smoking sugar crystals

More about Crystalline

What is Crystalline?

Crystalline, also referred to as “crystals,” “THC crystals,” or “diamonds,” is a cannabis concentrate that comes in a solid state. It resembles coarse sugar, the kind typically used for decorating sugar cookies or glittering the tops of baked fruit pies. Crystalline is produced to be free of plant matter or terpenes, which are the distinct aromatic and flavor qualities of a cannabis cultivar, or strain.

What Cannabinoids are Available in Crystalline form?

Crystalline is produced to have just one cannabinoid. The only cannabinoids available in crystalline form are THCA, CBDA, and CBD. Anyone consuming THCA, CBDA, or CBD will not experience an intoxicating high, though THCA converts to THC when exposed to heat, making the crystalline intoxicating.

What is THCA Crystalline?

You may have heard the term “THC crystals” or “ THC crystalline ” used to describe crystalline, but THC, which produces an intoxicating high, is not available as crystalline; chemically, THC cannot hold a crystalline structure. In other words, what’s often referred to as “THC crystals” is not pure THC , but rather a form of pure THCA . THCA crystalline converts to active THC through decarboxylation at the time of consumption.

Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Is Crystalline Better than Other Concentrates?

When exposed to heat, crystalline is quite potent, though the body may not experience the full effect of this extract, as it lacks the terpenes found in flower and other concentrates. Terpenes help provide the unique flavors, aromas, and other effects of each high associated with different cultivars. Without these terpenes, crystalline isn’t able to provide the same health benefits attributed to the entourage effect .

Terpene removal is part of the crystalline production process and the resulting cannabinoids in the final product are the same, regardless of the starting plant material. For example, if a crystalline manufacturer used Durban Poison cultivar for one batch of THCA crystals, and Northern Lights cultivar for a separate batch of THCA crystals, the final products would produce the same effects. The isolated THCA crystals from one strain are identical to those from another. Dispensaries won’t carry strain-specific crystals; they simply don’t exist because THC or CBD Crystalline has no terpenes to give each cultivar its unique characteristics.

How Can Crystalline be Used?

Crystalline can be ingested orally, either added to a recipe when making edibles, or dissolving in oil to create a tincture-like product. For homemade edibles, crystals can be dissolved in cooking oil or butter, and used as an ingredient in recipes. Olive oil and coconut oil are the most popular for dissolving crystal to make a tincture-like product.

Crystalline can be smoked, or dabbed, using a dab rig. A dab rig is a type of smoking apparatus, similar to a small water bong, that vaporizes heated crystalline to be inhaled in single, measured dosages.

What is CBD Crystalline?

Dabbing CBDA or CBD Crystalline, the purest form of CBD-heavy concentrate, allows users to feel non-intoxicating effects quickly, but dabbing THCA will produce the intoxicating and psychoactive effects of THC, which may explain why they’re often thought of as “THC crystals.”

To dab CBD crystals , preheat a “nail” at one end of the dab rig using a handheld butane torch. Once the nail reaches the correct temperature, use the spoon-shaped end of a dabber to scoop and pour the appropriate dosage of crystalline on the nail. The crystals will instantly heat and vaporize on the heated nail. While inhaling the vapor through the mouthpiece end of the rig, place a cap on the nail to catch as much vapor as possible.

THCA crystalline can also be combined with other cannabis Concentrates, like live resin Shatter, to increase their potency. Mixing THC crystals with concentrates that have terpenes and other cannabinoids may aid the uptake of the THCA, CBDA, or CBD into the body.

Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

How is Crystalline made?


Crystalline is produced from a cannabis extract. The starting material for THC crystal extraction can come from raw cannabis plants . Crystalline has a unique, subtle taste and smell, but it lacks the chemical compounds that give other cannabis Concentrates their aroma and flavor.

A number of methods are used for making THC Crystalline, but the essential crystallization principles are the same. One way to understand the crystallization process is similar to the making of rock candy. Hot water is supersaturated with sugar, then as the water cools down, sugar crystals start to form on a string or stick. Hot water allows more sugar to dissolve than under room temperature. As the unstable sugar solution is removed from the heat and allowed to cool, sugar crystals start to precipitate out of solution and will eventually begin to form on the stick. The THC crystal formation will grow over time until the final product is successfully achieved.

The production of cannabis crystalline is essentially the process of mixing a refined cannabis concentrate with a solvent, then applying specific heat and pressure conditions to evaporate the solvent, allowing crystals to form. For example, if THCA crystalline is being produced, any THCA will precipitate, or separate, out of the solution. Under the right temperature and pressure conditions, the THCA will chemically bond to other THCA molecules, forming crystalline structures.

The purest form of cannabis Concentrate, this Extract consists of a single type of cannabinoid, usually tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), or cannabidiol (CBD). Crystalline is formed by thoroughly refining cannabis oil and serves as a base for formulated cannabis products.

Cannabis Sugars

Cannabis Sugars

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 05/17/2017 in Consumption

Updated on August 26, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Cannabis-infused sugar crystals are a new trend on the medical marijuana scene, expanding the options available with edible cannabis goods. While previous edibles used butter and oils made from cannabis, cannabis sugars provide another, sweeter option.

