We now find ourselves in the Renaissance or ‘re-birth’ of Cannabis and Cannabinoid medicine. We have begrudgingly suffered through the Dark Ages of Prohibition, and are now at the precipice of a New Age. Each new day brings a deeper and more intimate understanding of the immense complexity and restorative powers of this remarkable healing plant. We are now forced to reacquaint ourselves with what we as Humans once knew collectively in a deep and profound way. This is old knowledge. Perhaps not necessarily understood today in the same way it was long ago, certainly not researched with the same methodology. We are re-discovering what was common ‘knowledge’ to civilizations throughout the course of history… simply put, the Cannabis plant is and always has been an immense gift to Mankind.
I like to think of pure extracts of Cannabis Oil as paints on an artist’s pallet. A pure CBD extraction as perhaps yellow ochre, an Indica oil cobalt blue, Sativa oil cadmium red. Coupled with the secondary spectrum of infused coconut oils, we have the raw materials to create a piece of art as unique and one-of-a-kind as the individual it is prepared for. In the first part of our series (issue #115) we created a pure Cannabis resin extraction (see pic below left). In part #2 (issue #116) we made a wonderfully pure Cannabis infused coconut oil (see pic below). In this, the final installment we will blend the two together for a fully customizable medicine with ultimate purpose and intention.
The true beauty of Custom Capsules is the individuality and versatility of the preparation. By having each ingredient (pure oils and infusions) lab-tested separately, then utilizing the simplicity of the Metric System with our mathematics, we can put together a very accurate and effective preparation that has immense versatility in application.
Properly made Cannabis Oil can average over 80% total cannabinoid content, or 800 milligrams per gram. This highly concentrated resin prepared for ingestion works best when blended with a carrier fat (infused coconut oil). Coconut oil is easily absorbed and metabolized by the body, but pure resin alone is not. The infused coconut oil acts as a mild solvent to emulsify the resin and ‘carry’ it throughout the body, thereby facilitating sufficient distribution and subsequent absorption. The infused coconut oil also dilutes the resin, increasing the physical volume of the dose and making it easier to be accurately titrated.
For this particular preparation, we will attempt to create a blend that contains between 50-60 milligrams of total Cannabinoids per gram. We will target a ratio of around 1:3 of CBD to THC. Because we have had each individual ingredient tested, this will be relatively easy to accomplish by using simple math and following our calculations.
We will begin by establishing the total volume we want to create. 100 grams is an ideal starting point, and makes for simple math. Through individual ingredient testing, we know that the bulk infused coconut oil averages around 5 mg/g of total cannabinoids (CBD and THC being the primary constituents). Our bulk THC extraction contains 750 mg/g of THC and zero CBD. And finally our CBD extraction contains 788 mg/g CBD and 94 mg/g of THC. If our total volume is to be 100 grams, we will need about 5,500 mg of total Cannabinoids within the mixture to reach our target potency.
If we were to blend 93 grams of the infused coconut oil with 5 grams of the pure THC oil, and 2 grams of the CBD oil, we should end up with a blend that is just about right, with an overall mass of 100 grams. The end product should contain around 14 mg/g of CBD, and 44 mg/g of THC with a small amount of secondary Cannabinoids such as CBC, CBG, and CBN, and a tiny splash of THC-A… let’s get to it!
Small stainless steel mixing bowl
Silicone mixing spatula
Small pot and hot water for water bath
10 ml plastic syringe without rubber plunger gasket (for filling caps)
Size ‘0’ gelatin capsules
5ml dispensing syringe (with or without plunger gasket)-if applicable
Refrigerator for storage
Always begin by writing the recipe out on paper and doublecheck that the math is correct. Using a digital scale, weigh out each individual ingredient and add to a small stainless steel bowl. After measuring, set the bowl in a sauce pan filled with hot water to gently melt the ingredients, then blend the mixture with a silicone spatula. After the mixture is well blended, let it cool to room temperature. (This is very important when filling capsules, as a warm mixture will melt the capsule, and make for a colossal mess!) If using dispensing syringes, they can be filled immediately.
After the mixture has cooled to room temperature, the capsules can be filled. Again, it is very important that the blended oil is cool. Coconut oil will become solid at about 76 degrees, so 76-80 degrees F is ideal for filling. The gelatin capsules are designed to dissolve at 90-95 degrees F and we certainly do not want them to start dissolving before they are ingested!
