Tuesday, March 19, 2013

THC- Tetrahydrocannabinol

In a previous post, Cannabinoids, I briefly talked about the various cannabinoids that are in cannabis.

Now, I will discuss each of these cannabinoids in separate posts, starting with THC.

Some may say that THC is all that matters. 
THC molecule

Not so, especially for medical patients who gain more benefit from a combination of different cannabinoids, or a higher ratio of cannabinoids like cannabidiol and that is not even taking into account the other ingredients in cannabis, like terpenes.

Still, THC is important and has important medical benefits.

There are 2 types of THC- Delta 9 and Delta 8.
THC is lipophilic, which means it dissolves in fats, oils, lipids and non-polar solvents.

It has a high UV-B absorption which may be to protect the plant itself from harmful UV radiation, while the effects of THC may be used by the plant as a way to protect itself from herbivores.

Hebrew University
THC was first isolated in 1964 by Raphael Mechoulam, Yechiel Gaoni and other colleagues at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Since then, research and studies have been undertaken and are currently underway to discover all of the medical applications that THC could be used for.

It has been known for some time that THC does relieve pain, can prevent nausea and vomiting, causes relaxation, alters visual, auditory and olfactory senses, reduces aggression and can stimulate appetite.

The claims of brain damage from use of THC are not supported by current research, which actually shows that THC can activate the cannabinoid receptor CB1, which in turn helps neurogenesis.

Neurogenesis is where neurons are created from the neural stem and progenitor cells, causing the brain to be populated with neurons.

These neurons help improve cognition, memory capacity, relieve stress in adults, provide neuroprotection and can help to prevent the neural degradation that occurs with neurodegenerative diseases like MS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

This research has found a correlation between cannabis use and increased cognitive function, especially in people who have schizophrenia.

For patients with MS, THC can also relieve their neuropathic pain and muscle spasticity.

Many people with cancer or AIDS use THC to increase their appetite and decrease nausea, besides reducing their pain and recent studies are showing that THC can reduce the size of tumors.

Alzheimer's could one day be prevented with THC. Evidence is suggesting that THC could prevent inflammation caused by microgliacells and inhibits amyloid plaque, which are important factors with Alzheimer's.
THC is found to be more effective at this than Donapezil or Tacrinetuo, two of the leading Alzheimer's drugs.

For people with Tourette's Syndrome, THC could help significantly reduce the nervous tics and urges that are common with this disease.
Patients with glaucoma can use THC to reduce the pressure on their eyes.
Other studies are showing that it could reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, a condition where the artery wall thickens with an accumulation of fats such as cholesterol and triglyceride.

Other claims of THC causing psychosis are incorrect as well. THC may accelerate symptoms in people who are already predisposed to psychosis, but it does not cause psychosis in healthy people.

Clinical trials were begun in August of 2009, to see what effect THC would have on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, by the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Dr. Mechoulam, one of the first to isolate THC, is participating in these studies and in studies with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

So far the studies into THC treatment for PTSD are showing that it can provide symptom relief by activating the cannabinoid receptors. This symptom relief comes from memory extinction, which is the process of removing the tie between stimuli(such as loud noises or stress itself) and the actual experience which has created such trauma to the person.

It is felt that with more research and studies, this activation of cannabinoid receptors by THC, other cannabinoids or by another means, can be used to cure PTSD, not just treat the symptoms. There is also hope that other anxiety or depression disorders could be cured this way as well.

I will post again soon about Cannabidiol, another cannabinoid that is found in cannabis, which also has many medical applications.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Cannabinoids are chemical(terpenophenolic) compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors.

In a previous post, Why does cannabis affect us?, I briefly discussed cannabinoids and their interactions with cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabinoid interaction

Today, I am going to further discuss cannabinoids and briefly describe the various types.

In later posts, I will discuss each cannabinoid in more detail, their effects, uses and some history.

To date, there are 85 known cannabinoids in cannabis, but there may be more, time and further research will tell. Not all of the known cannabinoids are named and information about all of the cannabinoids is still undergoing further research.

Endocannabinoid System

Here is some of what we do know today.

There are three types of cannabinoids:

Endocannabinoids: these cannabinoids are produced naturally by humans and animals

Phytocannabinoids: these cannabinoids are produced naturally by plants

Synthetic cannabinoids: these cannabinoids are
produced chemically by humans

Cannabinoids in cannabis are:

THC- Tetrahydrocannabinol
CBD- Cannabidiol
CBN- Cannabinol
CBG- Cannabigerol
THCV- Tetrahydrocannabivarin
CBDV- Cannabidivarin
CBC- Cannabichromene

Tattoo of THC molecule

Synthetic/Patented cannabinoids from cannabis are:

Dronabinol- Marinol
Nabilone- Cesamet
Rimonabant- Acomplia

Purely Synthetic cannabinoids from cannabis are:

JWH-018: Spice
WIN 55,212-2
Levonantradol- Nantrodolum
Endocannabinoid system

Friday, March 8, 2013


Recently I have been searching for an isomerizer machine and you may be thinking what in the world is an isomerizer?

