When you choose to explore the world of cannabis vape carts, it can feel a little like you’re stepping into an entirely unfamiliar world. In terms of flower, all you really have to worry about with variety are things like which strain you prefer or how much THC you want. Though terpenes and phenotypes are making those decisions a bit more difficult as well, but that’s for another post.
Vape carts are made with cannabis extracts, and cannabis extracts can get pretty complicated. Three terms you’ll see on cannabis cart labels fairly often are full spectrum, live resin, and distillate—all three determine your vaping experience and its effects.
First, Full-Spectrum Vape Carts – What does this mean?
Live resin carts are full-spectrum, distillate carts are not. With full-spectrum cannabis extracts, you’re getting extract that contains the full collection of plant constituents found in that particular cannabis strain. This means the plant’s natural cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are still intact and contribute to the overall experience of that vape cart.
Full-spectrum is a phrase that has gained importance as cannabis consumption methods have evolved. When everyone was simply smoking flower, the “full-spectrum” experience was a given. However, when it comes to extracts, the different processing steps can degrade or totally eliminate certain constituents, leading to a different type of high.
Scientists have pointed out numerous times that the different compounds in cannabis work together through what is referred to as “the entourage effect.” In other words, when you take in the different compounds as you would with the natural plant, you can have a different (some might say better) experience, whether that is in terms of the psychoactive effects or otherwise.
Distillate vs Live Resin Carts – The Main Differences
Now, when it comes to vape carts, there are most often two primary types of extract used to fill the carts, which are distillate and live resin. Live rosin carts are also becoming popular, which is slightly different in that live rosin is made using a solventless extraction process. Live resin is made using a solvent-based extraction process – typically butane or ethanol are used.
Both resin-based carts and distillate carts have their benefits, but the two are a lot like the difference between freshly squeezed juice right from the fruit and a can of concentrated juice you buy at the store. Take a closer look below.
Distillate carts are filled with distilled cannabis extract. Dried & cured cannabis is put through an extraction process to yield crude cannabis oil. From here, the crude oil is distilled using a combination of heat and pressure.
Distillate carts are not full-spectrum. The different compounds in cannabis have different boiling points, which means some important components can be isolated & removed through distillation.
For example, you’ll notice a lot of distillates have a high THC content, which is a good indicator that the manufacturer aimed to extract primarily the THC. Unfortunately, this can mean that most terpenes and a lot of other cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) are gone.
Live-Resin or Live Rosin Carts
By contrast, live resin & live rosin vape carts are made in a totally different way. Live resin & live rosin are extracted by flash-freezing freshly harvested (not yet dried or cured) cannabis to separate the trichomes, which is where the terpenes and cannabinoids live. Live resin utilizes a solvent-based extraction method (using something like butane or ethanol) while live rosin utilizes a solvent less extraction process (using something like a heat press (rosin press), or bubble hash bags)
The harvested trichomes take on the consistency of what looks like crystallized syrup or honey, and the extract retains all those flavors and aromatics from the plant. Plus, all cannabinoids present in the specific strain used will remain.
Live resin—because it contains more than just the THC or a specifically targeted compound—is a full-spectrum extract. Due to the entourage effect and the closer makeup of natural flower, live resin carts may offer a more familiar experience, right down to flavor and smell.
However, due to the more intense production process, live resin carts are often more expensive. Live rosin carts are typically even more expensive than live resin. But at the end of the day, you get what you pay for!
What’s the difference between live resin and normal carts?
“Normal” can be ambiguous, but what most people are referring to is distillate. Distillate is cheaper to make, which means it can also be a little less expensive and a little easier to find. The primary differences between live resin and distillate carts include:
- Distillate carts may have a higher THC %
- Distillate is often clear or light yellow; live resin is thicker and darker
- Distillate is less flavorful unless flavor additives are used; live resin is packed with flavor and offers a full-spectrum experience
Are live resin carts worth it?
They definitely can be. Even though the cost can be higher, you get a more authentic experience with every hit in terms of both flavor and effects. Distillate carts may give you more THC potency than live resin, but this doesn’t necessarily mean getting higher for less money because of the entourage effect.
Do live resin carts have more smell than distillate carts?
Yes. Because most of the terpenes are stripped out during distillation, distillate carts tend to be mostly odorless. If you;’re going for inconspicuousness, distillate carts may be the way to go, but live resin offers much more flavor and aromatics.
Shop for Top-Quality Vape Carts at Alkaloid Cannabis Company
Whether you’re looking for more affordable, less fragrant distillate or you want to go with an authentic experience as close to cannabis as possible with live resin, we’ve got you covered at Alkaloid Cannabis Company. Be sure to check out our menu for a full collection of cannabis vape carts.