As cannabis breeders race to create strains with ever increasing THC levels, consumers are finding new and creative ways to boost their potency. THC diamonds are one of the latest crazes that allows users to add a hit of almost 100% pure THC to their joints or bongs in the form of little sparkly THC diamonds.
With a crystalline texture and appearance, THC diamonds are available in different shapes, sizes, clarity, and color, some of which are saucy (covered in a terpene sauce). With the rapid growth of the cannabis market, more and more enthusiasts are using them to further enhance their smoking experience and boost THC to levels unheard of.
Let’s find out why THC diamonds are becoming popular in the cannabis community. We will explore what THC diamonds are, how they are made and consumed, their effects on consumption and how safe they are.
What are THC diamonds?
THC diamonds, also known as THC crystals, are a type of cannabis concentrate that you can consume. They have a crystalline appearance that is semi-transparent and resembles diamonds; their clarity indicates their potency, purity, terpene levels, and the way in which they were made.
Depending on how they are extracted and processed, their THC profile can reach as as high as 99.9%, making them the purest form of concentrate you can get.
THC diamonds are precisely the crystals made of pure THCA (more on this below); but the term itself is also a broad term covering all products involving these crystals. Some places sell THC diamonds in a terpene sauce to enhance their flavor and smell whereas others sell them dry.
#Fact: These diamonds may be inaccurately referred to as pure THC, but really, they are pure THCA.
To recap, THC diamonds are:
- A type of cannabis concentrate
- Crystalline structures made of pure THCA
- Also a broad term to indicate all products involving THCA crystals
- Sold in terpene sauce or on their own
What are THCA diamonds?
THCA diamonds are THC diamonds without any sauce or additives, they are the purest and most potent form of THC after it goes through certain purification processes involving crystallization.
THCA needs heating to a certain temperature to be activated into a psychoactive THC molecule to get you high. THCA has significant medicinal value and can serve as a pain and stress reliever without giving you with a stoned sensation like THC. This is because THCA diamonds have a carboxylic acid chemical chain that enables bonding and gives it its crystalline structure. This chemical chain transforms when exposed to high heat or temperatures, which then turns THCA into THC.
So, next time you load your diamonds onto your dab rig to smoke, know that you are also conducting a scientific experiment where you are activating THCA into THC via the decarboxylation process (it’s just a fancy word for ‘heating your weed up’). Keep up the good work and let the experiment take you to the next level.
How are THC diamonds formed?
There are a number of methods and variations of each, but overall the process can be summarised in two parts:
- The first part involves making non-decarboxylated cannabis oil, whether it’s cured oil made from trim or live resin oil derived from fresh frozen flower;
- The second part is forming the diamonds and harvesting.
We will not be able to cover all the available methods in the trade so we will focus on two of the most popular methods in this article, namely the closed loop system and the crystalline method.
The closed loop system
With the closed loop extraction process, a sealed and pressurized system is used to keep the hydrocarbon solvents and substances in an endless loop of extraction – purging – and recovery, without making any contact with the external environment. The main advantages of this method are, lower cost, higher safety and much more accurate control of temperature and pressure.
In this method, the process starts with raw products such as fresh frozen flowers. A solvent such as butane, propane, or hexane is then used to separate THC from the plant matter. The solvent is then cleansed from the resulting extract solution so that only the psychoactive components and a small amount of the solvent are retained. This process is also referred to as ‘purging’. The purpose of leaving this small amount of solvent is to supersaturate the solution with THCA. The extract solution achieved at this stage is called Butane Hash Oil .
The next part, diamond mining, requires some patience as it needs to happen at a controlled temperature over 5-30 days to encourage larger crystal growth. This will see the separation of terpenes and THCA. The end product of this stage is a High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE) comprising of THCA crystals with a layer of terpenes. The terpene rich solution can be removed until the HTSFE is left mainly with crystals and a very small amount of terpenes, ready for the final purge.
When the desired size and amount of crystal are achieved, the residual solvents can be purged from the terpene layer and crystals. By now we will have produced highly potent THCA diamonds with a potency fluctuating around 99% depending on the residual terpene and solvent.
Further processing after the purge can be done to take the purity level up a notch and improve the clarity of the diamonds.
After this, the crystals are packed separately or combined with terpene sauce for delivery to local consumers and dispensary shelves.
The crystalline method
This method starts with a highly refined THC concentrate that has had all lipids and terpenes removed rather than the raw plant materials. This concentrate is mixed with a solvent to create a supersaturated solution, heat and pressure are then applied to this solution to allow the solvent to evaporates, whilst creating the right temperature and environment for crystallization.
The THCA molecules will chemically bond to other THCA molecules to form crystalline structures and and fall to the bottom of the vessel, separating themselves from the solution. From here on the remaining process is a lot like above, meaning the crystalline structures will require further purging and processing to improve purity and potency.
How are THC diamonds consumed?
Like other concentrates, there are multiple ways of consuming THC diamonds, but remember they need to be heated to unlock their psychoactive power. So if you want to get high, smoking, vaping or dabbing are the best methods. If you don’t want to get high, use them as edibles without applying heat to them.
If your prefer the old fashioned method of smoking blunts or joints, THC diamonds are also a great additive. Just crush one up and add it to your joint before rolling up, and you are set.
We would suggest investing in a decent dab rig to enhance your concentrate experience.
What are the effects of THC diamonds?
