By Owen Smith
In the last article, I touched on some of the science that we at the CBCoC have used to improve our edible and topical products. This would not have been possible without help from Dr. Paul Hornby. He is equipped with a high-tech, high-pressure liquid chromatographer. We have been able to test our cookies, Cannoil, and Ryanol for the most common Cannabinoids: THC, CBD, and CBN. This expensive device also identifies inactive Cannabinoid acids.
When the plant is heated, the inactive THC acid is converted into active ^9 THC. The chromatographer quantifies these Cannabinoids by a percentage of milligrams per gram. Using this data we have approximated the amount of ^9 THC present in one Ryanol capsule to the hundredth of a milligram.
The chart shows the results of de-carboxylation by heat over the three Ryanol tests. The left column measures how many milligrams of ^9 THC are found in a single Ryanol capsule, while the bottom bar shows the temperatures used for the three testing sessions.
For the first test, we used a double-boiler to cook the leaf into the grape seed oil for five to six hours, which is the tech- nique we have used for over 10 years. The second test involved heating the leaf for 30 minutes at 275 degrees before double boiling the leaf. For the third test, we increased the temperature to 300 degrees for 30 minutes before adding it to the oil. As the Chart shows, the third and final test has maximized the conversion of THC acid to active ^9 THC; increasing the temperature any more could break down these important components.
We most recently learned that it’s important to keep the plant material sealed from air to prevent CO2 re-attaching to the THC molecule. Decarboxylation is the process of removing CO2 from the THC molecule. THC won’t bind to your receptors while in its unconverted acid form. We plan to conduct more tests with Dr. Hornby to measure this improvement as part of an effort toward raising the standard of our medicinal products.
Without a H.P.L.C. we have to rely on time and temperature, as well as other techniques, to ensure maximum medicinal quality. We always use three different strains of leaf to infuse into butter and vegetable oils to ensure the maximum presence of Cannabinoids. With close to seventy Cannabinoids with therapeutic importance known to scientists today, we strive to involve as many as we can in each product. Each single strain of cannabis contains the potential for about twelve Cannabinoids, along with unique essential oils; so, by combining three strains we increase the variety of available active ingredients to approximately 20 to 25. The strains, not being tested by the H.P.L.C., contain varying amounts of THC, CBD and CBN, so minor differences can be expected from batch to batch, however, the overall success of decarboxylation is clear to see. An increase in activated ^9 THC from .35 mg per cap with the original method to 2.17 after proper decarboxylation, is scientifically significant and has definitely been noticed by the members. We have helped many people quit or cut down the use of pain killers with our edibles, and these improvements will continue to increase our capabilities to help people feel better.
In a study conducted by Dr. Hornby and Manju Sharma on whole plant edible cannabis treatment for MS, a combination of 50 mg. edible capsules taken 4-6 hours apart and smoking was used. This combination helped the patients maintain a plateau of pain relief, as opposed to the cycles of relief from smoking alone. With B.C. Bud averaging about 17% THC, and with close to three quarters lost to the atmosphere during smoking, The “Measurement of the mean ^9 THC concentration of these (0.5 gram cannabis) cigarettes was [...] 25 mg of ^9 THC per cigarette.”(1) That means an eighth of an ounce of cannabis offers roughly 87 mg of ^9 THC at about 30 dollars to help with breakthrough pain. An investment of 10 dollars for 40 Ryanol at the CBCoC offers approximately 88 mg of ^9 THC that will be released slowly into the body over several hours. This makes Ryanol the perfect companion for affordable lasting pain relief; although not as strong as Dr. Hornbys capsules. Ryanol is a low dose edible option for medical cannabis patients that is easy to swallow, effective for many hours, and far cheaper than the pharmaceutical options.
Ryanol is a whole plant medicine unlike Marinol or other synthetic THC pills. Science has shown that the presence of CBD acts as a calming buffer to the stimulating effects of THC. We firmly believe that the scientific evidence for whole plant medical cannabis will continue to grow, and we will continue to refine our methods to serve the many thousands of members at the CBCoC.
We collectively thank Dr. Hornby for helping us continue to improve our cannabis medicines.
(1) Standardized cannabis in multiple sclerosis: a case report Paul Hornby and Manju Sharma