So, there is a new cannabinoid on the block that has cannabis users going completely gaga! It is called THCA, and manufacturers have wasted no time making it into different products like THCA flower, THCA pre rolls, and THCA dabs. In retrospect, this was expected.
The enactment of pro-cannabis laws coupled with expanding cannabis research has created the perfect environment for players in the industry to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit.
And though the emergence of novel cannabis products is undoubtedly music to the ears of users, using them correctly might be problematic for some. To maximize your cannabis experience, it is vital to consume these products correctly.
So, in this article, we focus on THCA isolate. We will tell you more about it, its relationship with THC, and how to dab it like a pro. Let’s get to it, shall we?
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- THCA isolate is among a new breed of cannabis products currently manufactured by cannabis brands.
- It is made by treating cannabis extract with solvents (e.g., butane) to remove non-THCA compounds.
- THCA isolate is super concentrated and contains higher THCA levels than regular cannabis flower.
- Dabbing is a popular method for consuming THCA isolate owing to its inherent advantages.
What is THCA Isolate?
THCA isolate is the pure, pre-carboxylated form of THC. It goes by many names, like THCA crystals or THCA crystalline.
THCA stands for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. It is predominant in young cannabis and is one of the major precursors. THCA is extracted from flash-frozen cannabis using cold extraction methods to prevent it from turning into THC. That is because it is unstable and easily turns into THC when exposed to heat.
Once extracted, THCA crystallizes into structures resembling tiny white crystals, which can be reprocessed into larger crystalline structures. This isolate is the purest form of THCA, reaching purity levels of up to 99%.
As a result, THCA isolate is highly potent. When devoid of other cannabis compounds, it’s flavorless and odorless. But if you like flavored concentrates, check out our best dab cart flavors.
The Transformation of THCA to THC
As mentioned earlier, THCA is one of the intermediate compounds formed during cannabis growth. It is the product of a chemical reaction between THCA synthase and CBGA (the “mother of all cannabinoids”).
Cannabinoids are mostly concentrated in the buds and flower, which explains the value of these parts to extractors. But as the plant grows and matures, these parts get exposed to the elements, i.e., heat, light, and air, thus facilitating the conversion of THCA to THC.
Not much THCA changes into THC during drying and curing because the temperatures are far too low. So, to maximize the conversion, you increase the temperatures. The scientific term for the conversion of THCA into THC is decarboxylation.
Here’s how it works:
THCA contains a carboxylic (COOH) functional group that gives it its characteristic traits, such as non-psychoactivity. When it’s exposed to heat and light, the bond holding the COOH group breaks down, leading to the formation of delta 9 THC.
This transformation happens at higher temperatures, ideally 220-250ᵒF (104-121ᵒC). In the decarboxylation process, time, temperature, and the quantity of material are the main variables.
A study showed that at temperatures of 110ᵒC, 130ᵒC, and 145ᵒC, THCA was completely decarboxylated after 30, 9, and 6 minutes. However, the study also showed that all the major terpenes either evaporated or were significantly degraded, thus minimizing their therapeutic value.
So, lower temperatures appear ideal for turning THCA into THC while preserving other cannabis compounds. This is good for the ‘entourage effect.’
Dabbing THCA Isolate: What to Know
Before we go into how to dab THCA isolate, perhaps it is worth mentioning that you could also incorporate THCA isolate into your smoking ritual. To do this, sprinkle the isolate powder on your packed bowl. Alternatively, mix it with your loose leaf and roll it into a joint. (Learn more about the best way to smoke THCA).
Be advised, however, that this method immediately converts THCA into psychoactive THC. But if getting high is not your objective, you could consume THCA isolate orally.
Just blend it into smoothies and other cold beverages to keep the THCA intact. Putting the powder in capsules is another easy way to consume THCA without changing it to THC.
Tinctures are another option for users who do not want the intoxicating effects of carboxylated THCA. These can be taken orally or sublingually, with the latter option particularly suitable for those seeking faster onset times.
With those out of the way, here is what you need to know about dabbing THCA isolate.
Preparing to Dab THCA Isolate
There are lots of ways to take THCA, but dabbing is quite popular. With this method, you will need a dab rig, dab pen, or a dry vape pen. The key thing to remember is that the experience depends on the temperature.
If you use excessively high temperatures, you risk burning away most of the beneficial compounds. We recommend dabbing at temperatures of around 315ᵒF, especially for low-temp dabs.
The dab rig has a few components, such as a nail, a dabbing tool (dabber), and a carb cap. The nail is usually made of quartz, which conducts and retains heat excellently. Also, it is relatively strong and does not break easily.
You also need a blow torch in case of a manual nail.
Of course, you need a dab. A dab mat and timer are optional. The former helps keep your dabbing surface clean, while the latter ensures consistent heating.
With all the necessary equipment in place, we move on to preparing the dab rig.
Water the rig by filling that water chamber up to the ¾ mark. Test the waterline by inhaling without the nail in the downstem. If water backsplashes into your mouth, it is probably too much, and you need to pour some out.
Fit the nail onto the rig. If you are using an e-nail, ensure it is connected to a power supply.
The Dabbing Process
Once the rig is ready and your dab is set on the dabber, it is time to get the process underway. For your safety, we recommend sitting down when dabbing in case the effect is too intense.
