Cannabis Concentrates: Live Resin vs. Shatter, Wax, Budder

Written by

Mell Green

Mell is a cannabis connoisseur who has been published in nearly 50 online publications surrounding cannabis, including Cannabis Industry Association, Analytical Cannabis, Terpenes and Testing Magazine, Plant People, Byrdie, and...

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Live resin extract
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When it comes to buying concentrates, the whole process can feel a bit overwhelming. Every day, it seems as though there is a new form for you to try, one that’s totally different from the last. While it may be true that the cannabis concentrate industry is booming, distinguishing one wax from another doesn’t have to be difficult. 

Here, we’re focusing primarily on the properties of live resin and how they compare to other concentrates such as shatter, sugar wax, and budder. By comparing these concentrates directly to one another, their differences become clear, and finding your favorite weed concentrate is easier than ever.


  • Live resin is a form of cannabis concentrate that is made using a flash-freeze method to help preserve full-plant properties such as terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids. 
  • This creates a potent aromatic, flavorful product quite different from other concentrates.
  • Compared to shatter, live resin is much more malleable and flavorful, though shatter is more purified and fragile. 
  • Sugar wax is known for its crumbly, brown-sugar like texture. While live resin’s appearance is runnier than sugar wax, they both contain the potent crystals you love.
  • Compared to budder and its soft texture, live resin is less malleable; however, they’re both incredibly flavorful. Their potencies are similar, but terpene levels in live resin will still be higher.
  • When comparing live resin to other concentrates, its unique properties and bright flavor profiles become even more apparent.

How Cannabis Concentrates are Made

Weed concentrates can be made in a variety of ways. Many companies utilize substances called solvents to help break down plant matter and just leave the precious, potent oils remaining. Solvents like butane, ethanol, and CO2 can all be used during these rigorous extraction processes, though many prefer the cleanliness and purity that CO2 extractions provide.

Cannabis oil extract
Extracted cannabis oil. Photo/Moxie

To make concentrates with solvents, a manufacturer will either blast the plant matter or soak it in the solvent to destroy all physical plant matter. Then, the remaining oils undergo strict purging processes to ensure that all of the solvent has been removed. 

But, if you don’t want to deal with any solvents, you can find solventless extracts, too. Dry sift resin, hash oil, and ice water hash are all great extract options that are made completely without the use of solvents.

Whether it is through a sifting method or a flash freezing technique, these processes allow for plant matter to completely separate from hash, trichomes, and, of course, cannabinoids. 

It’s Shatter or Wax

When it comes down to the breakdown of marijuana concentrates, you either have types of shatter or types of wax. What’s the difference? 

Essentially, transparent, fragile concentrates are shatter, and muddied, more viscous concentrates are wax. However, their actual composition is a bit more complicated than that. 

Shatter concentrates undergo extremely rigorous extraction and purification processes to achieve a clear, nearly translucent composition.

Wax, on the other hand, is often stirred, whipped, or mixed during purging, resulting in the malleable texture it’s known for.

There’s a huge misconception that more transparent concentrates are better, but this is simply the result of manipulation during production.

Live Resin and its Properties

Live resin extracted
Tub of live resin extracts

Live resin is a weed concentrate that’s highly individualistic. Unlike almost all of its other concentrate counterparts, live resin is made using a specialized flash-freezing technique. With this, the plant material itself is frozen prior to and during extraction, creating a product that effectively preserves full-plant compounds. 

By preserving phytochemicals like terpenes and flavonoids, live resin contains incredibly distinct flavor profiles with every strain. But, how exactly does this compare to other cannabis concentrates? 

Live Resin vs. Shatter

Comparing live resin to shatter can be like night and day. Though you can theoretically achieve live resin in any consistency, you hardly ever see it in shatter form. Shatter is a well-sought after form of concentrate known for its glass-like, fragile form. 

Shatter, unlike live resin, contains an extremely low terpene content. In order to achieve its pristine structure, the wax undergoes various purification and filtration processes. While this is great for getting the purest product possible, it also destroys the various terpenes and flavonoids the plant contains. This creates the translucent appearance you love, but also results in quite an everyday taste. 

Enjoy dancing around the house or getting creative with a paintbrush? Shatter is a great concentrate for those looking for an uplifting, blissful high and overall fun experience with cannabis. 

Live resin, as we mentioned, is incredibly pungent, especially when compared to shatter. This flash-frozen weed concentrate retains terpenes like none other, helping to embrace the entourage effect phenomenon or the idea that cannabis’ properties are best enjoyed synergistically. With this information, it seems as though live resin does have the ability to be a bit more potent than shatter, even if shatter contains higher THC percentages.

If you’re in need of some therapeutic benefits–maybe pain relief or relaxation–live resin is ideal. This potent concentrate is full of soothing characteristics that’ll boost your mood and help you feel your best.

Which is better? Live resin is overall more potent than shatter, and the synergistic combination of terpenes and cannabinoids will likely help more with pain or sleep. In general, the entourage effect makes effects feel much more full-bodied and potent than other concentrates like shatter whose terpenes and flavonoids have been stripped. 

