This post will be lengthy and will hopefully address all the recent concerns brought up on Reddit about the health and safety of our products, as well as address the issues with the live resin in the iso test.
I invite anyone to collaborate or request changes via email and we will continue to expand on processes and technology used to provide complete transparency of all our products.
What is CRC?
Color Remediation Column (CRC) or Solid Phase Chromatography is commonly known as the process used to remediate color pigment and undesirables from butane/propane hash oil. The filtration media used to achieve are all naturally occurring and used regularly in manufacturing industries. For example white wine is filtered through T-5 Bentonite Clay before making its way to the fermentation tank. The objective of using these powders was originally for the purpose of improving color, as they have been used for years in distillate processing with other solvents (Ethanol, Isopropanol) with lesser results. Shortly after the discovery of how well these medias worked with BHO compared to these other solvents the true benefit of the process showed. Test results of 85%+ THCA and 5%+ terpenes, 95%+ total cannabinoids from BHO. These numbers have never come close to this pure.
What filter media do we use in CRC?
There are many different filter media used to achieve different results and extract different fractions of oil. They are all naturally occuring minerals commonly used in food processing and manufacturing industries to filter impurities or undesirables from a solution.
The filter media we use are:
- T-5 Bentonite Clay
- Silica Gel 60
- Activated Alumina
- Celite 545
Each of these filter media are available in different grades. We use USP grade and laboratory specific, engineered powders which are pre-sieved for pore sizes lower than 20 um, washed, and selected for their quality assurance and consistency. These media are purchased from Millipore Sigma, and Carbon Chemistry, all being imported from Europe.
T-5 Bentonite Clay
This is a natural clay adsorbent. This clay is responsible for filtering heavy metals, pesticides, waxes, dark hues and chlorophyll.
Silica Gel 60
Silica gel is a powder adsorbent synthetically made from sand. It is amorphous (non-crystalline), not hazardous, and does not cause silicosis. This media is responsible for filtering hydrophilic contaminants(common contaminants in water i.e fluoride, arsenic, selenium) + yellow and tan pigments.
Similar to Silica gel in its properties it is also synthetically made and a similar adsorbent to Silica Gel 60. This powder is used specifically as a top layer for added removal of fats, waxes and lipids to obtain a more dewaxed final product.
Celite is also known as Diatomaceous Earth. The product used is pre-screened for pore sizes and specifically for laboratory uses as a filter aid. It is the base layer of CRC and used to aid in filtration speed, as well as pickup a few contaminants that may make it to it.
The problems with CRC and precautions producers must take to ensure clean product:
We have seen discussions of the safety of these powders (specifically particle size) and how it is ensured that the only components of the final product are desirables (terpenes, cannabinoids, etc).
In all extracting equipment utilized, whether processing with or without CRC we use staged filtration from around 75 micron (human hair) down to 1 micron (bacteria), with stages in between. This ensures that regardless of what may be in the extractor (flower and other contaminant, CRC media) that nothing except for cannabinoids and desirables make it to the collection chambers through each stage of filtration down to 1 micron.
It is taught that 5 micron is more than sufficient for CRC. If using Carbon Chemistry media you are able to get away with any filtration lower than 20 micron. It is important that producers utilize this level of filtration in their systems to ensure no media is making it to their final product. We believe a large amount of fake and pine resined product was in fact improper CRC, and product loaded with powders.
Equally as important is the source of your filter media. Many other retailers of these powders carry lower grades and qualities which lead to an unknown micron size, and unknown composition. It is extremely important that the producers obtain the necessary information from the supplier, and if not trusted obtain them through their own testing. This will ensure your system is setup for appropriate filtration, and that there are no particles of a smaller size entering your system, and thus entering the final product.
Crystalline Silica & Toxicity:
There has been talk about crystalline silica, which is silica (not silica gel, which is synthetic and non-crystalline) with a micron size less than 10 microns and silicosis being a risk for inhalation.
This is not true and not possible with the filter media used, and the handling of these powders.
Although T-5 Bentonite clay will contain 1-5% Silica (Sand) from the excavation process, the powders have been sieved for any micron size lower than 20um, and throughout their life span will never be introduced to a circumstance that could allow for the creation of toxic respirable silica.
Please reference the following link from OSHA.
“Respirable crystalline silica – very small particles at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand you might find on beaches and playgrounds – is created when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar.”
In no way does Carbon Chemistry, our process, or equipment allow for the creation of crystalline silica. The powders are simply scooped into a stainless steel chamber, and not disturbed more than having the butane hash oil flow through. Again, All of the filter medias used are pre-sifted for micron size and come with certificates of analysis (COA) ensuring there are no particles small enough to be hazardous, toxic, cancer causing, or silicosis causing.
Why do we use CRC and what is the benefit of CRC?
There are a few reasons why we use CRC. We have witnessed this industry develop from infancy. From shatter in glass tubes, to diamonds and sauce, now to CRC and everything in between.
It is undeniable that CRC has many producers and connoisseurs excited, it is producing an oil with unheard of levels of purity. Last year if you set out to find the highest testing BHO available it would test 80% total cannabinoids including terpenes. Now with CRC filtering out many undesirables we are seeing BHO testing up to 90, 95, 98% total cannabinoids including terpenes.