What Are Cannabis Sugars?

Cannabis sugars are sugar-like crystals made with cannabis products.

This cannabis product essentially combines cannabis with sugar, using alcohol to pull the medically-important cannabinoids from the buds before mixing the alcohol with sugar, transferring those cannabinoids to sugar crystals. The result is a slightly sweet, somewhat nutty sugar that can be used in any number of edible products.

The Benefits of Cannabis Sugars

Cannabis sugars present a huge benefit to medical cannabis users of all kinds, especially compared to cannabutter or cannabis oils. A few of these benefits include the following:

Easy Storage

Sugars pose a huge benefit over regular cannabis buds in that they’re easily stored and have no smell. While even raw cannabis buds and oils have the distinctive smell of marijuana, sugars have no such feature — they smell as innocent as they look.

Cannabis sugar also has an impressively long shelf life, lasting much longer than either raw or dried bud. And unlike other forms of cannabis, cannabis sugars don’t break down due to chlorophyll, air or light.


Cannabis sugar can be added to just about anything! It acts just like regular sugar in both taste and texture. The sugar itself has little flavor by itself besides the sweetness, with only a slight hint of nuttiness to suggest it’s anything but regular sugar. This makes it perfect to substitute in recipes. It also has fewer calories than cannabutter and is completely soluble in water, unlike butters and oils.

This makes it a great sweetener to use in water, tea, coffee and other common beverages.


If discretion is a particular concern of yours, cannabis sugar is an excellent choice. There’s nothing to suggest your cannabis sugar is anything other than regular sugar, so you can add it to your coffee, food or anything else you want. This also means cannabis sugar is extremely transportable, allowing you to take it just about everywhere you go.

Easy Dosing

Though you may get variable results when you make cannabis sugar yourself, you can get a good idea of the dosage you get with each batch. This makes it easy to get an accurate dosage throughout your day, putting the right amount of cannabis sugar in your food with each meal.

Avoid the High

Though many people like the psychoactive effects of cannabis — especially during their recreational time — it’s not for everybody. For people who need to go to work or school during the day, taking regular doses of psychoactive drugs may not be a viable option. This is where cannabis sugars can be particularly helpful.

Because the cannabis isn’t heated, the THCA in raw cannabis doesn’t convert into THC — the psychoactive component of cannabis. This eliminates the psychoactive properties of cannabis, providing all the benefits of cannabis without the high.

Avoid Smoking

While smoking is the traditional way to ingest cannabis and its helpful cannabinoids, smoking can be a problem for many medical marijuana users. Smoking can irritate a user’s airways, leading to chronic breathing issues like bronchitis. It’s also a problem for users with asthma.

Cannabis sugar eliminates the need for smoking, cutting out these side-effects. Cannabis sugar can be especially helpful for children using medical marijuana. Many kids who have epilepsy or autism use marijuana, but can’t or won’t smoke the plant. What else do kids love more than sugar?

In short, with cannabis sugar, you get more options with the same benefits you get from smoking, vaping or juicing your cannabis.

How to Make Cannabis Sugars

Cannabis edibles take a bit of time to make, and the same is true for cannabis sugars.

You start the process with your basic ingredients: Three grams of marijuana, a half-cup of high-proof alcohol like Everclear and a half-cup of granulated sugar. You’ll also need a baking sheet, a jar with a screw-on lid (like a mason jar), a bowl and some cheesecloth.

  1. Heat your oven to 250° F (120° C).
  2. Spread your marijuana into an even layer across your baking sheet.
  3. Once the oven is preheated, place your baking sheet of marijuana in the oven and bake it for about 35 to 40 minutes. Be sure the oven doesn’t go over 250° F, or it may burn, which results in the batch losing its potency.
  4. Once baked, remove the baking sheet from the oven to let it cool.
  5. Turn your oven temperature down to 200° F (93° C).
  6. Grind the heated marijuana into a coarse powder. This is decarboxylated weed and can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for two months if you want to make it in batches.
  7. Transfer the decarboxylated weed you want to use into a jar. Add enough alcohol to the jar to cover the weed and screw the lid on tight.
  8. Shake the jar every five minutes over the course of 20 minutes, letting it sit between sessions.
  9. Take your cheesecloth and bowl and strain the mixture through the cheesecloth. Once completely strained, discard the solids.

10. In the bowl, add the sugar and mix until uniform.

11. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer over a nine-inch by 13-inch baking sheet.

12. Place the baking sheet in the oven, making sure the oven has cooled to 200° F.

13. Bake the sugar mixture, stirring occasionally, until the alcohol has completely evaporated and the sugar has taken on a light-gold color.

Learn More

Want to learn more about medical marijuana and its various forms? Visit our blog for information about your options. You can also take a look at our directory of marijuana dispensaries to find qualified cannabis distributors near you.

Cannabis-infused sugar crystals are a new trend in the medical marijuana scene, expanding the treatment options available. Learn how to make your own!