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How to Make Cannabis Infused Edibles
For those who prefer to avoid smoking or vaporizing cannabis (for any number of reasons), cannabis-infused edibles can be a great solution. In fact, edibles represent one of the fastest-growing product categories among medical and recreational dispensaries nationally. Nearly 5 million edible products were sold in Colorado alone in 2014.
For those living in less tolerant states, you can make your own edibles at home with surprising ease. In this guide, we’ll cover how to make edibles, how to determine dosage and the science of why the high associated with edibles feels so strong. We’ll also talk about making CBD edibles from organic hemp flower.
Conceptually, the process of making edibles is very similar to that of cannabis concentrates: the goal is a pure, therapeutic combination of cannabinoids and terpenes. The primary difference is that edibles typically utilize a food-grade solvent like coconut oil (or another fatty substance) as opposed to a solvent like alcohol or supercritical CO2 to extract the cannabinoids from the starting material.
There are literally hundreds of ways to make edibles, and most of them will work — to some degree. However, what makes our recipe especially effective is the increased bioavailability of the cannabinoids – in essence, our process makes it easy for your body to absorb the THC, CBD, and other beneficial compounds.
– Cannabis (or hemp) starting material
– Coconut Oil or MCT Oil (others will work effectively to extract the cannabinoids, but MCT oil specifically can help your body absorb the compounds more quickly)
– Soy Lecithin
– Crock Pot or slow cooker
Step 1: Select Your Starting Material
Edibles can be made using nearly any cannabis product: buds, trim, kief, solventless hash, solvent-based concentrates, reclaim — anything with a measurable cannabinoid content will work. We have even used the washed trim from an ice water hash extraction to make edibles.
While, technically, “anything goes,” we should note that the quality and potency of your starting material will play a large role in the strength of your edibles. Thus, edibles made from cured, ground buds will be significantly stronger than the same batch derived from already-been-vaped (ABV) buds.
Be mindful of whether your starting material is indica, sativa, or hybrid so you can anticipate the effects it will induce. You can also seek out starting material with a specific cannabinoid profile, i.e. selecting the ratio of THC to CBD that produces the effects you desire, whether for recreational use or medicinal purposes.
Note that CBD-only edibles will be non-psychoactive, whereas THC-rich edibles are very psychoactive. If you only have access to high-THC starting material and you seek relief without the psychoactivity, we recommend juicing raw cannabis or using organic hemp flower, which is federally legal in all 50 states (yes, you can buy it online and have it shipped to your house).
Step 2: Prepare the Material
If using whole buds or trim, make sure that the material is finely ground. We prefer to use a traditional grinder as opposed to a food processor or blender, as these options tend to pulverize the starting material too much.
If you’re using hash that has greased up or congealed into a sticky ball, attempt to break up the hash into smaller pieces. The goal here is to increase the surface area of the concentrate to facilitate
Step 3: Decarboxylate
This is a very important and often-overlooked step in the edible baking process. For the uninitiated, the cannabinoids present in your starting material likely exist in their acidic, non-activated form.
What does this mean in practical terms? Essentially, it means that THCa (‘a’ signifies acid), for instance, maintains many of the therapeutic properties associated with THC but NOT its psychoactive properties. Thus, if you desire the typical ‘high’ associated with edibles, you need to decarboxylate or activate, your cannabinoids prior to infusing.
Although the decarboxylation process begins immediately following the plant’s harvest, it must be accelerated with heat to ensure that all of the cannabinoids have converted from their acidic to their activated forms before extraction. For reference, this same process of decarboxylation is what occurs when you light up a one-hitter or joint of cannabis.
Unless you’re working with a cannabis concentrate (like CO2 oil) that is labeled ‘activated’, you will need to decarboxylate your starting material to maximize the effect of your edibles. To do so, we recommend preheating your over to approximately 220-225°F (our preferred range to decarb effectively without risking combustion). It helps to use an oven thermometer to check the accuracy of your oven; ours ran nearly 20 degrees hotter than it was set!
The specific temperature will dictate how long it takes for your starting material to decarboxylate. As you can see on the chart below, it will likely take between 45 and 60 minutes to fully decarb your material at this temperature. If using a different temperature, be sure to adjust your oven time accordingly!
We recommend slightly amending your decarb time based on the moisture levels in the starting material; very dry material will need less time, and fresher material will need significantly more time (the material will need to be dry in order to decarb effectively). In our experience, it is better to overdo the decarb than to come up short and not fully activate your cannabinoids.