It is rare to find distillate that tests 96%+ total cannabinoids, and now we have began seeing full spectrum BHO exceed those numbers with a full terpene profile free from any contaminant that is not contributing to what most are after (cannabinoids and terpenes).
Aside from this, it is also removing undesirables such as those listed above in filter media. Pesticides, Heavy metals, Chlorophyll to name a few are definitely not improving the dab experience. The colors and clarity are a huge bonus as well.
CRC is only done to improve bad product:
Although this can be true for some it is not the case for all. It may make it easier to be ‘scammed’ and purchase a product you believe to be higher quality since the old rating system put color and quality together. Now the tables have turned, and the color means nothing for the quality (nose, taste, potency, terpene content) of a product. You cannot take old, stale material and produce something that smells and tastes like most of our batches. In our experience old material always tastes / smells like old material and there is a disgusting smell that you cannot get rid of regardless of CRC or not.
Isopropyl alcohol test:
Many customers have posted ISO tests of varying ranges. 30 minutes to 1 hour seems to be normally seen.
This is not long enough to allow THCA + Cannabinoids to dissolve.
The white cloudy mixtures being seen are a result of these tests not sitting for long enough. You must violently shake the mixture every now and then and at least let it dissolve overnight.
In our testing, the color of the extract will always influence the color of the ISO. I see people letting their ISO test of live resin sit for short periods of time and then speaking on the white cloudiness seen. This is what should happen, the extract is close to white in color without much pigment, and the cloudiness is the cannabinoids /fats / waxes that have not yet dissolved, not insolubles.
To anyone that conducts this test you must shake the solution violently and over the course of 24hr to be sure wait until it is all dissolved. Once it is all dissolved you will have a near-clear test and if there are any insoluables or fats / waxes left behind they will fall to the bottom.
Now to be sure that what is remaining / appears to be an insoluble is not fat or wax, you must freeze this solution for 1-3 days and allow that fats / waxes to coagulate. Remove these fats / waxes as best as you can, reshake and dissolve at room temperature and seek out insolubles again.
In our tests, after properly dissolving the solution will look clear, or close – depending on the ratio of extract to iso. We would fill a 7G jar with ISO and add about .5g of extract. None of the tests have shown results we would consider to be alarming, harmful, or an issue.
I would also like to make clear that if there were any contaminants that could be harmful, they would not be visible to the human eye, or even under standard 20-120x magnification. In order to see particles less than 10 microns that could be harmful, you would need a powerful microscope. As a point of reference, you would need a microscope capable of viewing bacteria and red blood cells to see less than 10 microns.
Live Resin “contamination” and our rectification:
Firstly I would like to state that at Sunset we have never said no, messed with anyone over a refund, requested evidence above and beyond, or tried to pull any degree of bullshit when it has come to a product a customer has not been satisfied with.
This may have not been the correct way to go about it, because now it feels like we have admitted to their being a problem, when we do not feel that we have caused any health risk to our customers or sold any product that had issues that would determine it was not fit for sale.
As always our policy has been to make it right and get a product in customers hands they are satisfied with. Over the course of the few months we have been completely transparent with any issue we have had. There have been a lot.
If there was conclusive evidence that any batch was completely contaminated, everyone would be provided a refund. This happened to us with a batch of shatter shortly after opening, and we publicly posted it and every customer was refunded.
For the live resin, we have sold tens of thousands of grams. It is / was our #1 seller. The amount of complaints received was similar to other products, a drop in the water and handled appropriately without question. We had many customers ISO test themselves clean, we smoked ourselves, tested ourselves, and never was it an idea in our minds that we were selling something that is harming health or that people did not enjoy.
As expected with this volume of product there will always be minor issues. It doesn’t matter that we are operating in the market we are, or if we were a licensed producer. We are human and intend to work with our customers and the data available to minimize these problems, and if a problem arises take absolute accountability.
The live resin is producer by one of our partners laboratories and only used for live resin production. If there is an issue with this product, it will not carry over to any other extracts available.
We apologize to all of those inconvenienced by the events that have taken place the past two weeks, once this email has reached everyone we will follow up with everyone who has inquired.. To anyone that requires further analysis, discussion, or any questions or concerns please contact Braxton at [email protected]. If warranted I will keep adding to our updates tab on Sunset with everything I can provide that is demanded. Unfortunately at this time there is no lab testing that provides analysis on these media. The only thing we can do is make sure that ourselves, and whomever we work with upholds the industry standards in filtration, and quality of media.
I do not want anyone to believe this issue has been caused out of greed, or negligence. I / our team has done our best to test every product, and each have spent countless hours researching, talking with suppliers, and our own analysis to make sure that our processes are safe and consistent. There is no benefit provided to us by keeping a product on our menu that does not fit our customers well, or causes such detestation. There is no requirement for us to keep any of our items on the menu, which is why we have only stocked what we believe to be higher quality at appropriate prices, and enjoyed by our customers.
It is difficult for us to keep up with Reddit, concerns, and posts about us but we will try our best to. I thank these communities for having us, and all of the support we have received. For anyone interested feel free to use the coupon code “ISOGRAM” for $27 off, any gram or product you desire to ISO test.