ASA's Guide to Using Marijuana
Using Cannabis for therapeutic use
Smoking cannabis produces the most immediate relief ,and permits the most refined control of your dosage. While smoking any material is not good for the lungs, the amount of cannabis you need to smoke is so small you should not be overly concerned. Furthermore, using water pipes or other means of filtration will reduce the amount of unwanted plant matter you may inhale. It is better to smoke the flowers rather than the leaves as this also reduces the amount you will need to smoke.
Cannabis vaporizers are designed to let users inhale active cannabinoids while avoiding smoke. Vaporizers work by heating the cannabis just below the point of combustion, the point at which smoke is produced. When the cannabis is properly heated, THC and other cannabinoids are emitted in the form of a vapor. Many patients who find smoked cannabis highly irritating report effective relief inhaling through vaporizers. Also, vaporizers are very efficient so they can save money in the long term.
Cannabis can be eaten, usually in the form of baked goods like cookies or in candy-like products (see recipes on pages) . You may feel a longer onset time for relief eating cannabis compared to other methods of intake. It may also take longer for you to learn what dose is appropriate for you when eating and the side effects of using cannabis may be stronger = than those felt by smoking. You cannot overdose on cannabis, however side effects can be intense and overwhelming. Use caution when trying edible products especially if you did not make them. Try small doses at first and give yourself a few days to figure out the correct titration.
Like other herbs, cannabis can be made into a tea. Boil the water first and pour it over the cannabis. Allowing the cannabis to steep for approximately an hour and a half will ensure extraction of the cannabinoids. The effects are similar to eating it.
A tincture is a process of using alcohol to extract cannabinoids from the plant into a liquid form (see recipe on page). Tincture preparations have a similar effect as eating cannabis but the onset happens more rapidly and wears off more quickly.
Cannabis can be absorbed through the skin and so it is ideal for topical ointments. For a cannabis compress follow the recipe as for tea. Make as much as you need to thoroughly soak the cloth you intend to use. Apply to pain and leave on ½ hour. For a recipe for cannabis salve, follow the directions at the bottom of the page.
Marinol is a synthetic petrochemical analog of THC, one of the active elements found in marijuana. Some patients find it helps relieve nausea yet takes a long time to work. This product is made for ingestion, do not smoke it. It has the potential for overdose. Use only under the supervision of a doctor.
Recipes The following recipes come from the Vancouver Island Compassion Society www.thevics.com . Please note that not all medical cannabis laws allow for cannabis concentrates and possession of these substances usually carry more serious penalties.
VICS Cannamist/Tincture Recipe and Instructions on How to Convert THCA Into THC
A tincture is an alcohol-base solution of a non-volatile medicine (in this case cannabis). In this case alcohol is not only the solvent used to separate cannabinoids from the plant matter, it is what makes this type of application (particularly in fine-mist form) more bio-available and therefore effective.
In whole-plant cannabis, THC content is expressed as THCA (tetrahydrocannabolic acid) prior to decarboxilation into THC, which takes place when cannabis is heated during cooking, and smoked or vaporized ingestion. THCA is a mild analgesic and anti-inflammatory but does not have good affinity with our CB1 receptors, so in order to make a THC-rich tincture that has many of the same therapeutic effects as smoked ingestion (including rapid absorption, quick relief and ease of self-titration), we must convert the THCA in the plant matter into THC prior to extracting it through an alcohol soak.
Supplies: Converted cannabis Alcohol (50% is preferred, but 40% vodka works just fine) Organic mint
Large mason jar, x 2
Cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve
Dry heat conversion of THCA into THC:
• Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C) exactly (use an oven thermometer to be sure).
• Spread cannabis leaf or bud in a thin, 1 inch (2.5 cm) layer on a clean cookie sheet.
• Put in the oven until the first of smoke or 5 minutes, whichever is first, remove, and transfer to glass or ceramic container to cool.
• Pack a mason jar loosely but completely with converted cannabis product.
• Add alcohol until the jar is full.