Pro tip: if you continue to decarb after all of the THCa has converted to THC, it will begin to convert to CBN, the strongest sedative of the known cannabinoids. If you suffer from insomnia or sleep disturbances, you should leave the tray of material in the oven longer than is suggested on this chart. The length of additional time will impact the ratio of THC to CBN in the edibles — the longer the time, the less THC and more CBN.
If you want to use edibles for insomnia, a decarb time in excess of 2-3+ hours will convert significant amounts of THC to CBN and you will produce significantly more sedative edibles.
Note that although the decarboxylation process can continue somewhat during the actual oil infusion, it happens at a significantly slower rate. Therefore, we suggest activating the material prior to placing it in the oil or butter. Here are specific recommendations for each type of starting material:
– If using trim or buds, spread the ground starting material thinly on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 220-225°F.
– If using kief, dry sift, or ice water hash (cooking grade or otherwise), spread the concentrate thinly on an oven-safe Pyrex or ceramic dish and place in the oven at 220-225°F.
– If using BHO, PHO, or other solvent-based oil, put concentrate on parchment paper in an oven-safe bowl and place in oven at 250°F until bubbles taper off (roughly 30 minutes per the chart above).
– If using reclaim or activated CO2 oil, you do not need to decarboxylate further as these forms of cannabis are already fully activated.
Step 4: Infuse and Emulsify
Place the starting material and coconut oil in a crock-pot on low for 2-3 hours. If a slow cooker is not available, you can use a tin foil covered, oven-safe dish at 220°F for 2-3 hours. Keep in mind that if you infuse the oil for longer than 3 hours, some of the THC can begin to convert to CBN, making the effects more sedative.
This seems to be the step where many recipes differ; some call for butter heated in a crock pot while others call for honey heated on a hot plate…who is right?
Nearly all of these recipes will work to some degree. However, our goal is not to make oil with the most aggregate THC possible, but rather oil with the most amount of available THC for your body to absorb. Thus, we are going to select the best inputs for increased systemic bioavailability (meaning the same amount of THC will be absorbed more effectively and, therefore, felt more intensely).
How is this recipe different from others I’ve seen?
This method is designed to produce oil with the most amount of available THC for your body to absorb, rather than oil with the most aggregate THC possible. A high dose of THC doesn’t do much good if your body can’t absorb it effectively.
What does that mean?
From a solubility standpoint in cooking, cannabinoids like THC and CBD are only soluble in lipids (fats) and alcohol – not water. Furthermore, certain types of fats are easier for the body to absorb than others.
Why is it better?
Coconut oil can be especially helpful for those who suffer from impaired fat digestion and gallbladder issues. The medium-chain triglycerides are also easily absorbed by the body compared to longer molecules.
Do I get higher?
The effects may feel more intense with this method, as the THC is more easily absorbed by the body when bonded to the MCTs in coconut oil.
The Science Behind the Effects
Because alcohol extractions are typically used for tinctures, we will focus on fat-based extractions for traditional edibles. For increased bioavailability, we suggest using coconut oil, which is high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). This is because MCTs are small and easily digested relative to the long chain triglycerides (LCTs) found in most fatty foods like olive oil, canola oil or butter.
Unlike other types of fats, MCTs don’t need to be broken down before they’re used for energy, and they don’t require any extra energy to digest or absorb. This makes the use of coconut oil especially helpful for those who suffer from impaired fat digestion and gallbladder issues. You can also use pure MCT oil if you prefer, coconut oil just tends to be more readily available at grocery stores.
Bonus: Add Soy Lecithin
For an additional boost in bioavailability, we suggest adding 1+ teaspoon of soy lecithin to the crockpot with the starting material and coconut oil. Soy lecithin is a naturally occurring compound found in all cells in nature, plants, and animals. The inclusion of lecithin homogenizes the oil and boosts your body’s ability to absorb the cannabinoids; resulting in more intense effects from the same starting material.
If you’ve ever felt frustrated because edibles don’t affect you, try switching to coconut oil and incorporating the use of soy lecithin.
Step 5: Cool and Strain
Once infused, let the oil cool to a level where it won’t burn your hand when touched. If you used buds or trim, you should strain the starting material from the oil. Pour the oil over a folded cheesecloth set in a metal strainer (optional, but very helpful).
After most of the oil has drained, use your hands to squeeze the remaining oil from the cheesecloth. For maximum efficiency, you can also use a potato ricer on the bundle of starting material to squeeze out as much oil as possible.