It is used to extract oils out of plants, using the plant material and grain alcohol.
This machine can save you a lot of time and effort in creating as close to pure cannabis oils as possible, without as many of the safety concerns in dealing with alcohol fumes.

Simple to use, 100% isopropyl alchohol is placed in the machine and will flow through the plant material to leach out the vital oils. Then the alcohol is evaporated by the thermostatically controlled heating element.
Aluminum fins, located in the top of the device condense the alchohol which will then flow back through the plant material.
It works similar to a coffee maker.
After that, the plant material is removed and the reclamation cup is put in place to collect the alchohol, which leaves you with the vital oils reclaimed in the bottom of the stainless steel unit.

It can extract plant oils out of almost any plant you can think of and because of that it has many uses.

It can be used to create:

  • Holistic Medicines and Ointments

  • Organic Soaps

  • Scented Candles

  • Bath Oils

  • Natural Organic Dyes

  • Perfumes

  • Mosquito repellent

  •  The idea of isomerization was introduced in a slim booklet, CANNABIS ALCHEMY by David Gold, published in 1973.

    Thai Power, Inc. created and produced an isomerizer in 1975 for $275.00, then in 1976, they introduced a new model called ISO2 for $159.00.
    Other companies produced imitation isomerizers called Maximer for $29.95 and another one called Kik for $69.95 soon after that.
    Even though they were expensive for that time, it was estimated that 20,000 had been bought.
    By 1982, isomerizer ads and isomerizer imitators had all but disappeared, due to introduction of anti-paraphernalia laws.

    Now, you can go on Ebay and purchase an original circa 1970's isomerizer, but you better be willing to shell out the dough. The 4 I have seen are $449.99, $499.99, $1250.00 and $1420.00, pretty steep for a used machine that is over 30 years old.
    A definite NO. If I am going to spend at least $400.00, I am going to get a new machine, not someone's 30 year old worn out piece of junk.

    And I found it. Super Flower Tower, the company's name, has created an isomerizer called Super Flower Tower and it is $499.00.

    So now I just have to come up with the 500 dollars.

    Cold process tinctures

    I have talked about extracts and tinctures in many of my posts.

    In my fridge, I have cannabutter and recently we made a batch of brownies with it.
    They turned out very potent and good, even from a box.

    This weekend I plan on using some more of the butter to create lollipops and I will also make a tincture for the first time.
    I will use the cold process I mentioned in my previous post to create it.

    I may make two tinctures, one of them using homemade brandy and the other using a vodka left over from New Years.

    If I have the patience, I could do one of the tinctures using the dark place extraction.
    I am curious how the extra time in dark place extraction would affect the potency of the tincture.

    Here is how I will create a tincture using the cold process.

    Cold Process Tincture


    1 pint vodka, brandy or other hard liquor
    2 oz cannabis leaf- I will be using the sweet leaf and trim


    1 pint mason jar with lid
    Coffee filter
    Small blue or brown glass bottles with droppers
    small funnel

    Place cannabis in mason jar and cover with alcohol.
    Place jar in a paper bag and then into the freezer.
    Shake jar at least once a day.
    After three to four days, remove from the freezer.
    Line a strainer with cheesecloth placed in it crosswise.
    Place strainer over a large bowl, use a bowl with a spout if possible.
    Strain alcohol mixture.
    Twist cheesecloth up into a ball and squeeze alcohol out.
    Discard cannabis.
    Line the funnel with a coffee filter.
    Using the funnel pour tincture into the dropper bottles.
    Bottles must be stored in a cool and dark place.

    Ebers Papyrus-contains directions for creating cannabis tincture

    Dark place extraction is different. The same ingredients in the same amounts are used, but the process to create the tincture itself involves time, not temperature. Alcohol itself is a great solvent for THC extraction, but since no heating or cooling will be involved, then it will take time.

    Dark Place Extraction

    Same ingredients and equipment as cold extraction.

    Place cannabis in mason jar and cover with alcohol.
    Place mason jar in paper bag.
    Place paper bag in a cool and dark place.
    Shake once a day for 3 to 4 weeks, up to 6 months if you wish.
    One of the sites I have visited said it can be left until there is no green color left in the cannabis.
    Strain the same as in cold extraction and place in dropper bottles.