When filling the capsules, it is important to use an oral dispensing syringe without a rubber plunger gasket. Syringes with rubber gaskets tend to bind up, requiring a lot of force to free up and often making a mess in the process. We prefer a 10 ml. gasket-free syringe for filling. They have a smooth action and will not bind. It is also helpful to hold the syringe as shown using your middle fingers to regulate the pressure on the plunger. This makes for a dispenser that is easy to control, and does a clean, efficient job.
Fill the long side of the capsule to the top, and cap it off with the small side. Once they are all filled, place into a clearly labeled small mason jar and place in the refrigerator for storage safely out of the reach of children. The mixture inside the capsules will solidify, and the capsules will be stable for several months. They can also be stored in the freezer for a longer term. The mixture may also be stored and dispensed directly from a syringe. A 5 or 10 ml syringe with or without a plunger gasket will work for this purpose. Syringes can also be stored in the same fashion. If the preparation proves difficult to dispense while in a solid state fresh out of the refrigerator, simply hold the syringe under warm running water or hold in a warm hand for a 15-30 seconds until it softens, dispense, then back into the refrigerator/freezer for storage.
A sample of this preparation was sent into the lab for analysis, and we were very pleased to see the numbers. Just about exactly what we were shooting for!
57.37 mg total Cannabinoid content per gram, with a 1 to 3.22 ratio of CBD to THC, and an overall activation of 99.44%…proper medicine!
A size ‘0’ capsule can hold .85g of mixture. So by multiplying 57.37 by .85 we determine that each capsule will contain 48.76 mg of total Cannabinoids. If the mixture is to be dispensed from a syringe, milliliters convert equally to grams, so each ml on the syringe equals one gram containing the full 57.37 mg.
As mentioned earlier, an encapsulated preparation can be extremely versatile in administration. Often times we find that someone may prefer one biological pathway over another, or may choose to utilize one delivery method over another depending on the circumstance (ex. those with an impaired oral route). All people are unique, and may react differently to subsequent methods, so the more options the better it is overall and capsules offer just that…versatility.
ORAL (DIGESTION/LIVER METABOLIZED)
The oral (digestion) route is often utilized extensively for those that can tolerate it. However, it is often experienced quite differently from the other more ‘direct’ absorption methods. Consuming Cannabinoids orally (swallowed) are first absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, then sent to the liver for ‘first-pass metabolism’. The liver converts Delta-9-THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC which is said to be 4 to 9 times as psychotropic as Delta-9. Due to the digestion process, ingested Cannabinoids can take up to 90 minutes or longer to take effect, be much more euphoric and last longer than any other dosing method (combustion and vaporizing being of the fastest onset due to direct blood-stream absorption via lungs). Gastrointestinal absorption can vary greatly from person to person. G.I efficiency/metabolism rate, full or empty stomach, micro-flora health and balance, enzyme content/acid levels/pH (stomach), coupled with liver health and functionality can all play a role in Cannabinoid absorption and metabolism through oral administration. The most common unwanted side-effects of this method, due to the potency of 11-Hydroxy- THC are anxiety, paranoia, confusion, and Xerostomia (cottonmouth).
Combustion and oral consumption are not the only means of ingestion. Cannabinoids can also be absorbed directly into the bloodstream bypassing liver metabolism altogether by utilizing the following ‘direct absorption’ methods. The onset of the effects will happen faster, with less euphoria, and a shorter overall duration. The experience is generally more predictable and easier to titrate as well.
SUB-LINGUAL (UNDER THE TONGUE) OR BOCCAL ROUTE (BETWEEN CHEEK AND GUM)
Mucous membranes within the mouth contain a profusion of capillaries just under the surface. Cannabinoids (esp. those being carried by a fat like coconut oil) are absorbed by diffusion thus readily entering venous circulation. By allowing a capsule (or a dose from a syringe) to dissolve and absorb in the mouth, one can achieve direct blood-stream absorption without digestion with an average onset of 30-45 minutes.