Note that if you used grinder kief, dry sift, ice water hash, or a solvent-based oil, there will likely be nothing to strain. That’s okay, your oil is ready to go as it is!
Step 5: Consume or Wrap & Store
Voila! You have just created an easy-to-absorb oil that is packed with activated, beneficial cannabinoids. You can inject the oil directly into gelatin capsules, take a spoonful straight, or incorporate it into your favorite recipes in place of cooking oil or butter.
What can I make?
Literally, any recipe that calls for butter or oil can be made with cannabis-infused or hemp derived CBD-infused coconut oil. That said, we should make a special note about baking recipes that call for butter: the texture of the butter makes a difference to the texture of the finished product. If you’re making a cannabis pastry (advanced, but attainable), it may take some experimentation and blending of butter, coconut oil, and/or vegetable shortening to find the right texture.
Another thing to keep in mind when cooking with cannabis-infused oil is to keep the oven/stove temperatures at or below 300°F. As temperatures begin to exceed 315°F, you risk inadvertently vaporizing your precious cannabinoids and weakening your edibles. If a baking recipe calls for a temperature of 350+°F, we recommend baking at 300°F and extending the baking time accordingly (even if that means 30+ minutes longer).
How do I figure out the dosage for other recipes?
We have put together a helpful guide to help you calculate edible potency and dosage for any recipe. Click here to figure out how much cannabis material you need to make your favorite dish.
Can I save the extra oil?
If you do not wish to consume the oil immediately, you can store it in a cool, dark place (like a pantry) for months on end. Whether you realize it or not, you have also made an activated topical oil that can be used on the skin to relieve pain, swelling, soreness, and arthritis!
*Special thanks to BadKat for her research and information regarding bioavailability and edibles.
How do I get long-term relief provided by edibles without the high?
There are two main ways to achieve this objective; juicing high-THC strains or consuming an edible made from hemp-derived CBD or organic hemp flower. We’ve written the guide to juicing cannabis here – all you need is some fresh plant material.
While you can use CBD extracts and isolates to make non-intoxicating therapeutic edibles, you could also try using a strain of organic hemp flower to achieve the same effect. The process with hemp flower will be the same as with traditional cannabis buds, but you’ll be extracting CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids without high levels of THC.
We enjoy the hemp flower produced by Canna Comforts, whose high-CBD strains look, feel, smell, taste, and smoke just like the top-shelf cannabis strains that inspired them. Canna Comforts is committed to whole-plant medicine and cultivates top-quality, effective, organic, non-GMO hemp flower (Lifter strain from Canna Comforts shown in image below) that can be used to create therapeutic edibles, tinctures, and extracts — or enjoyed straight in a joint or bowl.
How many mg of THC should I eat?
Unfortunately, there’s no hard-and-fast rule to this. Everybody and every body is different! Please consult our dosage guide, which breaks down recommended dosages by experience level.
Overdoing it straight out the gate can make for an unpleasant experience, so start slow! Remember, you can always have another cookie or brownie, but once the THC is in your bloodstream you’ll have to ride it out.
Why are edibles so much stronger than any other consumption method?
The effects induced by edibles are more intense because THC is converted to the more psychoactive 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver when processed through the digestive system. This compound is approximately 5 to 10 times stronger than run-of-the-mill THC.
Additionally, the effects of THC last much longer when consumed orally than when inhaled. This is why it’s so important not to overdo the edibles: it can lead to that dreaded, uncomfortably high, couch-locked, “never coming down” feeling.
How long does it take for edibles to hit?
Edibles have a delayed onset time, which means it can take anywhere from 20 to 90+ minutes before any effects are felt. We know that looks like a wide window, and it is, but edible absorption time is finicky.
Onset time is directly related to the digestive process – eating them on an empty stomach results in faster processing and vice versa.
How long do the effects associated with edibles last?
The effects associated with ingested cannabis last anywhere from 4 to 8+ hours, which is much longer than the other consumption methods.
My coconut oil solidified, is that normal?
Yes! Coconut oil, infused or not, is saturated fat and will, therefore, remain solid at room temperature. To turn it back into a liquid, use a hot water bath and double boiler or place it in a heatproof dish the oven at 200°F until liquefied.
The THC Dosage Guide: Flower, Edibles, Concentrates and More
We would venture to guess that nearly every cannabis user has felt uncomfortably high at some point or another. This feeling typically results from consuming too much THC, whether it’s smoked, vaporized, or ingested orally.