For recreational uses
Once they are heated to the point of conversion from THCA to THC, THC diamonds become the most potent form of concentrate. You will immediately notice the difference when comparing THC diamonds to your standard joint. The high can linger for hours which is a lot longer than what you get from cannabis buds or other cannabis concentrates such as shatter or wax.
Recreational users can also expect to be spoiled with choices in the marketplace as dispensaries come up with new products by mixing THCA diamonds with CBD and different terpenes to add flavour and more effects to them.
For medical uses
For medical users and researchers, THC diamonds signal the dusk of cannabis medical breakthroughs. As these crystals reach almost complete purity of a single cannabinoid with almost no interference from CBD or terpenes, they meet pharmacological standards, and offer very high medicinal values. The purest molecules in THC diamonds can be combined with CBD and terpenes at different ratios to create unprecedented formulas and treatments that target specific symptoms.
More research is needed on THC diamonds to fully understand how they interact with the endocannabinoid system and how that can be used medicinally. One thing is for certain, THC diamonds will be used more within the medical and recreational marijuana industry in the future.
Are THC diamonds safe?
THC diamonds are generally safe, unless you are sensitive to THC or have an allergic reaction to the terpenes that sometimes are present in the products.
But remember, just like water can be considered a poison when over-consumed in a brief period of time, so can THC. When you inhale cannabis concentrate or cannabis, resin remains in your lungs for some time and the effects can last for hours. Although it is extremely rare for anyone to overdose from THC, you can experience some negative side effects, especially when consuming highly potent concentrates.
Due to the profit margins of these crystals, there are a lot of lower quality or fake products made of pine resin on the market. The most effective way to tell if these are fake is by heating the products on a glass plate. Fake products are not sensitive to heat and they do not melt like THCA; some may give off unusual aromas. Low quality diamonds usually contain more contaminants and therefore their appearance lacks clarity.
Can you get a 99.9% THC diamond?
Yes, you can the higher the quality, the closer to the 100% mark the THC diamonds will get.
What is the difference between THC diamonds and wax or shatters?
The main difference between THC diamonds and wax or shatters is their potency, consistency and appearance.
Shatter and wax can be four to five times more potent than your typical cannabis buds, but their highest THC potency levels usually can only reach just above the 80% mark. There is no major difference between the potency in wax and shatters. If anything, shatters undergo a much more complicated extraction process to create products that last longer and are more stable than wax.
THC diamonds on the other hand, can get to 99.9% of THC potency level.
Consistency and appearance
Even though they are all high-quality concentrates, THC diamonds have a pure form while the consistency of wax and shatters are less translucent. You can tell their difference in appearance and consistency by eye.
Wax is opaque and has a soft, oily consistency. Shatters are more translucent with a texture like hardened caramelized sugar (think of the top layer on your creme brulee). Shatters get their name from their appearance when broken. Shatters are also known as snap n’ pull as you can pull it apart or glass because they resemble glass when breaking down.
THC diamonds in their purest form, as mentioned above, are a tasteless, odorless and colorless crystalline substance. Sometimes they may have an amber color if terpenes are retained/ introduced. They may look a bit foggy if solvent is still present. As a rule of thumb, the more translucent they are, the better the quality is.
How to properly store concentrates
Knowing how to store cannabis concentrates (including diamonds) properly will help you preserve their potency and flavor for a long time. Cannabis concentrates are sensitive to moisture, heat, and air like cannabis flowers, so if stored improperly, they quickly deteriorate.
Cannabis concentrate containers
You cannot store concentrates just anywhere. Keeping them in glass jars isn’t appropriate as most shatters stick to the glass, and become difficult to remove. The consistency of the concentrate you are using determines the best way to store it.
Silicone is one of the most popular cannabis concentrate storage containers because it’s simple to use and clean. When using a silicone jar to store your concentrate, make sure it’s a medical-grade silicone.
Silicone jars are not only convenient but also offer the best short-term storage for concentrates. A silicone jar will do the trick if you plan to store your concentrate for a couple of days or a week. However because they are not 100% airtight, they are not the best storage container for more than a week.
Storing your cannabis concentrate in a refrigerator or freezer is ideal if you live in warm areas or for long term storage. Place your concentrate in an airtight jar or parchment paper and vacuum seal it to avoid humidity contamination.
Plastic twist-off caps and glass jars are the best long-term storage for your cannabis concentrate. They eliminate light and moisture that can degrade your concentrate. Check the container daily to ensure it’s sealed tightly after each use and store it at a consistent temperature.
Parchment paper can do the trick if you are looking for short-term storage for your concentrate. Cut enough of it off for the amount of cannabis concentrate you have and make sure you fold it up to keep it from interacting with the external environment. Avoid leakages from the paper using a different container for runny cannabis concentrates like distillates and sauces.
If you use parchment paper to store your concentrate for a couple of days, ensure it’s in a dark and cool place. If you want to keep your concentrate for longer periods, seal it in an air-tight container and store it in a cool and dark area.
THC diamonds are easy and effective to use. They are a super potent and pure form of THC concentrate that is sure to get you high. Because of their lack of smell they can also be discreetly consumed making them a great alternative for using in public.
With the above information on THC diamonds, hopefully you have all of the knowledge you need to purchase and consume THC diamonds safely. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and share your thoughts and progress on this ‘scientific experiment’ with us and others.
Sassano M. and DeMeo A. (2021) How to Extract 99% Pure THCA “Diamonds”, Oaksterdam University. Available at: https://oaksterdamuniversity.com/how-to-extract-99-pure-thca-diamonds/