Medical Cannabis patients have several options open to them for the method of ingestion they use. Many patients smoke the dried and cured buds in pipes and bongs, while others may opt for the healthier choice of using a Vaporizer, which heats the herb to a high enough temperature to release the medicinal vapors, but the substance does not burn.
For patients concerned with the possibility that smoking medical marijuana may have harmful effects on the lungs, and for those who require a maximum dose of medicinal compounds, oral ingestion of marijuana is preferred over smoking or vaporizing.
When marijuana is eaten rather than smoked, the human liver produces natural cannabinoid metabolites that enter the bloodstream, creating a stronger effect than when cannabis smoke is absorbed by the lungs. In baking, the medicinal cannabis compounds are melted into the food when cooking, so the absorption of the herb is complicated by digestion of the food. Tinctures made from full plant extraction are designed to offer rapid delivery of medicine to the blood stream and consistent dosing. These tinctures may be taken sublingually or mixed into food or beverages.
THC, the most powerful medicinal compound in cannabis, is available by prescription from licensed physicians. It has been found that most patients who try Marinol discover that it is far too psychoactive. THC is only one of a handful of cannabis compounds that work together harmoniously. For example, it is known that Cannabidiol (CBD) has sedative effects that offset the stimulating effects of pure THC. That is a part of why pure THC pills are known to overpower the senses. In order to get the optimum medicinal benefits without unwanted side effects, all of the natural cannabis compounds should be taken together as nature intended.
Ingesting cannabis oil capsules avoids the health problems that smoking may cause. We produce cannabis oil capsules by extracting the cannabiniods from the plant with ethanol vapors, the ethanol is then evaporated completely from the oil. Once we have removed the solvent (ethanol) from the oil, we then place a specific quantified amount of cannabis oil into pharmaceutical gelatin caps. Since the release of the active components is through the digestive process, it is far slower to take effect and the capsules should be ingested individually to allow for the active substances to be felt. Additional capsules may be ingested as needed until the required dosage is achieved. Once the required dosage is know, the capsules may be ingested at the same time.
Vaporization is an effective way to deliver the therapeutic components of marijuana without the toxic byproducts of combustion. The cannabis
is placed in the vaporization device and heated to a temperature of 356 deg.F to 392 deg. F. This causes the essential oils to volatilize, or evaporate, into a pure vapor, which is then collected and inhaled. The resulting vapors contain no tars, hydrocarbons, benzene, carbon monoxide or other toxic Pyrolytic gases and by products of combustion. Respiratory risks associated with smoked marijuana are eliminated.
In many cultures, people prefer to ingest marijuana by eating or drinking it. Eating medical marijuana is especially recommended for patients since it avoids the risks of bronchitis or lung irritations associated with inhaling smoke.
Two important facts about medical marijuana if you plan to eat it:
- Some cannabinoids must be activated by heat. Eating it raw will not deliver the full therapeutic benefits. Many people however do eat raw marijuana and report they receive benefit from doing so.
- Cannabinoids are soluble (dissolve) in fats and alcohol, but not water. The cannabinoids, or the therapeutically
active components in medical marijuana, cannot be extracted by brewing a tea or soaking in water. They must be either suspended in a fat such as vegetable oil or butter or steeped in alcohol.
Medical marijuana can be prepared for cooking in three ways:
- Pulverized into powder, called marijuana or cannaflour.
- Extracted into a fat or oil, most commonly butter, called cannabutter.
- Extracted by a solvent such as ethanol or butain, the solvent is then removed completely from the oil, called hash oil.
is the common name for a butter that has been infused with the beneficial cannabinoids contained in medical marijuana. Cannabutter is not hard to make and for those who ingest their medicine by eating it, cannabutter is much more palatable than is the whole plant.
To make cannabutter, put a large pot with water on to boil. Add a pound of butter or margarine. Bring the water-butter mixture to boil. Boil until the butter is fully melted. Reduce to a simmering gentle boil.
As the water and butter mix gently simmers, stir in one ounce of medical marijuana. Allow the water,butter and medical marijuana mixture to continue to simmer at a gentle boil for two hours. Stir occasionally, washing any residues that accumulate on the sides of the pot back into the liquid. You don’t have to hover over it, just check it occasionally to be sure that the pot does not boil dry.
After two hours, remove the pot from the heat. The cannabinoids are now dissolved out of the plant material and into the butter. Strain the mixture, while still very hot through a strainer, cheesecloth or nylon stocking. Set liquid aside and reserve the solid strained plant material.