The good news is that this experience can generally be avoided. By following our cannabis dosage guide below, you can prevent that “never coming down” feeling from occurring. It is important to understand that the specific effects of cannabis are generally dependent on three factors:
Dosage – The amount and type of cannabinoids used
Self – Individual physiological differences in the brain and endocannabinoid system wiring between unique consumers
State – The mental and emotional state of the user immediately preceding and during use
Because the latter two factors are specific to each individual and therefore can’t be controlled effectively, we will focus on dosage, which you do have control over. You will notice that the recommended dosages typically vary with each consumption method. This is because different modes of consumption impact the body in different ways — and at different rates!
A Few General Guidelines
Before we get started, please keep in mind that it is difficult to provide exact recommendations from a strain selection and dosage perspective simultaneously, as each person’s endocannabinoid system responds to cannabis slightly differently.
Furthermore, the same strain (bred from the same “parent” plants) may have different phenotypes (“children” that show different traits). Thus, the most recent batch of ‘Sour Diesel’ you purchased may have a significantly different cannabinoid composition than the last, despite having the same strain name.
Because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, the research and genetic testing needed to regulate cannabis as medicine have yet to be implemented. However, our dosage guide will help you establish a baseline for how much to use the first time you smoke a joint, eat an edible, use a patch, drop a tincture, or take a dab.
As a general rule, start slow. You can always consume more, but it’s hard to bring yourself back down once you’ve flown too close to the proverbial sun. Dosage will become easier as you become familiar with your personal tolerance and you get familiar with all the essential smoking accessories you may need to use.
We also have a CBD Dosage Guide if you are looking for information on using CBD for pain relief. Be sure to check out our CBD Help Guide and learn more about CBD here. In addition to the popular concentrates and vape products, the availability of raw organic hemp flower allows you to consume your dose of CBD in a way that’s fast-acting and more familiar to cannabis consumers.
Because the effects of smoking cannabis can be felt almost instantly, dosage control is relatively easy compared to other consumption methods. For novice smokers, one or two inhalations from a joint, pipe, blunt, or bong are all it takes to feel THC’s powerful effects. Those with higher tolerances will likely require several more ‘hits’ to achieve the same effects.
When it comes to joints, sizes generally range from 0.25 to 1+ grams (as indicated in the image above). The quarter-gram joint is best suited for light smokers, while the 1-gram joint will suffice for heavy smokers and larger groups.
Bowl sizes (of both bongs and pipes) typically vary from 0.25 to 1+ grams as shown in the image above. Smaller one-hitters like the one below are best suited for personal use, while larger bowls are great for consuming in groups.
Looking for a high-quality pipe, bong or bubbler? We highly recommend Billowby for their outstanding selection and service.
Those with high tolerances can always load several small bowls. You should never feel pressured to finish a bowl or joint, you can always come back to it – it’s not going anywhere!
Vaporization involves heating cannabis buds or concentrates to a specific temperature, causing the cannabinoids stored in the plant’s trichomes to evaporate into a gas without combusting any plant material. Similar to smoking, the effects of vaporization can be felt immediately.
As with smoking, we recommend starting with just a couple inhalations from a vaporizer for novice consumers. Once again, seasoned users will require a larger number of hits to achieve the same effect.
If you’re new to vaporizers, we have a guide to using loose-leaf vaporizers. For flower pens that simply use ground cannabis, explore our how to pack a dry herb vape pen guide.
The chamber capacity of any vape, whether for flowers or concentrates, varies from unit to unit. Therefore, it is difficult to quote a consistent “average size.” We suggest filling vaporizer chambers to 3/4 of their full capacity, regardless of make or model. This allows for steady airflow and reduces your risk of overfilling.
Cool side note: did you know it’s now legal to take your vape pen on a plane?
Edibles and Ingestible Oils
Edibles are cannabis infused varieties of food and drink. Because the cannabinoids in edibles are absorbed through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the onset time is delayed (30 to 90+ minutes, depending on your metabolism, what you’ve eaten that day and a number of other factors) relative to other consumption methods.
The delayed onset time makes dosage control slightly more difficult with edibles, as relief will not be felt immediately. Most anyone who’s had an edible has a story about getting “couch-locked” after thinking they weren’t working and taking too high a dose. It’ll likely take some time and experimentation to find the ideal edible dose for you.
That said, the psychoactive effects of edibles last longer and tend to be much more intense than other consumption methods. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating with edibles: you can always take more, but you can’t take THC out of your body once you’ve put it in. Keep this in mind as you take your edibles.
