By: Tee Moreno Color Remediation Column (CRC) is a technology that alters the color of an extract. The OG extractors say that this process has been around since about 2016. This post-extraction process helps to lighten the color of cannabis oil, remove odors, pesticides in butane hash oil (BHO). There is great concern that […]
By: Tee Moreno
Color Remediation Column (CRC) is a technology that alters the color of an extract. The OG extractors say that this process has been around since about 2016. This post-extraction process helps to lighten the color of cannabis oil, remove odors, pesticides in butane hash oil (BHO). There is great concern that CRC removes terpenes, which happens to be the major component that consumers are seeking when shopping for cannabis- the effect. There are a lot of controversies when it comes to CRC amongst cannasseurs. Some people think that this is a good thing because it isolates cannabinoids. True, but if we’re speaking daily adult use, what need is there for the isolation? Isn’t that the beautiful thing about the ensemble effect (formerly known as the “entourage” effect)? That’s the whole reason why you feel a combination of effects, whether it be body effects, heady effects, and so on.
What’s the point of removing originating terpenes that you’re going to add “naturally botanical,” or non-cannabis derived terpenes to after? There are different techniques of processing substances (media) for filtering CRC columns such as silica, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, magnesol, diatomaceous earth, and a few others. There is an alarming health concern with these forms of media being used to process filtered extracts. For instance, miners have been exposed to bentonite clay and diatomaceous earth over the years. This exposure has caused serious respiratory damage, emphysema, tuberculosis, pulmonary tumors, lung and stomach cancer, and many other illnesses (IARC; Corrin). So, just imagine what inhalation may potentially do to those of us who are taking dabs of this CRC’d stuff. Although these materials have been approved as “safe” by the FDA, there is still uncertainty since they are not meant for inhalation. Lead has been found in certain brands of bentonite clay, yet state regulators still do not require testing for CRC media. Some extract experts believe that the media should not get through the filtration process. Most lab requirements should catch heavy metals in products, but with complete transparency, we don’t know if this is completely accurate. The lack of state testing regulations of CRC does not guarantee the impossibility of contamination. Even worse, the health damage or impact it will have on the human body.
If you ask me, this process is a bit sketchy because there isn’t a guarantee of the extract’s source or level of quality. If you have good starting material, there shouldn’t be a need for this process. Some folks claim that it’s safe and others claim that it just purifies low-grade crude oil. Truthfully, there simply isn’t sufficient research behind using the failed product, nor is there research solidifying the efficacy of these technologies. CRC can make dirty distillate look like top-shelf resin. There isn’t sufficient data from research yet, and that data is much needed. We do not yet know what long-term effects that cannabis extract in general will have on our bodies, or for that matter, CRC’d extract derived from failed flower. This is something that should be an immediate concern that consumers should be pushing for research. It blows my mind that they legalized everything so quickly for a profit, before even handling the research components for health and safety. The thing that gets me is the lack of CRC regulations here in the state of Nevada. Oregon just made adjustments to their regulations for CRC (Kudos Oregon!) Nevada should be next to follow. The Oregon Land and Cannabis Commission just released a Recreational Marijuana Program Compliance Education Bulletin, that was published on December 28, 2021 stating that “Concentrates or Extracts processed with Color Remediation Column (CRC); OLCC is aware that some Processors treat concentrates or extracts with reactive materials like bleaching clay. Under certain conditions, bleaching clay and other materials may react with the cannabinoids in a concentrate or extract to generate artificially derived cannabinoids. Concentrates or extracts processed in this manner prior to January 1, 2022, can continue to be sold until July 1, 2022” (Oregon). This should lift concern to consumers across the nation, as there is a lack of regulation on how CRC is being processed. The majority of extracts in legal states (an estimated 90%) are now being CRC’d, raising the question if the bulk being used for extract is a clean start product. It is common knowledge that the majority/ purpose of CRC is being done to failed flower that cannot be sold. The fact that there are not any requirements on CRC tech, allows companies to name products “live resin,” that is not true live resin, and get away with it. It is one thing to alter the color from a greenish or brownish pigment to make it more appealing- that purpose is legitimate. But, it’s another thing to knowingly use a bad (failed) starting product and turn it into a sellable product. I was a Chef for over 12 years, and not one state in this nation will allow you to use contaminated food products. They are to be immediately disposed of, refunded from the purveyor or not. Products like such are to never be consumable, period. Being that the cannabis industry is pretty much regulated like the food industry, they should have firmer regulations, no matter if the products are being orally ingested, topically on the skin, or inhaled.
Consumers are taking the brunt, as they are paying extra for what they are told is “top quality,” when it’s just CRC’d BHO. To avoid purchasing CRC-made products (which is generally found in BHO carts and dab extracts) it is suggested that you learn to identify the colors and nose (smell) of these products. It is recommended to look for solventless extracts such as true live resin, kief, rosin, and bubble hash. Use your nose! The Limeade, pine-sol-like smell means that it most likely has been CRC processed. Also, the color will be bright yellow, lacking its natural amber color. Also, the white/clear stuff is not good either. BHO creates multiple forms of extracts, more commonly known as “dabs.” BHO comes in the forms of sauce, diamonds, badder, budder, sugar, and both cure and live resins. Generally, CO2 distillation techniques are used for vape carts, shatter, and crumbles. So, you’ll have to really pay attention to tell which products of the above mentioned are indeed CRC tech processed. How to tell true rosin, is to look for the off-white, with a creamy buttery-like texture. Avoid the powder white-like, frosting, or sugary textured; those have most likely been processed by CRC. If you touch it and it doesn’t stick to your finger, it’s most likely not true rosin. If you compress it and it flattens/ decreases in volume, it’s definitely CRC. Hopefully these pointers help! You’ll definitely want to speak to the most extract-educated cannabis consultant at whichever dispensary you shop at. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone who is very educated on extracts. More often than most times, if they’re not personally smoking on it, you probably don’t want to either. After all, we’re talking about your health!
Until this process is researched and data is fully provided, as well as regulations put in place for CRC tech in the Legal States, we’re going to have this issue. I firmly believe that companies that are currently using CRC tech should have the integrity to label their products accordingly. Right now, they’re simply being dishonest with the consumer that keeps their company alive. In my honest opinion, this industry has changed drastically over the past few years. It has become more interested in the value of a dollar versus the value of integrity-driven products. As consumers and as a community, we can change that! Let’s start educating one another on quality and health concerns so that we can demand integrity from these brands.
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