THCA is getting more populair everyday, especially for it’s medicinal purposes. Altough it’s still very hard to find in most areas around the world. Many people interested in it have no possibility to get it, so the question: how to extract/make THCA yourself is one asked many times. To really understand the process you first need to know what THCA exactly is!
THCA crystals are probably one of the most pure extracts in the world and discovered by Guild Extracts. The crazy thing is that pure THCA doesn’t have any psychoactive effects and won’t contain any terpenes (So it’s tasteless and odorless).
To make it psychoactive, it has to turn into the substance THC which only can be done by a process called: Decarboxylation. This happens when you heat or give pressure to the cannabinoid.
THCA can only be found on fresh plant material and the extract will always be exactly the same (it’s just one pure cannabinoid you consume, it’s always the same in strength, taste and effect regardless the strain or plant it comes from).
When you light it up, it will turn into THC and make you “high” but if consumed in another way like ingesting it, the decarboxylation proces didn’t took place and you only benefit from it’s medicinal effects. Perfect for patients who are in the need of THC but don’t like the mental high it gives.
The extraction process of THCA using solvents
Now you are probably interested to get some THCA yourself and try out this amazing stuff, right? Well the process of making THCA crystals isn’t easy and requires some equipment and knowledge. The way it’s made and the fact that it’s very concentrated makes it a pretty expensive extract so making it yourself could be paying off!
Without any experience of extracting, this process might look a bit overwhelming and difficult. But if you follow the steps closely, it’s possible to do! (with right equipment). Most of the times it already starts with a cannabis extract like BHO or full melt hash. This makes the process faster.
Extracting simply means to take one substance out of to other. So to seperate the left over plant material from the THC(A), you’ll need to put the extract in 2 chemicals called: hexane and acetic acid.This will dissolve a large part of the plant material. After that, the mixture will go trough some filter wich helps the dissolving process.
Now you are left with quite some liquid that should be placed in a rotary evaporator. This evaporator will use different kind of pressure, heat and motion to keep seperating and dissolving different element in your mixutre. After this, there will be a left over mixture called:Delta(9) Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.
We might get closer to pure THCA but we’re not there yet, still there are some impurities and elements we need to get rid off. This will be done with a process we call: Chromatography! Chromatography is another way of seperating different elements from each other and used by when measuring THC level in cannabis.
In the next step we will add dichloromethane, chloroform and Sephadex-LH20 to our tetrahydrocannabinloc acid and create a new kind of crystalized mixture.
This mixture will be put back in the rotary evaporator and mixed with quite some methanol which purifies it even more. Then it will go trough filter again and put back in the rotary evaporator to the methonal from your THCA extract.
Finally, this last step is being repeated once again using a dissolvent to purify it to 99.997%. Then this last mixture will be placed in the rotary evaporator for the last time (to remove the harmfull solvent). Now you are left with true THCA crystalline!
This extraction method isn’t the easiest one and requires some knowledge, experience and equipment. But after getting to know other extracts and the way their made, it’s pretty easy to follow and do-able at home.
But remember: you are working with chemicals and heated equipment so always be carefull and safety first!