The following dosage suggestions pertain to THC infused edibles (the most popular) as opposed to non-psychoactive varieties (like CBD infused gummies or tinctures, which we’ll discuss in more detail shortly). For new consumers first trying cannabis edibles, we recommend you start with 1-5mg of THC.
Everyone’s metabolism is different, and therefore everyone has a different reaction to edibles. The important part is to WAIT after you ingest, as onset can take up to two hours. When in doubt, wait it out! As you become more familiar with your edible tolerance, it will be easier to fine-tune your dosage.
For occasional cannabis consumers, we recommend 5-10 mg of THC. In the state of Colorado, 10 mg is considered a single serving size. Frequent consumers (those with high tolerances and/or medical needs), will likely need dosages in excess of 10+mg of THC. Start with a low dose and be patient – you can always eat more or supplement with another consumption method! Pro tip: Drink lots of water, it’s important to stay hydrated when ingesting edibles.
A tincture is a liquid cannabis concentrate that is typically administered sublingually with a dropper. A few (2-4) drops of the cannabinoid-rich liquid under the tongue is often a sufficient starting dose. The effects will be felt within roughly 15 minutes. Feel free to use more or stop as your situation indicates. Tinctures are very effective for medicinal use, especially non-psychoactive CBD tinctures.
Transdermal cannabis patches are sold in varying strengths, typically ranging from 10 to 20mg of cannabinoids. Once the patch is applied, the bloodstream begins to absorb the cannabinoids and the effects can be felt within 15 to 60 minutes. We recommend starting with a lower strength patch and upping the dosage if needed. Pro tip: Apply the patch to a vascular part of the body (one where you can see the veins) for more efficient absorption into the bloodstream.
Cannabis-infused topicals are applied directly to the skin for localized relief of pain and inflammation. Because they are non-psychoactive, you run essentially zero risks of overdoing it. We suggest starting with a few sprays or a thin layer of product, applying more as needed or desired.
Dabbing is a form of flash vaporization where a dose of cannabis concentrate (generally a wax or shatter, but potentially a pure isolate) is dropped onto a heated nail and the resulting vapor is inhaled. Cannabis concentrates are extremely potent and the effects of taking a dab, like with most inhaled forms of cannabis, can be felt almost instantly.
While concentrates are typically purchased in gram or half-gram increments, a single dose is often times much smaller, as indicated in the image above. We recommend trying it! Start with a small dab, roughly the size of a grain of rice, and taking more as needed. Did you know you can even dab CBD isolate?
If you enjoy dabbing but don’t like the blowtorch element, you might like the Loto Legend. The high-end, all-electronic rig uses magnetic energy to heat the dab, so you’ll never need to use a propane torch or replace an atomizer again. Perfect for concentrates and isolates alike, the Legend is a dab rig with the soul of a bong.
Do You Feel Like We’ve Only Scratched the Surface?
There is SO MUCH MORE to it than we could get into with just one blog article, so we’ve spent months digging through over 100 PUBLISHED MEDICAL STUDIES to distill all the diverse factors that influence how THC will affect you. We’ve broken them down into easy-to-understand terminology and even included a visual glossary of cannabis terminology for you. Our helpful guide will help ensure you never have an unpleasant cannabis experience again.
Choosing the Right Cannabis Consumption Method for You
We have all evolved beyond the bong. As more cannabusinesses have been approved to operate in different states around the country, the country has seen a drastic increase in the types of cannabis products available. While smoking may be the most popular, there are a variety of alternative ways to use cannabis both medically and recreationally. The effect, duration, and onset time vary slightly with each consumption method. Many can be combined for synergistic, sustained relief. The correct consumption method for you will be a matter of desired effect, intensity, duration, and personal preference. Once you’re ready to begin, we recommend that you purchase the necessary items you’ll need from a reputable online store.
The easiest and most common way consume cannabis requires little more than a vessel and a lighter. You can pack the cannabis into a pipe, roll it into a joint, or load it into a bong. Smoking cannabis involves inhaling the smoke released by the heated flowers or concentrate.
Smoking is popular because its easy and requires little more than a vessel and a lighter.
When smoking cannabis, the effects can be felt almost instantly and last from 90 minutes to 3+ hours depending on the individual, cannabinoid content, and potency of the strain. Because of the minimal onset time associated with smoking cannabis, dosage control is easy relative to other consumption methods. The downside is the potential for minor irritation of the respiratory system.
