THCa Concentrates Matchup: THCa Live Resin vs. THCa Live Rosin vs. THCa Liquid Diamonds vs. THCa Wax & Shatter vs. THCa Budder
THCa, aka tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, has been a gamechanger in the world of cannabis, It’s the hemp-derived form that provides us with a legal way to enjoy a delta 9 THC high. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is simply the raw form of THC, found only in raw cannabis flower, and once it’s heated (vaped, smoked, etc.), it turns into the delta 9 that we all know and love, complete with a dreamy psychoactive experience.
Since THCa products are all over the hemp market right now, it’s not at all surprising that THCa concentrates are a big hit, particularly among those with a high THC tolerance. Concentrates, aka “dabs”. are flash-vaporized at high temps in order to deliver an ultra-potent high that hits you within a couple of minutes, tops. And, with the high demand for THCa concentrates comes a whole variety of product types that can get confusing – after all, would the average person understand the differences between “live rosin” and “live resin,” or be fully informed on whether wax or shatter produces stronger effects?
To help you understand the differences between THCa concentrates, we’re going to break down the most popular ones and compare them, as this will give you a much better idea of which one makes the most sense for you.
Welcome to the Awesome World of THCa Concentrates
THCa concentrates are simply products that are made by concentrating the compounds in cannabis, so that a small amount of product can get you extremely high. THCa is the key cannabinoid in a cannabinoid concentrate, naturally, and again, when you dab concentrated THCa, what you actually end up with is a powerful delta 9 high, because THCa converts into delta 9 THC once a certain level of heat is applied. Because the product, at the time of sale, doesn’t contain delta 9, but rather, THCa, it’s actually fully compliant with federal law.
Before we break down the main types of THCa concentrates, we just want to reiterate that these products are best left to those who have already developed a THC tolerance, as the potency of the psychoactive effects will be very strong compared to the effects of vapes or smoking flower.
THCa Live Resin
To start, THCa live resin is a combination of terpene-rich live resin and THCa diamonds. THCa diamonds are the purest form of THCa that exists, created through a refinement process that naturally separates the cannabinoid from the terpenes and other compounds in cannabis. In the more concentrated form, cannabinoids take on a crystal structure (hence the name “diamonds”) that’s colorless, odorless, and flavorless, which is the strongest and most potent form of THCa as a result.
So, we know what THCa diamonds are, but what’s THCa live resin? Live resin is an extract made by running a solvent through fresh, flash-frozen, rather than dry-cured cannabis flower buds – the latter process is best for products sold in flower form, but it evaporates away a lot of the compound-dense terpenes, and so extracts made from fresh, flash-frozen flower are more potent and flavorful.
Live resin diamonds is therefore a solvent-based extraction made from fresh, flash-frozen flower (the solvent is usually butane), which is left to age until the THCa naturally separates from the terpenes, and the result is THCa diamonds surrounded by liquidy live resin. The butane or other solvent is purged, resulting in a 100% pure hemp product. THCa live resin is the least potent but one of the most flavorful of all concentrates we’re discussing today.
- Amazing flavor and aroma
- Little processing
- Vape-friendly (due to its more liquid-like consistency)
- Not as potent as other types of extracts
THCa Live Rosin
Then, we have THCa live rosin, which sounds a lot like the product above, but with some major differences. In this case, no solvent is used to create the extract and concentrate. Instead, fresh, flash-frozen flower is given an ice bath, which separates the compound-dense trichomes from the flower. Then, the collected trichomes are pressed mechanically using incredible amounts of pressure, to form a sticky resinous substance that’s more concentrated than live resin, and therefore more potent. Again, this product is left to age, and after a couple of weeks, the THCa diamonds form as they naturally separate from the terpene-rich rosin. They’re combined into one product, and like live resin, live rosin is intensely flavorful as no heat is used to evaporate the terpenes in the process.
- Great flavor
- Very potent
- Very sticky (can be a pain to handle)
THCa Liquid Diamonds
THCa liquid diamonds are a combination of THCa diamonds and sauce. Sauce is essentially the result of further concentrating the live resin we talked about earlier, so that you get a more viscous and thicker terpene concentrate that’s highly potent as a result. Otherwise, the process of producing it is the same. This is going to give you a stronger experience in terms of the strain you choose, as the terpenes end up being more concentrated, once again.
