Full spectrum extracts tend to have a more consistent profile batch-to-batch, whereas live resin, being from fresh plants, might have slight variations.
  5. Versatility: The consistency and wide availability of full spectrum products allow them to be used in various applications, from tinctures to edibles.
  6. General Effects: For those looking for the benefits of the entourage effect without the overwhelming flavors or aromas, full spectrum is an ideal choice.

Cons of Full Spectrum Compared to Live Resin

  1. Terpene Profile: Full spectrum, when derived from dried and cured buds, might lack the robust and diverse terpene profile that live resin offers from fresh, flash-frozen flowers.
  2. Flavor and Aroma: Live resin is often lauded for its vibrant and authentic flavors and aromas, which some full spectrum extracts might lack.
  3. Potency Peaks: Some aficionados believe that live resin can deliver higher peaks of certain cannabinoids or terpenes, providing a unique experience.
  4. Freshness: Live resin captures the essence of the fresh cannabis plant, which some users might prefer over the profile of cured buds.
  5. Exclusivity: The specialty nature of live resin can be a draw for enthusiasts and connoisseurs who seek unique cannabis experiences.
  6. Texture and Experience: The distinct consistency of live resin makes it a favorite for dabbing enthusiasts who prefer its sap-like quality.

Pros of Live Resin Over Full Spectrum

  1. Terpene Richness: Live resin typically captures a richer and more varied terpene profile, offering a broader aromatic experience.
  2. Flavor Profile: Derived from fresh, flash-frozen cannabis flowers, live resin boasts authentic and vibrant flavors often closer to the original plant.
  3. Potency: The extraction process for live resin can sometimes capture higher concentrations of specific cannabinoids and terpenes.
  4. Freshness: The very essence of the fresh cannabis plant is encapsulated in live resin, making it a favorite for those who prioritize this attribute.
  5. Unique Experience: For cannabis enthusiasts and connoisseurs, the nuanced experience of live resin is often unparalleled.
  6. Texture and Quality: The sap-like consistency of live resin is distinct and often preferred by those who enjoy dabbing.

Cons of Live Resin Compared to Full Spectrum

  1. Price: Live resin’s meticulous production process often makes it more expensive than full spectrum extracts.
  2. Availability: Being a specialty product, live resin might not be as widely available as full spectrum products in some regions or dispensaries.
  3. Shelf Life: The pronounced terpene profile in live resin may degrade faster, especially if not stored under optimal conditions.
  4. Consistency: Given that live resin is extracted from fresh plants, there might be more batch-to-batch variations in terms of profile.
  5. Requires Specialized Equipment: The extraction process for live resin needs specialized machinery to handle fresh, frozen plant material.
  6. Potentially Overwhelming: For new users or those sensitive to strong flavors and aromas, live resin might be overwhelming compared to the more neutral profile of some full spectrum products.

Situations When Full Spectrum is Better Than Live Resin

  1. Budgetary Constraints: If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, full spectrum typically offers more value for money compared to live resin.
  2. Consistency in Consumption: For those who prefer consistent effects and flavor profiles, the batch-to-batch regularity of full spectrum might be more suitable.
  3. Edible Preparations: When infusing edibles, the subtle flavor of full spectrum might be preferable to avoid overpowering the taste of the food.
  4. Long-term Storage: If you’re stocking up and plan on storing the product for an extended period, the longer shelf life of full spectrum might be beneficial.
  5. Broad Availability: For individuals living in areas with limited cannabis product availability, full spectrum options are generally more accessible.
  6. Milder Experience: New users or those who might find intense flavors or aromas overwhelming may gravitate towards the more balanced profile of full spectrum.

Situations When Live Resin is Better Than Full Spectrum

  1. Flavor Enthusiasts: If you prioritize a rich, authentic flavor that closely mirrors the fresh cannabis plant, live resin is the go-to choice.
  2. Dabbing Purposes: The unique sap-like consistency of live resin makes it especially suitable for dabbing enthusiasts.
  3. Terpene Appreciation: For those who place a high value on terpene content and the nuanced aromas it brings, live resin offers a broader profile.
  4. Unique Experience: If you’re a connoisseur or enthusiast looking for a distinct cannabis experience, live resin might provide the nuance you seek.
  5. Short-term Use: Given its aromatic richness, those looking for a product to consume in the short term without concerns about shelf life degradation might prefer live resin.
  6. Special Occasions: For special occasions or moments where you want to indulge in a premium product, the exclusivity of live resin can elevate the experience.

Full Spectrum vs Live Resin Summary

In the ever-expanding realm of cannabis products, understanding the distinctions between offerings is crucial. Whether it’s the aromatic richness of live resin or the balanced profile of full spectrum, each has its place in the industry and caters to different user preferences. By comprehending the subtleties of full spectrum vs live resin, consumers can make informed choices tailored to their specific needs and desires.

Full Spectrum vs Live ResinFull SpectrumLive Resin
Origin of the MaterialDried & Cured BudsFresh, Flash-Frozen Flowers
Terpene ProfileVariesMore Robust
Texture and ConsistencyVariesSap-like
Production ProcessStandardRequires Specialized Equipment
PriceGenerally Less ExpensiveMore Expensive
AvailabilityWidespreadSpecialty Product
Entourage EffectYesYes
Extraction BasedYesYes
Medicinal ApplicationsVariesVaries
Pros Over The Other
Consistent Flavor ProfileYesNo
Suitable for EdiblesYesPotentially Overpowering
Cons Compared to The Other
Authentic Fresh FlavorLess PronouncedVery Pronounced
Wide Terpene ProfileMight LackRich and Diverse
Situations Better Suited
Budgetary ConstraintsYesNo
Infusing EdiblesYesNo
Dabbing PurposesNoYes
Short-term UseNoYes
Full Spectrum vs Live Resin Summary


What extraction methods are typically used for full spectrum and live resin?
Full spectrum is often extracted using supercritical CO2 or ethanol methods, preserving a wide range of cannabinoids. Live resin, on the other hand, requires a BHO (Butane Hash Oil) method due to the freshness and moisture content of the material.

How do I store full spectrum and live resin products to ensure longevity?
Both extracts benefit from being stored in cool, dark places. However, live resin, with its rich terpene content, might degrade faster and therefore could benefit from refrigeration.

Can both full spectrum and live resin be used in vaporizers?
Yes, both can be vaporized. However, they may require different vaporizer settings due to their distinct consistencies and terpene profiles.

Are there specific medical conditions that benefit more from one extract over the other?
Both extracts offer a range of therapeutic benefits. The choice might depend more on the specific cannabinoid and terpene profile of the product rather than whether it’s full spectrum or live resin. It’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional regarding specific medical conditions.

How do the effects of full spectrum compare with live resin when consumed?
The effects can vary based on the cannabinoid and terpene profile of the specific product. Generally, live resin might offer a more pronounced flavor and aroma, potentially leading to a more immersive experience, while full spectrum provides a more balanced, comprehensive cannabinoid effect.

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