A vaporizer is a device that heats cannabis buds and/or concentrates to 315-440°F (157-227°C), which causes the cannabinoids stored in the plant’s trichomes to evaporate into a gas without combusting any plant material. For reference, the boiling point of THC is generally accepted to be between 315°F (157°C) and 392°F (200°C). All other major non-psychoactive cannabinoids evaporate between 320°F (160°C) and 428°F (220°C).
Vaping provides immediate, controllable, and concentrated relief without the combustion of plant material.
The effects of vaporizing cannabis are felt almost instantly which makes dosage control easy. The cannabinoid-rich (up to 95%) vapor is free of tar and carcinogens, which is beneficial for those looking to avoid potential lung and respiratory irritation. As a bonus, many users prefer taste of vaporized cannabis to that of the combusted flower.
Some vaporizers are intended for home use and feature digital temperature settings, while small, hand-held vaporizers allow you to enjoy cannabis concentrates on the move.
Edibles and Ingestible Oils
As the availability of medical and recreational cannabis has increased, so has the popularity of edibles (cannabis infused food and drink). The selection of cannabis infused food and drink is constantly expanding with dispensaries selling everything from medicated sodas to savory snacks. For those living in less tolerant states, you can make your own at home with surprising ease. Essentially any recipe that calls for oil or butter can be infused with cannabis. In the edible preparation process, the cannabinoids are combined with lipids (fats) and decarboxylated (heated) converting them from their acid forms into their activated states. The activated oil can also be ingested in pill form.
Edibles are ideal for those seeking sustained, strong relief throughout the day and don’t mind a delayed onset.
The effects associated with ingested cannabis last much longer than the other consumption methods (anywhere from 4 to 8+ hours) and can be significantly more intense. This is because THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, is converted to the more psychoactive 11-hydroxy-THC by the liver. This compound is approximately 5 to 10 times stronger than the original THC. Smoked/vaporized cannabis does not have the same effect as it does not pass through the liver. For those looking to avoid the ‘high’ associated with THC-infused edibles, we recommend high CBD edibles or juicing raw cannabis.
The downside to edibles is the delayed onset time, which can take anywhere from 20 to 90+ minutes. Onset time is directly related to digestive process – eating them on an empty stomach results in a faster processing and vice versa. The combination of delayed onset and variable potency make dosage control more challenging. For more on recommended edible dosages, click here.
A tincture is a liquid cannabis concentrate derived through alcohol extraction. Tinctures were once the most common form of medicinal cannabis in the United States, prior to their prohibition in 1937. Tinctures are typically administered sublingually – a few drops of the cannabinoid-rich liquid under the tongue is often a sufficient starting dose. Tinctures are available in a variety of potencies, cannabinoid profiles, and flavors.
Tinctures provide a rapid delivery without utilizing the lungs and allow for consistent dosing.
One major benefit to tinctures is the rapid onset relative to orally ingested edibles. The solution is absorbed by the arterial blood supply under the tongue within seconds. The mucosa lining inside the entire mouth and the tongue itself also play a role in the absorption process. The effects will be felt within roughly 15 minutes, allowing for easier dose control (relative to edibles). That said, try to leave the tincture under your tongue for as long as possible before swallowing – maximizing quick absorption to the bloodstream as opposed to processing through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, for those desiring the edible-effect, tinctures can be added to your favorite drink.
The transdermal patch works just like a nicotine patch, delivering cannabinoids straight to the bloodstream over time. After applying the patch to a venous part of the body, one can expect sustained relief that lasts from 6 to 8+ hours. Because delivery to the bloodstream is very efficient, transdermal patches require much smaller dosages relative to edibles.
Patches deliver consistent, fast-acting, and long-lasting relief with less frequent medication.
The patches are available in a variety of potencies and cannabinoid profiles, both psychoactive and non-psychoactive. The onset associated with transdermal patches is typically quicker (15-60 minutes) than can be expected with oral ingestion.
Topicals are cannabinoid infused lotions, salves, balms, sprays, oils, and creams. Topicals are applied directly to the skin for localized relief of pain and inflammation, making them perfect for treating muscle, joint, and surface-oriented pain.
Recommended for treatment of localized muscle, joint, and surface-oriented pain and inflammation.
One other benefit of topicals is that they are completely non-psychoactive. Topicals have been especially helpful in treating those with arthritis, eczema, and psoriasis.
