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Crystalline

A cannabis isolate with over 99% cannabinoids. Also called “diamonds” or “isolates,” these have such a high degree of purity that they form a crystalline solid. This extract is usually made from concentrated THCA, CBDA, or CBD.

“Whether you call it an isolate, a diamond, or crystalline, if it has 99% pure THCA, you are going to get very high when you dab it.”

What is a crystalline?

Crystalline is a type of cannabis extract, also known as “diamonds” or “isolate,” that has such a high degree of purity—99% or more pure cannabinoids—that it forms a crystalline solid, like a diamond. The most common cannabinoids found as crystalline isolates are THCA, CBDA, and CBD; out of these three, only THCA can be intoxicating. 

Interestingly, while THCA and CBD have a similar molecular structure which results in forming large crystals, CBDA’s structure does not support that, resulting in smaller granules similar to a sugar consistency. 

Crystallines are only found as isolates, or a single cannabinoid, not as a combination of cannabinoids. Crystallines do not contain terpenes, flavonoids, lipids, or other chemicals and usually have no flavor, color, or aroma. For that reason, crystallines are commonly consumed with a terp sauce to reintroduce scent, flavor, and the medicinal effects of terpenes. 
The process of creating a crystalline is time consuming and energy intensive, taking multiple steps and using multiple solvents and methods. First, cannabis plant material is usually washed with hexane and acetic acid, and the resulting concentrate slurry is then purified in a rotavap. Then the extract is further purified and isolated using a process called preparative chromatography, which ends in another round of cleaning up in a rotavap. Finally, any remaining impurities are purged out using solvents such as methane and pentane, which are in turn purged by a final round in a rotavap.