More about Crystalline
What is Crystalline?
Crystalline, also referred to as “crystals,” “THC crystals,” or “diamonds,” is a cannabis concentrate that comes in a solid state. It resembles coarse sugar, the kind typically used for decorating sugar cookies or glittering the tops of baked fruit pies. Crystalline is produced to be free of plant matter or terpenes, which are the distinct aromatic and flavor qualities of a cannabis cultivar, or strain.
What Cannabinoids are Available in Crystalline form?
Crystalline is produced to have just one cannabinoid. The only cannabinoids available in crystalline form are THCA, CBDA, and CBD. Anyone consuming THCA, CBDA, or CBD will not experience an intoxicating high, though THCA converts to THC when exposed to heat, making the crystalline intoxicating.
What is THCA Crystalline?
You may have heard the term “THC crystals” or “ THC crystalline ” used to describe crystalline, but THC, which produces an intoxicating high, is not available as crystalline; chemically, THC cannot hold a crystalline structure. In other words, what’s often referred to as “THC crystals” is not pure THC , but rather a form of pure THCA . THCA crystalline converts to active THC through decarboxylation at the time of consumption.
Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Is Crystalline Better than Other Concentrates?
When exposed to heat, crystalline is quite potent, though the body may not experience the full effect of this extract, as it lacks the terpenes found in flower and other concentrates. Terpenes help provide the unique flavors, aromas, and other effects of each high associated with different cultivars. Without these terpenes, crystalline isn’t able to provide the same health benefits attributed to the entourage effect .
Terpene removal is part of the crystalline production process and the resulting cannabinoids in the final product are the same, regardless of the starting plant material. For example, if a crystalline manufacturer used Durban Poison cultivar for one batch of THCA crystals, and Northern Lights cultivar for a separate batch of THCA crystals, the final products would produce the same effects. The isolated THCA crystals from one strain are identical to those from another. Dispensaries won’t carry strain-specific crystals; they simply don’t exist because THC or CBD Crystalline has no terpenes to give each cultivar its unique characteristics.
How Can Crystalline be Used?
Crystalline can be ingested orally, either added to a recipe when making edibles, or dissolving in oil to create a tincture-like product. For homemade edibles, crystals can be dissolved in cooking oil or butter, and used as an ingredient in recipes. Olive oil and coconut oil are the most popular for dissolving crystal to make a tincture-like product.
Crystalline can be smoked, or dabbed, using a dab rig. A dab rig is a type of smoking apparatus, similar to a small water bong, that vaporizes heated crystalline to be inhaled in single, measured dosages.
What is CBD Crystalline?
Dabbing CBDA or CBD Crystalline, the purest form of CBD-heavy concentrate, allows users to feel non-intoxicating effects quickly, but dabbing THCA will produce the intoxicating and psychoactive effects of THC, which may explain why they’re often thought of as “THC crystals.”
To dab CBD crystals , preheat a “nail” at one end of the dab rig using a handheld butane torch. Once the nail reaches the correct temperature, use the spoon-shaped end of a dabber to scoop and pour the appropriate dosage of crystalline on the nail. The crystals will instantly heat and vaporize on the heated nail. While inhaling the vapor through the mouthpiece end of the rig, place a cap on the nail to catch as much vapor as possible.
THCA crystalline can also be combined with other cannabis Concentrates, like live resin Shatter, to increase their potency. Mixing THC crystals with concentrates that have terpenes and other cannabinoids may aid the uptake of the THCA, CBDA, or CBD into the body.
Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How is Crystalline made?
WARNING: THE MANUFACTURING OF CRYSTALLINE SHOULD ONLY BE PERFORMED BY SKILLED PROFESSIONALS AS THE PROCESS CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL IN MANY JURISDICTIONS.
Crystalline is produced from a cannabis extract. The starting material for THC crystal extraction can come from raw cannabis plants . Crystalline has a unique, subtle taste and smell, but it lacks the chemical compounds that give other cannabis Concentrates their aroma and flavor.
A number of methods are used for making THC Crystalline, but the essential crystallization principles are the same. One way to understand the crystallization process is similar to the making of rock candy. Hot water is supersaturated with sugar, then as the water cools down, sugar crystals start to form on a string or stick. Hot water allows more sugar to dissolve than under room temperature. As the unstable sugar solution is removed from the heat and allowed to cool, sugar crystals start to precipitate out of solution and will eventually begin to form on the stick. The THC crystal formation will grow over time until the final product is successfully achieved.
