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Home > Article > Extraction & Processing

What are THC Diamonds?

Sep 15, 2021

What are THC Diamonds?

Leo Bear-McGuinness
Science Writer & Editor

Cannabis concentrates are more popular than ever before. Sales of the THC-packed products increased from $567 million in 2019 to $797 million in 2020, according to the cannabis industry analytics company Headset. From shatter to wax, resin to hash, these highly concentrated products are flying off the shelves. And they don’t come much more concentrated than THC or THCA (THC's precursor compound) diamonds, which can purport to consist of 99.9 percent pure THC.

But just what are THCA diamonds? How are they any different from other concentrates like wax and oil?


What are THCA diamonds?

Well, physically, THC diamonds (or THC crystals as they’re sometimes known as) have a shinier, reflective appearance compared to most other cannabis concentrates – hence the diamond description. This physical aspect is due to the crystallization process that occurs when the products are produced.

To feel their strong effect, consumers will often dab their THC diamonds. This typically involves heating the concentrates with an electrically controlled nail and then inhaling the vapors. 


How to make THC diamonds

Many THCA diamonds are produced using butane- or propane-based extraction. During these techniques, the cannabis material is drenched in butane (or propane), which removes the marijuana’s oils. Thanks to butane’s low boiling point, it then doesn’t take much heat (-0.5°C or 31°F at standard pressure) to boil off the solvent, leaving the desired, concentrated compounds behind. If highly concentrated, the products can take on the shiny appearance of THC diamonds.

“Butane/propane extraction has a lower throughput than ethanol but enables the processor to capture all major terpenes and cannabinoids in one operation,” Prospiant’s Jim Moore recently wrote in Analytical Cannabis.

“The method is best for concentrates such as dabs, sauce, shatter and diamonds, which are gaining popularity with consumers,” he added.


Leo Bear-McGuinness

Science Writer & Editor

Leo joined Analytical Cannabis in 2019. From research to regulations and analysis to agriculture, his writing covers all the need-to-know news for the cannabis industry. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Newcastle University and a master's degree in science communication from the University of Edinburgh.

 

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