How to Make CBD Crystals
Posted on July 20th, 2020
There’s a not-so-new trend on the rise in this country, one that has gained traction over the past couple of years… Any guesses? If you’re here, you probably already know the answer: we’re introducing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants.
This compound’s rapidly rising popularity has allowed for countless new CBD products to hit the market. Now, CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid; there are 100s of them, including THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for marijuana-driven highs.
If you buy a full-spectrum CBD product, it will still contain trace amounts of THC. While these minuscule amounts of THC won’t trigger psychoactive experiences, they may still create problems if you’re drug tested. So, if you’re worried about the purity of CBD products, you should consider CBD crystals.
And, to help you better understand your options, today we’ll explore the most pressing questions surrounding CBD crystals, so you can shop for CBD products confidently.
What Are CBD Crystals?
CBD crystals are one form of CBD isolate available to users. CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol, composed of at least 98% CBD. Through a unique extraction and purification process, manufacturers remove all other plant extracts from hemp-sourced CBD oil. What remains? An incredibly pure, white powder that is tasteless and odorless. Basically, these crystals are pure cannabidiol without other cannabinoids or other compounds. This means that the CBD crystals don’t have any traces of terpenes, flavonoids, THC, or the other compounds that are usually present in your typical full-spectrum CBD products.
Manufacturers moved to produce CBD crystals in order to offer people a strict control over how they use CBD and the amount of CBD and other cannabinoids they consume.
How Are CBD Crystals Made?
Like other CBD products, the first step in making CBD crystals involves extracting CBD oil from industrial hemp plants. The initial extraction process can be achieved using supercritical carbon dioxide or organic solvents. After CBD oil has been obtained from hemp, the extract is still full of other compounds, including other cannabinoids. So, when making CBD isolate, the next step is a purifying process that eliminates the extra compounds still present in the CBD extract.
The purification process filters all other residual plant materials. Then, after extraction and filtration, the CBD extract goes through another process referred to as “winterization”. The winterization process removes any traces of additional products left behind after filtration. And what remains is a fine white powder that is 99% pure CBD.
Technically, CBD crystals are classified as pure CBD isolate. Cannabidiol crystals are available in the solid, diamond-like form. But, how do they get from a white powder to a crystal form? Just keep reading to find out.
Making CBD Crystals
In order to make CBD crystals, you will need special equipment. This is not something you can make at home unless you have chromatography equipment at your disposal.
To crystallize CBD, you need to start with distilled and winterized cannabis. Before starting the process of crystallization, CBD oil must be winterized. That’s because, in its natural state, the whole outer layer of the cannabis plant is covered in cuticle wax (composed of fats, waxes, and lipids). As we noted, winterizing is an extraction process: it eliminates undesirable elements such as fats, lipids, and waxes from the hemp extract with the help of an alcohol wash that’s heated to about 120 degrees. It is then immediately allowed to freeze for over 24 hrs. The product of winterization is a CBD distillate. This distillate should not be cloudy. If the distillate is cloudy, then it means impurities are present. To make the distillate clearer, winterize the distillate again until it is clear. This is important if you want to yield the purest product.
Crystallization Process Using a Chromatography Machine
After winterization comes the crystallization process, which requires a chromatography machine. Chromatography is a method of purifying and isolating cannabinoids. There are different levels to this machine, depending on the batch sizes you are interested in. The chromatography machine consists of a column with a filter inside it, an air compressor to apply pressure, and a collection chamber with some evaporable solution inside. Forming CBD crystals is not a complicated process, but it does require some basic chemistry.
First, you will need a filter for your chromatography machine. You can use sand as a filter, but it must be very fine to yield the best results. After setting up, you pour unpurified extract into the column. The sand will act as a filtration machine, and a pump or pressurized hose will help push the CBD molecules through the sand for further purification.
As the molecules pass through the filter(sand), the smaller particles reach the bottom first. Due to the difference in the molecular sizes of the elements in the extract, CBD will be extracted first; any remaining THC filters through at the very end of the extraction process. This can be done without any pressure, but it will take some time.
At the bottom of the column, the purified extract is collected and stored together with the evaporable solution. For maximum purity, this process can be repeated several times. However, with every repetition, the quantity of the end product is reduced. In order to obtain the finished crystal product, you have to heat your solution so evaporation can occur, leaving behind purified CBD crystals.
How Are CBD Crystals Used?
CBD crystals are pretty versatile and can be used in many different ways. Because they are tasteless and odorless, your options for using them abound. Here are some popular ways to use them:
If cooking with CBD, crystals are great additions to recipes, since they don’t add flavor or taste. However, it’s essential to note that high temperatures will make CBD lose its potency. For this reason, if you want to cook with CBD crystals, dissolve the crystals in cooking oils or butter, and maintain the cooking/baking temperature between 350- and 400-degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking at a higher temperature will cause the crystals to lose their potency.
Mixed in Beverages
Another great way to take your dose of CBD is to mix CBD crystals into your favorite beverages. These are excellent for on-the-go drinks and will blend nicely with smoothies, tea, juice, and even your morning coffee.
