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What Is THCAand CBD Crystalline?

Isolated THCAand CBD are the purest form of concentrate available, with potencies topping at around 99.9%.

Tetrahydrocannabinolicacid(THCA) and cannabidiolicacid(CBDA) are the two most prominent cannabinoidsfoundwithin the trichomesofliving cannabis plants. Both THCAand CBDAareprecursors to their pharmacologically active, commonly consumed analogues, THC and CBD. As a living cannabis plant cycles through the final stages of senescence, these unstable cannabinoidprecursorsslowly decarboxylate and become active. Once a plant is harvested and dried, various forms of heat application can also decarboxylatecannabinoidsintotheir active compounds.

Cannabis contains hundreds of active and inactive compounds that take on many shapes and structures on a microscopic level. THCAand CBD are both similar in that their molecular composition resembles a crystallineformation with rigid and latticed structures. Note that while THCA’sand CBD’sstructures lend to the formation of crystalline, CBDA’sdoes not.


When completely isolated and in visible quantities, these compounds look a lot like snowflakes or crushed rock salt.


Isolated THCAand CBD are the purest form of concentrate available, with potencies topping at around 99.9%. This means that there are no traces or terpenes, flavonoids, fats, lipids, or anything else from the raw plant. For this reason, isolates contain little to no flavor, color, or aroma.

The specific process of creating crystallineis a well-guarded proprietary secret, but processors have divulged enough information to give us a general idea of how this complicated preparation is conducted.

How Is THCAand CBD CrystallineMade?

The process of isolating and collecting cannabinoidsbegins with an extract. Aside from primary cannabinoids, these extracts contain a number of other components that range from terpenes and flavonoids to fats, lipids, and a host of other particulates. In order to remove these compounds and isolate the cannabinoids, a series of washes and separations must occur.

The first wash is typically done with the popular extracting hydrocarbon hexane as well as acetic acid (think super-concentrated vinegar). Once mixed, these chemical solvents help to strip away plant particulates and impurities. In order to remove these chemicals, the slurry must be fed into a rotary evaporator, sometimes referred to as a “rotovap.” Rotovapsare designed to gently separate solvents from compounds through the process of slow heat introduction combined with pressure and rotational motion.

Once this first step is complete, the remaining cannabinoidsmust undergo further isolation through a separation process called “preparative chromatography.” In short, this form of chromatography is used to separate compounds by passing it through various mediums at different speeds. To isolate cannabinoidswith this method, more chemicals are introduced which must be filtered out through yet another round of rotary evaporation.

CrystallineTHCAis considered inactive insofar as it does not have the same psychotropic properties as THC if ingested in its current state.

CrystallineTHCAis considered inactive insofar as it does not have the same psychotropic properties as THC if ingested in its current state.

The final stage in cannabinoidisolation is to prepare the product for human consumption. At this stage, all that is remaining are pure cannabinoidsand a minuscule amount of lingering impurities. These remaining particulates must be removed with solvents such as methane and pentane through individual mixing and separation phases. Each solvent is added and subsequently removed by use of the rotovap.

Once the final separation is complete, the remaining product will be 99% pure crystallinecannabinoids.

How to Use CrystallineTHCAand CBD

In order for crystallineTHCAto become active and deliver intoxicating effects, it must be heated. However, THCAhas medicinal and therapeutic properties despite being inactive, and can be supplemented in its raw form through several methods.

Crystallinecannabinoidswork well for oral ingestion as they can be prepared into foods and even portioned into pills or capsules. Because these cannabinoidsare so pure, they are easy to dose.

Those who wish to rapidly activate their crystallinecannabinoidsoften do so through vaporization and dabbing. By dabbing or vaporizing THCA, decarboxylationoccurs near instantaneously, breaking down the inactive, acidic cannabinoidinto THC.

CrystallineTHCAand CBD have very little to offer in flavor, which is why many producers enhance these pure extracts with additional terpene blends. The combination of terpenes and cannabinoidscan provide a more robust experience, not only by adding flavor, but also through more nuanced effects.

