How are THCa Diamonds Extracted?
THCa diamonds, also commonly referred to as “diamonds” in the cannabis extraction community, are crystalline structures primarily composed of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), a precursor to the psychoactive compound THC. The term “diamonds” in this context relates to their clear, crystalline appearance. They’re typically formed in extracts that have a high THCa content. So, extracting and isolating THCa diamonds involves a process of separation, crystallization, and refinement.
Your Guide to the THCa Diamonds Extraction Process
This is a high-level overview, and the actual process can be quite complex, requiring a solid understanding of chemistry, access to specialized equipment, and adherence to safety and legal guidelines.
- Raw Material Selection: It starts with high-quality cannabis plants. The more trichomes a plant has, the better it is for making diamonds. Trichomes are tiny, resinous glands found on cannabis plants that contain the majority of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes.
- Initial Extraction: The chosen cannabis material is subjected to a hydrocarbon extraction, usually using butane or propane as a solvent. This produces a full-spectrum cannabis oil, sometimes referred to as BHO (butane hash oil) or PHO (propane hash oil), depending on the solvent used.
- Winterization and Purification: The raw extract is then subjected to winterization. This is where it’s dissolved in ethanol and cooled to a low temperature to separate out fats, waxes, and other impurities. The mixture is then filtered to remove these impurities. It might also undergo further purification processes such as distillation or chromatography to achieve higher purity.
- Decarboxylation Avoidance: Care must be taken throughout the process to keep temperatures low enough to prevent the decarboxylation of THCA into THC. THCA is non-psychoactive. To convert it to the psychoactive THC, it needs to be decarboxylated. This involves heating the THCA, which removes a carboxyl group and turns it into THC. However, this would totally negate the formation of diamonds.
- Purging: The solvent is then removed or purged from the extract using heat and vacuum. What’s left is a thick, viscous oil.
- Jar Tech: The extracted oil is transferred to jars, which are then sealed. The sealed jars are stored in a cool, dark place to allow the THCA to naturally crystallize over time.
- Secondary Separation: After a set period (which can be a week or more), THCA crystals will have formed in the jars. The liquid part, which is rich in terpenes, is called the “terpene fraction” or “sauce”. This sauce is separated from the crystalline THCA, typically through a filtration or centrifugation process.
- Refinement (Optional): To further purify the THCA diamonds, they can be subjected to additional washing or dissolution in pentane to remove any remaining impurities or contaminants. After which, the solution is allowed to slowly evaporate, leaving pure THCA crystals.
- Final Purge: Any remaining solvent is purged from the THCA diamonds using heat and vacuum processes, to ensure the final product is safe for consumption.
- Testing and Packaging: Finally, the THCA diamonds are tested for purity and potency before being packaged and distributed.
Final THCa Diamonds Extracted Thoughts
THCa diamonds can be consumed as-is. However, they often have a very mild flavor because they are nearly pure tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. For this reason, they are often combined with cannabis-derived terpene sauces to enhance their flavor and effect when consumed. Also, it is worth noting that making THCa diamonds requires specific equipment, expertise, and safety precautions, especially given the flammable nature of solvents like butane and propane. Only trained professionals should undertake this process, and it should be done in a controlled, safe environment.