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What are THCA Diamonds and why do I need them now?

THC Diamonds: The Strongest (and Most Glamorous) Cannabis Concentrate

Ask to see the top-shelf concentrates at most dispensaries and you’re likely to find some samples that look like a gemstones: sharp, faceted crags and flakes. Sometimes alone, sometimes in a sticky, fragrant brine. These formations, often called diamonds, are composed of crystalline THCa, which, when heated to vaporizing temperature, converts into the psychoactive cannabinoid Delta-9 THC.

In other words, THCa diamonds are one of the most potent cannabis concentrates commercially available, and absurdly eye-catching to boot. But how did we get from the cannabis plant we all know and love to purified cannabinoid crystals?


The answer takes us back to high-school chemistry: Recrystallization. The natural oils of female cannabis plants are rich in THCa. When those plants are extracted with specialized solvents, the oils are absorbed into solution while lipids, waxes and other inactive natural compounds are left behind.

At Nug Lab, our cutting-edge Type 7 extraction facility, we have found that manipulating the temperature and pressure of this solution can cause the THCa molecules to form “clumps” in it. These clumps attract more like molecules and eventually “crash” out of the solution and form crystalline solids. This reaction can take weeks to occur and requires a trained technician’s eye to determine when a batch is finished.

After gently purging any residual solvent, the process yields two distinct products: a liquid layer rich in aromatic terpenes (called High-Terpene Extract or HTE) and a cannabinoid-rich crystaline layer (High Cannabinoid Extract or HCE). When the conditions and genetics are just right, that HCE layer will yield complex, faceted diamonds.

Nug Lab has been making diamonds for years, most notably our multiple award-winning Strawberry Banana diamonds. A few weeks ago, we took home Best Preroll at the High Times Central Valley Cup for our collab with Amplified Farms. These rolls feature premium indoor bud blended with pulverized THCa diamonds. The deep flavor and mind-bending potency made the judges stand up and take notice, and we’re excited for California’s cannabis smokers to do the same.