Regardless where you live or if you buy or grow your own marijuana, by the end of the day it is not exactly cheap to access high quality medical grade cannabis. And when you do get your hands on it, you want to get the best use out of it and there are in fact better ways to get more out of your herbs than smoking marijuana.
Trying to make the most out of your marijuana makes a lot of sense and I have been looking into the best way to use this sacred herb for many years.
As research reveals more and more about the therapeutic effects of marijuana, we learn that it is not only about the cannabinoids but there are also terpenes in marijuana, that also interact with the cannabinoid receptors and are beneficial in many ways.
Is there a proven way to make the most of this incredible plant?
The Most Effective Way to Use Marijuana
Let’s go through every method and dig into this deep. Let me share with you what I believe is the most efficient way to use cannabis flowers.
Rolling up your marijuana and smoking it is not the most effective way of application for several reason…
The first one is that inhaling smoke is not a good idea in the first place. Even though cannabis smoke has not been proven to cause cancer, it is still smoke. It is not good for your lung and for your athletic performance if it is a concern to you and the list goes on.
Second, when you light up your joint, it is obviously combusted and heats up to around 900 Celsius (1652 Fahrenheit) killing pretty much all the terpenes instantly as well as the majority of your cannabinoid molecules.
The cannabinoid that has one of the highest medical benefits, as well as the psychoactive effects, THC has to be heated up to form from THCa. It does not need a lot of heat though, around 80 Celsius (176 Fahrenheit) is all it needs.
That kind of heat you have at the end of your joint, can easily kill more than half of your cannabinoids, including THC.
It did not take me long to figure out that combusting cannabis is very ineffective, it can ‘kill’ routinely up to 80% of the cannabinoids and 95% or more of the terpenes.
Smoking marijuana is not the best way to make the most of your buck.
Moving beyond smoking, I looked at all the other ways of consuming cannabis.
Consuming Raw Cannabis
Raw cannabis is thought to have a lot of medicinal benefits due to the cannabinoid-acids, non-psychoactive precursor molecules.
Just like I mentioned THCa earlier, that is a precursor for THC. Even if you are happy to forego the psychoactive effects of the experience, currently reliable and consistent supply of raw ingredients is available in very few parts of the world, so this method is most likely not really an option for most of us.
Topical treatments of cannabis are aimed at localised symptoms, such as muscle or joint pain. Applying cannabis to the skin does not affect central receptors, so it is similar to raw cannabis where the traditional topical application does not induce the psychoactive effect.
Now, there are some products on the market that work similarly to nicotine patches and do get the cannabinoids into the bloodstream and central receptors, however these are not something that would give the most value for our buck at this stage.
Tinctures are great way to apply cannabis in many situations. Tinctures are extracts of marijuana into an organic solvent (most commonly alcohol or glycerin).
This process retains all the cannabinoids and enables very accurate dosing, however, producing the extract for the tincture is not suitable for most everyday situations.
As medical cannabis use is becoming more widely accepted, new products are coming out to the market. You can even purchase your own tincture maker devices, however currently this method is certainly not a clear winner in terms of the best value for your money and for making the most out of your cannabis.
We have spoke a lot about vaporizing here in the Greendorphin community, and I am personally a huge fan of vaporizing.
If you are not familiar with vaporizing, you can read this 3 part mega article here, about what you should know about vaping cannabis and what you need to get started.
The awesome thing about vaporizing is that as opposed to smoking where combustion heats your weed up to 900 Celsius (1652 Fahrenheit), with vaporizing, you only heat your herbs up to 180 to 200 Celsius (356 – 395 Fahrenheit) releasing cannabinoids and terpenes into your lung.
There a many reasons why vaping is better for your health such as healthier for your lungs, better breath, cheaper and much more! We discussed the top 9 reason on why it is smarter to vaporize than to smoke, so you can catch up by going back to that article.
But in the meantime, I can conclude that vaporizing is the best method so far that will give you the most value of your cannabis.
In order to get started with vaporizing, you may need a good vaporizer which you can check out here.
Let’s look at the last method to apply marijuana, ingestion.
Edibles are the quickest growing part of the fast growing legal cannabis market in the US and it is no wonder why many prefer edible cannabis. There is no smoke to inhale or a vaporizer gadget to work out, you chew and swallow and wait and you’re all set.
Cannabis is also proven to be a positive appetite stimulant. Why not go for cannabis edibles? If you are a picky eater you will surely like this idea.
On the other hand, preparing edibles takes a lot more cannabis than you’d think. It is said that you can calculate up to 3 times the cannabis for the same effect that you’d get with smoking. That is hard to compare though as edibles require larger quantities to prepare, however, they last longer and produce a stronger effect.
They also take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours to kick in and the effect may last up to 8 hours.
As you may remember, cannabis has to be heated up for the THC acid to turn into THC and become psychoactive.
So what it means, as we discussed while exploring the option to eat raw cannabis, the herbs have to be heated up to become psychoactive.
This process is referred to as decarboxylation and often done by grinding up the herbs and putting them into the oven for 15 minutes or so.
So is it an effective way to use your herbs, though?
Edibles are awesome and many people love them, however using raw plants to make them is not the most effective way to get the most value for the bucks you invest into your flowers.
