Extraction technologies are forever altering how people use cannabis. They are influencing culture too. The community now has a whole subculture dedicated to extracts, where celebrated hash makers, glass blowers, and even strain hunters are famous for their efforts. This refining of technology brings with it interesting and intuitive ways to turn quality bud into highly concentrated product for the market.
Snap ‘n pull, crumble, diamonds, wax, budder – most extracts come named specifically for their consistency and texture. Of them, perhaps the most famous and widespread of them all are shatter and live resin, each easily available with a simple “marijuana delivery near me” Google search. They are not the same, however. Their differences are sizable and worth knowing.
What is Shatter?
Shatter is a type of extract made from dried cannabis bud and trim, cured to perfection. What a company puts in is what comes out. For example, those using big nugs, still entire, will end up with a product tastier, smellier, and stronger than those just using trimmings. Despite enduring much harm during transport and storage, dried trichomes still offer the life needed for potent extracts like this.
Making shatter involves using a hydrocarbon in a closed-loop extraction machine. Most often, this is butane. This process uses heat and compression to separate trichomes effectively. Afterward, this extracted oil goes into a high-pressure vacuum oven, a process that purges any remaining residual solvents from it. This is when shatter begins to take its identifiable shape.
Unlike live resin, which is much saucier, shatter is very brittle. Simply a thin sheet of hardened extract, it retains its shape indefinitely. At least until you “shatter” it intentionally before use. Shatter is usually translucent in color, but it comes out a beautiful golden color too. It melts very easily and it typically looks bubbly, somewhat like Swiss cheese, with air bubbles created during the vacuum purge.
What is Live Resin?
Live resin differs from shatter in that is derives from fresh cannabis plants. Still alive. During harvest, one cuts plants down and flash freezes them immediately. This action helps to preserve crucial trichomes, which is where the important cannabinoids and terpenes reside. Preserving trichomes preserves flavor, smell, potency, and effects of each cannabis strain too. In short, trichomes are where the good stuff is.
Cutting, drying, curing, and handling are all processes that can greatly damage these trichomes, ultimately degrading both terpenes and cannabinoids. Live resin avoids this altogether, and the result is a thick extract saucy in texture, even resembling honey crystalized at the bottom of a jar. It is bright in color, shiny, vibrant, and usually a gorgeous golden orange.
Fresh-bud extraction maintains terpene integrity, even heightens flavor and aroma complexity. Live resin is simply abundant in terpenes, giving it its reputation for always tasting great, like herbs and fruits. It keeps true to the original flavor and effect of specific strains, just with a much higher concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids. Yes, this means tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, too. Potency is next level.
Some companies use fresh trimmings to make live resin, as well. A quality manufacturer will try to do this within two hours of harvest. This helps to preserve terpenoids at their ripest. The result is different to extracting from fresh buds. Creamier. The resin sparkles somewhat like diamonds. It melts perfectly and is not too thin or sticky, like some other extracts can be.
Cannabis extracts are easily confusing. There are so many it can overwhelm any newbies to them. It is important to know that the main differences between shatter and live resin can seem insignificant to newbies, but might prove notable for connoisseurs. The extraction process itself is actually very similar for both extracts, but there are differences to consider nonetheless:
The biggest difference between shatter and live resin is what you use to make it. Shatter uses dried, cured bud, whereas live resin uses fresh and flash frozen. While live resin can form different shapes after extraction, it always derives from fresh bud. However, it very rarely becomes a shatter. That would defeat the purpose of making live resin to begin with. Shatter always uses dried bud. Always.
To achieve its incredible translucence and intense purity, shatter goes through several filtration and purging processes that actually filter many terpenes out, leaving the vast majority of them behind. Even so, both live resin and shatter can make use of the exact same type of solvent and the exact same type of equipment used for extraction.
No other cannabis extract matches the terpene content in live resin. Potency remains unrivalled. Terpene content in shatter is rather low, on the other hand. The abundance of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in live resin make the entourage effect more powerful. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this utilizes these compounds synergistically, so they all work together in harmony.
For many, the further a plant separates from its natural compounds, the more processing it undergoes, then the less therapeutic it will be. There is a visual cue too. Shatter is glass-like, a consistency that “shatters” on impact. It stores flat, in sheets, often wrapped in parchment paper. You will typically get live resin in a glass jar, wherein it has a waxier, crumblier, saucier appearance.
Live resin is generally more potent than shatter. This is primarily due to the unique properties of the entourage effect. As such, live resin is more effective medicinally, for both body and mind. One uses shatter and live resin in much the same way. You can add it to bowls or joints, you can dab it. However, shatter has the wrong texture for a vaping cartridge. Live resin makes a better vaping oil.
The choice of shatter or live resin will depend on your own preference. Luckily, there is no real need to make a choice. Search Google for “weed delivery Santa Monica” for the latest bestselling extracts. Try them both. Experimentation is key and crucial to the overall cannabis experience. Try a live resin cartridge. A dab rig. There is seemingly no end in sight to the many potent extracts available today.