In the world of cannabis products, it seems like a new craze pops up every day. Whether Delta 8 THC, CGG, or some other thing, there is always something new to try.
The latest of these popular products is THC isolate. This form of the devil’s lettuce gives pause to even the most experienced cannabis users.
But what is THC isolate? And how does it differ from the weed we all know and love? Read on to find out everything there is to know about THC isolate.
THC Isolate is without a doubt the most potent form of THC available on the market. With a THC concentration of over 99%, nothing else comes close.
The crystalline substance is colorless, tasteless, and looks like crushed rock salt. This is because of the removal of all plant material from the THC during production.
Isolates like this are useful for those who need precise amounts of a substance. Producers of edibles, medical drugs, topical creams, or other products often use isolates.
Any other form of THC might contaminate their product with outside substances. Or, their formula might not contain the precise amount of THC that they advertise.
Another advantage of the isolate’s purity is precise dosing. Anyone who uses cannabis products knows how hard it is to consume exact quantities.
Amounts listed on labels are sometimes inaccurate, particularly with edibles. And new users often ingest more THC than they are ready for when a product contains more than they think.
The Price of Purity
While the potency of isolates is a desirable quality, it comes at a cost to other aspects of the high. The compounds distilled out are terpenes, flavonoids, plant material, and other cannabinoids.
They all have an impact on the experience, and especially on the medical benefits of using THC. Stripping the compounds away takes their qualities away as well.
The removal of other cannabinoids also diminishes the entourage effect. This effect increases the strength of a cannabinoid when others are present.
So, a product with two or more types of cannabinoids would enjoy this effect. But since isolates contain only one cannabinoid, they lose out on the extra strength.
There are many different ways to consume THC isolate. Oral consumption is by far the easiest method, but it won’t cause any psychoactive effects. This is because isolate exists in the form of THCA, an inactive cousin to THC.
Isolate converts into THC only after a process of decarboxylation. In other words, you’ll have to light it on fire to activate it.
The best way to do that is through a vaporizer device. Most people prefer a dab ring for this, but anything that heats the substance will do. Consuming isolate this way will cause an almost immediate effect.
Due to its potency, the high will be powerful and last for hours. Thus, inexperienced cannabis users should use caution before partaking.
For those who prefer edibles instead of smoking, mixing isolate into recipes is a great way to use it. As long as the powder goes through the cooking process during preparation, it will turn into THC.
The THC isolate process is a long, drawn-out process that is best left for professionals. The machinery needed for production is expensive and requires skill to operate. And in many jurisdictions, manufacturing isolate is illegal.
This is all to say that you should not use this information to try to make this at home. Leave it for the experts.
Every company which produces THC isolate does it in different ways. Thus, exact information is often proprietary and kept close to the chest. Luckily, the general principles of producing isolate are well documented.
That said, the information below is a simplified version of the actual process. Read it as a description, not as an instruction manual.
The starting point for any isolate, whether THC or CBD, is a cannabis extract. The goal is to isolate a specific cannabinoid from all other substances in the extract. Doing this requires a continuous cycle of washing and separation using various chemicals.
These chemicals are solvents, which means they dissolve substances into a solution. Hydrocarbon hexane and acetic acid are the most common solvents used for the first wash.
Once the cannabis extract dissolves, most plant material filters out of the solution. Then the process repeats until all impurities are gone.
The next step in the process is to separate the chemicals back out of the solution. To do this, manufacturers feed the solution into a machine called a rotary evaporator.
This machine uses a combination of rotation, pressure, and heat to remove the solvents. What’s left is a substance containing only cannabinoid compounds.
A process called preparative chromatography is then used to isolate a specific cannabinoid. This technique fires the substance through various chemical mediums at speed.
Depending on the medium and speed, different cannabinoids filter out. Then, once only the desired compound remains, the rotary evaporator separates the chemicals.
The result after all rounds of processing finishes is a pure cannabinoid solution. Very few impurities or outer substances survive to this point.
The final step is to contain the solution and let it rest. Over time, the cannabinoids will form into crystals and fall out of the solution. Manufacturers collect these crystals, package them, and sell them as isolate.
THC Isolate vs. THCA Isolate vs. CBD Isolate
While researching THC isolate, you may discover the term ‘THCA isolate’ or ‘THCA crystal’. These compounds are the same.
THC isolate is a misnomer because THC cannot exist in crystalline form. But, THCA crystals can exist. And when heated, it converts into THC.
Consuming THCA alone will not cause any psychoactive effects. There are medical benefits from consuming it though. Research suggests that THCA protects against neural conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
It also seems to have anti-inflammatory and pain reduction properties. All without causing the high of traditional THC. This case is also true for other cannabis products.
