High-THC strains may provide many medical benefits. For example, a synthetic form of THC known as Marinol is a prescription drug that treats or prevents nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medicines, and is also used to increase the appetite of people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). THC does have psychoactive effects. Caution is recommended when using high-THC strains if you are not familiar with the effects. THC taken without any CBD is much more likely to produce very strong psychoactive effects.
Many medical patients start by choosing a high-CBD strain of cannabis, since CBD seems to have some of the most widely accepted medical benefits. CBD by itself does not have psychoactive effects and does not alter your perception. Please note that any medical cannabis strain, even high-CBD strains, will contain significant amounts of THC, though high-CBD strains are not as likely to alter your perception as high-THC strains. As of right now, there’s only one way I know of to get just CBD without THC, and it involved extracting CBD from hemp (the legal cousin of cannabis). There is no evidence (yet) that shows that eating CBD from hemp is as effective as eating the extract from a high-CBD medical cannabis strain.
Many patients choose a mix of THC and CBD treatments, and this may be the best option for some patients. For example, Sativex is a prescription mouth spray whose chemical compound is derived from natural extracts of the cannabis plant. Sativex contains just two cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant: THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). It does not contain the full mixture of cannabinoids found in medical cannabis strains. This mouth spray is used for the treatment of neuropathic pain and spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and is also used for moderate to severe pain relief in adult patients with advanced cancer.
A big benefit for patients who use a mix of high-CBD and high-THC strains is this combo seems to provide the biggest benefits of medical cannabis with the least amount of psychoactive effects. Additionally, there are dozens of other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant which are not as well studied, and some people believe these all work together to provide the most relief.
Your final choice will really depend a lot on your condition and your body – you will likely have to experiment with a few different strains to figure out what works for you.
A Few Suggested Medicinal Strains
(They have proven genetics and the buds contain exceptional medical properties)
High-CBD strains – generally you’ll get the most consistent high-CBD results with clones, though high-CBD strains from seed have come a long way over the last few years as the strains are stabilized.
- Harlequin (clone-only)
- CBD Shark Shock
- Charlotte’s Web (clone-only)
- MED GOM 1.0 (by Grass-O-Matic & CBD Crew) <– Currently one of the highest CBD Auto-flowering strains
- Sour Tsunami (clone-only)
- Learn more about CBD on ProjectCBD.org
High-THC strains – most strains available today are high-THC, but here’s a short list of tried-and-tested cannabis strains that consistently produce high amounts of THC.
- Amnesia Haze
- Chem Dog
- Critical Jack
- Dark Star
- Orange Hill Special
- Sour Diesel
- Super Lemon Haze
- Vanilla Kush
- White Rhino
Advantages of Making Your Own Edible Hash Oil
- Quality Control – You choose which strain is used to make your medicine (Indica vs Sativa, THC & CBD ratios, etc ). You have 100% control over the creation process, so you know exactly what goes into your medicine.
- Can be eaten or applied directly to the skin – Rick Simpson Oil is edible and can also be applied topically (for things like burns, localized pain and/or moles), which makes it a great way to get the benefits of cannabis without the downsides of smoking.
- Can Be Produced at Relatively Low Cost – Edible hash oil can be made from inexpensive cannabis sources like home-grown medical cannabis buds or “trim.” Trim is a name for the leaves and stems that are left over after harvest of cannabis buds. The cannabinoids which make cannabis buds effective as medicine are present in smaller amounts on the trim, yet many growers throw the trim away because it is not suitable for smoking. The process of creating edible hash oil (as explained on this page) is effective at concentrating these cannabinoids into usable medicine. Therefore, growers can turn their trim into edible hash oil instead of throwing all the leaves and stems away, which means these growers are getting more medicine from each harvest. If you live in an area where cannabis is legal, you may be able to find a grower who will give or cheaply sell you their trim. Many medical cannabis patients also choose to grow their own cannabis. A little effort can save you a lot of money.
