Rosin d’Etre: The Subtle Differences Between Live Resin and Live Rosin

By Vincent Mann

Both resin and rosin are attractive to many because of their aromatics, flavor, and potent concentration; they’re also often confused with one another. While the two words may appear — and sound — nearly identical, the difference in production between live resin and rosin means that each is a unique form of concentrate. Let’s dive into some of these differences and why you should take note.

One Letter, Big Difference

At the most basic level, what distinguishes live resin from live rosin is the method of extraction. Light hydrocarbon solvents like propane and butane are used to extract live resin, while live rosin is solventless, extracted utilizing only heat, pressure, and the machines that generate them. Once extracted, there are a handful of differences worth noting. 

What is Resin?

You may be familiar with the idea of resin from scraping your cashed bowl and finding the sticky, black residue left behind by combusted herb. 

Well, the process of making live resin is very different: it begins by freezing a fresh cannabis flower immediately after harvesting, which helps retain potency by preserving both the cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant.

After the flower is frozen, the resin is extracted from it in a low-temperature environment using solvents such as butane hash oil, also known as BHO, or propane hash oil, aka PHO, though other solvents may be used as well. When the extraction process is finished, the final product is distilled to remove any lingering solvent, yielding a pure and potent product ready for packaging and distribution.

Resin is considered a particularly high quality vehicle for THC consumption. Depending on the strain used, as well as its cultivation, the THC content can range from 65-95%. This sticky, nectar-like substance can be vaped, dabbed, or added to raw flower for an upgraded smoke. 

Raw THC and THCA, however, needs to be activated by heat to get you high, so, if you want to give your edibles a little promotion, make sure that you decarboxylate it like the rest of your weed or you’ll be wasting your potent pot nectar. In case you need a reminder, decarboxylation is the process of activating the THC in your weed by carefully exposing it to precisely measured amounts of heat.

Then what’s Rosin?

Despite registering as practically the same to the ear, rosin is immediately distinguishable from resin by its amber color. The crucial distinction is that no solvent is used to extract it, giving it an edge over resin for those who don’t like the idea of alcohols or oils being involved in the extraction of their concentrates. Lastly, for the scientific stoners: Unlike resin, it is also possible to safely extract rosin on your own, making for a fun weekend project (but maybe try it sober first!).

So how do you make Live Rosin? 

Instead of being frozen, fresh cannabis is placed under extreme heat and pressure to extract the rosin — it’s basically the equivalent of a weed diamond. 

Because the cannabis isn’t left to dry or cure, the terpenes remain largely intact, resulting in potent levels of both THC and CBD. THC content in rosin averages around 75%, but can exceed 80%. If the rosin is being extracted with CBD in mind, it can reach up to 85% potency, making it ideal for pain relief, sleep, and relaxation.

What does the process look like? Fresh marijuana or hemp flower, or even hash or kief, is wrapped in parchment paper and placed in a hydraulic press with heated pressing plates. This method compacts the flower with a consistent temperature and amount of pressure, forcing the rosin out of the flower, which can then be scraped from the parchment paper for use.

While this process is safe to do at home, presses aren’t cheap, so most opt out of the DIY method and leave extraction to the professionals. Those choosing to DIY-it often use woodworking equipment & household appliances like hair straighteners, but this yields far less consistent results, as well as smaller yields. If you’re feeling industrious and choose to go this route, expect only 40-60% purity from the end product. Also, take note of your source material, as the more potent the cannabis, the more potent the rosin.

Further distinguishing rosin from resin is the presence of active THC & THCA — a result of the heat-extraction — which allows it to be added to your edibles, matcha, and coffee.

Live vs Cured

Both live resin and live rosin are made from fresh flower before it has had time to dry out. Cured resin and cured rosin have both been allowed to dry, which makes for a somewhat less potent product. Live products are also more flavorful and aromatic than their cured counterparts.


Typically rosin is more expensive than resin because of the time-intensive nature of the extraction process. Extracting resin is most safely done in a lab, leaving it without viable DIY alternatives, but its production is ultimately more efficient, which makes it a more budget-friendly concentrate.


The differences between live resin and live rosin aren’t massive, but they aren’t insignificant either. Solventless extraction may be the purer method for those concerned about the purity of their pot products, and opens the door for a broader range of consumption methods due to the activation of THC and THCA, but solvent-extracted resin can offer a somewhat higher potency than rosin can. As a rule of thumb, live rosin is often more expensive than live resin due to the amount of labor involved in production. 

Ultimately, a decision between the two may come down to how you weigh your budget against concerns of ‘purity’ in your product, but both will offer a satisfyingly potent concentrate of the compounds you want from your cannabis.

Here are some of our favorite offerings in the world of resins and rosins: 

Cruisers with live resin vape cart in Paris OG strain.

Cruisers with Live Resin - Paris OG

Don’t knock it till you try it. Cruisers blends classic distillate with live resin in the eternally chill carts, ready to pop and load. 

Raw Garden's ready-to-use vape pen with refined live rosin.

Raw Garden Ready-to-Use - Sour Tsunami

Famously fresh-frozen, the Ready-to-Use line by Raw Garden offers the live resin experience easier than ever in a single package. 

STIIIZY'S Curated Live Resin extract in a jar

STIIIZY Curated Live Resin: Blueberry Blast

See what the STIIIZY hype is about with their Curated Live Resin collection, which provides some wild flavor profiles. You can vape, dab, or sprinkle a bit to top off your bowl. 

STIIIZY's live rosin badder in Grape Pie strain.

STIIIZY Live Rosin Badder - Grape Pie

Or take the next step with STIIIZY’s live rosin: just ice, water, flower, leading to this beautiful badder that’s as tasty as it is powerful. 

PAX fresh pressed live rosin pod for the PAX ERA vape, featuring strain Blue Dream.

PAX Pod: Fresh Pressed: Blue Dream

PAX has made their splash on the live rosin game with legendary strain Blue Dream, winning them the 2022 High Times Cannabis Cup. An innovative spin that’s bound to impress. 

Jetty solventless vape cart with Fatso strain.

Jetty Solventless: Fatso

This luxurious live rosin cart from Jetty was a 2022 Emerald Cup winner: featuring Fatso, a delicious cross between GMO Cookies and Legend OG. Everything you could want, with Jetty’s signature wood tip. 

Vincent Mann is a writer, artist, and musician based in the Tri-State with a lifelong appreciation for herbs and herb.

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