The production of cannabis crystalline is essentially the process of mixing a refined cannabis concentrate with a solvent, then applying specific heat and pressure conditions to evaporate the solvent, allowing crystals to form. For example, if THCA crystalline is being produced, any THCA will precipitate, or separate, out of the solution. Under the right temperature and pressure conditions, the THCA will chemically bond to other THCA molecules, forming crystalline structures.
The purest form of cannabis Concentrate, this Extract consists of a single type of cannabinoid, usually tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), or cannabidiol (CBD). Crystalline is formed by thoroughly refining cannabis oil and serves as a base for formulated cannabis products.
How To Grow Crystal THC and CBD
What is Crystalline Isolate?
Crystalline Isolate is an extremely pure form of cannabinoid that is extracted using CO2 or butane/propane. Available in both THC-A and CBD, crystalline can contain up to 99.97% THC or CBD depending on the application.
For some this high-potency offering may seem excessive, but for many it is rather attractive. Medical marijuana patients are actively seeking the benefits of higher doses while veteran smoker may be looking for a new level of high. No matter the use, crystalline isolate is an exciting development within the chemistry of cannabis and the development of novel methods of consumption devoid of any harmful solvents and carcinogens.
While it is certainly possible to draw out extracts that are extremely high in THC and CBD with CO2 and hydrocarbon extraction and distillation, but THC-A and CBD crystalline opens up different potentials for storage and consumption to the market. For instance, storage is much more convenient when using crystalline isolate, less messy when dabbing, and easier to incorporate into foods and topicals (presuming you have decarboxylated your crystals). Did I mention that it is also very pretty to look at?
So How Do They Make This Stuff?
You may be familiar with extractions, and if you’re not feel free to check out this article here discussing the two main types to refresh your knowledge, either way, in order to form crystals you must start with a cannabinoid-rich cannabis extract.
Ideally, in order to maximize on time and resources, A-grade flower with a high THC-A or CBD count (depending on what you’re isolating) will be blasted with CO2 or butane/propane in order to extract the greatest yield of cannabinoids from the plant material. The crude oil that is extracted isn’t completely “clean” and will typically have a fair amount of waxes and lipids emulsified within the oil. Once the crude oil is winterized and the major waxes and lipids are filtered we would be left with cannabis extract that could be placed within a vape cartridge or dabbed on a rig. However, this oil will range from 65-90% THC or CBD and still exist within a viscous/fluid state. In order to solidify the cannabinoids out of the remaining non-cannabinoid material, we must take the cannabis extract add different solvents in different stages and run it through a number of different filtrations.
The first step is to take your cannabis extract and mix it with acetic acid and hexane, the combination of chemicals will act as a solvent to separate the dissolved plant matter from the THC/CBD. After the mixture has had time to settle, it is put through a filter and then the remaining fluid is placed within a roto-vape where the acetic acid and hexane are evaporated off. The remaining mixture will be primarily Delta-9 THC-A or CBD-A.
In order to further purify the extract, chromatography is used in order to separate impure elements of the solution from the desired cannabinoids. Chromatography (sounds complicated but isn’t really) is a chemical process where different materials and mediums are used to separate different components within a solution based on its affinity to the different filter mediums and density (kind’ve like your standard water filter). In the instance of THC-A, chemists add Sephadex-LH20, dichloromethane and chloroform in order to further clarify the cannabis extract into majority cannabinoids and solvent devoid of any plant material.
The remaining solvent from the mixture needs to be evaporated, so it is placed within the roto-vape again, where it crystallizes. Afterwards, in order to make the crystals consumable, they go through a series of chemical washes, filtrations and roto-vaping.
Post chromatography, the crystals are dissolved in methanol and then filtered and then roto-vaped to remove the methanol. Afterward, pentane is used to remove the smallest bits of non-THC or non-CBD material and then roto-vaped for the last time. The results, white crystals testing at 99.97% cannabinoid.
The only caveat to this is that you will not have the accompanying terpenes, and therefore will not experience the “entourage effect” that cannabis flower provides. However if you are intent on re-creating such an experience, you can reintroduce cannabis terpenes into your crystalline, or simply soak it within “terp sauce”.
*Disclaimer, this post is for informational purposes only, the chemicals mentioned above are caustic and dangerous. We do not recommend you try this. This is not a tutorial.
How To Grow Crystal THC and CBD What is Crystalline Isolate? Crystalline Isolate is an extremely pure form of cannabinoid that is extracted using CO2 or butane/propane. Available in both THC-A