- Ingredients – Most cannabis edibles contain other ingredients (like sugar) that the patient may wish to not consume. Consuming a pure cannabis extract (like the one produced in this tutorial) will give patients just the cannabinoids without any “extras.”
NOTE: This method will teach you how to make a small batch of edible cannabis oil extract (Rick Simpson Oil, hemp oil, edible hash oil) for personal use. You will make about 2-4 grams of oil from an ounce of cannabis buds, or 1-3 grams out of an ounce of cannabis trim (leaves, stems, etc from a harvested medical cannabis plant)
Please note that while the doctor in the video mentions that Rick Simpson oil is often used for cancer patients, it can also be used to provide relief for epileptic seizures, chronic pain, nausea, and many other conditions.
The method to create cannabis oil as described in this video is very safe, but it’s important to note that the safety comes from following the instructions exactly. ALL solvents, like alcohol, are highly flammable and MUST BE treated with extreme caution and care.
- 1 ounce of medical cannabis buds – very dry & ground up – 2-3 ounces of medical cannabis trim can be substituted.
- 1 gallon Solvent (High Proof Alcohol) – 1 large bottle of Everclear is the recommended solvent for this cannabis extraction (Everclear is a very high-proof drinking alcohol that is suitable for human consumption). If Everclear is not available for sale in your state, other natural high-proof drinking alcohols made for consumption by humans can be substituted. The higher the concentration of alcohol (proof), the better. For this method, never use alcohol that was not intended to be consumed by humans (like rubbing alcohol)! Anything besides alcohol in your solvent may be left over in your cannabis hash oil, so higher proof spirits work best since nearly everything will be evaporated away, and anything left over is safe to eat. The solvent will be used to extract the essential resin and oil (the “good stuff”) from the cannabis buds or trim. After all the solvent (alcohol) is evaporated away, you will be left just the pure cannabis hash oil extract.
- Medium-sized Mixing Bowl – Mixing bowls made of Pyrex glass or ceramic are best – avoid using plastic or metal mixing bowls.
- Large Spoon – a large fork will do – wood works best, used to stir your cannabis around in your mixing bowl with the solvent
- Straining Device – Used to strain your cannabis alcohol mixture and remove the solid plant matter. This leaves you with just the liquid containing the resin and cannabinoids from the cannabis.
- Muslin bag (often found in the pots and pan aisle)
- Grain-steeping bag (made of muslin with wide weave – use 2 or 3 bags inside each other)
- A clean stocking
- Cheesecloth (often found in the pots/pans cooking section of a grocery store) & strainer
- Thai tea filter
- Coffee filters (don’t usually work well) combined with a strainer
- A separate container to catch strained liquid – A 2-quart mixing bowl works great, or you can get creative. The doctor in the video uses a tall, wide cup she found around the house. As you strain out the plant matter from your mixture, this container will catch the liquid that comes out the bottom.
- Double-Boiler Setup (or a pot and pan that stack neatly on top of each other) – A double-boiler is a type of pot and pan setup that can be found at any home improvement or super store. A double boiler allows your top pot to sit in a “bath” of water, so that the pot with your solvent never directly touches the stove’s heating element. The top pot should be made of “non-stick” material and needs a lid that will close over it tightly. If you don’t have a double-boiler, you can use a pot and pan that happen to fit together nicely. It will work as long as the bottom pan is full of water and the top pan sits comfortably on top.
- Silicon spatula – You probably have one in your kitchen already, this is used to scrape away the oil from your pan as it gets thick at the end
- Plastic syringes – These are often used for kid’s liquid medicine, and can be found at the drug or grocery store. Because you are making such a concentrated form of cannabis extract, you will need to use these in order to dispense tiny amounts of cannabis hash oil.
Your Preparation Area
- Heat Source– An electric stove in your kitchen would work well. It is more dangerous to use a gas stove (if that’s what you have) since a gas stove uses an open flame – you must use extra caution with a gas stove as the flame can ignite your solvent – keep anything containing alcohol at least 3 feet away from the flame of a gas stove at all times. A portable electric burner or a large tea warmer also work well.
