Concentrates 101: What Is Cannabis Budder and What Are Cannabis Diamonds?

image of cannabis diamonds, or thca crystalline, being scooped out of a container

As cannabis concentrates continue to proliferate on the market, new terminology saturates the world of weed. Many people are clueless as to the variety of concentrates out there, and what their names indicate. Two of the most in-vogue cannabis products are cannabis budder and cannabis diamonds. Read on to explore the differences between the two, and why each is so highly coveted.

What Is Cannabis Budder?

close up of cannabis budder

Let's start with the slightly more familiar. To be clear, we're not talking about cannabis-infused butter (also known as cannabutter), but about a form of concentrate. Cannabis budder gets its name from its consistency rather than any particular method of extraction or production. Budder refers to a smooth buttery texture part way between wax and crumble.

Budder can result from any type of extraction, be it CO2, butane, propane, or a proprietary ratio of some or all of these methods. Although CO2 extraction continues to catch on, you're most likely to see butane hash oil (BHO) more than any other type of budder.

Why Choose Cannabis Budder?

close up image of flower rosin budder

Because the term "budder" refers to the product's consistency rather than functioning as an indicator of process or material quality, there's a wide range of products and quality that fall under the term's umbrella. Someone looking specifically for cannabis budder is doing so because they like the ease of use.

Cannabis concentrates fall on a spectrum between runny oil and hardened shatter. Runny oils aren't scoopable, and even thicker oils are irritating to deal with. Shatter can be difficult to divvy up because it can, well, shatter into a million tiny crumbs you can't collect. Budder occupies the sweet spot. It's soft enough to easily scoop with a dab tool, and solid enough to stay put when picked up with said tool. This makes budder a cinch to apply to a nail or an oil/wax vape pen.

What Are Cannabis Diamonds?

image of cannabis diamonds in high terpene extract liquid

Cannabis diamonds are a whole other animal. Where budder is just a term for a specific consistency, cannabis diamonds result from a specific step in the extraction process. More commonly known as terp diamonds and THCa crystalline (which sounds scarier than it is), these lovely crystals are an isolate of pure THCa. These crystals can vary in size, and extractors are known to engage in friendly competition as to who can grow the largest THCa crystals. The crystals themselves are clear, but they normally come in an amber bath of high terpene extract.

Cannabis diamonds are a direct offshoot of the skyrocketing popularity of concentrated terpene products such as terp sauce and live resin. Terp sauce by definition includes THCa crystals, but they're normally minuscule in a 1:1 ratio with the high-terpene extract.

During a normal extraction process, cannabis is soaked in solvent (propane, butane, and/or CO2). The bubbly raw material then goes into the oven, more or less straight away. This is the "purge", which gets rid of the residual solvent. To get cannabis diamonds, you hold off on the baking and put sealed containers of the material in a cool, dark place for up to several weeks. This results in separation of the material. After a few weeks, extractors are left with growing THCa crystals, and runny high-terpene extract. The sauce is then poured off the crystals, and the two are purged separately.

Why Choose Cannabis Diamonds?

close up on a large cannabis diamond

Terp diamonds are among the primo top-shelf cannabis products that most people will never try on the basis of sheer cost. While prices for BHO have plummeted in established markets like those in Washington and Oregon, the novelty and laborious production process for making cannabis diamonds makes them much more expensive. A gram of mid-shelf BHO can be had for $20-$30, but terp sauce and diamonds easily run twice that.

If you can stomach the sale price, cannabis diamonds offer a totally unique experience for new consumers – and most would say it's worth the premium. The main draw of terp diamonds is their sheer concentration of THCa. This cannabinoid compound is non-psychoactive on its own, but turns slowly into THC over time. Heat catalyzes this reaction, so dabbing cannabis diamonds or sprinkling them over a bowl results in conversion from THCa to regular THC. Because diamonds are almost purely THCa, the potency when heated is off the charts.

While THCa diamonds are available all on their own, most people (and extractors) prefer to reintroduce the terpene extract to the diamonds once both are purged of solvent. The result is terp sauce, a gorgeous golden liquid studded with floating cannabis diamonds. Thanks to its high terpene content, terp sauce provides a more dynamic and flavorful experience for the consumer.

Where Can I Get Cannabis Diamonds?

image of a colorful dab rig on a black background with smoke blowing in around it

Most legal markets over a year old have at least one extractor delving into the terp diamond scene. Of course, every state has its basement chemists trying to keep up with the latest trends. However, because the process of mining cannabis diamonds is more labor intensive and complex than regular BHO extraction, it's even more dangerous to buy from an unknown source. We recommend you stay safe and only purchase this form of concentrate from a licensed dispensary! It'll be well worth it.