Crystalline: the absolute purity
Crystalline isolate is the purest and the strongest kind of marijuana concentrate. This strain includes 99.97 percent of pure cannabinoids, leaving no space for harmful solvents and residual plant material. The strongest marijuana product in the world is tasteless and flavorless, so additional terpenes are sometimes added to arrange the more pleasant consumption.
The interesting fact about this extract is that the initial plant material does not matter. It is of no difference what cannabis strain is taken for crystalline production; the result will be just the same. Precision is what valued most in crystalline consuming: one might easily calculate exactly how much cannabinoids are in one intake. This benefit is widely used in medical practice.
General appearance of crystalline reminds of sugar cake decorations. It is soft, solid, and almost transparent. Despite the absence of taste, consumers of this extract often report a pleasant fresh feeling that stays long.
Is all crystalline the same?
Certainly not. There are two possible types of crystalline, THCA and CBDA, which differ by the active cannabinoid. Check the difference between them:
THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) — a non-toxic cannabinoid that is a component of marijuana flower. If affected by the heat, THCA turns into a psychoactive THC. When dabbed, THCA crystalline turns into the most powerful concentrate available. Just compare: the strongest marijuana weed has a potency up to 30%, and the other cannabis extracts range from 50% to 90% of active THC, making crystalline the unbeatable leader.
CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) — another kind of non-toxic cannabinoid that converts into CBD when exposed to heat. Being chemically almost the same as THC, CBD is much milder, less psychoactive and intoxicating. Unlike THC, it has a sedative and anticonvulsant effect. It is interesting that CBD is even used as a recreative treatment after THC overdosage. Having minimal side effects, CBD is widely used for medical purposes — to treat anxiety, fight pain attacks, etc.
Selecting the type of crystalline for your needs, consider the effect you want to get: if it is getting high, you need the THCA crystalline (decarboxylated), and if you want to stay calm and self-assured or to get relief from pain — your best choice is CBD crystalline.
The market breakthrough
The variety of cannabis-based products available for smoking, vaping and dabbing seems to satisfy the most demanding consumers. Though, until the recent time, there had been no one that contains nothing else but a cannabinoid. And there certainly was a demand, because non-solvent concentrates were not powerful enough, and solvent-based extracts bore a high risk of getting your lungs affected by residual butane or propane.
Crystalline has certainly become a market sensation. The pure cannabinoid extract with the highest possible potency is a catch for dabbers and a rescue for medical users. No wonder that the price of crystalline reaches the incredible heights — it is still claimed to be a good deal.
Key ways to consume crystalline
Crystalline can be consumed orally or be means of vaporizing and dabbing. Which one to choose depends on the effect you want to get.
Crystalline can be either added to edibles, used in recipes or be consumed in its raw form. Do not expect that you can simply eat THCA crystalline and feel high, nothing of the kind will happen if the extract does not get heated. You will either feel nothing or experience a relief. Oral consumption of THCA and CBD crystalline is recommended when it is necessary to get balanced quickly, or for medical purposes. It is also popular to add crystalline to pills, because of the precision in dosing.
Vaporizing supposes activating the THC component, which make the product potency perceivable for the consumer. Considering that crystalline is flavorless, it is often combined with additional terpenes to enhance the aroma.
This is the most popular way to get most of crystalline potency. It is used by those who want to get higher than with any other cannabis concentrates. For dabbing, you need an oil rig and a spoon-shaped dabbing tool. Having pre-heated the nail with a torch (or using the electric nail) to the desired temperature, pour the extract on it. Note that the crystals start vaporizing immediately so put a cap on the nail not to lose the valuable vapor and inhale.
Storing crystalline: main rules
Being a valuable and expensive product, crystalline requires a reasonable approach to storing. In proper conditions, it may last up to a few months. The main rules of storing crystalline are the following:
Using the proper container. It must be airtight and either glass or silicone. For long-term storing, it is recommended to cover each portion with a parchment paper and keep them in the glass jar. The less air comes in, the better, so try not to open the container too often.
Keeping it dry and cool. Select a place when there is no sunlight, heat and moisture, which are very much destructive for the product.
Do not freeze it. It is popular among consumers to freeze the marijuana concentrates to make them last longer. However, this method does not work, because of the excessive humidity in the freezer.
How are the crystals isolated?
The process of producing a crystalline is much more complex than it is with the other extracts. It includes the use of solvents for a few times and requires a special equipment. It certainly cannot be performed in any conditions except the professional laboratories. Note that creating self-made labs for extracts is a very bad idea for two reasons: first, there is a high risk of explosion, and, secondly, it is considered illegal and is punished by the law.
The manufacturing and isolating process consists of the following stages:
Preparing the marijuana extract. Except cannabinoids, this extract includes terpenes, lipids and other plant material that has to be removed.
First level of separation includes using special solvents: hydrocarbon hexane together with the acetic acid. Having cleared the product from unnecessary components, the chemicals get removed by a rotavap — rotary evaporator that uses slow heat and pressure to vaporize the solvents.
The product gets through a number of mediums with different speed to isolate the cannabinoids. After that process, another stage of evaporation with rotavap takes place.
The remaining impurities are removed with the help of methane and pentane used consequently. After one more rotavap phase, crystalline is ready for consumption.
High price for crystalline is directly connected with the complexity of manufacturing process that requires the use of many solvents and takes much more time than the production of other extracts.
Does it have any weak sides?
Crystalline is the purest form of cannabinoids ever possible. Its strong sides are obvious: absence of chemicals, incredible potency, precise dosing. Does it ever have any weak sides?
Yes, it does. Check them all and see whether they are important for you personally:
No flavor and aroma. Solvents destroy all the plant material making no exception to valuable terpenes that are responsible for unique strain scent.
Have you ever heard of the entourage effect? This is the main disadvantage connected with crystalline consuming. It means that terpenes are the vitally important components of a plant that interact with the other cannabis components to produce the desired outcomes. In the other words, without terpenes, cannabinoids (including both THC and CBD) will not work the same way as they do when the plant material is integral. That is why to get the necessary medical effects, therapists prefer to prescribe other extracts rather than crystalline.
Shorter shelf life. Being the product that contains pure cannabinoids, crystalline suffers much from any presence of heat, air or moisture. If you want to prolong its shelf life as much as possible, be sure to take care of a proper storage.
High price. The price for THCA crystalline sometimes reaches the mark of $200 a gram, which is much higher than for any other cannabis products. Get ready to pay if you want to get the purest marijuana product available.
Crystalline use in medicine
THCA and CBD crystalline are often used in medicine. The first and foremost application of this extract is to reduce pain, which is a frequent companion of many diseases. Unlike other extracts, crystalline can be dosed precisely, and it is easy to calculate how much cannabinoid there exactly is in one pill.
The type of crystalline used for medical purposes most is CBD crystalline. Though THCA also has no psychoactive components, it is considered less safe to distribute the concentrate that can easily change its properties when decarboxylated. Therapeutical capabilities of the strongest forms of marijuana is still a topic for numerous discussions. Cannabidiol is claimed to have the anti-inflammatory action, to treat epilepsy, CNS disorders and many other health problems, but the evidence currently available is anecdotal. The only proven capabilities of CBD are pain-treatment and effectiveness in THC overdose treatment.
Due to the mentioned entourage effect, crystalline cannot provide the most beneficial health outcomes that is why its use in medicine currently has a number of limitations and needs to be the object of further investigation.