- More potent than live resin.
- Relatively easy to handle.
- Easy to find on the market.
- The flavor is slightly weakened compared to live resin and live rosin.
THCa Wax & Shatter
Moving on, let’s talk about THCa wax and shatter, which are two different types of concentrates made using essentially the same process. THCa wax and shatter are both homogenized products – in other words, the concentrate hasn’t been left to age under specific conditions, hence separating the THCa diamonds from the remaining extraction. Instead, THCa flower is processed with butane, once again, and the essential oils of the plant lift away. At this stage, they’re concentrated using heat, until you end up with an amber-colored liquid that’s very potent.
Basically, from there, you can turn this amber liquid into shatter or wax. To turn it into shatter, you simply allow the liquid to cool. From there, it becomes a translucent, glass-like product that “shatters”. Alternatively, using heat and/or agitation, this liquid can be converted into wax, which is opaque, and has the look and consistency of earwax. The products have about the same potency (shatter may be just slightly more potent), and otherwise, it comes down to personal preference.
- Very potent
- Readily available
- Some flavor is lost during the concentration process.
THCa budder is a light golden color and butter-like texture explains the name. It’s another solvent-based extract, again using butane in most cases, and then heat and pressure are applied to concentrate those compounds. However, if heated (as in when dabbed or vaporized), the THCa will convert to THC, producing psychoactive effects. It’s easy to handle compared to other dabs because of how creamy and non-sticky it is. Plus, it’s slightly less potent than wax and shatter, but has tons of flavor.
- Very malleable (easier to handle)
- Fantastic flavor
- Very potent
- Less potent than other types of concentrates
Which THCa Concentrates Will You Choose?
At the end of the day, there really is no single type of concentrate that’s objectively “better” than the rest. As you can see, each one has its own pros & cons. Essentially, you should also make a checklist of what you’re looking for in THCa concentrates by doing the following (semi-recap):
1. Determine Your Needs:
- Why are you using the concentrate?
- What are you looking to get out of it experience-wise?
2. Research the Product:
- Ensure you’re getting a product that’s pure and safe.
- Look for lab-tested products. These results will often be provided by the manufacturer and can tell you about the potency, terpene profile, and any potential contaminants in the concentrate.
- Make sure you are sourcing the concentrate from a reputable dispensary or provider.
3. Choose the Type of Concentrate:
- Diamonds: These are crystalline structures of pure THCa. They are one of the most potent forms and are often accompanied by a terpene-rich sauce.
- THCa Crystalline: A refined and isolated form of THCa which looks like powdered sugar and is nearly 100% pure.
- Other concentrates: While not strictly THCa, other forms of concentrates like shatter, wax, budder, or rosin might contain high THCa levels but will also have other active compounds.
4. Select a Consumption Method (depending on your preferred method, you will need different equipment):
- Dabbing: This is one of the most popular methods for consuming THCa concentrates. You will need a dab rig, a torch, and a dabber tool.
- Vaping: There are specific pre-filled vape pens and cartridges designed for concentrates.
- Making Edibles: THCa is non-intoxicating in its raw form. If ingested, it won’t produce the “high” commonly associated with THC. To experience its psychoactive effects, it must be decarboxylated (heated).
5. Price and Quantity:
- Depending on your budget and how often you intend to use the concentrate, select an appropriate quantity.
- THCa concentrates can be more expensive due to their purity and potency..
Keep in mind, too, if you’re new to THCa concentrates, start with a small amount. Remember, THCa is a precursor to THC, so when it’s heated, it converts to THC, which is psychoactive. Also, make sure to store your concentrates in a cool, dark place. Use airtight glass containers to keep them fresh and preserve their potency.
Now, once you have a better idea, we invite you to explore the different kinds THCa concentrates available to you. Each supplies a blissful blend of ultra-potent THCa (delta 9 THC once heated) and terpenes in the strains that you know and love.