Are you wondering if CBD can mix with alcohol? If so, you’d be happy to learn that you can also mix CBD crystals in your cocktails. Cheers!
Taking CBD sublingually is the easiest way to use CBD crystals. While most people associate this CBD delivery method with tinctures, it is also an excellent and straightforward way to take CBD crystals. To do this, simply measure your dose, place it under your tongue, hold in place for at least 60 seconds, then swallow. Couldn’t be simpler, right?
Dabbing or Vaping
Yes, it’s possible to vape and even dab cannabidiol crystals…as long as you have the right equipment.
To dab CBD crystals, you need a device, known as a rig nail, that’s similar to a marijuana bong. First, use a blow torch or other heat source to introduce warmth to the device. Then, wait for 30-40 seconds, place your CBD crystals on the nail, and inhale the resultant vapor.
Prefer the vaping option? To vape CBD crystals, place your dose into your vaporizer’s concentrate holder, choose a temperature, and inhale when ready. Vaping presents you with a discrete way to enjoy CBD crystals.
Mixed With Oils or Used as a Topical
Want to tweak the way you use CBD crystals? Try creating your own unique CBD oil. Or get crafty and make some CBD topicals.
CBD crystals can be transformed into a tincture or oil by dissolving them into your oil of choice. The best oils to use when making CBD tinctures are hemp seed, olive, and coconut oil. You will need to heat the carrier oil in order to allow the crystals to dissolve.
You can also mix them with skin oils or creams to create your own unique CBD topical. Topicals are excellent for targeting arthritic aches and inflammation.
How to Dose CBD Crystals
Keep in mind that each individual reacts to cannabidiol differently, which means you might have to experiment before you can pick the dose that suits you best. Remember, CBD crystals are 99 percent pure. So, if you’re new to this product, we recommend starting with a low daily dose of no greater than 10 mg. After a week or two at this level, you can choose to increase your dose until you achieve the desired effect.
Note that since CBD crystals are 99 percent pure, each gram of CBD crystals will contain 990+ milligrams of CBD. This means that users get one milligram of CBD from one gram of the crystals. This makes it easy for users to measure precise doses and know the amount of CBD they are getting from each dose.
If you buy a full-spectrum CBD product, it will still contain trace amounts of THC. You should consider CBD crystals if you're looking for pure CBD products.
How to make CBD oil
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- What is CBD oil?
- History of CBD oil laws
- Making CBD oil
- Choosing an oil
- Dosing CBD oil
- Bottom line
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to a carrier oil. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that produces only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis component that can produce a psychoactive “high.” In fact, hemp is defined as having less than 0.3 % THC. Instead of producing THC, hemp plants contain mainly cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp has a long history of use for making fiber for textiles and rope, and has been bred to be tall and skinny with very small flowers, or buds.
CBD oil is a refined hemp extract that has been added to a carrier oil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The explosive popularity of non-intoxicating cannabis products containing CBD has led to the development of a booming $1 billion industry. Those who seek CBD’s medical benefits can consume a diversity of CBD-infused foods, supplements, and drinks. CBD oil has been used to treat wide-ranging symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, depression, and acne.
CBD additives come in many forms, but all fall into three major categories: CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, and CBD isolate. While “CBD oil” and “CBD-rich cannabis oil” may seem like two words for the same product, they differ significantly, mainly due to the fact that two distinct kinds of cannabis are used to make each.
History of CBD oil laws
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 made all cannabis varieties, including hemp, completely illegal, but the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp for fiber, while also legalizing the extraction of CBD from hemp if the hemp was grown in accordance with the law. This bill led to the rapid expansion of CBD products including oils, balms, creams, and gummies.. Interstate commerce of these products lies in a legal gray area because CBD and cannabis extracts are still considered a Schedule 1 narcotic, but the United States Drug Enforcement Agency has not enforced this regulation on businesses that sell CBD oil.
Making CBD oil
On a large scale, CBD oil is made by extracting entire hemp plants creating a crude paste, which is then refined in several ways and added to a carrier oil. Other minor cannabis components with some medical benefits, (such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabidivarin (CBDV), are extracted alongside with CBD. Terpenes, the components responsible for the smell of cannabis and other flowers and plants, are sometimes reintroduced to harness additional medical benefits. Because CBD oil contains other components, it may be referred to as broad spectrum CBD oil, which reportedly has greater benefits than if CBD is taken on its own.
CBD oil is made by extracting entire hemp plants creating a crude paste, which is then refined in several ways and added to a carrier oil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Making CBD-rich cannabis oil
This type of CBD product generally refers to a cannabis extract high in CBD that has not necessarily been added to a carrier oil. Instead of using hemp plants, this product is produced using drug-type cannabis plants bred to make mostly CBD, and little THC. Drug-type cannabis differs from hemp in that it has been bred for generations to make large buds coated in THC-rich cannabis resin that are prime for smoking and making into edibles and topical salves. While drug-type cannabis typically produces high levels of THC, interest in the medical benefits of CBD has motivated people to breed high-CBD plants. High-CBD drug-type cannabis produces much more CBD per plant than hemp does, but because of their lineage, they are not legal to grow under the 2018 Farm Bill. These CBD plants are, however, legal to grow in certain states with medical and recreational cannabis laws, and cannabis extracts made using these plants may be purchased in those states.
