A Seattle-area pot processor may have just produced the world’s largest crystal of pure THCa, the most common active ingredient of cannabis. The block of pure THCa, which was created by extracting and refining pot buds, has sheer diamond-like edges and weighs an incredible 97 grams.
That is the same as 3.4 ounces of THCa. Or 85,360 milligrams of THC. Or enough THC to dose 8,536 individually wrapped edibles. Or, in the words of Justin Marsh, a sales manager at Oleum, enough THC to get a lot of people high.
“If we broke that down into 100mg servings, we would be able to get 854 people high off of just that one crystal!” Marsh said in an e-mail.
Marsh said he believes this is the largest crystal ever publicly documented, the next largest they have seen weighed in at 57 grams. He said creating large THCa rocks with such stunning “uniform growth and clarity” is a difficult and time-consuming process where a rock of pure THCa is cultivated from a cannabis concentrate. It took two months to “grow” the 97-gram rock.
Oleum is based in Auburn and has become an industry leader in extracting the chemicals out of the cannabis plant. Their vape cartridges and dabs are known for their flavor and, as this diamond demonstrates, Oleum’s ability to extract individual cannabinoid chemicals out of the cannabis plant. Oleum calls these THCa diamonds “Wizard Stones” and the company usually mixes these pure THCa rocks with a blend of terpenes to creating a heavy-hitting dab experience. (Dabs are the process of vaporizing cannabis concentrates through a bong, in case you live under a rock.)
A jar of THCa „Wizard Stones” at Oleum’s facility in Auburn. Lester Black
Marsh said there’s been talk of trying to find someone crazy enough to dab the rock in one go, or to find a dab rig large enough to vaporize the rock during a big group session, but ultimately that’s “all talk.” Washington’s pot packaging laws limit concentrates to no more than one-gram packages, so this 97-gram rock will be broken down and sold in individual pieces.
“It brings a tear to our eyes to have to break these down and sell them in 1-gram increments, but these are the rules by which we have to play,” Marsh said.
So why make these rocks so large if they are forced to break them down?
Creating the larger rocks is part of the company’s research and development process—by learning how to extract larger, purer rocks they are also developing techniques that can be applied to other aspects of cutting edge cannabis extractions.
Producing the rocks starts by refining cannabis pot buds down to their active chemicals, which includes over a hundred different identified cannabinoids (THC is just one) as well as hundreds of aromatic compounds called terpenes. The rock is then put through consecutive solvent “washes” that encourage the growth of one uniform rock.
“There are so many steps to getting a stone this big. It’s a great feat for anyone growing crystalline cannabinoid structures,” Marsh said.
The sheer walls of the stone are completely naturally made, according to Marsh.
“Once the crystal is done growing, and is ready to be harvested… we simply remove it from its solution, give it a gentle rinse and allow it to dry,” Marsh said. “It’s another reason these things are so interesting, each one comes out with its own distinct facets… faces… peaks and impressions.”
The rock doesn’t actually contain THC, the compound that gets humans high, but rather a closely related compound called THCa. Pot plants predominately produce THCa, which is non-psychoactive for humans, but THCa turns to THC as soon as it is heated. This process, called decarboxylation, is why humans can’t get high from eating raw pot, we have to heat (or smoke) the pot before it can get us stoned.
There’s a race in the cannabis industry to extract and isolate different cannabinoids and terpenes to better understand how each unique compound affects humans. Unique cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, CBG, and THCV are finding their ways into pot products that are marketed as creating distinct effects on consumers.
Oleum is already selling products with Delta-8 THC, a unique form of THC, as well as exploring other cannabinoids. Marsh said the 97-gram Wizard Stone is just the beginning.
“People should know that these stones we grow and harvest are only the beginning of what is and will be possible with cannabis and isolated cannabinoids,” Marsh said. “I’m sure in 10 more years most if not all cannabinoids will be available in isolated form, along with a myriad of terpene profiles and isolations as well. This plant is a mixed wine, and we are now just starting to break it down to its smallest parts to observe their effects and benefits on the human endocannabinoid system.”