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THCCrystalBlog

Unveiling a Cannabis Marvel: Inside the Growth of a Baseball-Sized THCa Diamond

For us, “Higher Science” means that we strive not only to cultivate cannabis but also to cultivate progress, pushing the boundaries of science and our understanding of this powerful plant. We are thrilled to share one of many incredible accomplishments from our lab – the successful cultivation of a pure THCa crystal, weighing in at an incredible 4.26 ounces (121 grams) and measuring 6” x 5” x 4” (15.24cm x 12.7cm x 10.6cm) – roughly the size of a baseball.

 

BlackBerry Kush Honey Crystals
Honey Crystals are highly refined but still not as pure as a THCa crystal.

THC vs THCa – What’s the Difference?

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCa, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid compound found in the raw cannabis plant’s trichomes. Contrary to popular belief, raw cannabis is not psychoactive, and it’s THCa, not THC, that predominantly exists in the plant in nature.

It’s only when heat is applied, in a process known as decarboxylation, that it transforms from THCa to THC, the psychoactive compound associated with cannabis. During this process, the carboxylic acid functional group is removed from the cannabinoids, converting the compound into the usable form, THC.

 

A jar of THCa crystals in solvent.
Each step in the process refines, purifies, and grows the crystal.

The Art and Science of Growing THCa Crystals

Growing a THCa crystal (also known as a THCa diamond) in a lab involves a delicate, exacting process of extraction and careful control of environmental factors throughout the process. The accomplishment of nurturing a crystal to the size of a baseball underscores the scientific expertise and dedication of our team.

 

A photo of a clean and orderly extraction lab environment.
In extraction science, maintaining a clean lab environment is key.

Creating the Perfect Environment

Growing pure THCa diamonds requires a lab environment with control over precise temperature, pressure, and purity. Just as a pearl needs time, patience, and the right conditions to grow in an oyster, so too does a THCa crystal need the perfect set of circumstances to reach huge proportions.

 

a THCa Crystal growing in the lab.
Growing THCa crystals is pure science.

Growing a THCa Crystal

The process begins with combining a cannabis concentrate from a single strain through our hydrocarbon process, which is commonly referred to as BHO. A series of processes are used to remove unwanted plant materials like lipids (fats), other cannabinoids, and even terpenes! The resulting mixture is then processed in a special reactionary vessel that uses heat, pressure, and agitation to evaporate the solvents out of the Δ9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.

Finally, the leftover solution undergoes a process called chromatography to remove leftover impurities, and again lab techs process the solution in the reactionary vessel to further refine the mixture. Ultimately, the pure THCa molecules bond together to form a crystalline structure.

In order to grow a crystal that reaches epic proportions, the technicians repeat the exacting process multiple times, each time, the structure grows larger as more THCa molecules bond to the existing structure.

Introducing the Masterminds Behind the Crystal

As we peel back the curtain on this groundbreaking achievement, we believe it’s important to hear directly from those who made it possible. The creation of our remarkable THCa crystal was not a solo effort. Our lab team’s passion and expertise have propelled us to this moment.

Matt Ryan, our Lab Manager at our Delevan, Illinois cultivation facility, and his team combine a rigorous scientific approach with an unwavering commitment to advancing cannabinoid science, which was instrumental in this achievement

Let’s delve deeper into the creation of this massive THCa crystal, the challenges encountered, and the drive that led to this achievement.

Q: Why did you decide to grow this THC crystal and how did you come up with the idea?

We decided to grow this crystal as a side project in the lab for some excitement. There are crystals around us every day, but no one thinks that there can be a “weed” crystal!

Q: Could you describe in layman’s terms the process of growing a pure THC crystal and what makes it distinct from other methods of cannabis extraction?

The process of growing a THCa crystal involves repeated recrystallizations with the same crystal!

Q: What were the key challenges you faced when trying to grow this crystal, and how did you overcome them?

Our biggest challenge we faced was getting an appropriate-sized vessel so that the crystal wouldn’t get stuck.

Q: How long did the entire process take from conception to the final growth of the crystal?

The entire process took approximately a month. If we were to repeat this process, I think we could get it done in about 2 or 3 weeks.

Q: Can you share any unique or unexpected findings that arose during the experiment?

The most unique part of this process was truly how simple it was to make this crystal.

Q: What are the potential applications or benefits of growing this pure THC crystal?

We can break this crystal down into smaller sizes to sell in dispensaries, but the main purpose of this THCa crystal is for it to be a showpiece for Enlightened.

Q: What is the purity of this THC crystal?

This crystal tested at 98.2% THCa and 98.5% cannabinoids.

Q: What types of safety measures or precautions are necessary when handling and working with THC in this pure, crystalline form?

The main safety measures are proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), well-ventilated fume hoods, and proper containers.

Q: Is it commercially viable to produce pure THC crystals like this on a larger scale?

An interesting and increasing trend in the industry is producing THCa crystals and then decarbing the crystals to replace distillate. I think in the near future, more and more labs will be producing larger quantities of THCa crystals.

Q: Is there anything else you want to share about this incredible experiment?

This experiment first started when we brought a consultant onsite who goes by the name @dred_pirate on Instagram. He came to Revolution for 4 days and had a lot to show us so I just wanted to give him a quick shoutout for helping make this possible! Also, none of this would have been possible without the lab team. The lab team played a vital role in growing this crystal because without a team there is no lab in Delavan.

