Monday, October 28, 2013

Cannabis Coconut Oil and Cannabis Tincture

Often the hardest part - obtaining the main ingredient.

The hardest part in most of the world alas is usually obtaining the cannabis but if you can do that, there are two preparations that I think might be useful - the cannabis coconut oil (which can be taken internally, used to bake or cook with, but also makes a great body rub and the medicine absorbs very well through skin!) and also the tincture. Tincture is very convenient and discreet - one can just take a few drops under the tongue, or squirt it into a beverage, or load it into an e-cig to vapourise it.

I use basically the same method for either.
1) if making coconut oil, melt the oil to a liquid. If making tincture, start with either vegetable glycerine (sweet - might not be ok for person with diabetes) or propylene glycol - food grade kosher propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine can be bought in large bottles from some herbal supply stores or from Amazon.

2) Break up/grind the dry cannabis leaf, trim or buds so the plant material will expose as much of its surface as possible to the liquid base. (The strength of your preparation will depend mostly on the strength of the cannabis strain you use and whether it's leaf, trim or bud - just use the best you have available, and if able experiment with different strains to see if a high-cbd or high-thc or more balanced strain is best for your patient).

3) Put the cannabis into a glass jar, cover it completely with the tincture base, smoosh it or shake it to get it all soaked and you can probably add more.

3b) If you're making coconut oil, soak and cover the cannabis with about two-thirds coconut oil and one-third water.

4) Once it's all soaked through and there's enough liquid to a-little-more-than-cover the cannabis, screw a metal lid on loosely and place the jar in water up to an inch or so lower than its rim, in a slow cooker (aka crock pot) and turn the heat down to low.
You can cook multiple jars at one time but just make sure they don't get boiling wildly or they might bang against each other and break.
If you don't have a slow cooker you can do this in a bain marie on the stove. Just place the covered jars in a water bath in a saucepan, and bring it to a low simmer and keep it there.
Add a little more water if it gets low, but you probably won't need to as you're just simmering, not boiling.

5) The strength also depends partly on how long you cook and my only rule of thumb is to let it cook for at least a couple of hours. Occasionally, carefully lift the jars out with canning tongs or a pot-holder and give them a bit of a shake or swirl. Cook until the liquid is a nice rich green colour.

6) Remove and let cool enough to handle, and then strain. This is the hardest step- trying to preserve as much of the liquid as you can. The friend who taught me how to do this, Stu Wyatt, used cheesecloth and squeezed it through but found that was too course so he switched to nylon. I found any sort of fabric retained too much of the oil for my liking so I strained it in a colander, pushing with a wooden spoon to smoosh as much liquid from the plant material as possible, and then re-straining through a finer food strainer. Then Stu found a great gadget, a tabletop fruit press, which strains and presses the liquid out really really well, and then I found great success using a coffee press. Whatever you can use that squeezes the liquid from the plant matter, cleanly and efficiently, use that.

If you made tincture that's it - you're done. You can use herbal tincture bottles that come with eye-droppers to bring it to the patient in a manageable size container, but you can store your tincture in the glass jars (cleaned of plant matter) with the lids on tight.
If you made coconut oil proceed to steps 7 and 8.

7) Cool to separate. The reason you added water to the coconut oil and plant mixture, is that it takes out excess colour and flavour. The medicine bonds to the oils in the coconut oil, but some of the colour and smell go away in the water. But now you have this warm oil-and-water mixture that has to separate. Fortunately coconut oil is solid at coolish room temperatures so you can just set your strained mixture, all clean and free of plant matter, into a wide bowl or pie pan and let it cool. After it's parly cool you might want to transfer it to the refrigerator to finish cooling -- speeds it up.

8. Store. When it's well cooled, the hard coconut oil will be on top of the liquid water, so you can just lift/chip it off, pat it dry on a kitchen towel, and then perhaps remelt it to return it to jars for storage. It can be kept at room temperature for some time but it keeps longer in the refrigerator.
The left-over water doesn't have much use, nor the left-over plant matter - most of the medicine should be well out of there and bonded to the tincture base or the coconut oil.

9. Use. Again, the cannabis coconut oil is great for cooking and eating. Substitute for oil or butter in your baking. Or try a teaspoonful dissolved in warm milk at bedtime. Topical use is very effective also, as the medicine absorbs well through our skin, so just rub some on wherever it hurts.

The tincture, again, can be taken a drop or two under your tongue, or stirred into a beverage, or vapourised in an e-cig or a vapouriser designed for use with liquids.

Another great medicine is Phoenix Tears, a highly concentrated oil taken orally a tiny dab at a time. I don't have the facilities to make that but there are instructions online. EDITED TO ADD NOTE: It has been found that the naptha method of extraction used in the classic Phoenix Tears recipe leaves carcinogens in the final product. Please use instead the alcohol extraction method detailed here: http://www.cannabiscure.info/files/cannabis_oil.htm

Also, here's recipes for Butter and Ghee from Jeff Ditchfield, Cannabis Cultivator extraordinaire. For much more excellent information see his site on Cannabis for Cancer and Medical Marijuana Treatments. It includes helpful guides for making your own medicine in many forms.

Please do pass this information along. The only thing that feels better than feeling better, is helping other people feel better. Enjoy!