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how to make cbd isolate crystals

How To Make CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD, often in the form of a white powder that can be mixed into drinks or taken sublingually. This option is often popular among people who are just beginning to explore the use of cannabis or hemp derived products or looking to avoid the euphoric high associated with THC. It is also a great option for people who want hyper-accurate doses of CBD and the flexibility to create their own customized mixtures in their preferred carrier oil or liquid.

Making CBD isolate requires more steps than creating a CBD oil, as you have to remove every other element, such as phospholipids and flavors, from the product. While the process is more complex and requires additional equipment, it creates a totally pure end product that is free of anything besides CBD.

Steps on How To Make CBD Isolate

Step 1: Extraction

To make any concentrate you first have to extract. Manufacturers can use either a hydrocarbon solvent, like butane or propane, or ethanol solvent. Typically, we see ethanol used for the production of CBD isolate often with the use of a larger commercial extraction system – like a centrifuge. Smaller extraction systems can be used, it just depends on your throughput goals.

Step 2: Winterization

Winterization is the process of removing the fats, waxes and chlorophyll from the extract. Not removing these will lower the percentage and purity of the targeted CBD compound we are trying to capture. To achieve winterization you are essentially cooling down the extract to sub-zero temperatures with a solvent. Then, maintaining that chilled environment for a period of time in order for the lipids (fats and waxes) to coagulate and separate from the crude oil – now termed ‘miscella’.

Step 3: Filtration

Once winterization has been completed it is necessary to now quickly filter those fats and waxes we coagulated from the miscella. A filter press is used with the assistance of a vacuum pump to pull the miscella mixture through a series of filter plates. Fats, waxes, etc are collected in one vessel and the desired miscella in another.

Step 4: Decarboxylation

In order to achieve optimal CBD content, decarboxylation is a critical step prior to distillation. The process of decarboxylation is to remove carboxylic acid and CO2 from cannabinoids present in the cannabis extract. Converting the acidic cannabinoid (CBDa) to its neutral form (CBD) ensures the end product contains all of the several benefits the cannabinoid has to offer. Furthermore, failure to remove CO2 from the extract will also affect the ability to properly form a vacuum in your distillation apparatus. The decarboxylation process is achieved through the application of heat in a reactionary vessel.

Step 5: Distillation

Now that our extract has been winterized, filtered and decarbed, we can perform distillation. There are short path and wiped film distillation apparatuses on the market, for the sake of this article we will use wiped film distillation.

While under vacuum, the extract is loaded into the feed tank where it passes over a heated rotating plate. From there, the heated oil then enters a secondary vessel where there are spinning wipers and a thin film is created around the heated, jacketed vessel. A long condensing coil in the middle of the vessel, cooled with recirculating fluid, recondenses the vapors back into liquid form. Receiving vessels then collect the CBD (known as ‘main body’) from the terpenes, volatiles and high boiling point cannabinoids (known as ‘heads’ and ‘tails’).

Step 6: Crystallization

An additional option that some manufacturers complete to change the structure of the CBD isolate is to subject it to a crystallization process. This process results in a final product that is still 99.9% CBD but has a crystalline structure.

This crystallization process is started by putting the CBD oil into a large vat, or reactionary vessel, with a stirring attachment. The mixture is heated while constantly being stirred. Then, the temperature is lowered and the rate of stirring is slowed down. Once the mixture has cooled and nucleation starts to occur (the initial stages of crystallization), the stirring rate is drastically increased, which causes the crystals to separate from the solution. After this, the crystals are rinsed with pentane, or another chemical solvent, to remove any remaining unwanted impurities.

Depending on what end product you’re trying to make you may prefer to use a CBD isolate powder when manufacturing lotions, edibles, beverages, etc. In order to make a powder you are simply taking the CBD isolate crystals and grinding them down into a powder-like substance.

Equipment for Making CBD Isolate by Precision®

As system integrators for cannabis and hemp processing labs, Precision brings solutions to all stages of how to make CBD isolate.