• Seal, shake and put in a dark, cool place.
• After week 1, strain mixture through cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve and add to another mason jar packed with converted cannabis and a few sprigs of fresh organic mint.
• After week 2, strain mixture through cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve into mason jar.
• Add organic honey to taste.
• Shake/mix and then decant into bottles fitted with fine mist spray tops.
Dosage: Initial Dosage: Spray two times on the inside of the cheek, and wait 30 seconds before swallowing. Wait ten minutes and if desired effect has not been reached, repeat on the opposite cheek. Wait ten minutes, and repeat until desired effect is achieved. Dosage will vary between users, but should remain fairly constant once established.
Effect will last for between 1-2 hours. Repeat use as needed. If you feel dizzy or disoriented, immediately discontinue use. Do not operate heavy machinery or drive during use of this product.
The VICS Cannabis Oil Recipe
Makes about 2 Litres of oil.
200 to 250 grams good quality organic cannabis shake (trim)
Silkscreen, min. 200+ thread count per inch
3 Litres Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Colander or strainer
• Put cannabis into slow cooker, and add olive oil until it just covers the cannabis.
• Turn slow cooker onto High for 2 hours, and then turn down to Low for an
additional 4 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
** If one wishes a stronger product, add fresh cannabis to the previously heated oil left in the slow cooker and top up oil to cover the cannabis; keep cooking on low heat overnight or up to two days.
• Strain oil, as warm as possible, through cheese cloth, then strain through silkscreen. The oil is ready to use as is. It will keep for up to 3 months.
Cannabis oil can have a very narcotic effect. It is recommended that you do not drive or perform difficult tasks after consumption.
The VICS Cannabutter Recipe
Good quality organic cannabis:
- 14 grams of bud or 76 grams of shake (trim) per 454 grams (1 lb.) of butter 6 to 8 Litre (1.5 gallon) capacity boiling pot Fine mesh strainer, or colander, or large coffee filter, or nylon stockings Large refrigerator-safe pot
• Fill a 6 to 8 litre pot with cold water and bring to boil.
• Add butter.
• Add cannabis. Mix.
• Lower heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally (add water if
• Strain out liquid into refrigerator-safe bowl using fine strainer, large coffee filter or even nylons. Squeeze butter out of remaining leaf (wear gloves, the leaf is hot!). Discard strained leaf.
• Let liquid cool and then put into refrigerator overnight. Butter will separate from water and form a hard crust on surface of liquid.
• Lift out butter crust and put into large mixing bowl. Cream and fold butter using a large metal or wooden spoon. Discard remaining liquid. Butter is ready to use as is. It will keep in freezer up to 3 months. When baking with cannabutter select recipes with short, low-heat (below 163 degrees C or 325 degrees F) cooking instructions (like cookies) or else the cannabinoids will break down while cooking.
Products baked with cannabutter will take effect within 30 to 90 minutes from initial ingestion. For maximum effect, ingest on an empty stomach. Cannabis butter can have a very strong narcotic effect. It is recommended that you do not drive or perform difficult tasks after eating cannabutter products.
The VICS Salve Recipe
This recipe yields roughly 525 ml of topical salve; vary ingredients proportionately for a smaller or larger batch.
400 ml Cannaoil (converted cannabis and olive oil - see our Cannaoil recipe)
40 grams shaved beeswax
45 drops lavender oil
30 drops mint oil
1⁄2 tsp. of honey
1. Combine Cannaoil and beeswax in a small crockpot, or a small double boiler; put on low heat, no higher than 150oF (65oC).
2. Stir constantly until all the beeswax is melted.
3. Add lavender and mint oil to the Cannaoil/beeswax. Stir to blend oils. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
4. Keeping the crockpot, or double boiler, on very low heat, pour the salve into container(s); stir the mix prior to pouring in order to maintain consistency.
5. Let salve cool completely before putting lid(s) on.
Fast skin absorption with minimal residual effect. Eases dry skin conditions. Provides mild pain relief for muscular and/or joint pain.