Dabbing refers to the process of dropping a dose of cannabis concentrate onto a heated water pipe attachment (known as a nail) and inhaling. Most commonly the nails are made from titanium, quartz, or ceramic materials. Dabbing differs from vaporization in that the cannabis concentrate is heated to a much higher temperature (anywhere from 500-900+°F). Thus, depending on the temperature of the nail, the heated concentrated can teeter the line between vaporization and combustion (the debate continues on this) – we like to think of dabbing as a form of flash vaporization. Did you know you can safely make your own dabs at home?
Dabbing provides nearly instant relief with intensely powerful effects.
The intense effects associated with dabbing concentrates can be felt almost instantly. Dabbing at lower temperatures produces more of a vapor than a smoke. Additionally, dabbing properly refined concentrates is a clean, flavorful experience free of plant material. Because dabbing utilizes highly concentrated cannabis extracts, it is not suggested for the novice consumer. Need to know how much you should dab? We can help!
Another popular technique making the rounds on Instagram is called twaxing, and involves combining cannabis concentrates with your rolled joints or blunts. By adding BHO or similar concentrates, you can dramatically increase the potency of a small joint, making it more suitable for sharing in a larger group. As you may imagine, this technique is also not for the novice consumer.
Managing Your Cannabis
Many people combine consumption methods for synergistic relief. For example: you might smoke a joint for immediate anxiety relief and eat an edible for sustained sedative benefits before a long flight. Of course, this just means more stuff, and we understand that you may not always be able to medicate within the comfort of your own home. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean that transporting your stash has to be a pain. Learn how to organize all the moving parts and condense them into a compact, smell-proof travel case that’s ready for all of life’s adventures.
- There is a general trade off between onset time and relief period
- It is always easier to supplement with a rapid onset consumption method
- Many consumption methods are complimentary, working together for sustained relief
How to Use Already Vaped Bud (AVB) to Make Edibles
There has always been a little secret at the intersection of vaporizing cannabis and edibles. One of the main benefits to vaporizing your cannabis is the ability to use your flower once for vaporizing and then using it again to make edibles. This is not something many people are aware of, but it’s a great way to get more from your herb!
Smoking weed turns your herbs into ash and even chars it—leaving no THC after the flower is combusted. Vaping, however, helps you efficiently ingest the THC and gives you the opportunity to re-use your flower a second time. Both vaporizer pens and desktop units will work for producing AVB.
What is Already Vaped Bud?
Already Vaped Bud, otherwise known as AVB, is the term used to refer to weed that has already been thoroughly vaped with the use of a vaporizer. Exhibiting an extremely dry and almost crisp texture, AVB is usually darker in color compared to fresh cannabis flower. It also gives off a slight yet distinct smell very much different from the rich aroma of fresh buds.
A common mistake many people make is throwing away their AVB, thinking it doesn’t have any use. After all, all the psychoactive ingredients have already been used, right? Little do they know, AVB can still be quite potent when used effectively. This is especially true when you use it to make edibles.
A very important detail about AVB is that it will only work if your vaporizer maintains consistent heat in the 315-440°F (157-227°C) range—preferably with the use of a convection style heating system. Beyond 451°F (233°C), combustion begins to occur.
Inadvertent combustion is the easiest way to burn your dry herbs and turn them into an ash-like substance. To make sure you end up with usable AVB, you want to ensure your flower vaporizer device maintains temperatures between 315-440°F (157-227°C).
How Does AVB Work?
The reason cannabis needs to be smoked, vaporized or included as a part of an edibles recipe lies in a process called decarboxylation, or decarbing for short. Decarbing cannabis activates its different cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, making them available for absorption by the body. This is why juicing or eating fresh and raw cannabis will have no psychoactive effect at all.
In order to decarboxylate cannabis, it needs to be exposed to heat, hence why we traditionally smoke or vape the plant material. Because AVB has already been vaped and exposed to heat, it has already been fully decarboxylated and the bud can be ingested as-is, inducing its full effects.
There is a very good reason not to ingest AVB straight though: it tastes bad. Really bad. Even mixing AVB into your food, while helping to mask the awful taste, can still make an entire dish unpalatable. Since most people like to enjoy their meal rather than taint it with the ghastly flavor of AVB, the preferred way to enjoy AVB is to properly incorporate it into an oil or butter.
How to Make Edibles with AVB
Making Canna-Butter or Canna-Oil
The process of making cannabis infused oil or butter with AVB is quite similar to that of working with fresh non-vaporized bud. Remember, the primary difference is the AVB has already been decarboxylated, so you can skip that step. Simply place your AVB in a pot or slow cooker with butter/oil for a few hours over low heat.