So What IS the Best Method?
You might be wondering how to make the most of your weed after all…
Here is what I believe the best way is to make the most of your cannabis and the step by step instructions on how you can do the same yourself.
As we discussed, vaporizing your herbs is a lot more effective way of applying marijuana than smoking it and you are also left with the vaporized herbs.
When you load your ground up herbs into a vaporizer they look fresh and green like this:
Once you finished vaporizing them, they get more of a brownish colour and they look like this:
And here is a picture of the fresh cannabis and vaporized cannabis put next to each other, where you can clearly see the difference:
As opposed to smoking a joint, where you kill most of the cannabinoids and pretty much all terpenes while you are burning your herbs, if you are vaporizing your cannabis flowers, you end up with still usable vaporized material as you can see above.
This is basically the decarboxylation process we spoke about while we were discussing edibles above.
So after enjoying the therapeutic benefits of your herbs via your vaporizer, you are literally left with decarboxylated herbs, that are ready to be used in edibles, getting another use of the same flowers.
Below I show you a simple process to use the above decarboxylated herbs to create edibles. The limits what you can use the vaporized herbs are limited to your imagination, however, to keep it simple, I show you how you can make cannabis-infused chocolate.
It is really simple.
CANNABIS CHOCOLATE RECIPE
STEP #1 Prepare the herbs
As the first step, I usually grind the herbs up again.
Grinding your cannabis finely is highly recommended. You may need a good grinder that can do the job and to achieve great results on the infusion of your herbs to your edibles. Find out more about the benefits of finely ground herbs and how to achieve such results by reading this entry titled “The Importance of Grinding Your Herbs for Vaporizing.”
As a bonus, since the marijuana is now decarboxylated after vaping, it is very dry and will grind to pretty much a dusty consistency.
The difference is quite noticeable after putting through the herbs into the grinder again. I did not get the best focus on the below image, however, it is still visible how much finer the herbs get after the second grinding.
STEP #2 Prepare the Chocolate
Next step is break up your chocolate into smaller pieces so you can melt it:
I normally use a block of good quality organic dark chocolate (100g) that you can pick up in most supermarkets.
STEP #3 Melt the Chocolate
As a next step you need a double boiler to melt the chocolate or if you don’t have one, you can use a glass or ceramic bowl in a small pot of water on low heat like this one here:
Make sure there is no water getting into your chocolate while you’re melting it.
Keep an eye on your melting chocolate while you prepare the mould. If you don’t have a mould, you can source a silicone mould online or at your local department store very inexpensively.
The one that I use makes 15 pretty small cubes and I like it that way, it helps to keep good track of dosing.
STEP #4 Adding more flavour?
If you’d like to add some extra taste to your chocolate bars, feel free to experiment around.
This time, we added some sultanas to each of the cubes while we were waiting for the chocolate to melt. If you’d like to make it be a heavier puncher as a superfood, you can mix in your favourite nuts, chia seeds, maca powder, goji berries or shredded coconut etc.
Keep checking and stirring your chocolate in the bowl as it is melting:
It will be ready for the cannabis to be added when it is nice and smooth like this:
STEP #5 Adding the herbs
It is important to note that we all tend to have our own ‘right dose’ as our ‘tolerance’ depends on too many factors to draw conclusions early. I share my experience below, however, please take caution when working out your dose and always remember to start low and go slow.
I use a 100g (3.5 ounces) dark chocolate bar and add about 6 – 8 grams (approximately a quarter of once) herbs to that. Remember the herbs are already vaporized and would have lost about 10 – 20% of their weight.
This way I end up with 15 blocks, each block of chocolate being about one serving for an average cannabis user. Two blocks for patients with higher tolerance and may need to go down to as low as a quarter to half a cube for newbies. Once again, please take your time to experiment with the right dose for yourself.
Add your herbs to the chocolate as the next step:
Blend the cannabis into the chocolate very well and make sure there is no water getting into your bowl.
STEP #6 Measuring out the Chocolate into the mould
Once you have worked the cannabis into the chocolate as well as you can, you can start scooping it into the mould.
Pay attention to even distribution as you are getting close to the end…
STEP #7 Cool in the fridge
Once the cannabis chocolate is evenly distributed between your mould’s cubes, put it into your fridge for 30 to 60 minutes for the chocolate to set.
Once it is ready, you’ll end up with your cannabis chocolate bars:
From here, all you have to do is to pop the bars out of the silicone mould into a storage container or a bowl (remember to store your edibles safely and ensure they don’t get into reach of children or pets).
Once you are done, you are ready to enjoy your cannabis chocolate.
Remember this cannabis-infused chocolate is using the same cannabis that you already vaporized.
The vaporization process is not only a great way to use cannabis, however, it also leaves behind the herbs decarboxylated and ready for another use via cooking.
Smoking marijuana not only gets less (could be as low as 10%) of cannabinoids into your lung, it also leaves nothing but ash behind.
This is the most effective way of using your cannabis leaving nothing to waste and taking extra care to ensure most of the cannabinoids as well as terpenes are put to good use.
Remember to use medical grade high-quality cannabis as the more you are making out of it, the more important it is to ensure chemical and contaminant-free product.