Lone Cannabinoids: THCA

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The psychoactive effects produced from ingesting cannabis are a result of not just THC, but of THC in synergy with hundreds of other cannabinoids present in the plant known as the “entourage effect.” The pure THCA experience can therefore leave much to be desired for the casual cannabist. “It’s interesting, but it’s only one compound and medical marijuana is medical because of all the cannabinoids, not just one,” says Matt Archibald, President of Botanical Process Solutions, a company that supplies supercritical CO2 extraction systems complete with recipes designed to produce consistent, reproducible results. For anyone curious about extracting THCA, answers are just an online search away. German researchers published a scholarly article in the “Journal of Chromatography” in 2011 that discusses, in detail, two procedures for isolating THCA. “Both use flash chromatography and require nasty solvents like pentane or butane,” Archibald explains. “But anyone with a chemistry background could do it just following the directions in the paper.” Elaborating on the process, Archibald says that the German scientists started with kief that they then dissolved in a solvent – in this case, pentane, which is related to butane but with a higher boiling point. They treated the kief with activated carbon to remove the terpenes and other compounds and placed heat-treated silica gel in a column (essentially a tube with a hole in bottom), added the purified kief in at the top, put a flask underneath, then poured pentane mixed with another chemical over it. THCA sticks to silica gel to a certain degree, he says, so compounds that don’t stick come out first. Lastly, more and more modifiers are added to extract the rest of the THCA. “It’s not a complicated process, although flash chromatography is a very slow one. It’s just dangerous because you have to use pentane,”…

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Source : Lone Cannabinoids: THCA

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