Easy to follow steps on how to make CBD isolate, From extraction to crystallization, our techs breakdown how to achieve 99% pure CBD crystals and powder.

How To Grow Crystal THC and CBD

What is Crystalline Isolate?

Crystalline Isolate is an extremely pure form of cannabinoid that is extracted using CO2 or butane/propane. Available in both THC-A and CBD, crystalline can contain up to 99.97% THC or CBD depending on the application.

For some this high-potency offering may seem excessive, but for many it is rather attractive. Medical marijuana patients are actively seeking the benefits of higher doses while veteran smoker may be looking for a new level of high. No matter the use, crystalline isolate is an exciting development within the chemistry of cannabis and the development of novel methods of consumption devoid of any harmful solvents and carcinogens.

While it is certainly possible to draw out extracts that are extremely high in THC and CBD with CO2 and hydrocarbon extraction and distillation, but THC-A and CBD crystalline opens up different potentials for storage and consumption to the market. For instance, storage is much more convenient when using crystalline isolate, less messy when dabbing, and easier to incorporate into foods and topicals (presuming you have decarboxylated your crystals). Did I mention that it is also very pretty to look at?

So How Do They Make This Stuff?

You may be familiar with extractions, and if you’re not feel free to check out this article here discussing the two main types to refresh your knowledge, either way, in order to form crystals you must start with a cannabinoid-rich cannabis extract.

Ideally, in order to maximize on time and resources, A-grade flower with a high THC-A or CBD count (depending on what you’re isolating) will be blasted with CO2 or butane/propane in order to extract the greatest yield of cannabinoids from the plant material. The crude oil that is extracted isn’t completely “clean” and will typically have a fair amount of waxes and lipids emulsified within the oil. Once the crude oil is winterized and the major waxes and lipids are filtered we would be left with cannabis extract that could be placed within a vape cartridge or dabbed on a rig. However, this oil will range from 65-90% THC or CBD and still exist within a viscous/fluid state. In order to solidify the cannabinoids out of the remaining non-cannabinoid material, we must take the cannabis extract add different solvents in different stages and run it through a number of different filtrations.

The first step is to take your cannabis extract and mix it with acetic acid and hexane, the combination of chemicals will act as a solvent to separate the dissolved plant matter from the THC/CBD. After the mixture has had time to settle, it is put through a filter and then the remaining fluid is placed within a roto-vape where the acetic acid and hexane are evaporated off. The remaining mixture will be primarily Delta-9 THC-A or CBD-A.

In order to further purify the extract, chromatography is used in order to separate impure elements of the solution from the desired cannabinoids. Chromatography (sounds complicated but isn’t really) is a chemical process where different materials and mediums are used to separate different components within a solution based on its affinity to the different filter mediums and density (kind’ve like your standard water filter). In the instance of THC-A, chemists add Sephadex-LH20, dichloromethane and chloroform in order to further clarify the cannabis extract into majority cannabinoids and solvent devoid of any plant material.

The remaining solvent from the mixture needs to be evaporated, so it is placed within the roto-vape again, where it crystallizes. Afterwards, in order to make the crystals consumable, they go through a series of chemical washes, filtrations and roto-vaping.

Post chromatography, the crystals are dissolved in methanol and then filtered and then roto-vaped to remove the methanol. Afterward, pentane is used to remove the smallest bits of non-THC or non-CBD material and then roto-vaped for the last time. The results, white crystals testing at 99.97% cannabinoid.

The only caveat to this is that you will not have the accompanying terpenes, and therefore will not experience the “entourage effect” that cannabis flower provides. However if you are intent on re-creating such an experience, you can reintroduce cannabis terpenes into your crystalline, or simply soak it within “terp sauce”.

*Disclaimer, this post is for informational purposes only, the chemicals mentioned above are caustic and dangerous. We do not recommend you try this. This is not a tutorial.

How To Grow Crystal THC and CBD What is Crystalline Isolate? Crystalline Isolate is an extremely pure form of cannabinoid that is extracted using CO2 or butane/propane. Available in both THC-A