As a patient shopping around at different local dispensaries, one thing I have been hearing a lot about this past year is CRC BHO. If you are a patient, more than likely you know what BHO is. For those who may not know, BHO stands for Butane Hash Oil. It is a potent form of cannabis concentrate that comes in various consistencies, including budder, shatter, wax and more. The name comes from the solvent used to extract the oils from cannabis – butane. An extractor in the form of a vacuum pump or oven, using pressure and/or heat, is used to separate the cannabis wax from the butane.
Now, CRC stands for Color Remediation Column, referring to the filtration method used in the BHO extraction process. Before CRC, extractors would run cannabis material through a closed loop or short path extraction system using only butane as the solvent and nothing else. With CRC, a different combination of absorbents is used to lighten the color. T5 clay, activated alumina and silica gel are compacted tightly in the filtration column for its final filtration, where its able to further extract impurities. This usually tends to make the concentrate a lighter color, making it harder to judge the quality. Some companies seem to do this as a method to improve their product, while others seem to do it to just have a different look, set themselves apart from the competition.
So is CRC safe? Well, from all that I have researched, it seems that most testing facilities are not testing for residual absorbents. The absorbents shouldn’t end up in the finished product if the proper filtration setup is used and they are all pharmaceutical grade. I personally have had some good and bad experiences with these new products. It seems to me that a lot of people just don’t really have the proper training or experience with this process. Some of the CRC products I have tried have either seemed to lack the profile of the strain, with there being no odor or flavor or they have had a slight chemical taste to them, like plastic. I dabbed a sundae driver crumble that I remember because of how horrible it was, tasted like a took a dab of chalk, very dry and unpleasant.
So, like with anything in life, there is good and there is bad. Fire in Fire out, meaning if your starting material is good and you execute the process correctly, the end result will also be good, and vice versa. Unfortunately it seems a lot of people use this process to rescue poor starting materials, taking a sub par material and making it seem adequate. This process may improve the look of a product, but hey, we all know white dog shit is still dog shit. At the end of the day, I choose to dab concentrates that are easier to judge and follow my nose. If it smells good, it probably tastes good. Terpenes are very important to the profile, not just THC percentage.
Cannabinoids and terpenes work together; terpenes can intensify or downplay the effects of the cannabinoids. Have you ever noticed how two similar strains can produce profoundly different effects? One may leave you with couch-lock and the other may energize you? That’s another aspect of the effects, which is driven by both cannabinoids and terpenes. So all in all, I would say CRC products are safe to consume, but at the end of the day, trust your senses, follow your nose. Looks can be deceiving, so light isn’t always right. If it smells good, the terps are there and that is what you want for your best dabbing experience. There are some great companies in AZ who definitely are doing the process correctly such as Potent Planet, Hi-Klas, and Boosted Extracts. I recommend starting with these brands if you’re curious to try some of these new CRC products.
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