Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The art of EATING cannabis


The Art of Eating Cannabis

By Avery Runner
Cannabis has been used for food throughout countless generations. Bhang Ki Thandai, also called Shadai, is an example. To prepare, the female buds and cannabis leaves are mixed with almonds, spices, milk and sugar. This is used in many parts of India during the celebrations of Holi and Vaisakhi, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
My first impression of eating the plant was related to pot brownies and hippies, such as the old “Furry Freak Brothers Comix”. Nevertheless, this amazing plant provides good medicine and nourishment. Through the ages, cannabis has been cultivated and refined into many different edible products.
Books are available regarding the preparation of Cannabis edibles. Clarified butter and cooking oils are commonly used for extracting desired cannabinoids from plant matter. A great deal of information is available on the internet, which can be a great resource for the homegrown MMJ patient. If you are a medical user with access to MMJ trim or buds, you may want to try exploring some recipes from your kitchen. Check out the book Marijuana Cooking – Good Medicine Made Easy by Bliss Cameron & Veronica Greene, for several good extraction processes.
Kind buds and hash oils are very expensive to buy, and it requires a great deal of energy to manage a home cannabis garden. Cooking marijuana in a kitchen is not for everyone. Because of this, many patients find it appropriate to purchase Medically Infused Products (MIPs) from established businesses. Many Colorado MIP companies are focused on quality, and design potent products.
This article intends to shed some light on the subject of ‘medibles’. Patients who are using Medical Cannabis to better their lives should be aware of the many benefits that can be derived from this miraculous plant.
One issue of concern when eating marijuana is that it can be unpredictable. The types of foods being digested in your stomach at the time of eating the medicine will effect the onset period of the medicine. An empty stomach will result in strong and rapid absorption. How the product was prepared can tremendously vary the results. Some cooking techniques can produce severe drowsiness. In todays market, analysis testing is available, and many Colorado MIP manufacturers are sharing these results with consumers. This can give patients an idea of what cannabinoid ratios are inside. Spec tests however cannot guarantee the way a product will work on different people.
Among companies doing analysis testing is Cannabis Botanix, now offering “Kalamata Kind” – bud infused olive oil. Study spec tests by searching companies online at www.fullspectrumlabs.com, using the ‘dispensaries’ button, for a wide variety of strains and infused products available in Colorado.
Most MMJ users are familiar with the psychoactive component known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC generates a euphoric state of consciousness when consumed in its potentiated form. THC-A, the precursor molecule, must be decarboxylated through heating to become psychoactive. Once enough THC has been absorbed into the bloodstream, the mind “softens its focus” away from internal processes such as physical pain, emotional turmoil and disease ailments. This can relax the body and allow some healing to occur.
The psychoactive effect of THC, in small amounts, may also help in re-uptake of serotonin, as indicated by article “Marijuana for depression & bipolar disorder”, viewed online at www.patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com.
“The anti-depressant and intoxicating effects of cannabis are due to its chemical similarity to natural substances in the brain known as “endo-cannabinoids,” which are released under conditions of high stress or pain, explained Dr. Gobbi. They interact with the brain through structures called cannabinoid CB1 receptors. This study demonstrates for the first time that these receptors have a direct effect on the cells producing serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates the mood.”
One draw back from consuming activated THC is that the side effects can be intense or undesirable. Many users consume relatively small amounts of cannabinoids as a result. Getting “to high” they experience “the spins” or restless discomfort resulting from over use and possible cross effects with other prescription drugs or alcohol. For the medicine to work best, an adequate serum level of cannabinoids in the bloodstream is needed. Some patients may be suffering from a condition which has been referred to as a Cannabinoid Deficiency Disorder, requiring very large doses of the medicine in order to experience desired results, such as healing from disease. This may best be accomplished through consuming non-potentiated forms of the cannabis plant.
THC-A and non-psychoative cannabinoids like CBD, CBN & CBG provide healing benefits. Although the research about medical properties of raw cannabis is limited at this time, there is reason to believe eating fresh leaves and buds off the plant can reverse effects of many diseases. Kristen Peskuski suffered from endometriosis, intersistial cystisis, rheumatoid arthritis and a list of other ailments. She claims that drinking raw cannabis juice saved her life. Dr. William Courtney originally asked Peskuski to consume dried plant material, unheated and crushed into capsules, to provide higher doses of important cannabinoids like CBD & CBN. His idea was to reduce the amount of THC being consumed, and increase other beneficial compounds. An article in High Times / Medical Marijuana edition – winter 2011 reveals an in depth review, and reports as long as Peskuski continues a daily consumption of ganja juice, all of her health problems are maintained pain free and apparent cellular healing occurs. However, it was noted, when she has gone weeks without raw juice, disease symptoms begin to resurface. As a result of Dr. Courtney’s research, Humboldt Patient Resource Center in California recently began a free juicing program for qualified patients who are willing to conduct a trial study regarding the benefits of drinking freshly juiced cannabis leaf and buds.
Another interesting consideration when consuming marijuana has to do with a little understood chemical process involving terpenes, the essential oils that produce unique smells from strain to strain. Some of the terpenes found in cannabis include Myrcene (earthy-mango), Pinene (pine-eucalyptus), Beta-Caryophyllene (pepper), Terpenol (floral-lilac), Borneol (menthol-camphor), Linalool (lavender) and Pulgone (minty). The Medical Marijuana Handbook by Gieringer, Rosenthal and Carter explores this topic. Experienced aromatherapists understand the many medicinal properties of these essential oil bases, which occur naturally in plants all over the planet.
Terpenes, CBD and other cannabinoids affect the way THC is absorbed, for example causing drowsiness or alertness. Some postulate that, like enzymes and amino acids, terpenes break down when heated to high temperatures. The ratio of THC to CBD has been used in chemotype determination of cannabis genetics (see Marijuana Botany : an advanced study by Robert Clark). Although exploration of THC to CBD ratios have the forefront in research, some scientists are studying how the terpene oils affect THC and cannabinoid absorption into the human body when bonding with the CB1 and CB2 receptor sites. Different ‘highs’ result from different strains. This seems an interesting science which must be very complex. It is hard to gauge what effects terpenes may have when eating ganja food. It remains that processing the herb at different temperatures effects the stability of these essential oils.
Bucky Minor from Full Spectrum Labs in Colorado concluded this statement in these regards.
“Cannabinoids have many healing properties to them in both forms (acid and active). You just gain more benefits for most patients when material is activated. You have, preheats methods, temp differences, degrading of molecules, extract then heat, heat while extracting, terpenes, let alone the medium used. Having raw (hash) oil allows you to render it into any medium you want at any time”.
In conclusion, the topic of medibles is a vast pool of knowledge which deserves attention from patients. If you or someone you know can find healing from use of the cannabis plant, eating it is a great option.
Avery Runner is the owner of CB1 LLC, based in the San Luis Valley, Colorado.
contact : avery@cannabisbotanix.com

2 comments:

  1. I am interested in juicing or eating raw plants to add as part of a healthy weight loss program, but I want to avoid the psychoactive effects of the THC that has been activated by heat. Too many of the articles mention the use of the plant in baked goods or having used heat in the concentration of the product. To eat it raw, how many plants would I need to grow, how long does it take to get a plant to the size it needs to be with quality budding, and how much should be consumed daily?

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