In our recent article about Hash, we highlight that it used to be the only safe, high-quality cannabis concentrate available. And if hash represents the roots of concentrate culture, then THC Diamonds are the shiny new leaves at the top of that mighty tree. Between the two is a world of choice and differences.
Namely, THC Diamonds deliver the highest concentrations of THC in extract form. While Distillates have comparably high concentrations of THC nearing 99%, they lack some of the outstanding qualities that earn THC Diamonds their title.
Read on to learn how Diamonds are used, made, and how they compare with other concentrates.
THC Diamonds: The King of Concentrates
Classified as a high-cannabinoid full-spectrum extract (HCFSE), and interchangeably referred to as THC, THCA, or Cannabis Diamonds, this concentrate is all of the above to the extreme. The method of production used to create THC Diamonds also creates Live Resin and Sauce, which are classified as high-terpene full-spectrum extracts (HTFSE).
Over time, the process referred to as diamond mining has been refined using sophisticated equipment and experimentation by expert connoisseurs. We will break down mining into parts shortly.
How Do You Use THC Diamonds?
Displaying light golden hues to glass-like clarity, THC Diamonds are mostly clear in appearance and intensely potent, looking more like salt or sugar crystals. To experience their psychoactive effects and benefits, they need to be heated or decarboxylated.
Heat THCA Diamonds to Get THC
Their alternate name, THCA Diamonds, is a clue that they need to be decarboxylated to be converted to THC. Diamond mining deliberately preserves and concentrates terpenes as well as cannabinoids. And to do that, the product is kept at low temperatures throughout the process until it is consumed. Because, unlike cannabinoids, terpenes are completely lost to heat.
This is why you won’t get high from eating raw cannabis flowers or certain types of concentrates, like THC Diamonds. You need to heat the product to convert nonpsychoactive THCA to psychoactive THC. ‘What is THCA?’ explains this in greater detail.
Dabbing and Dining With Diamonds
Dab rigs, ideally accompanied with an electronic nail or e-nail, allow you to inhale pure Diamond vapor heated to the perfect temperature to prevent overheating. And cooking food with THC Diamonds at temperatures above 350 degrees Fahrenheit will also result in the desired decarboxylated effect, only via ingestion.
Since ingesting THC, even in small quantities, can result in heavy sedation and an intensely psychoactive experience, beginners should read our Cannabis Edibles Safety Guide to learn about dosing. And for those interested in learning more about smoking Diamonds with Dab Rigs can read ‘What Are Dab Rigs?’
THCA Diamonds vs THC Distillate
Both are close to 99% pure THC, so what’s the difference?
Unlike THC Distillate, Diamonds emerge from an intensely aromatic terpene sauce. And these terpenes have been concentrated as deeply as the cannabinoids, delivering a next-level dabbing experience. Furthermore, Diamonds do contain traces of other cannabinoids, while THC Distillate only contains THC.
Some Diamond miners will separate Diamonds from Sauce. Others will leave the Diamonds slightly coated in it to deliver that aromatic intensity. But you can buy both, mixing and matching varietals to produce a bespoke toking experience.
Distillate, on the other hand, originates through a different laboratory process, isolating a single cannabinoid with no terpenes insight. Terpenes can be added to distillates in a carrier to simulate the experience of vaping a varietal, like So High’s Pineapple Express and Blue Dream.
Activated vs Acid Form
THC Distillate is ready to use, meaning it has already been decarboxylated. Consequently, Distillates can be consumed as is to achieve a psychoactive experience. On the other hand, THC Diamonds presents cannabinoids in their THC-acid form. And Diamonds need to be heated appropriately to convert the 99% pure THCA to THC.
THC Diamond Mining for Dummies
In general, the production of all cannabis concentrates except hash, requires specialized equipment and a laboratory setting. THC Diamonds are no exception, as they require the use of solvents, which are highly volatile and need to be effectively purged for safe consumption. And the process of Diamond mining can get quite complex. Unlike Butane Hash Oils, Diamonds require several additional artful steps to emerge. And the secret ingredients are patience and expertise!
Closed-Loop Extraction Equipment
To make THC Diamonds, cannabis goes through a similar process to other concentrates made using solvents. Namely, closed-loop extraction, conducted by specially trained professionals using third-party certified equipment at professional facilities. All combustible solvents are contained within a piece of commercial-grade equipment.
And this level of control and precision ensures that the Diamonds come out pure, potent, and safe to consume. This is in contrast to open-loop extraction which is the DIY version that is both dangerous and illegal. ‘What is Butane Hash Oil (BHO)?‘ contrasts the two methods in more detail.
Cannabis Crude Winterization
Before extracting the cannabinoids and terpenes effectively from their solvents, the crude oil extracted through closed-loop extraction is then flash frozen for 24 hours. This process, called winterization, is done to purify, clarify and intensify the crude to exclude everything but the cannabinoids and terpenes. Primarily, fats and waxes are being targeted by this process.
Depending on the solvent used during initial extraction, varying amounts of fats and waxes were pulled from the cannabis plant. For example, cold ethanol pulls very few fats, CO2 pulls a lot and butane is somewhere in between. By tempering the concentrated crude at this stage of extraction, diamond miners are helping to remove fats, waxes, and biomass.
Final Purification Steps for THC Diamonds
The final steps of purification require chemical washes, filtration, and chromatography. Additionally, multiple passes through rotary evaporators or roto-vapes ensure the removal of all volatile materials and solvents. This final purified concentrate is then cured and dried for up to three weeks to produce the final THC Diamonds, with a whopping 99.9% THC content.
Did you ever try making salt or sugar crystals when you were a kid? If you did, you would have noticed that while you had some big shiny diamonds, you were also left with another material, not quite original product, not quite solid crystal.
THC Diamonds have their version of this and while it is a vast oversimplification of the science of Diamond Mining, it’s a decent analogy. There is a lot of overlap in how many concentrates are made. In the case of Diamonds, Live Resin and Sauce happen to be its highly desirable, terpene-rich ‘by-products’.
Sauce and Live Resin can be dabbed with Diamonds for a terpene-rich vapor experience. Also, using them separately is often preferable. Extracts and concentrates are generally sold separately, allowing consumers to customize their experiences with the purest extracts available.
Why THC Diamonds?
Beautiful to look at and a pleasure to incorporate into a dabbing ritual, THC Diamonds are for experienced cannabis users. Newcomers, even medical users, should begin with cannabis flowers to understand how it feels to be high on cannabis. From there, users looking to alleviate chronic pain may quickly graduate to Diamonds. Like other concentrates, THC Diamonds, when produced by trusted companies, are intended to provide medical-grade relief for several ailments.
Read ‘The Benefits of Dabbing’ next to keep learning about the benefits of Diamonds and other concentrates!
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