Compared to other cannabis products, people can get the health benefits of THCA at very low doses. This is due to how potent the cannabinoid is in isolate form.
Also, consuming THCA in pill form is far more convenient for users who only want health benefits. They get precise doses without the hassle of cooking or smoking regular cannabis.
The downside to consuming THCA is the time it takes for it to kick in. Ingestion requires digestion, and digestion takes time.
So anyone looking for immediate effects without getting high is out of luck. The best they can hope for is to consume THCA on an empty stomach.
CBD isolate is the counterpart to THC isolate. The primary difference between the two is in the cannabinoid isolated during production.
Both are ultra-pure, and their effects correspond with their respective cannabinoid. Because CBD isolate has no THC, it is often more desired than other CBD products.
These other CBD products, while non-intoxicating, can contain up to 0.3% of THC. This small amount could appear on a drug test, so many are hesitant to use them. CBD isolate gives people the alternative they need to get the benefits of CBD without worry.
Speaking of benefits, CBD isolate is like THCA in many ways. Research suggests CBD isolate helps to relieve anxiety and reduce pain and inflammation.
People have used it to treat symptoms from conditions like epilepsy and cancer. But more research is necessary for a better understanding of the health benefits.
The advantage CBD isolate has over THCA is the speed at which its effects take place. Unlike THCA, you can vaporize CBD isolate without getting high.
Doing so will give you relief immediately, whereas ingesting would take time. Thus, those who only want health benefits are better off with CBD isolate.
Q: Is THC isolate legal?
A: It depends on your jurisdiction. Check your state laws for information on legality.
Generally, anywhere that permits recreational or medicinal cannabis use will allow THC isolate. States which permit hemp-based products only most likely will not. Always check before deciding to partake.
Q: Can I buy it?
A: Many companies offer THC isolate for sale in various quantities. But availability depends on your location.
Before purchasing, ensure you are dealing with a reputable cannabis company. The best companies offer testing information to potential customers on their websites.
Q: What are all the ways I can use it?
A: There are a variety of methods to use THC isolate. These include:
- Oral Consumption through pills and edibles
- Absorption through the skin using topical creams, lotions, and oils
- Inhalation using a vaporizer, joint, or other heating devices
- Sublingual absorption by placing the powder under the tongue
Q: Is THC isolate better than normal cannabis?
A: This depends on what you’re looking for. The main advantage of THC isolate is its purity. But the addition of those other compounds gives normal cannabis enjoyable qualities.
For instance, the entourage effect is present in normal cannabis. And the presence of plant material gives it the distinct color, taste, and odor that isolate lacks.
Q: Are there different strains of THC isolate?
A: No. THC isolate is pure THCA. The different strains of normal cannabis come from the plant material. Isolate has no plant material, and thus no strain.
Q: What is THCA?
A: THCA, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is the inactive precursor to THC. Because the THC compound cannot exist in crystal form, isolates exist as THCA. When activated by heat, THCA becomes THC.
Q: Does THC isolate get me high?
A: Only when heated. THC isolate exists as THCA, an inactive compound. It only converts into THC when activated by heat.
Thus, you won’t get high if you only eat the isolate. Inhaling or cooking it in food will provoke psychoactive effects.
Q: Is THC isolate dangerous?
A: Generally, no. The effects of THC are not known to cause serious harm in people. But, due to the high potency of isolate, consuming too much could be unpleasant.
For this reason, THC isolate is best left for experienced cannabis users. THC gummies or products with lower concentrations of THC are better for new users.
Q: Will I fail a drug test if I use THC isolate?
A: Yes. Drug tests lookout for any traces of THC in the bloodstream.
THC isolate, being 99.9% pure THC, will show up in big red letters even if ingested. For those who only want health benefits, CBD isolate will not trigger a drug test.
Q: What is the best way to use THC isolate?
A: Depends on your needs. Inhalation is the fastest method, but will also cause psychoactive effects. Ingestion takes longer but is non-intoxicating.
Those who don’t want to eat or inhale the isolate can use topical creams instead. That is the advantage of using isolate. Its versatility allows it to fit anyone’s needs.
Want to Learn More? Take a Look at This…
While it may be tempting to go out and get your hands on some THC isolate right now, there is one thing to consider.
THC isolate and other cannabinoid isolates are new to the market. This is in contrast to other cannabis products that have been around for a long time. Research on their effects is thus few and far between, so there is a lot more to learn about the substance.
The same is true for other areas of life. Whether in cannabis, technology, or other areas, there is always more to learn. Take a look at a few of our other articles for more information about topics you love.