THC Isolate Demystified: Everything You Need To Know About This Type of Cannabis Isolate
While marijuana is frowned upon in most countries in the world, there is more to it than its addictive nature. According to Harvard Medical School, marijuana has a number of potential health benefits, and it is commonly used as pain control in the United States alone. Due to this, people came up with creative ways on how to extract and consume marijuana and one of which is through concentrates. One of the most common types of concentrate is the THC isolate. Read on as we tell you everything about THC isolates.
What is a THC Isolate?
As the name suggests, THC Isolate is made by completely isolating the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from all the other plant components. This just means that all other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and inactive compounds like plant waxes are stripped from the extract, leaving only THC. The final product is a fine white powder that has over 91% – 99% THC content.
A THC isolate is odorless, tasteless, and highly concentrated, and it's the preferred extract for use in the manufacture of many medical, wellness, and retail products. Its purity means that 1 milligram of isolate equals exactly 1 milligram of THC, whereas 1 milligram of less potent extract might have 0.5 milligrams of THC, 0.3 milligrams of CBD, and 0.2 combination of other terpenes and compounds. These makes a THC isolate very easy to use for specific dosing.
How is THC Isolate made?
To make an isolate, the THC must be extracted from the cannabis plant – and there are a number of ways to do this. The industry gold standard and consumer favorite is the CO2 extraction method. The equipment used is often industrial and expensive, but this method results in the purest final product. A closed-loop system is used to cool CO2 to -56C, as the pressure inside the chamber can reach up to 75psi.
The CO2 becomes “supercritical” at this stage, as it sits between a liquid and gaseous state. The CO2 is then passed through the closed chamber and, almost like a solvent, the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted and remain intact. This process is called Supercritical CO2 Extraction. There's also Subcritical CO2 Extraction which used cheaper equipment, lower pressure, and results in smaller yields.
Although ethanol extraction has gotten a bad reputation as being unsafe, that's not the case. Ethanol extraction is actually an FDA-approved method of extraction compounds from various plants in order to make food and medicines.
However, there are issues with ethanol extraction. Certain compounds can easily co-extract with ethanol, and one concerned is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a molecule that absorbs sunlight and converts it into plant energy. It is the compound responsible for a plant’s green color. When using ethanol extraction, the chlorophyll may need to be stripped away in a separate process.
What is THC Isolate Used For?
An isolate can be used to make anything that has THC in it – may it be edibles, topicals, tinctures, soft gels, nasal sprays, various pharmaceuticals, and the list goes on. Anything that requires accurate dosing and very specific measurements will benefit from a THC isolate.
The best isolates are manufactured in a GMP-certified facility. GMP is short for Good Manufacturing Practice, and it's already a requirement in Asia, Europe, India, and many other countries that all medications, supplements, and cosmetics plants.
Although the North American market is currently an unregulated free-for-all, this is expected to change in the next few years. GMP is the next big thing when it comes to the medical cannabis and hemp industries to ensure the quality.
What are the Medical Benefits of THC Isolate?
A THC isolate contains 91-99% tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis plants. This is the reason why you feel “high” when you consume marijuana, and it has been a subject of debate since then.
As research progresses, experts discovered the medical benefits of THC, and they’re not going to stop soon. So far, here are what researchers discovered about THC's therapeutic benefits.
THC isolate provides pain relief
Researchers discovered the active role of THC in pain relief, and it has been used by some medical professionals since then. The cannabis compound activates pathways in the central nervous system that block pain signals from being sent to the brain.
The FDA also did atrial on this claim, and they confirmed the effectiveness of THC in pain relief. Individuals experiencing neuropathic pain were given low doses of THC (1.29%) in the form of vaporized cannabis. This is what they found out:
“A low dose of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol provided statistically significant 30% reductions in pain intensity when compared to placebo.”
THC may help with PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is affecting8 percent of Americans (roughly 24.4 million people). PTSD can include symptoms such as agitation, severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares, and social isolation.
Some psychiatrists say that THC-rich cannabis can be the only treatment for PTSD. Severalstudies have confirmed that THC eases a variety of PTSD-related symptoms including agitation, depression, insomnia, flashbacks, and nightmares.
If you’re someone suffering from PTSD, THC may help you relieve those symptoms and who knows, it can help you heal too.
THC is an antioxidant
Looking for something to combat aging? THC might be the one you’re looking for. Cannabinoids like THC are considered potent antioxidants. The cannabis plant protects itself by producing more THC to combat UVB light, the type of light that causes oxidative stress in humans, contributing to visible aging and other skin diseases.
This damage makes consumers more prone to serious ailments like cancer and other neurodegenerative illness. As a potent antioxidant, one of the many health benefits of THC is protecting the body from stress-related damage.
THC is anti-inflammatory
Chronic inflammation is considered a major risk factor for all different kinds of diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and even depression.
CBD may be a go-to option for some for inflammation, but THC plays a role too.
In some instances,research suggests that THC can decrease the production of cytokine and chemokine compounds in the body. Cytokine and chemokines are immune compounds that trigger inflammation.
Additionalpre-clinical research also stated that it may be able to decrease inflammation by suppressing genes related to an inflammatory response.
THC increases appetite
THC is known to cause the “munchies” or a sudden feeling of hunger. This is helpful if someone is suffering from appetite loss due to some conditions like HIV, eating disorders, hepatitis, and dementia. Severe appetite loss can cause malnutrition over time or even death.
Researchers have found that THC interacts with the same type of receptors in the hypothalamus that release the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger. THC can even make food taste better.
When used correctly, THC can help with people with appetite loss and can even save lives.
THC Isolate: Final Thoughts
A THC isolate is considered the purest form of tetrahydrocannabinol you can find in the market today. THC-rich cannabis products has this concentrate as the active ingredient. While it offers psychoactive effects, THC can provide beneficial effects when used the right way. Research suggest that it can help with pain relief, inflammation, and PTSD, to name a few.
If you're someone with any of the conditions mentioned, it is best to consult your doctor before taking any cannabis products. If you opt to take one, make sure you get your isolate products from a trusted source with good manufacturing practices and undergone into a third-party lab testing for your safety and protection. It's always good to be mindful of the quality of the products you are getting to maximize its effects.