In our previous article, part of the cannabis for newbies series, we went into what the benefits are with consuming cannabis edibles. There's such a large variety of marijuana edible products out there, and lots of great reasons why patients take edibles for their medical needs.
Still, if you're one of those patients who's sensitive to the differences in marijuana strains, you may find it difficult to get consistent edibles in a strain that works for you. Strain-specific cannabis edibles are available, but they're few and far between. Don't give up on edibles-all you may need is to use the right marijuana strain.
As a strain-sensitive patient, I stayed away from edibles for years. When I finally decided to give them another shot, I realized that my best bet was to make the edibles myself. This way I could pick the strains that worked well for me.
Making a good edible, I realized, is time-intensive. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by the process, and I'd often wind up making way more than I could easily consume before the cannabis-infused food went bad. I'd wasted my precious medicine.
I knew there had to be a better way. So, after some research, practice and experimentation, I created this quick and easy recipe for making strain-specific tinctures.
The key to this recipe is using a full-melt cannabis concentrate instead of cannabis flower. While infusing an oil with flower takes time and requires very specific temperatures, concentrates dissolve quickly and easily into bases like oil, butter, honey, glycerin or alcohol. This saves time and minimizes the risk of something going wrong. It also allows you to work with much smaller amounts of cannabis, so you can make the amount you need and nothing more.
To begin this recipe, make sure you have the following ingredients prepared and tools ready to use:
1/2 g (500 mg) full-melt cannabis concentrate in a strain that works well for you (I like to use rosin, because it's a full-melt extract that has never been touched by chemical solvents. That said, CO2 or any other full-melt concentrate will work as well.)
1 oz (30 mL) oil (I use MCT oil, which is a liquid form of coconut oil, but you can use any liquid oil you like to cook with or mix into your food, such as olive, sesame or hemp oil. You can also substitute in butter or coconut oil if you're looking for a cooking base, rather than a tincture. Since butter and coconut oil solidify at room temperatures, they can't be used as a tincture but are perfect for making infused baked goods.)
1.\tThe first step is to prepare your concentrate by decarboxylating it. Decarboxylation is a process in which cannabis is heated so that tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) will convert into (tetrahydrocannabinol) THC. This activates the psychoactive effects of the medicine as well as other properties of THC. If you'd like your medicine to give you the effects of a traditional edible, you can follow our instructions on how to decarboxylate. As many concentrates come in plastic containers, be sure to use your dab tool or butter knife to transfer your concentrate into a baking dish, like a small glass or silicone ramekin, before heating.
Note: If you're looking for a less psychoactive high, you may want to skip this step and leave your medicine in its raw form. THCA edibles have been gaining in popularity; this is because THCA has many of the benefits of THC without the high.
2.\tWhen you have your concentrate ready to go, warm 1 ounce of oil in a small pot on your stove's lowest heat setting. Allow the oil to warm up, but never boil or even simmer.
3.\tAdd 1/2 gram of cannabis concentrate to the oil and watch for the concentrate to start melting into the oil.
4.\tWhen the concentrate melts, stir it into the oil with the spatula.
5.\tAs soon as the concentrate completely dissolves into the oil and the mix is a uniform color, remove the pot from the heat. This entire process should only take a few minutes.
6.\tAllow to cool, then pour mixture through the small funnel into the 1-ounce bottle.
Your resulting 1-ounce cannabis oil tincture will contain around 50 half-dropper (1.25 mL) doses. Each dose will contain around 10 mg of cannabis extract.
You can use this cannabis tincture in a variety of ways. The easiest method is to take it under your tongue as a sublingual medicine. To do this, drop the oil under your tongue and hold it there for up 90 seconds before swallowing. By allowing the tincture to absorb sublingually, you'll get more immediate effects as the medicine will enter your bloodstream directly rather than having to be processed by your digestive system.
If you'd rather take the tincture as an edible, you can mix it in with other food. I sprinkle mine over toast, add it to cereal, mix it in with applesauce or put it into my salad dressing. You can add it to almost any food you'd like.
Whichever way you consume your tincture, make sure to start small with your dosing until you know how much you need and how you're affected. Instead of taking a full dose, you might want to try a half or quarter dose, or even try just a drop or two. Wait a full two hours before taking more as edible effects take a while to kick in.
In the next installment of the Cannabis for Newbies series, we'll go over best practices on consuming sublingual cannabis products and why patients choose to use them.
Photo credit: The Inadvertent Gardener
Need a medical marijuana recommendation? Consult with one of HelloMD's knowledgeable doctors; it's easy, private and 100% online.