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Misconceptions about crystallizing CBD vape pens

February 2, 2021  By Nicole Sale, Supreme Cannabis Company Inc.

Vials of CBD oil.

A common misconception that consumers have is that a crystallizing CBD product reflects a poor quality or defective product.

The truth is, science and the molecular composition of CBD give us a different story. Crystallization in pens with a high percentage of CBD is a sign of purity and quality.

How does CBD become crystallized?

Crystallization is the scientific process that occurs when the CBD starts to granulate and separate from the concentrate, creating what appears to harden into a diamond-like, slushy consistency. When a CBD vape cartridge or the oil itself begins to crystallize, it is an indication that the product is higher in concentration, purity and quality. To put it simply, the purer the CBD, the more likely it will crystallize.


Generally, the scientific rule-of-thumb is that the purity of a CBD distillate must be at least 80-85 per cent in order to crystallize by itself. And so, if a customer’s pen crystallizes on its own accord, this is an indication that the product has a purity rating of 80 per cent or higher.

A common comparison would be that of high-grade, natural honey and how it tends to crystallize on the shelf. The consumers tend to think that their product is spoiled or adulterated, when in fact, it is not. To put it scientifically, pure honey consists of sugar water (glucose & fructose). In some cases, there is an oversaturation of that sugar water in honey creating an unstable molecular environment. This forces the sugar to granulate and crystallize. The same can be said of maple syrup, the purer the honey or maple syrup, the more likely it will crystallize. CBD in a vape cart solution is the sugar water. When there is an oversaturation, it creates an unstable molecular environment and crystallizes.

Pens that are not crystallizing are either loading their cartridges with a substandard product or even will go as far as adding crystallization inhibitors – which alters the product quality. Consumers are left unaware of the specific chemicals and additives used to inhibit crystallization. Inhaling these types of chemicals and additives may pose a serious health risk.

What can Licensed Producers do for consumers regarding this problem?

Retailers and budtenders play such an important role in the purchase decision process for consumers. Licensed producers must work with their retail counterparts to provide product knowledge sessions and learning materials to help educate and explain this phenomenon.

When they are fully equipped with the right education materials, they can share their learnings and better provide solutions to fix the crystallized pens is the first step to resolving this issue.

Blissco, a licensed producer and Canadian wellness brand based out of British Columbia, is working on mitigating consumers concerns who are encountering this issue in a number of ways. The Blissco Pūr Cloud CBD vape pen, for example, falls into this category of “high concentration CBD distillates” that can experience crystallization due to the high-quality CBD distillate formulation they put in their pens, derived from whole CBD flower.

If a customer’s vape cartridge does crystallize, there are a few methods to help customers fix the crystallized pen once they have taken it home.

Here are three effective ways to return the crystallized CBD cartridge to its liquid state:

  1. Run a hair dryer on the warm setting and pointing it directly at the cartridge for five minutes.
  2. Roll the cartridge between your hands for five minutes.
  3. Place the cartridge in a tightly sealed bag and run it under hot water to dissolve the crystals.

What’s next for CBD in Canada?

The potential of the CBD market is remarkable. The Canadian Health Food Association put out a press release that if there was a regulatory change to allow CBD products to be sold like any other health product you can purchase in a department store, the market for CBD health products could grow in size to a whopping $2.5 billion dollar market in the next five years.

This potential needs to be matched with remarkable, high-quality, stable products that consumers feel confident in purchasing. Licensed producers are working tirelessly to perfect product formulations and bring the highest quality CBD products to market. One of the first hurdles in doing that is educating the consumer on what high-quality looks and feels like in order for the market to reach its full potential.

Nicole Sale is the vice-president of Marketing & Communications at Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. She is responsible for all marketing programs, brand management and trade marketing activities related to Supreme Cannabis’ five core brands.

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