- Fire Extinguisher – you should already have one near your stove, but double-check to make sure it’s there and not expired
- Ventilation – your preparation space should be a large open area with excellent ventilation. Open any windows and have at least one fan moving the air around. Turn on the fan above the stove if it’s available. Solvent fumes in the air can catch fire, so the best thing you can do to protect yourself during this process is to ensure there is good ventilation in your preparation space.
- Cooking time is about 30 minutes, and total preparation is 1 hour – After you’ve gathered all your supplies, it should take about an hour to make your edible hash oil. The first time you make edible hash oil will probably take longer. I recommend blocking off at least 2 full hours for your first time.
Step 1: Gather supplies
Preparation is key! Make sure you have all the proper supplies ready BEFORE you get started. Make sure you have your double-boiler, your extra flat surface 3+ feet away from the stove, you cannabis (ground up), your bowl and a bottle of your chosen solvent.
Step 2: Place ground cannabis buds or trim into the first mixing bowl
Dump the very-dry, ground cannabis flowers or trim in your first mixing bowl. Make sure you have at least few inches of space above the cannabis material, as you will be soon pouring a liquid into the bowl with the cannabis.
In the video, the doctor uses a giant ceramic mug as a mixing bowl and adds an ounce of dried and ground medical cannabis buds.
Step 3: Add enough Everclear to cover the cannabis completely, plus a bit extra
Cover your cannabis material completely with your solvent (Everclear), and add about an extra inch worth of additional solvent over the top.
As you can see, the cannabis material has been completely covered with solvent, and there’s a little bit extra solvent poured over the top so there’s room to stir everything.
Step 4: Mix Everclear and cannabis together for about 3 minutes
Work the cannabis material immersed in the solvent, using your mixing spoon, for about three minutes. This moves the cannabis material around and allows the solvent to dissolve all of the oils/resin from the cannabis material into your alcohol.
Mix it around, mash it down, and generally make sure that all the herb is being moved around so the alcohol has a chance to dissolve all the resin from the cannabis.
Step 5: Strain the Everclear-cannabis mixture into your other container
Carefully pour the cannabis solvent oil mix through your muslin bag (or whatever you’re using to strain the mixture) and allow the strained liquid to pour into your other clean container. This strained liquid contains all the extracted resin from the cannabis, which has been dissolved into the alcohol.
You may want to work the bag so you get a much liquid out the bottom as you can.
The strained mixture should be a very dark liquid with a greenish tint.
Step 5b (optional but recommended): Put cannabis material back in mixing bowl, then repeat Step 3, 4 & 5 to extract oil from the cannabis a second time
Put your cannabis material back into your original mixing bowl, so you can wash it again with the solvent to dissolve any remaining cannabinoids into the alcohol.
Again add fresh solvent to the starting material until it is once more immersed in the solvent, then work it for three more minutes with the wooden spoon you have been using.
Strain this additional solvent oil mix into your other container (that is holding the solvent oil mix from the first wash you did) just like you did before.
At this point, if you started with a large bottle of Everclear, you will likely be almost completely out of alcohol, as you used it for the first two washes.
Trying to do a third wash on the plant material would produce very little oil and it would be of little or no benefit as a medicine. The first wash dissolves 70 to 80% of the available resin off the starting material, the second wash then removes nearly all the remaining resin that is of benefit.
Step 6: Pour dark green liquid into top pot of the double-boiler
Pour the solvent oil mix from the first and second washes into the top pot of your double-boiler.
Your bottom pot should already be filled with water.
The purpose of using a double boiler is to create an extra layer of water between the heat and the top pot with the alcohol mixture. This makes everything safer, and allows you the boil off the alcohol slowly and evenly, without burning off any of the cannabinoids.
Everything is now ready to evaporate/boil off the alcohol, and you will soon be left with just the extracted pure cananbis hash oil.
If you don’t have enough room for all your mixture in the top pot, it is okay. As the level in the top pot drops in the next step, you can continue to carefully add any remaining part of your liquid mix, until you have nothing left.