To recover as much of the butter as possible, return the plant material to the pot and refill with water. Bring to boil. Stir briskly and then pour second batch of liquid through the filter. Add the resulting liquid to the first pot of filtered water. You may now discard the plant material; it no longer contains the beneficial cannabinoids.
Allow liquid to cool. As it does, the butter will float to the top and form a solid layer on top of the water. Once fully cooled and the butter has solidified it may be gently skimmed off. The butter will most likely be greenish in color, that’s okay. Actually that’s good because it makes the cannabutter immediately recognizable which lessens the chances of accidental ingestion. Be sure to label the container with the cannabis butter to avoid others accidentally ingesting it.
Store your cannabutter in a closed container in your refrigerator. It must be kept refrigerated to keep it from going rancid. Excess may also be frozen indefinitely.
To test the strength of your cannabutter, spread a half teaspoon full on a cracker and try it out. It takes about an hour to reach its full effect. Be careful, it can sneak up on you. Do not attempt any complex, challenging or potentially dangerous tasks until you know how it will affect you.
Cannabutter may be substituted for regular butter in any recipe. It is especially good for making candy, cookies and brownies. The amount to use in any particular recipe comes down to a matter of learning from experience. The best approach is to start small and then use a steadily increasing amount in each subsequent recipe until you find the dosage that is most beneficial for relieving your particular complex of symptoms.
The same techniques, same principals, may be used to infuse any vegetable oil with cannabinoids. However, many people find butter the most convenient and versatile.
Medical Marijuana Flour
Marijuana can be cooked into any favorite recipe. However, most people do not care for the taste so it’s important to choose recipes that will mask the flavor. Chocolate and tomato sauce are often used for that reason.
To prepare medical marijuana for cooking, the stems and seeds should be removed with a sifter or kitchen strainer and the resulting powder ground to a flour like consistency. Only grind as much as you will use at any one time as the cannabinoids will quickly degrade and be lost once the medical marijuana has been finely ground. Grinding does not make medical marijuana any more effective but it does make it more palatable. Save the stems to make cannabutter.
Add a cup or so of the medical marijuana flour to any recipe. Because of the great variability in cannabinoid ratios, potency and quality among the various cannabis strains, it will take some experimentation to determine the optimum amount of medical marijuana flour to add or portion size to consume.
Remember that it can take anywhere for one to three hours for eaten medical marijuana to deliver it’s active ingredients to the bloodstream of the patient. Give the first portion time before consuming additional portions.
An excellent option for the novice medical marijuana cook is to use a pre-packaged brownie mix. Simply follow the directions on the box and add your medical marijuana to the batter. You may also wish to add an extra table spoon of margarine or oil and one eighth cup of water.
Begin with medical marijuana flour. For maximum efficacy in suppository form, medical marijuana needs to be pulverized to dust. Suppository kits, beeswax and molds are available in health food stores and online.
Caution, beeswax is flammable. And hot wax is hot. The safest way to melt the beeswax is in a double boiler. If you must use a microwave use a low power setting, stop when the wax is half melted and then carefully stir to finish liquefying.
Once the beeswax has melted, gently stir in an equal measure of medical marijuana flour. The resulting mixture should then be molded into shape while still warm. Roll into cylinders or pour into a mold and when cool wrap and store suppositories in waxed paper. Suppositories should be kept in a separate, clearly marked container inside your refrigerator.
Medical marijuana suppositories are well suited for patients who are unable to eat or smoke medical marijuana
The active ingredients in medical marijuana can be infused into various liquids and made into drinks. Because cannabinoids are not water soluble, making drinkable medical marijuana is not a simple matter of brewing up a tea. Medical marijuana drinks are most commonly alcohol and milk based.
Cannabinoids may be extracted into alcohol by steeping the plant material in a high proof alcohol for several days. Seriously ill patients should be very cautious about consuming alcoholic beverages. Please consult with your doctor about possible side effects when mixing alcohol and other medications you may be currently taking.
Medical marijuana milk is known as, bhang. To make bhang, warm a quart of milk over low heat, gently stirring. After the milk comes to a slow boil, slowly mix in a quarter ounce of medical marijuana. Immediately reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally and making sure the milk does not scorch.<
After 30 minutes remove from heat and pour through strainer. Discard plant material and, after cooling, store your bhang in the refrigerator. Add your bhang to any recipe calling for milk or drink it straight.