Make sure you’re occasionally stirring every now and then to avoid burning any of the plant material (using a crock-pot really helps maintain consistent low temperature to avoid burning). Let the mixture cool for a bit before straining. We’ve written another article with full step-by-step instructions and photos on how to make edibles from scratch.
Store the cannabutter or oil in a cool, dark place and incorporate it in any of your favorite recipes that call for oil or butter. It can be as simple as spreading the infused oil on toast, using it in a brownie recipe, or as a garnish for your favorite savory dishes. The possibilities are endless when working with cannabutter.
Converting AVB into cannabis oil or butter is a very popular and effective method that can be enjoyed with a wide variety of meals. Infusing AVB into butter might not be as quick as sprinkling AVB directly onto your food, but the flavor difference is worth the extra effort. It also takes a lot less time to accomplish compared to the water curing method, which we’ll address next.
The main benefit to water curing your AVB is that it eliminates the nasty, musty odor and flavor that most people find off-putting. While water curing AVB takes more time to make compared to cannabutter, it’s a relatively simple process. All you need is a cheesecloth to wrap around your AVB.
While this method works with any amount, it’s recommended to save up at least an ounce of AVB to make the entire process worthwhile. After you’ve made what is essentially a giant teabag out of your cheesecloth and AVB, soak the whole thing into a bowl of water. Make sure the entire satchel of AVB is fully immersed.
Once the AVB is soaked, check back at least every few hours or so for signs of the water turning murky. Toss out the discolored water and replace with fresh water as needed. After the AVB has been soaking for at least 4-7 days (we don’t recommend any longer than this, as this might lead to the formation of mold), drain all the water from the bowl.
Open up the cheesecloth and evenly spread the soaked AVB on a baking pan or tray and place it in an oven set to 200ºF degrees. Give the tray a good mix or toss every 30 minutes to ensure everything is drying out evenly. After around the 2-hour mark, your ounce of water cured AVB should now be completely dry and ready for consumption, sans the awful taste.
If you don’t have an oven, a dehydrator is a good option as well, although the drying process will definitely take a lot longer than 2 hours. Expect at least 12 hours to pass for a dehydrator to fully dry out your soaked AVB.
From here, the water cured AVB can be sprinkled on food directly, or infused into oil/butter—with far less noticeable bitter herb taste than its non-water cured counterparts.
How Else Can I Use Already Vaped Bud?
AVB isn’t that much different from fresh cannabis or organic raw hemp flower in the sense that they share the same versatility in which they can be consumed. The main difference is that AVB is less potent, as many of the cannabinoids were boiled off during the vaporization process.
This same process also resulted in the AVB being decarboxylated. With that in mind, there’s no need to go through the traditionally time-consuming decarbing process used to make edibles from fresh bud if you’re using ABV.
Sprinkle on Food
If you’re looking for a super quick and easy way to consume AVB without having to make infused butter or oil, simply sprinkle it on top of your food and mix it in. Peanut butter with honey or Nutella sandwiches are the preferred food for this, as the intense flavors and sweetness help mask the bitterness of uncured AVB.
Not only are these small sandwiches fast and easy to make, they do a great job of disguising the flavor of the uncured AVB. It can also help to mix the AVB with fatty foods like coconut oil before spreading it on the sandwich to further aid absorption.
Cannabis tends to work better with foods high in fat, since it is fat soluble. This means when you are making your butter or oil, you want to mix it with oil or butters that are high in fat—we prefer coconut oil, but olive oil, butter, or ghee will also work just fine.
This is more of a workaround to directly ingesting AVB, but it’s an option nonetheless. Simply fill empty capsules with your AVB and take like any other pill or supplement.
Capsules are an effective way to enjoy AVB without having to experience its awful flavor or texture. However, it can take a bit longer to feel the effects of using this method since the capsules take extra time to dissolve. Capsules are a great way to discreetly take your AVB with you on the go while maintaining discretion.
While this definitely defeats the purpose of vaping your weed in the first place, AVB can, in fact, be smoked. This is the least recommended method, as the taste is terrible and the potency won’t rival fresh cannabis flowers — not to mention the flavor will be very harsh and may irritate the lungs. Smoking AVB is certainly possible, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
Bonus: Hemp Flower AVB
Just like cannabis flower, AVB hemp flower can also be used to make therapeutic edibles without the intoxicating effects of THC. We like the organic hemp flower from Canna Comforts, which is sustainably grown, batch-tested, and vapes beautifully.
Making edibles from AVB is a great way to get every ounce of benefit from your cannabis or organic raw hemp flower.