Step 7: Turn heat on high until the liquid in the top pot begins to bubble, then turn off heat immediately. The heat from the water bath will continue to heat the top pan until the Everclear is evaporated away.
Make sure there are no sparks or open flames or red hot elements in the area while you are evaporating the solvent off, because the fumes produced from the solvent are very flammable. Avoid breathing in the fumes that solvents produce.
Double-check that you have all windows open, and a fan blowing across the room. Make sure the fan above your stove is turned on if you have one.
Now turn the heat on high, and watch closely until you see the dark green mixture in the top part of your double-boiler.
You will notice that the top mixture will begin to bubble, almost like it is boiling. This is actually happening at a very low heat; what you are seeing the alcohol evaporating away.
Once you see that the dark green mixture is bubbling, immediately turn off the heat.
The heat left in the water will generally be enough to evaporate all the alcohol. However, if you are making this in a cold room, if you are cooking more at a time, or if you have a more narrow pan, you may need to turn the heat on low a few more times if you notice the top pan stops bubbling.
Once the top pan is bubbling, it usually takes about 15-25 minutes before you’re ready for the next step.
I recommend checking back every few minutes and mixing everything with your silicon scrapper. When you mix the liquid, it is helping the alcohol evaporate away.
When checking on the liquid, you are looking for bubbling in the top pan which means the alcohol is cooking away. The bubbling will begin to slow down as the alcohol gets cooked off, but you should still see bubbling along the edges.
If the liquid has stopped bubbling but is still runny, you may turn the heat back on low for a moment until it starts bubbling again. You are keeping the heat on low (at max) because you want to avoid letting the mixture get too hot, which will boil away some of the potency of your medicine.
Heat is not as important at this point. Even if this mixture cools to room temperature (which is unlikely even in a cold room), the alcohol will all eventually evaporate away as long as you continue to stir.
Step 8: You are done when the liquid has become thick and no longer bubbles – it should look like this
Everything you started with has been reduced to this. You washed the cannabis with alcohol to get the oil, and then strained away all the plant matter. Now you have evaporated the alcohol so you are left with just the cannabis oil.
While the oil is relatively soft now, once it cools down it will become thicker, almost like putty. You should work quick and steady to place this mixture into a plastic syringe, which will make it easy to store and dispense your medicine. Remember, this is a lot of medicine, and the starting dose is half the size of a grain of rice.
Step 9: Use a plastic syringe to draw up the oil – this will allow you to easily create individual portions in the future
Quick Tip: Mix the warm cannabis oil with coconut or olive oil if you need to make less potent doses, or if you plan to use this topically on your skin.
For edible doses, you are using plastic applicators or syringes with no needles. These are often used to dispense medicine for children, and can be found at the drug store or grocery store.
Use the plunger of the syringe to slowly draw up the warm cannabis oil. The first few syringes will be easy to fill, but as you have less and less liquid remaining in the pan, it will become harder. That’s totally normal; just take your time and do your best.
If there is some amount of cannabis oil left which you cannot fit in a syringe, you can put the remaining oil in any sort of small closed container, and you will be able to use a toothpick to get tiny rice-sized pieces for individual portions after it cools.
The semi-runny oil will become much thicker after it cools – if the oil becomes too thick to push out of the syringe, simply run hot water over the syringe to soften the cannabis oil.
Store the cannabis oil in a cool, dark place such as a cabinet.
Strong Warning: Cannabis may provide relief for several conditions, but cannabis has not been proven to cure anything. Please beware any sources that claim that cannabis hash oil can actually cure any condition. There is not enough evidence to back up these claims.
While there is a lot of evidence that cannabis provides relief for certain conditions for many patients, it has never been clinically shown that cannabis cures anything. Part of the reason we do not have much evidence about the true healing effects of cannabis is that the widely illegal status of this plant has prevented medical researchers from conducting clinical studies.
Until there is evidence to back up the claims of all the benefits of medical cannabis, please note that cannabis is widely considered an alternative medicine and should never be used in place of professional medical care.