    The reason why cold extraction can be done in such a short amount of time,
    is because the trichomes, where the cannabinoids are located,
    fall off of cannabis when it is frozen.
    After they fall off, they can be more easily absorbed into the alcohol.

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

    Let's talk about tinctures

    I have previously posted about extracts, now I am going to talk about tinctures.
    How are they different from extracts?
    What are they made from?
    And how are they used?

    A tincture is an extract of a resin or essence by combining with alcohol. Depending on the tincture there can be a lot of alcohol left in the end product or an infinitesimal amount.

    Tinctures are not used for substitutions in a recipe, except as a replacement for a very small amount of the alcohol in a recipe and only certain alcohol tinctures are used for this.

    They can be added in to a recipe, usually in very small amounts depending on the concentration of the tincture-how potent it is.

    There are tinctures that are usually only administered a drop at a time under the tongue, Ricky Simpson Oil is one of these. Other tinctures can be administered where 5 to 15 drops equals a full dosage.

    Most tinctures consist of a form of alcohol and cannabis. The methods to create them vary, with some requiring a cold extraction where the mixture is placed in a freezer for a number of days, while others call for a cool, dark place and weeks of time for the tincture to be created.

    Herbal Liqueurs are slightly different and can be consumed in larger dosages depending on how potent the liqueur is. The process has two stages.

    First, an alcohol extract of cannabis is created, this is where you decide how potent it will be. For a light and effective liqueur a ratio of 1 oz cannabis buds to 1 quart of alcohol can be used.

    To keep the extract base clear, pure and crystalline vitamin C must be used when creating this alcohol extract.
    Once the extract is created, you must decide if you want to sweeten it or add other flavors.
    To sweeten, create a syrup of honey and water.
    If you wish to add other flavors, create an alcohol extract of whichever herb or herbs you choose.
    Either one of these or both can then be added to the cannabis extract.

    There are also fluid extracts, which is a tincture that has been thinned out with water or another agent.

    Cannabis tinctures and extracts used to be a commonly used medicine in America, from 1840 to 1937.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Talking about extracts

    I discussed why we use tinctures and extracts vs. just adding cannabis to food in a previous post. Now I will discuss what the various extracts are and what they are made of.

    If you look at my cannabutter posts, you will know that there are different ways to create it, based on what environment you use to extract the THC into butter.
    Cannabutter is a very popular extract and can be used interchangeably with butter in any recipe, but it is not the only extract that can do that.

    Cannaoil is another extract that can be used interchangeably with any oil in any recipe.
    Any cooking oil can be used and since it is an oil, the THC will be extracted into it.

    cannabis with coconut oil

    Coconut oil is a very popular oil to use when creating cannaoil and aside from time, it is not difficult to create it. Some recipes to create it are as simple as oil and fine ground cannabis, others call for a water bath extraction similar to creating cannabutter.

    Clarified butter is another medium THC can be extracted into and it is also easy to create, with the benefits of a longer shelf life in the refrigerator.
    Some recipes also call for clarified butter instead of plain butter, so this is a way to medicate foods created with these recipes.

    Bacon drippings can become an extract, if you heat it slow over low heat and when hot, add fine ground cannabis or whole buds and then turn up the heat slightly to about med-low heat and cook for 20 minutes.

    The advantage of using whole buds is you can pick them out vs. straining.

    Fresh slab bacon can also be medicated, simply by cooking the bacon and cannabis together very slowly for 20 minutes. This can create a nicely medicated bacon and the drippings from the bacon will be medicated as well.

    Lard extract can be used for baking and in pastries and crusts.
    Ratios of cannabis to lard are high, since less lard is used in recipes than butter or oil. A common ratio is 4 oz cannabis to 1 lb of lard or 1 oz cannabis to 4 oz of lard.
    The process for creating it is very similar to water bath extraction for cannabutter.

    Heavy cream can be medicated by using a double boiler and a small amount of very potent cannabis. It is important that the cream completely cover the cannabis and to use only the freshest heavy cream when creating it.

    A semivegetarian extract can be created by combining the cannabutter and cannaoil recipes.

    An extra virgin olive oil is used and poured in a separate container from the butter and both cool separately before being combined together.

    These extracts can also be flavored, which can help with any remaining taste or smell.
    An alcohol based flavoring extract can be created using the double boiler heating method or no heat needs to be applied.
    It can be done cold with enough time for the herb, spice or fruit that you choose for the flavoring to infuse into the alcohol.

    There also is a water based flavoring extract, that you simply heat over the stove and filter.

    A ratio for a small batch would be 1 oz cannabis, 8 oz butter and 1 tsp. of flavoring extract and the extract is usually only added during the last 15 to 20 minutes before straining.