Cannitrol – Cannabis Control Agent

Marijuana news from around the world

tincture

Tinctures, another way to medicate

Tincture

There are many ways of medicating with cannabis.  Today, the most common method is smoking, either from a rolled cigarette, pipe, or bong.  We’ve also discussed vaporizing, as its popularity has soared, as well as edibles such as brownies and chocolates.  There is yet another way, the use of tinctures.  A tincture is an alcoholic extract or solution of a nonvolatile substance.  Tinctures are one of the oldest and simplest ways to medicate.  In fact, prior to 1937 (when Marijuana was made illegal) every pharmacy sold cannabis tinctures, and physicians had them on hand at all times.  Queen Victoria of England, was even known to use them to treat her menstrual cramps; nobody wanted a crabby monarch on the throne.

Cannabis tinctures are relatively easy to make and simple to administer.  They are often stored in vials with medicine droppers and dosed out in drops.  Depending on the strength of a particular batch, 2-3 drops are all that are needed for relief from disorders.  The most effective way is to apply it sublingually (under the tongue).  It is absorbed directly through the membranes and blood vessels below the tongue and usually takes effect between 5-30 minutes after application.  Some patients complain of a burning sensation when applied also.  This is usually caused by the ethanol base of the tincture.  Depending on the proof of the alcohol, higher proof equals a bit more burning.  In that case, the medicine can be taken orally, swallowed and digested.  When used as such, the time lapse before effect will increase because it needs to be absorbed in the stomach and then processed through the liver.

There are several ways of producing cannabis tinctures, but all agree that the higher proof content of alcohol will result in a higher quality medication.  Everclear is the highest proof (190) ethanol that exists on the market, though it is not available in all states.  Barring Everclear, Bacardi’s 151 rum (75% ethanol) is usually easy to find, but rums will impart some of their flavor and coloring to final product.  Below that, there are some very high quality vodkas available at 100-120 proof that also work quite well.  The next step is to procure some quality herbs and grind them down. Some recipes call for extra fine, and others say a good chopping is all that’s required.  The object here is to increase surface area for the alcohol work on to leech the cannabinoids from the plant into liquid.  Flowers, leaves and stems can all be used in the mix.  The next step is where most recipes diverge.  There are hot or cold preparations and then different “brewers” say it should steep for as little as 4 hours to as long as 12 weeks.  The longer it steeps, the more time the alcohol has to work.  When the proper time has elapsed, the mix should be strained and stored in glass jars in a cool area and out of sunlight.  All recipes agree on this, light will have a detriment on the strength of the product.

Patients should also consider what they are seeking to treat when deciding on the strain they select for their tincture.  Indica dominant strains work best for cramping and muscle spasticity while Sativas are better for pain relief.  These days, as selection is so varied, marijuana.net recommends using our strain library to help find what is best for you.  Also, in states where dispensaries are legal, speak with knowledgeable employees to help find the right type of herb.  There are many choices available, with varying percentages of THC and CBD content and those will determine the kind of relief a patient can expect.  Also, many dispensaries carry their own processed tinctures.  This might be the simplest option for patients because the product should be tested and labelled according to its cannabinoid content.

Overseas patients are better-provided for by GW pharmaceuticals. A UK based company, their product differs from all other cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals because it is naturally derived.  They have several state-of-the-art (and top secret) facilities for growing and harvesting marijuana plants.  GW is the creator of Sativex, an oromucosal mouth spray being marketed for people suffering from multiple sclerosis. The pros for this medication stand out because it is highly regulated and patients can expect that each dose will be as safe and effective as the last one, as opposed to homemade tinctures which can vary based on strain selection and imperfections in the manufacturing process.  On the other hand, it does not contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant, so it won’t have the same overall effect.  Furthermore, it is only available in select countries; these include England, Spain, Canada, Germany and New Zealand. Further availability in Asia and Africa is pending.  Though US acceptance and trials are pending, it is not yet available in our country.

Long ago, before tinctures were widespread, marijuana had also been used for medical and religious purposes too.  In the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern areas, the cannabis plant was considered to have mystical and holy properties (aside from its hemp-utility too).  This oil is described in Exodus and is believed to be made of Myrrh, Sweet Cinnamon, Cannabis, Cassia and the base was olive oil. The Hebrews used it for their holy anointing oil used for the raising of kings and in many other ceremonies.  The Hebrews called such men their kings, in Hebrew it is “Messiah” (anointed one) and the Greek word is “Christos.” And that is part of the reason how Yeshua of Nazareth came to be called called Jesus Christ.  Also, for those who didn’t know, the Last Supper was actually a Seder, one of the Passover dinners.  Just a little tidbit of history for our readers in time for the holidays.  For those of you out there celebrating, Happy Easter.  And for our Jewish readers, Zissen Pesach, Happy Passover!

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Those Incredible Edibles

EDIBLES

Like a giant pink elephant in the room, detractors of marijuana only assume that intake is done via smoking.  Cannabis, the giving plant that it is, offers us so much and gives us many options for intake, rather than simply sparking up and inhaling.  Among the alternative methods are vaporizing and the world of culinary delight.  Hemp seeds are an excellent source of nutrition, but offer little in the way of THC or CBD.  And what about those patients who simply cannot inhale smoke?  How does one get maximum medical effects by eating this plant?  We do not recommend eating raw buds.  The human digestive system cannot handle all that plant fiber and will not extract the THC well enough to have the desired effect. But there are a variety of methods one can use to prepare this perfumed plant into palatable pastries.

It used to be the case that creating edibles was a D0-It-Yourself affair for those who had both the motivation and an abundance of medication.  But these days chefs and pharmacists everywhere are turning their hands to the world of “Medibles.”  In certain states with legalized medical marijuana, one can walk into a dispensary and bypass the bud jars and gaze upon the tasty edible medications.  On certain beaches in Maui, patients can find bakers distributing goodies too.  In fact, culinary cannabis has exploded into an extravagant field offering more choices than a banquet.  Many of us are familiar with brownies and cookies, or anything like that which uses oil or butter to cook with.  But the selection has grown even further.  There are tinctures and teas, colas, sprays, lozenges and lollipops.  If variety is the spice of life, then this is one spicy meatball.

It is important to take precautions when medicating with edible cannabis.  When ingested, its effects can be different than when inhaled.  It often takes longer to feel the effects, generally between 30 minutes and two hours.  And the effects will last longer in your body.  While operating heavy machinery always requires caution, it is even more imperative that caution is taken after the consumption of edibles.  Also, it can be easier to over-medicate when ingesting marijuana through edibles.  When THC hits the liver, it is metabolized into 11-Hydroxy-THC which has shown to have stronger psychoactive properties than the original THC compound. Be careful when purchasing products and ensure their potency is labelled.  Some manufacturers, like Cheeba Chews, label their products well and patients know what to expect.  Furthermore, they subject their product to rigorous lab testing to ensure safety and quality standards.  Unfortunately, some companies use packaging labels that do not include all of the pertinent information and patients are often unsure of what they are getting.  A good rule of thumb for those new to edibles is the wait and see approach.  Let’s say you’ve just gotten home with a batch of fresh brownies.  Don’t just pop it in and wait for the ride.  Cut the brownie into 2-4 pieces and spread out ingestion over the course of several hours.  This will help significantly reduce the likelihood of over medication.

There is a lot to be said for edibles. We hope you enjoy them safely, and check back with us for more on this subject.

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