Best Products? If you’re looking for a high-quality shatter that’s almost as potent (and flavorful) as live resin, we’d suggest going with From the Soil Farms. In fact, FTS Farms sells both shatter and live resin concentrates, with both products being made with premium ingredients and careful, safe extraction processes. 

Live Resin vs. Sugar Wax

Sugar wax is a type of cannabis concentrate known for its brown sugar-like texture. Sugar wax typically appears in clumps, rather than the traditional waxy form you’re used to seeing. In fact, sugar wax isn’t viscous at all, and almost always has to be scooped to be utilized. 

Compared to live resin, these two do have somewhat similar appearances. Both sugar wax and live resin are typically dark yellow in color and are more solid than others. Live resin, however, does have a bit more liquid than sugar wax, having a nice balance between its oils and sugar crystals. 

Sugar wax contains a much higher terpene profile than shatter and is quite a flavorful product, but it still isn’t quite as aromatic as live resin. However, both produce rich profiles that are priceless within the world of concentrates.

Want to add a little bit of fun to your high? Sugar wax is the concentrate to go to. This potent, aromatic sauce will boost positivity and give your mind clear, creative thoughts. (Not to mention, it’ll probably boost your appetite a little, too.)

Which is Better? Live resin and sugar wax are quite on par with each other when it comes to potency and flavors. Still, live resin is likely to contain higher terpene profiles, however, both of these forms of concentrates are much tastier than shatter or even budder. Both are also easy to handle and create a smooth dab experience. If you break it down to the nitty-gritties, though, live resin is still going to be more potent due to its fuller profiles. 

Best Products? Some of our favorite sugar wax products comes from Viola Extracts. Viola works hard to preserve their terpenes–in both sugars and live resins–to produce a full-body experience. For live resin that’s just as tasty and even more potent than sugar wax, we’d recommend Green Dot Labs and their saucy golden globs. 

Live Resin vs. Budder

As the name suggests, budder is a cannabis concentrate that boasts similar appearances to that of butter, in both texture and color.

Budder, also known as batter or badder, is the fluffiest form of concentrate, able to be scooped just like a tablespoon of butter. To create its unique texture, the oils are essentially whipped like cake batter during purification, creating the frosting-like consistency that’s so cherished.

Budder is popular within the cannabis concentrate world due to its easy smoking. Unlike shatter or runny sauces, budder is extremely malleable and even the most inexperienced dabbers can effortlessly get a scoop on their dab tool. 

Like live resin, budder also has a high terpene count. Behind live resin, budder is one of the most aromatic and flavorful marijuana concentrates on dispensary shelves. The extraction processes utilized preserves the terpenes, while simultaneously ridding the formula of heavy metals, toxins, and pesticides. Both live resin and budder appear to create flavorful, yet pure, concentrates that are quite easy to handle.

Budder’s calming properties can be great for before bed or if you just want a relaxing day at home. Of course, it depends on the strain, but budder’s been known for its soothing characteristics in both the mind and body. 

Which is Better? While both concentrates produce an extremely potent and aromatic high, budder tends to be easier to work with than live resin. If you have the right tool, handling live resin is no problem; budder, however, has a consistently malleable texture that makes dabbing a breeze.

So, if you find yourself getting frustrated trying to get a good-sized dab, maybe budder is a better option for you. Regardless, both live resin and budder celebrate the relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes wonderfully. 

Best Products? West Coast Cure is a cannabis concentrate company that’s known for its world famous budder. Even rapper Action Bronson has backed this company, claiming that their Hardcore OG cake badder (budder) is one of his favorite. It’s ours, too. And, while you’re on their site, you might as well check out their live resin: it’s delicious, potent, and incredibly high-quality. 

How to Consume Your Favorite Weed Concentrates

Vaporizing live resin
Vaporizing live resin with the Puffco Peak

Whether you love the potency of live resin or the purity of shatter, you can enjoy marijuana concentrates in a myriad of different ways. Two of the best ways to embrace the full flavor profiles and cannabinoid potencies are through dabbing and vaping. 

Dabbing live resin, shatter, budder, or sugar wax all requires just a few tools you can get at your local smoke shop.

  • You’ll need a dab rig, a dab tool, a carb cap, and a torch.
  • Simply scoop a dab of your favorite concentrate onto your dab tool, and then heat up the rig using your torch.
  • Wait until the banger of the rig is red hot, or about 550°F to stop heating.
  • Wait around 30 seconds, and then place the dab into the banger and inhale.
  • Cover the banger with the carb cap, continue to inhale, and then exhale the delicious smoke.

If that sounds too complicated, you can easily vape your concentrate, too. To do this, all you have to do is find a live resin or other wax cartridge that appeals to you and screw it onto your favorite CCELL battery. Then, you inhale, exhale, and enjoy the saucy golden substance with every puff. 

Final Thoughts: One Unique Concentrate

Live resin certainly is a cannabis concentrate that’s unlike any other. When directly compared to its other concentrate brothers and sisters, it becomes even more obvious how incredibly unique this extract is. From its appearance to its properties to its effects, live resin is a concentrate that all cannabis connoisseurs should indulge in a time or two — especially next year on National Dab Day.

Though a bit pricier than your typical concentrate, paying a pretty penny for this novel cannabis concentrate is more than worth it to feel like you’re smoking for the first time again.