As you can see, crystallinecannabinoidsprovide benefits that are not available with traditional concentrates and extracts.  Their only downside? These products are difficult to produce and few manufacturers have dialed in a consistent recipe for preparation. This makes crystallineproducts very expensive in the few markets they are available in.


About Chemdawg

Chemdawg is a legendary strain with an uncertain genetic history. While it is thought to be crossed from Thai and Nepalese sativa landraces by U.S. breeders, many have laid claim to this strain’s creation. Chemdawg’s origin stories include one account of a complicated seed exchange among fellow growers at a Grateful Dead concert and another tale pinning the strain’s parentage on a Colorado strain called Dog Bud (so named for its tendency to make the smoker roll over like a dog). Whatever its beginnings, Chemdawg has become a staple in the U.S. cannabis market for its unique taste and upbeat, energetic high. It has also been used to crossbreed several popular and successful strains. Chemdawg’s THC content has been measured at between 15% and 20%.

Chemdawg has medium-sized buds that look slightly different from those of hybrid or pure indica lineage. Long and tapered rather than popcorn-like, the flowers have relatively loose and wispy leaves. The spring green leaves are covered in sticky white trichomes, lending buds a silver-white appearance. Due to the combination of their loose structure and resinous texture, buds of Chemdawg are particularly difficult to break up by hand -- users preparing flowers for joints or pipes will have an easier time with a grinder. The sticky flowers are threaded through with red to orange pistils. Chemdawg has a smell reminiscent of diesel fuel (which many say is the source of the “chem” in its name). The pungent flowers also give off odors of earthy musk and some pine. As long as flowers are properly cured, this strain has smooth smoke that tastes sour and when inhaled. On the exhale, Chemdawg’s smoke betrays its signature diesel taste with an ammonia-like tang that hits the top of the palate.

The high from Chemdawg hits quickly, sometimes before users have had a chance to finish appreciating its distinctive diesel aroma. Smokers may experience a sharpening of the senses and an increased hyper-awareness of their surroundings. This initially disorienting head high becomes more productively cerebral and introspective in the right set and setting. Chemdawg can lend itself to exuberant conversation. Its ability to amplify sensory experiences also makes it particularly good for creative endeavors. Many users report a palpable sense of physical relaxation -- although nothing near couchlock -- leading to some speculation that Chemdawg has some indica in its genetics as well. Chemdawg’s strong cerebral high has made it valuable in treating some of the symptoms associated with stress, anxiety, and even PTSD. Some fans of the strain describe relief from chronic pain and migraines as well. Because of its potency and mental focus, Chemdawg has the potential to trigger the kind of manic, recursive thinking that can lead to paranoia. As such, even users with a high tolerance for THC are advised to moderate their intake accordingly.

Chemdawg is a strain whose cultivation is better suited to more experienced growers. For a while, it could only be grown as a clone if a clipping was obtained from a mature plant; now, however, many seed companies sell packaged seeds of Chemdawg. It is more often grown indoors than outdoors, as it requires a good amount of tending to resist mold and mildew. Growing indoors takes some vigilance -- the sativa-typical plants often grow over 5 feet tall, and as such, growers should bend and prune them early in the vegetative stage in order to keep them at a manageable height. Plants flower within 9 to 10 weeks when grown indoors and typically offer a very high yield: growers can expect between 65 and 75 grams, or 2.3 and 2.6 ounces, per square footage of plant. Such high yields on such relatively tall plants can make for branches that sag under the weight of the flowers; growers should use tall supports like wooden dowels in order to keep plants upright in the flowering stage. Finally, because of Chemdawg’s pungency, any growers preoccupied with secrecy or discretion should invest in indoor odor-control measures like carbon air filters or exhaust fans.

Chemdawg’s potency has made it a valuable strain for crossbreeding. Its descendant strains include the phenotype Chemdawg 91 as well as the hugely popular hybrids Sour Diesel and OG Kush. More likely to keep users awake then put them to sleep if consumed at night, it has an almost eye-watering pungency and energizing and thought-stimulating effects. Chemdawg can be a great choice for accomplishing tasks, as well as for more celebratory circumstances as it keeps heads buzzing and conversation flowing.


  • Appetite Stimulant
  • Chronic Or Severe Pain
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Stress
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