We regularly hear of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) percentages when talking about smoking intoxicating cannabis cultivars, but what about when it comes to isolating THC on its own as a cannabinoid?
In the cannabis plant, THC can be first found in its acidic form, known as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), the precursor to THC. In addition to THCa, the cannabis plant produces hundreds of phytocannabinoids that are plant-derived and naturally occurring, with many yet to be identified in the plant kingdom. Phytocannabinoids develop within cannabis as carboxylic acids that can be converted into non-acidic compounds, i.e., THCa to THC. A chemical reaction happens when acidic phytocannabinoids, such as THCa, CBDa, CBGa, and more, are aged or exposed to varying temperatures through decarboxylation, a process that activates raw cannabis into an enhanced or more potent form. Both acidic and non-acidic cannabinoid versions come with considerable therapeutic benefits. However, with changes in chemical structure from aging or exposure to heat also come changes to anticipated effects, as THCa does not produce the psychoactive sensations that THC does until heat is applied, which is why many people love incredibly psychoactive THCa crystalline diamonds.
When THCa is extracted from the cannabis plant, most often from live resin, it forms a crystalline structure with a diamond-like appearance, better known as THCa crystalline or THCa diamonds. With diamond-like shapes ranging in varying sizes and appearing semi-transparent, this cannabis product is almost purely an acidic cannabinoid with minute amounts of terpenes or other cannabinoids.
After applying heat directly to THCa crystalline, such as from dabbing or after sprinkling it on a freshly rolled joint, the THCa will convert into the active and intoxicating cannabinoid understood as THC, but with a potency that can range up to 99%. Misinformation regarding decarboxylating inactive cannabis, and the need to first apply heat, is why many incorrectly refer to THCa diamonds as simply THC diamonds. Still, it is easy to see why THCa diamonds are considered one of the many impressive cannabis products available on the market.
High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract
THCa diamonds are also fascinating because they stem from a different kind of cannabis extract, a high terpene full spectrum extract (HTFSE) labelled as terp sauce or live resin terp sauce. HTFSE, is extracted with the intent to preserve the complex range of chemical compounds found within the cannabis plant. Preserving the quality of cannabinoids and terpenes, which contribute to the overall effects experienced, is a significant benefit of indulging in terp sauce.
Terp sauce, also referred to as diamond sauce, is recognized for its sauce-like and glossy appearance. Through an extraction process, terp sauce aims to allow a major cannabinoid to form crystals, such as THCa diamonds, that are separated for further refining but leave behind an inviting dabbable product containing a puddle of terpenes with a sugary, crystalline cannabinoid content. In contrast to full spectrum terp sauce, THCa diamonds differ in that they are a cannabis isolate, stripped of all but one plant compound, THCa, and they offer one lane of therapeutic effects. And although more potent, diamonds lack whole-plant flavour and aroma, which is why many enjoy the combination of euphoric diamonds and sticky terp sauce.
Cannabis connoisseurs who want to relish in a robust, flavourful, and aromatic experience will combine different cannabis products to enjoy the benefits of additional whole-plant compounds, which is what THCa diamonds and terp sauce offers. Best reserved for the high tolerance user, THCa diamonds and terp sauce deliver an entourage effect of ultra-high THC profiles and the whole plant advantages that consumers often gravitate toward.
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