lab

Learn More About: The World’s Largest THCA Crystal!

We have received a number of questions from our patients and fans about our giant 221g THCA Crystal. We spoke with CAC’s Laboratory Director, Russ Draffen, to provide you with some answers! Russ led the lab in the growth of this Crystal, and the results speak for themselves.

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Russ tells us that the Crystal has a purity of 99.99%. The benefit of isolating THC-A to such an extent is in the control that it gives the lab in creating subsequent formulations and products. The patients can know the exact percentage of THC-A in the products they get from our dispensary when the plant components are isolated with such specificity.

By the lab’s calculations, this crystal is equivalent to approximately 8,000 grams of flower, or 4,420 dabs - given that each dab is .05g of the crystal. However, in this state, it will not offer a high. THC-A must be heated in order to be converted to THC. Before that conversion, THC-A is non-psychoactive, so you can consume (or in one fan’s words, “lick”) this crystal, and you may experience the anti-inflammatory benefits of cannabinoids, but you will not experience a high. Many people who avoid psychoactive properties find this appealing, and they can consume THC-A by crushing crystals and dosing them into pills. Those who prefer a high may deliver it as a dab. Whichever way a patient chooses to deliver it, there is surely enough of this crystal to last a patient for a very long time.





The Crystal in its growing conditions. Source: Russ Draffen

The Crystal in its growing conditions. Source: Russ Draffen

It took two months for this Crystal to develop, and, according to Russ, our lab has the capability of putting it back under its growing conditions to allow it to continue growing if they so choose. (And perhaps they will...we will keep you posted.) At this size, the worth is difficult to put a ticket on. Each gram alone may be worth $90, so you would think that converts to about $20,000. However, a crystal grown to this size as one unified piece is worth a lot more than the sum of its parts. 

Russ Draffen with the THCA Crystal, and his photos from the process. Source: Russ Draffen

Russ Draffen with the THCA Crystal, and his photos from the process. Source: Russ Draffen

So why did CAC’s lab decide to grow the world’s largest THC-A crystal?  “When it started growing, I knew I was on to something, so I kept it going,” says Russ Draffen. The lab had the materials and the motivation to try something new, so why not give it a shot? “We knew that no one else was really doing it to this extent,” Russ adds. 

We currently plan to display the THC-A Crystal in our dispensary in the coming months so that our patients may see it to believe it. Keep an eye on our social media for our Reveal Date Announcement!




Meets CAC Taunton's Analytical Laboratory Manager, Paul

Name: Paul McStowe III
Hometown: South Easton
Years in Cannabis: 1.5
Interesting fact:  I once co-starred in a Doom/Sludge Metal music video filmed in the middle of a desert.


What is your cannabis origin story? 

I began using cannabis recreationally in college.  As I matured with age, my cannabis use matured. Nowadays, I still use cannabis recreationally, but also use it to achieve homeostasis as well as treat ailments and other health afflictions.

What did you do before this and how did it prepare you for your role today?
Over the past 20 years, I worked as an analytical chemist for several pharmaceutical companies.  Since the testing methods and instrumentation are essentially the same, my transition from working with pharmaceutical drugs to cannabis has been relatively seamless. It’s been a perfect marriage between my career and my love and respect for the plant.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about cannabis recently?
My father suffers from Dementia, so I’ve been reading up on the cannabis research conducted on Alzheimer’s/Dementia patients. 

THC and CBD are known neuroprotective agents that can potentially slow or halt the degenerative process in Alzheimer’s/Dementia patients.  There are FDA-approved pharmaceuticals used to treat memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients by increasing the amount of acetylcholine, the “Memory Molecule”, in the brain.  It just so happens that the cannabis terpenoid, alpha-pinene, inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine which in turn could boost acetylcholine levels in the brain. As a result, cannabis rich in alpha-pinene could potentially be used as an alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s patients with fewer side effects. Reference: Russo, E. B (2011). "Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects". British Journal of Pharmacology. 163 (7): 1344–1364. 

When outsiders visit the lab for a tour, what are the things that stand out to them? 
I
mmediately, they notice that not only our equipment and instrumentation are top notch but our level of professionalism is above any other in the industry. 

Where do you go to learn more about cannabis? (please be specific e.g. The Roll Up Podcast on Leafly)
Cannabis Science and Technology is an excellent resource for analytical chemists working in the cannabis industry.  I also enjoy reading about the different strains on Leafly. I love the user reviews. They are hilarious!

What is the coolest new cannabis-related gadget you’ve seen recently? 
I don’t keep up with the latest gadgets, however I absolutely love my Pax Vaporizer for its ability to vape flower.  I’m neotraditional.

What’s your favorite Commonwealth Alternative Care product right now?
The ONE CO2 Cold Press Cartridges are smooth and tasty.  The infused mints are super convenient and help keep my breath minty fresh.

What do you like most about working at Commonwealth Alternative Care? 
My co-workers. We have an excellent, hard-working crew here. It’s a pleasure to be surrounded by such a diverse group of like-minded individuals.  Oh… and of course, I like our flower.

What steps do we take to ensure consistency and efficacy of our products? 
I work closely with our extraction lab and kitchen to ensure dosages are accurate and consistent throughout our entire product line.

What is your strain of choice? 
Blue Dream

What is your favorite edible?
The Infused Mints

Favorite delivery method?  
Vaping flower


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