How to Make CBD Crystals

Hemp plant in a beaker with a burner in background in science lab setting

Posted on June 25th, 2021

There’s a not-so-new trend on the rise in this country, one that’s 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 all varieties of cannabis plants. 

Thanks to the compounds rapidly rising popularity, you can find countless new CBD products on 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. (That’s a form of CBD isolate, as we’ll explain shortly.) 

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. Remember, 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 typical full-spectrum CBD products.

Manufacturers started developing CBD crystals in order to offer people strict control over CBD use, as well as the amount of CBD and other cannabinoids you consume with your products.

How Are CBD Crystals Made?

hemp plants growing in fieldLike 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. But after we obtain CBD oil 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 any extra compounds.

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.

Cannabis Winterization

To crystallize CBD, you need to start with distilled and winterized cannabis. That’s because, in its natural state, the cannabis plants’ outer layer is covered in cuticle wax (composed of fats, waxes, and lipids). As we noted, winterizing is an extraction process: it eliminates these undesirable elements from your hemp extract. (With the help of an alcohol wash that’s heated to about 120 degrees. Immediately afterwards, it’s then allowed to freeze for over 24 hrs. And at the end of that period, you’ll have CBD distillate, which shouldn’t be cloudy.

If it is? Then it means you’ve got impurities in your distillate, and your work isn’t done. So, to make the distillate clearer, you’ll have to repeat the winterization product until you reach clarity. 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 hope to produce.

Basically, the machine has a column with a filter inside it. There’s also an air compressor to apply pressure, and a collection chamber containing an evaporable solution. With this machine, forming CBD crystals isn’t complicated. Bbut it does require some basic chemistry.

First, let’s talk about that filter. You can use sand, but it must be very fine to yield the best results. After setting up your machine, pour your unpurified extract into the column. The sand will act as a filtration machine, and a pump or pressurized hose will help push CBD molecules through the sand for further purification.

As the molecules pass through the (sand), the smaller particles reach the bottom first. Due to the difference in the molecular sizes of the extract’s elements, CBD will hit the bottom long before any remaining THC. Best of all, you can complete this separation without any pressure. Though it will take some time.

At the bottom of the column, you collect your purified extract, storing it with the evaporable solution. For maximum purity, you can repeat this process several times. Just remember, with every repetition, you’ll reduce the quantity of your end product. Finally, in order to get the finished product, you have to heat your solution to achieve evaporation. And when you do? You’ll be left with purified CBD crystals.

How Are CBD Crystals Used?

CBD crystals are pretty versatile. Because they are tasteless and odorless, they have many uses. Here are some popular options:

Cooking

If you cook with CBD, crystals make great recipe additions, since they don’t add flavor or taste. But remember that high temperatures make CBD lose its potency. For this reason, if you want to cook with CBD crystals, first dissolve them in cooking oils or butter, then maintain your cooking/baking temperature between 350- and 400-degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking at higher temperatures will sap the crystals’ 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!

Sublingually

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? Simply place your dose into your vaporizer’s concentrate holder, choose a temperature, and inhale when ready. Vaping offers a discrete way to enjoy CBD crystals. Just be careful, since this delivery method may trigger lung injuries or other dangerous complications. 

hand holding CBD tincture on pink backgroundMixed 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, creating your own unique CBD topical. This delivery method is a great choice for targeting arthritic aches and inflammation.

How to Dose CBD Crystals

Everyone reacts to cannabidiol differently. So that means you might have to experiment before you can find your ideal dose. Remember, CBD crystals are 99 percent pure. Which means that, if you’re new to this product, we recommend starting with a low daily dose. (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.

Also, you should note that 99 percent pure CBD crystals are 99 percent pure, each gram of crystals contains 990+ milligrams of CBD. This means that users get one milligram of CBD from one gram of the crystals. Knowing this should make it easy for you to measure precise doses, knowing how much CBD you’ll get each time.

Want to explore other CBD options? After starting with CBD isolates, many people are ready to try a full-spectrum product, to get a taste of the entourage effect. Sound like something you’re ready for? Head over to our online CBD store, and check out our full line of CBD tinctures, edibles and topicals!

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