Historically, using cannabis concentrates was a complicated endeavour, requiring a dab rig (which looked like a bong) and some know-how on how to get the most out of the equipment.
With innovations in technology, along with experimentation on the uses of cannabinoids in general, there is no longer a need for bulky glassware.
People are becoming wise to the fact a pure CBD concentrate can fast deliver a rapid and potent dose…Finding your inner zen has never been easier!
So, what are CBD crystals and how can we use them?
In a nutshell, they are a purified form of CBD which often consists of 97-99% cannabidiol, with all terpenes, flavonoids and other plant matter removed. All that’s left is crystals (also known as shatter), which are THC free, tasteless and odourless.
The only difference between the crystals and powder is the consistency of the end product.
CBD shatter looks like glass, and when it breaks, it turns into a crystalline powder, which is better known as CBD Isolate.
However, all three are the same thing, just in different physical forms, often attributed to the extraction method used.
Unfortunately, when CBD is isolated it contains none of the other compounds found in cannabis which work synergistically with cannabinoids.
However, as CBD crystals are naturally tasteless, they easily infuse with terpenes for added flavour and effect.
Terpsolate is a nickname for terpene infused CBD Isolate. Made from CBD crystals and often food grade terpenes, extracted from natural sources.
CBD crystals are already decarboxylated via the manufacturing process, meaning they don’t need heat to become activated. As a result, there are several ways to use them outside of a dab rig!
Either way, you need a precise set of scales. Given an average dose is in the low milligram range, eyeballing it can be difficult and scales make things much simpler.
In the worst case, you will use more than you need to and end up much more relaxed than you might have hoped for!
Let’s dive into the 7 most common ways to use them.
If you already use cannabis, you probably know THC levels have increased exponentially across the last 20 years. This has come at the expense of CBD, with the broader availability of super-high THC cannabis, nicknamed skunk weed, for its pungent smell and aroma.
Recent UK data suggests the average cannabis buds exceed 14% THC, and in the US the numbers are often significantly higher, due to the availability of legal and high THC cannabis.
In legal cannabis states, the availability of legal THC concentrates has created a new set niche of products which exceed 90% THC and 0% CBD. These are extremely potent forms of THC, and those uninitiated with them can easily feel out of their depth using them.
Fortunately, research suggests CBD can counteract the adverse effects associated with THC, and overall mellow out the high. Sprinkling CBD powder onto a joint, or combining CBD crystals with a THC concentrate could help make the high less intense.
It sounds like you might need to wave your hands in the air and cue some music for the dabbing dance, but dabbing CBD doesn’t involve a dance!
In short, it refers to heating a concentrate to a temperature where it (usually) vapourizes and is inhaled using either a dab pen or a dab rig.
The only real difference between vaping and dabbing is that vaping uses conduction or convection heating. Vaping has more accurate temperature control, so you never reach a point of combustion.
Dabbing, however, has been a long much longer than vaping.
Old school dab rigs include glassware which would look fitting in a weed accessories shop. They require a high heat blow torch to turn a quartz heating element red hot, onto which the ‘dab’ is placed and then inhaled, often via a pipe.
These devices can easily overheat, leading to combustion and potential carcinogens released into the inhaled vapour.
Fortunately, dabbing has come a long way, and you can now buy electronic dab rigs or pens which have temperature control.
These devices avoid any issues around combustion and operate in the same way vape pens do. A firm favourite among dabbers is the Puffco Peak.
If you want to learn more about dabbing and vaping, check out our full guide to vaping CBD.
Dosing CBD, is a black box for many of us. Creating edibles with concentrates is easy as can weigh out your CBD crystals and add it to a recipe, knowing its pretty much 100% pure, so your sure about how much is in what you make!
Also, you can sprinkle the crystals on like fairy dust without a need to heat or cook anything. It can be as simple as adding it to a no-bake recipe you already enjoy.
Although, be aware that edibles can take much longer to kick in, usually the longest onset of all consumption methods.
As edibles have to pass through your digestive system, most of the CBD is lost due to an effect called first pass metabolism, and only a small amount of it reaches the bloodstream.
You can learn more on optimal consumption methods to improve CBD absorption via our post on bioavailability.
If you’ve got a favourite lotion you already use, adding crushed up CBD powder to it could be right up your street!
Weigh out the crystals and add to your lotion make a DIY CBD cream. Combine with essential oils for a deeper aroma and sense of calm.
Although, the more complex CBD topicals are engineered with other components which work synergistically with the compound for a more effective end product, and these can be difficult to re-create at home.
Concentrates are active from the get-go, and you can place a small (weighed) amount under your tongue to absorb via the membranes under the tongue.
As sublingual consumption is the second most effective way to use CBD, this method is usually preferred by those who don’t want to vape or dab.
Have you ever come across a CBD Isolate oil? These are a carrier oil with CBD crystalline diluted in it, with a pipette to match!
These can be created at home easily by using olive oil as the carrier. You can use hemp seed oil or MCT oil. But these are less frequently found in most kitchens!
It takes five simple steps to make this type of CBD oil at home
Weigh out the crystals via a milligram accurate scale and crush them into a powder using a pestle and mortar or an equivalent device.
If you are already vaping e liquids, its simple to add CBD to your vape juice too!
You do need a nicotine free e juice. Otherwise, you will need to buy a specific vape additive to avoid any issues with dilution (CBD and nicotine don’t mix well).
All you need to do is weigh out the crystals, crush them into a powder and add them to your bottle of vape juice, lightly warm the juice in a hot water batch and let the crystals dissolve. Insert the e liquid as usual into your vape, and off you go!
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nature & Bloom and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention for any disease. Nature & Bloom products have not been evaluated by the MHRA.