As with the mouth, anal suppository administration utilizes direct absorption via mucus membrane, this being the intestinal wall. Capsules work wonderfully for this purpose, and this method is very efficient. Be sure to use sufficient lubrication (infused coconut oil works well), and be certain the capsule(s) are inserted deep enough; up to the second knuckle on the index finger is about right. Also, make sure that your hands are well washed and fingernails trimmed and filed. One could also wear a disposable glove or finger cot for application. The capsule will quickly dissolve, and the dose should fully absorb in 30-45 minutes. It is a good idea to plan this dosing method around sedentary time in your day in order to keep the dose where it belongs, before laying down for a cat-nap or reading session or perhaps just before retiring for the night. Effects are usually felt between 15 and 60 minutes, and typically will not be as euphoric as oral ingestion as this method bypasses the liver as well. Though it is up for debate, some believe this method is up to 70% efficient in bio-availability of CB’s! Compare that to 20% absorption via oral and only 15% through combustion! We are big fans of the ‘Booty Bump’! Note: Capsules can also be administered vaginally, however the overall bio-availability may vary considerably between individuals.
Capsules can easily be emptied onto the skin and massaged in for trans-dermal absorption. This method is not the most efficient as far as systemic distribution of Cannabinoids throughout the blood stream, but can work wonders for targeting local pain, or treating lesions on the surface of the skin. When treating small lesions, be sure that the preparation is highly concentrated. Often just a few drops of coconut oil added to a pure oil (just enough to get it to flow and spread) is sufficient. A bandage is often used to protect the treated site, and keep the preparation stationary between applications.
PERSONALIZATION OF TREATMENT
A Cannabinoid treatment protocol can be as varied and unique as the individual being treated. What may be suitable for one person, can be completely inappropriate or insufficient for another. There are an astonishing amount of variables to consider from case to case. It often takes a moderate amount of patience, experimentation and determination coupled with an ability to listen to the body, mind and spirit to close in on a treatment protocol that works properly for each individual. Be prepared to make adjustments along the way, taking on any challenges as they arise. A Cannabinoid treatment protocol is moldable and often ever-changing and evolving, fortunately there are many options available for full customization!
‘Saturation’ is a term used to describe flooding the body with Cannabinoids by utilizing multiple biological pathways and administration routes. Often times, an individual may require a large concentration of CB’s in order to reach the desired result in their healing process. The above mentioned methods coupled with moderate combustion or vaporizing of dried flowers or properly made concentrates (free from residual solvents and contaminants) and even juicing raw Cannabis to supplement acid-form CB’s, offer a multitude of delivery options to achieve a Cannabinoid-saturated system. Often multiple preparations each with an intended application is the way to go. Perhaps a ‘daytime’ preparation with Sativa THC and CBD, and a ‘nighttime knockout’ prep made from Indica THC.
CBD, Indica THC, Sativa THC, oh my!
There is a fair amount of conflicting information available out there for the discerning ‘newbie’ to Cannabinoid medicine. For many, it is common knowledge to utilize euphoric (head high) Sativa oils and most hybrid oils for daytime use, saving the sedating (body high) Indica preps for bedtime. However, there are many people that do not have experience with pure CBD, or a preparation-heavy CBD concentration. CBD is mostly prevalent in Sativa-dominant genetic pools, thus most CBD heavy genetic lines can be traced back to Sativa lineages. That being said, there has been a recent influx in intentionally breeding CBD back into landrace Indica lines to accentuate the efficacy of the medical benefits of a particular Indica genetic profile… perhaps a subject for a future article. That being said, some believe that CBD alone is sedating. On the contrary, from what we have discovered, isolated CBD is most definitely a stimulant that increases metabolism and alertness, while decreasing appetite (while providing a sense of well-being). The most common side-effect from large doses of CBD is mild irritability. We almost exclusively save CBD for daytime preparations, and exclude it from Indica dominant nighttime preps where we are looking to promote restful sleep and a voracious appetite come breakfast time!
We hope that our three part series on “Cannabis Medicine at Home” provides you with the information necessary to produce your own highly effective medicines to treat whatever health challenges you and your loved ones may face. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish you all the very best in health!
Originally published in Weed World Magazine issue 118
- Cannabis Medicine at home Kitchen Cannabis Oil by Nugs & Nurse Tori
- Cannabis Medicine at home by Nugs & Nurse Tori
- Cannabis Medicine at home Part 3 Custom Capsules by Nugs & Nurse Tori