Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
✅ Updated 10/24/21
THCA is the acid form of the THC molecule and has been gaining in popularity as an isolated cannabinoid. Due to its nearly unbeatable purity, it’s useful in calculating precise dosages in the formulation of cannabis edibles and tinctures. THCA can also be used in making diamonds and sauce, the unrivaled form of rosin for many people in terms of potency and flavor. We’ll review that and more in this quick guide on how to make THCA rosin.
The ability to separate THCA molecules from the host of other cannabinoids, terpenes, fats, lipids, and waxes created by the cannabis plant has traditionally only been possible with complex processes and technically advanced equipment. However, thanks to constant experimentation and innovation among extractors, new techniques have been developed that allow anyone with the equipment to press rosin to isolate the THCA molecule.
The process involves re-pressing THC-rich rosin at a low temperature with low pressure and filtering the material through a 25 or 37 micron bag. It’s essentially another round of the same process you’d use when pressing flower or bubble hash to make rosin, with some key differences to keep in mind.
The texture of the rosin from which you’ll extract the THCA is critical to your success. It’s important to use material with a waxy or stiff budder texture. One way to achieve this texture is to press fresh-frozen bubble hash, which often automatically yields a rosin with a high enough purity to automatically cause the THC molecules to nucleate and begin to separate themselves from the other cannabinoids, terpenes, fats, lipids, and waxes within the rosin. This natural separation creates the type of texture you’re looking for.
If the rosin you’re using to extract THCA isn’t already of the waxy or buddery texture, not to worry. There is a workaround. Place the rosin over a heating mat set to no more than 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and use a dabber to stir and slightly agitate the rosin. This heat and agitation should coax the THC molecules to begin to separate, and yield the desired texture. The drawback to this method is the unavoidable loss of terpenes with exposure to heat, however it will still create a very high quality product.
The next step is to press the properly-textured rosin using a 25 micron rosin bag between plates heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the opening of your bag is faced outward between the plates, so the terpenes, fats, and other oils that separate will be able to easily exit the bag onto your parchment paper.
Preheat the bag between the plates, without pressure, for 20-30 seconds. Gently apply pressure and increase slowly, adding . You should see runoff from the bag and once at maximum pressure, hold there for up to 60 seconds, or until the sauce stops flowing. Aim for maximum platen PSI around 2,100.
Platen PSI is a reflection of the actual pressure being generated around the source material, and it’s not the same thing as the psi reading on your press gauge (which is just a reading of the internal pressure of the equipment itself). Not sure about your platen psi? Learn how to calculate platen psi here.
After this first press, remove the bag and place the parchment paper to the side in case you decide to use the sauce later. To finish the THCA extraction, the bag will be pressed again with slightly higher temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a fresh sheet of parchment, and you can expect less runoff with this second round, but you’ll still get something. This time, you’ll notice the sauce is a little less runny.
This process can be repeated up to 4 times. With each press, you can slightly increase temperature and pressure, not exceeding 120 degrees fahrenheit and 2,300 platen psi.
Remove everything from the plates and let the bag and its contents cool down. Once cool, open the bag and you should see a white or pale yellow, chalky-like substance. This is your THCA extract, and is one of the purest forms of extract available today. If you’re using the THCA in edibles, topicals, or tinctures, it’s ready to go in this form. You can also decarboxylate the THCA to transform it into THC, if you’re looking to achieve a psychoactive effect in edibles, topicals, or tinctures.
Diamonds and Sauce
So you want to make diamonds and sauce? You’re almost there. We now have our chalky THCA and our runny sauce, which you saved from the parchment. The final step is to recombine these two ingredients.
Place the raw THCA on a sheet of parchment and lay that on top of your lower plate, which should be heated to upwards of 240 degrees Fahrenheit. The goal is to melt the THCA, so that it forms a pool in the center of the parchment. Once the THCA is fully liquefied, carefully remove it from heat and allow to cool. As it cools and stabilizes, the consistency is transformed and the substance becomes like crystal.
These are your diamonds, and now you can recombine with the sauce. A bit of heat can be useful to increase the viscosity of the sauce as you’re mixing. What you have now represents one of the crowning jewels of the cannabis concentrate experience.
Diamonds and sauce is truly exquisite, and a true sight to behold when done properly. The taste, potency, and sensation is a memorable experience for many.
Let us know how you decide to use your THCA extract in the comments below.
Thoughts? Let us know by joining our secret Facebook group. Hang out with a community of like-minded solventless heads like yourself. Ask our head extractor questions, share your latest press and learn from hobbyists and experts in the industry.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you make THCA crystals with rosin bags?
THC-A crystals are made by pressing rosin multiple times at low temperatures and with high pressure. 25-37 micron rosin bags are best. THCA looks like a white chalky substance. Steel mesh screens can be used for making THCA crystals as well, instead of traditional rosin bags.
What size rosin bag to use for making THCA?
To press THC-A crystals, the ideal size of rosin filter bag to use is 25 micron. A 37 micron bag will also suffice, but nothing bigger.
What are the benefits of THCA?
THCA is known to relieve pain and inflammation and may be the preferred cannabinoid to use for conditions like arthritis and seizures.
What are rosin diamonds?
The crystal-like chunks found in solventless cannabis concentrates which are THCA groupings that have nucleated inside of the rosin.
How do you transform THCA from a powder to a solid crystal?
Melt the chalky powder on a piece of parchment paper until it's fully liquefied, and then let it cool. As it cools it will stabilize and form the diamond-like chunks that are common in diamonds and sauce rosin consistencies.