 

A highly refined THCa crystal sitting on a glass beaker.
Pure refined THCa crystals have many potential applications in medical research.

How Can We Use THCa Crystals?

One of the most exciting aspects of pure THCa crystals is their potential application in the pharmaceutical industry. Research into the health and wellness benefits of cannabis is ongoing. What we do know is that a product of pharmacological grade purity could be a game changer for cannabis researchers. Pure isolated cannabinoids in a lab setting could potentially set the stage for some serious advancements in the medical community’s understanding of the therapeutic value of cannabinoids like THC.

Final Thoughts

The achievement of growing a baseball-sized, 121-gram pure THCa crystal represents more than just scientific prowess. It embodies our commitment to innovation, our belief in the potential of the cannabis plant, and our dedication to producing the best products on the market. This milestone, as with all our achievements, points to our constant quest to advance cannabis science for the betterment of all who, like us, love this amazing plant.

Moving forward, we will continue our journey of exploration and discovery. Today, a baseball-sized THCa crystal – tomorrow, who knows? Stay tuned as we continue to push boundaries, open minds, and cultivate progress.

Interested in learning more about cannabis science? Check out this article – What Are Trichomes? Exploring The Science Behind These Small but Mighty Structures!

Sources:

Can You Pass the Acid Test? Critical Review and Novel Therapeutic Perspectives of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid A

Optimization of the Decarboxylation Reaction in Cannabis Extract

Creating THCa Crystalline

General Cannabis FAQ

Cannabis, often referred to as marijuana, is a plant that has been used for thousands of years for various purposes, including medicine, textiles, and recreation. The plant contains compounds known as cannabinoids, with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) being the most well-known. THC is primarily responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects, while CBD is recognized for its potential therapeutic benefits without causing a “high.”

Many countries and U.S. states have decriminalized or legalized the use of marijuana for medical use, recreational, or both. The legal status changes frequently as legislation evolves.

In the U.S., states vote to regulate marijuana use on an individual basis. While it remains illegal at the federal level, numerous states have legalized it for medicinal and/or recreational use.

The following states have legalized medical, recreational, or both:

  • Alaska – Medical
  • Arizona – Legal
  • Arkansas – Medical
  • California – Legal
  • Colorado – Legal
  • Connecticut – Legal
  • Delaware – Legal
  • District of Columbia – Legal
  • Florida – Medical
  • Hawaii – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Illinois – Legal
  • Louisiana – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Maine – Legal
  • Maryland – Legal
  • Massachusetts – Legal
  • Michigan – Legal
  • Minnesota – Legal
  • Mississippi – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Missouri – Legal
  • Montana – Legal
  • Nevada – Legal
  • New Hampshire – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • New Jersey – Legal
  • New Mexico – Legal
  • New York – Legal
  • North Dakota – Medical (Possession decriminalized for small amounts)
  • Ohio – Medical (Possession decriminalized)
  • Oklahoma – Medical
  • Oregon – Legal
  • Pennsylvania – Medical
  • Rhode Island – Legal
  • South Dakota – Medical
  • Utah – Medical
  • Vermont – Legal
  • Virginia – Legal
  • Washington – Legal
  • West Virginia – Medical

 

Outside of the U.S., countries like The Netherlands, Canada, and, more recently, Thailand have legalized cannabis on a national level.

Always check local laws and regulations in your specific location.

In states where marijuana has been legalized, you can purchase products at licensed dispensaries. Revolution products are available at Enlightened, Revolution, and partner dispensaries in Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, and Maryland. Find a dispensary near you.

Keep in mind that dispensaries may cater to medical patients, recreational consumers, or both, depending on local laws.

Always ensure that you are buying from a reputable and licensed establishment to guarantee product quality and safety.

The effects of cannabis vary widely depending on the strain, dosage, method of consumption, an individual’s endocannabinoid system, and more.

Some commonly reported effects include:

Psychoactive Effects: Euphoria, mood elevation, cerebral stimulation, stress relief, calming effects, and relaxation.

Physical Effects: Pain relief, body buzz, anti-inflammation, anti-nausea, energy boost or sedation, and appetite stimulation

*Medical Benefits: Cannabis is believed to have a range of therapeutic effects and alleviation of symptoms related to conditions like epilepsy, PTSD, and more.

*Marijuana is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The primary difference lies in their intended use:

Medical Cannabis: Used as a treatment and alleviation of symptoms for specific health conditions. Medical strains might be cultivated and processed to have higher CBD content or other therapeutic compounds. Medical cannabis requires a physician who usually prescribes or recommends it as a treatment option.

Recreational Cannabis: Used without a medical justification but for personal enjoyment and fulfillment.

The process varies from state to state but typically involves the following steps:

Doctor’s Recommendation: Schedule an appointment with a physician who is authorized to recommend medical marijuana. Discuss your health conditions and reasons for seeking cannabis as a treatment.

Application: Once you have a doctor’s recommendation, you’ll usually need to apply for a medical marijuana card through a designated state or country agency.

Proof & Identification: Provide necessary identification and proof of residency as required by your jurisdiction.

Fee Payment: Most jurisdictions require a fee for the application and issuance of a medical marijuana card.

Card Issuance: Once approved, you will receive your medical marijuana card, allowing you to purchase cannabis at designated medical dispensaries.

If you’d like more detailed information, please read our state-specific medical card guide here.