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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 make THCA crystals: Guide to THCA extraction process

THCA is getting more populair everyday, especially for it’s medicinal purposes. Altough it’s still very hard to find in most areas around the world. Many people interested in it have no possibility to get it, so the question: how to extract/make THCA yourself is one asked many times. To really understand the process you first need to know what THCA exactly is!

THCA crystals are probably one of the most pure extracts in the world and discovered by Guild Extracts. The crazy thing is that pure THCA doesn’t have any psychoactive effects and won’t contain any terpenes (So it’s tasteless and odorless). To make it psychoactive, it has to turn into the substance THC which only can be done by a process called: Decarboxylation. This happens when you heat or give pressure to the cannabinoid.

THCA can only be found on fresh plant material and the extract will always be exactly the same (it’s just one pure cannabinoid you consume, it’s always the same in strength, taste and effect regardless the strain or plant it comes from). When you light it up, it will turn into THC and make you “high” but if consumed in another way like ingesting it, the decarboxylation proces didn’t took place and you only benefit from it’s medicinal effects. Perfect for patients who are in the need of THC but don’t like the mental high it gives.

The extraction process of THCA using solvents

Now you are probably interested to get some THCA yourself and try out this amazing stuff, right? Well the process of making THCA crystals isn’t easy and requires some equipment and knowledge. The way it’s made and the fact that it’s very concentrated makes it a pretty expensive extract so making it yourself could be paying off!

Without any experience of extracting, this process might look a bit overwhelming and difficult. But if you follow the steps closely, it’s possible to do! (with right equipment). Most of the times it already starts with a cannabis extract like BHO or full melt hash. This makes the process faster.

  • Extracting simply means to take one substance out of to other. So to seperate the left over plant material from the THC(A), you’ll need to put the extract in 2 chemicals called: hexane and acetic acid. This will dissolve a large part of the plant material. After that, the mixture will go trough some filter wich helps the dissolving process.
  • Now you are left with quite some liquid that should be placed in a rotary evaporator. This evaporator will use different kind of pressure, heat and motion to keep seperating and dissolving different element in your mixutre. After this, there will be a left over mixture called: Delta(9) Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.
  • We might get closer to pure THCA but we’re not there yet, still there are some impurities and elements we need to get rid off. This will be done with a process we call: Chromatography! Chromatography is another way of seperating different elements from each other and used by when measuring THC level in cannabis. Find out more about this process!
  • In the next step we will add dichloromethane, chloroform and Sephadex-LH20 to our tetrahydrocannabinloc acid and create a new kind of crystalized mixture.
  • This mixture will be put back in the rotary evaporator and mixed with quite some methanol which purifies it even more. Then it will go trough filter again and put back in the rotary evaporator to the methonal from your THCA extract.
  • Finally, this last step is being repeated once again using a dissolvent to purify it to 99.997%. Then this last mixture will be placed in the rotary evaporator for the last time (to remove the harmfull solvent). Now you are left with true THCA crystalline!

This extraction method isn’t the easiest one and requires some knowledge, experience and equipment. But after getting to know other extracts and the way their made, it’s pretty easy to follow and do-able at home. But remember: you are working with chemicals and heated equipment so always be carefull and safety first!

Share your opinion, question or experience in the comments below!

The extraction process of THCA is not that easy and requires some equipment and knowledge. However with the right experience it's easy to follow the steps to get pure THCa crystalline.