Making CBD isolate
CBD isolate is, in short, pure CBD. Isolate is made by refining CBD oil or CBD-rich cannabis oil. Due to the low cost of growing hemp versus high-CBD drug-type plants, CBD oil is often a cheaper source than CBD-rich cannabis oil for the production of CBD isolate. CBD isolate is a white, slightly sticky powder.
CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder that contains pure CBD. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How to make CBD oil at home
To fully harness the medical benefits of CBD, customizing the consistency, potency, and carrier liquid of your of CBD oil for your needs is essential. The most straightforward and efficient way to make your own CBD oil is to start with CBD isolate, which is readily available in dispensaries and online from reputable sources. Another easy way to administer CBD oil is by dissolving it in alcohol, to make what is known as a tincture.
Tools for making CBD oil
Many of the tools needed for the home production of CBD oils or tinctures are likely to be things you already have in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. A jeweler’s scale that can measure grams two places past the decimal point is a must to accurately measure your CBD isolate and can be purchased fairly cheaply online. A spoon or small scoop will be needed to transfer the measured CBD isolate to a storage container. Additionally, you will need either oil or alcohol. The exact type will be your preference, but some properties of each need to be considered before making a purchase. The simplest way to dose the CBD oil or tincture precisely is by using a dropper bottle that indicates how much it delivers; these typically measure out 1 milliliter for the whole dropper. Measuring the oil or alcohol is most easily done with an oral syringe.
Choosing an oil
As CBD isolate is neutral in taste, the oil in which it is dissolved will dictate the flavor of the final product. An unflavored oil, such as medium chain triglyceride oil, commonly known as MCT oil, will make for a neutral tasting product. Strong-tasting oils, such as coconut and olive, may be used as well if desired. Coconut oil is often solid at room temperature as it has a high content of saturated fat, so it will need to be heated carefully for making CBD oil. If you’re making a tincture instead of an oil, a high grain alcohol is key. Liquor is diluted with water to an alcohol content of 40 -50 %, which is not suitable for dissolving CBD because of the high water content (CBD is not soluble in water). High-grain alcohol (90 % or greater) is needed for full incorporation.
As CBD isolate is neutral in taste, the oil in which it is dissolved will dictate the flavor of the final product. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Dosing CBD oil
The first crucial step in the process of making CBD oil or tinctures is deciding the desired potency. Assuming you want to administer your oil or tincture with a dropper bottle, it is necessary to know milligrams of CBD delivered per milliliter of oil/tincture. Most dropper bottles hold 1 fluid ounce (1 fluid ounce
30 milliliters). Dissolving 600 milligrams of CBD in 30 milliliters of liquid will make an oil/tincture that delivers 20 milligrams of CBD per milliliter (600 mg ÷ 30 mL = 20 mg/mL). To make a higher potency oil/tincture, dissolve more CBD in the same volume; the total milligrams of CBD you add, divided by the total volume of the oil/alcohol you add, will give you the potency in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL).
The first crucial step in the process of making CBD oil or tinctures is deciding the desired potency. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
If you’re using any oil except for coconut, weigh the desired amount of CBD isolate on a notecard on your scale. Fold one edge of the notecard, place the folded angle into the edge of the dropper bottle, and carefully tap the notecard until the CBD falls into the bottle (do this over a clean tray to gather anything that may have fallen during the process). Pour your measured amount of oil or alcohol into the dropper bottle (30 milliliters or 1 fluid ounce if you follow the guide above). Shake and swirl; the heat from your hand will help dissolve the CBD, but it may take a few minutes. The final product is shelf-stable and ready to administer orally, into topicals, or into foods and drinks.
Due to its higher saturated fat content, coconut oil is mostly solid at room temperature (unless you’re in a very hot climate) and therefore cannot be administered with a dropper bottle. The coconut oil must be heated until liquid before dissolving the CBD. You can simply heat a measured amount of oil for your desired dose in a small pot or saucepan at a very low temperature. It is important to monitor the oil for signs of overheating and adjust the temperature accordingly. Alternatively, a double boiler can be used in place of a saucepan.
If you prefer to make a tincture but are concerned with the high alcohol content needed, glycerine can be used to dilute alcohol-based tinctures. CBD is not particularly soluble in glycerine on its own; however, CBD already dissolved in alcohol can be fully incorporated with glycerine to dilute or sweeten the tincture. Dosing will need to be adjusted with the addition of a larger volume of fluid. This can easily be done by making the initial tincture more potent and diluting it down with glycerine to your desired concentration.
You can channel the potential health benefits of CBD oil at home, but you should consult your physician before beginning a regimen and verify any applicable state or local laws.
How to make CBD oil Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD oil? History of CBD oil laws Making CBD oil Choosing an oil