Here is what to do:
- Turn on the torch and aim the flame directly at the nail.
- Once the nail begins turning red, turn off the torch and let the nail cool for about 30 seconds. Here is where the timer helps. If the nail is metallic, 10 seconds should be enough.
- Apply the dab to the nail using the dabber and start inhaling slowly. Rotate the dabber gently to ensure all the material vaporizes.
- Cover the dab with the carb cap and finish inhaling. The cap helps regulate airflow.
Generally, a single hit from a standard dab is potent enough to induce a strong high. So, unless you are a seasoned vaper, one strong hit should do it.
Here are four tips and tricks to improve your dabbing experience:
- Keep your concentrate clean: Concentrates are oily and sticky, so they easily pick up particles from other surfaces, including your hands. Handling them with a clean dabber helps maintain their integrity.
- Use a quartz nail: Compared to other materials, quartz offers the cleanest and purest experience, besides being more durable.
- Clean your rig regularly: Built-up residue from frequent use can negatively affect the dabbing experience, so regular cleaning is recommended. Ideally, clean the nail after every session.
- Use a carb cap: The cap regulates airflow in the nail, allowing you to control the density of the vapor. Capping the nail lowers the pressure in the rig and alters the flavor and experience.
The Effects and Benefits of Dabbing THCA Isolate
The immediate effect of dabbing THCA is an intense high. While research is limited, there are reports that THCA may possess the following therapeutic properties:
However, remember that THCA research is still in the early stages. Therefore, more work is obviously needed to validate these preliminary findings.
What to Expect When Dabbing THCA Isolate
As mentioned earlier, expect an intense high when dabbing THCA (Learn more from the article Does THCA make you high?). After all, it is a concentrate, meaning it contains much more THCA per unit measure. This means a small amount of THCA isolate produces way more THC than a bunch of cannabis flower.
It is not uncommon for first-timers to ‘black out’ immediately after taking a hit. Others have reported uncontrollable shaking (“cannabis shakes”), vomiting, paranoia, and even hallucinations.
The main challenge with dabbing concentrates, in general, is precise dosing. Often, the amount of concentrate used can look insubstantial, making it quite easy to overdose.
For this reason, we recommend dabbing concentrates under the guidance of a seasoned cannabis user if you are a first-timer. If you err while dabbing, the consequences may be severe.
Potential Benefits of Dabbing THCA Isolate Compared to Other Methods
Ideally, dabbing suits experienced users more than newbies. It delivers high amounts of THC into your system and induces a potent high. So, high-tolerance users prefer this method because one hit is probably all they need to get high.
More importantly, the effects kick in quite quickly. That is because the vapor goes straight to the lungs, and the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. So, for tokers who want fast relief, dabbing is the go-to method.
Moreover, dabbing does not produce smoke. You probably understand the dangers of smoking, so we will not belabor this point. Dabbing produces vapor, which is mostly seen as gentler to the lungs because (a) it is cooled in water and (b) it does not have potentially toxic substances like unburnt carbon, tar, etc.
And for people who prefer discretion, dabbing has the advantage of producing a mild cannabis scent. The vapor quickly dissipates, meaning even if you are in an enclosed place, the smell of cannabis does not linger.
So, there you go. If dabbing is your preferred method of consuming cannabis, please share with us your reasons in the comments section.
What to Know Before You Dab THCA
Concentrates have high THC levels and produce more potent effects than regular cannabis products like flower. So, it is vital to dab responsibly and start with small amounts.
When buying a concentrate, paying attention to its THCA/THC levels is a good idea. This is normally indicated on the label. This gives you a rough idea of the total THC it produces when dabbed.
Where to Buy THCA Dabs
If you’re in the market for these new concentrates, make sure to get them from reputable brands that lab test their products, like us.
Our new line of THCA Diamond Sauce Dabs offers three different options for you to try, featuring over 80%+ THCA diamond purity. They are made from fresh frozen plants and come in 1-gram jars. Check them out below!
While THCA is a relatively new entrant into the hemp space, its popularity is soaring. Everyone, it seems, wants to get their hands on these white crystals. The high potency and purity could explain THCA’s growing popularity in addition to its potential health and recreational benefits.
That said, not much is known about THCA research-wise, so exercise extreme caution when using it. If it is your first time dabbing THCA, get help from an experienced user. The whole idea is to have a fun experience.
THCA Isolate: Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Smoke THCA Isolate?
Yes, you can smoke THCA isolate. Simply mix a few crystals with your loose leaf, roll a joint, and spark up.
What is THCA Isolate Good For?
Even though research is limited, preliminary findings suggest THCA may have a range of benefits. These include anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-emetic, and neuroprotective properties. Also, many users turn to THCA for its psychoactive and recreational effects.
What is the Best Temperature for THCA Isolate?
The average temperature for dabbing THCA isolate is between 300ᵒF and 500ᵒF. However, dabbing is not an exact science, so expect different opinions on this. Generally, cannabis connoisseurs agree that the experience is much better at lower temperatures.
What is the Difference Between THCA and THCA Isolate?
THCA is a cannabinoid, while THCA isolate is an ultra-concentrated THCA extract. Further, THCA is a natural compound in cannabis. On the other hand, THCA isolate is a processed product that exists as crystals.