Marijuana or Cannabis In Food And Drink
by Dr. Girivar Singhal
Smoking cannabis or marijuana has negative health effects. However, there is an alternative for people who don’t want to smoke but still want to enjoy the effects of cannabis – you can eat and drink it. Many people believe that ingesting their cannabis is a healthier alternative to inhaling it because there is no exposure to carbon-rich smoke. Some people, such as those on supplemental oxygen, turn to edibles when smoking is no longer an option. For people with eating and digestive disorders, edibles are not only a great source of nausea-reducing CBD, but also a vital source of nutrients and calories. The same is true for cancer patients suffering from nausea caused by their treatments, and expecting mothers dealing with hyperemesis (morning sickness). A few patients choose edibles because they are a more discreet way to medicate, while others simply prefer the effects of ingesting cannabis to the effects of smoking.
Effects Of Eating Marijuana
When cannabis is smoked, the effects are almost instantaneous. Some “creeper” grasses may take up to five minutes for the effects to come on completely, but some of the high is usually felt right away. The high from smoking usually lasts from one to two and a half hours, and can be recaptured when it is waning by taking a few more tokes.
Even for experienced smokers, eating foods containing marijuana can be a whole new experience. It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to even up to 4-5 hours for the effects to set in. The biggest problem here is to find the right amount. When smoked, the effects set in almost immediately, so it is easy to judge how much you need. After eating some weed, some users are too impatient, and they think they need more. While it is not possible to overdose on weed, the effects of eating too much cannabis are not pleasant. You may feel sick, confused, unable to move or talk, and your coordination may be heavily affected. These effects may last a long time, much longer than when smoked. It is therefore important not to eat too much. Start with a low dose, and increase it the next time, if needed. Experiment to find the right amount. If you eat too much, a high dose of vitamin c (200mg or more) may help to make you feel better.
When eaten, pot takes longer to work, depending on: the amount and quality of the weed/hash; the rate of your digestion system, and; the amount of food you’ve eaten beforehand. For maximum effect, do not eat anything at least 2-3 hours before eating or ingesting marijuana.
Nutritional Value Of Marijuana
The nutritional value of marijuana has long been accepted as medicinal. Marijuana contains essential amino acids, namely Edestin, a highly digestible protein. Edestin is balanced with essential and conditionally essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. Marijuana is the only source of essential cannabinoid acids. Marijuana has terpenes which are immunologic, antimicrobial and produces anti-proliferative actions. The anti-microbial features address daily use of potent antioxidants such as CBD. There are also flavinoids with diversity binding 1a and 2a post-synaptic serotinergic receptors. Cannabis is great for the mind.
Most of cannabis’ beneficial aspects come from its chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The one cannabinoid that most people are aware of is tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, which is marijuana’s primary psychoactive component. Our bodies produce compounds called endocannabinoids, which have important roles in brain functions related to memory, appetite, stress, sleep, and other essential functions. The cannabinoids in marijuana fit the same neural receptors that we have for endocannabinoids, and when THC floods the brain and latches onto the parts responsible for our senses of sight, sound, and smell, our appetites, and our pain perception, it produces the high that marijuana users are familiar with.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is generally considered to be the primary active substance in cannabis. Along with other psychoactive cannabinoids, THC is a hydrophobic oil, meaning it is insoluble in water but soluble in lipids (oil/fat) and alcohol. Using either one of these to extract THC from cannabis is required to have the cooked product be psychoactive. During preparation the cannabis or its extract must be heated sufficiently or dehydrated to cause decarboxylation of its most abundant cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, into psychoactive THC.
Solubility Of Cannabis
The oil-solubility of cannabis extracts has been known since ancient times, when Sanskrit recipes from India required that the cannabis be sautéed in ghee before mixing it with other ingredients. Making a tea by boiling cannabis in water is a highly inefficient way to extract cannabinoids, although if the cannabis is of good quality and has plenty of resin on the outside, a portion of resin can be softened by the heat and float out into the water. Adding milk (which contains fat, water, proteins and electrolytes as well as certain sugars) when steeping, however, makes it much more efficient than using plain water, and this technique has been used for thousands of years in India to make the drink bhang.
Cooking With Cannabis
How to use cannabis successfully in any recipe that requires butter, fats or oils. So you can add cannabis to any food that contains animal or vegetable fats, such as cakes, biscuits, stews or drinks such as milkshakes, drinking chocolate or yoghourts. You can use cannabis in your main course dinners, side dishes, lunch, breakfast, soups, salads, desserts, snacks, bread and drink recipes
Important points to remember when cooking with cannabis are that you need to ensure an even spread of cannabis throughout the chosen dish and that the meal or item produced should not be too heavy. If you have a full stomach then the cannabis constituents will take longer to enter the bloodstream.
The basic principal in cooking with cannabis is to first extract the THC into a fat, for example butter or an oil. You do this by grinding up the cannabis into a fine powder and then adding it to a small amount of hot oil and allowing it to dissolve, then you add the oil/cannabis mix to the food you’re preparing
Marijuana Seed Oil
Marijuana seed oil can be made using the same cold pressed process to create hemp seed oil. You could use either marijuana or hemp to get your oil. Hemp seed oil could be the highest source of easily digestible essential fatty acids in the plant kingdom. Marijuana seed oil has a nutty flavor, the darker the oil the flavor gets earthier. Marijuana seed oil is of high nutritional value because its 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids, matching the balance required by our human body. Marijuana seed oil won’t have THC but it will have essential natural occurring healthy nutrients. An old fashion way to incorporate your cannabis into your food is through dried and ground up marijuana acting as an herb. You can sprinkle this weed herb on pizza, pasta, and inside loaves of bread. It can be seen as health food, try some on your salads, the oils in the dressings will help extract the THC resin for consumption.
- Cannabis Tar
- Cannabis cooking brandy
- Cannabis milkshake and Ice cream
- Cannabis cookies, chocolate, candy, Brownies
- Coffee, Leprechaun’s delight (Iris style coffee), Jack tar coffee, Butter ball coffee
- Tea and many more
Benefits of Edible Marijuana
Though there are untold varieties of edibles available on the market today, they can all be split into three basic categories: those geared towards gastrointestinal uptake (digested through stomach), those geared towards oral uptake (through saliva), and a few that fit into a hybrid category that targets both. The most common edibles are geared towards gastrointestinal absorption. Any edible where the cannabinoids are absorbed through the stomach, like a brownie, cookie, cashew bar, or crepe falls into this category. These edibles tend to take longer to activate within the body (sometimes as long as two hours), but produce a longer-lasting effect (up to eight hours of relief). On the flipside, edibles geared towards oral uptake can affect a patient almost immediately, but tend to wear off faster (within two to three hours). Edibles that you hold in your mouth for an extended period of time like suckers, lozenges, or tincture, fall into this category. Some items, such as drinks and chocolates fall into a hybrid category, because they are designed to be absorbed in both the mouth and the stomach. These edibles are a middle ground between oral and intestinal absorption, offering fast-acting relief (patients usually feel this type of edible within a half hour) that can last for four hours or more.
Eating cannabis produces a much more medicinal “body” high with an enhanced ability to relieve pain, increase appetite, decrease body aches, headaches and induce a deep restful sleep. If fact the “knockout” effects felt from consuming THC can be so strong the consequences of a marijuana “overdose” aren’t very serious. You might become uneasy and feel anxious possibly even have slight hallucinations but not to worry. No one has ever died from a marijuana overdose and the more you take the quicker you’ll find yourself in a deep, restful sleep with no hangover when you awake.
Dr. Girivar Singhal for The Marijuana Company