This week in Seeing Through the Smoke, we are going to jump directly into the deep end of cannabis concoctions to the most powerful medicinal preparation possible to make. This is the use of your 2017 crop that has been shown to be effective for treating a remarkable range of conditions, including chronic pain, sleeplessness, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, asthma, migraines, and some of the medical big baddies whose treatment in mainstream medical protocols can be nearly as damaging as the conditions themselves: HIV/AIDS, leukemia, mutated cells, and cancer. We’re talking Rick Simpson Oil, aka RSO.
RSO is to regular prepared bud as a Harley-Davidson is to a tricycle. Clocking in at a cool 90-plus percent THC, this stuff is the really, really real real (this sentence could have seven to 10 more permutations of “real” and still slightly understate the potency of RSO).
RSO can be used “recreationally,” I suppose, and it can be dabbed, but my best overall advice would include the following caveats:
It is not for taking before brunch on the town or a Broncos game.
It is not for taking before an important phone call.
Do not take it with plans to drive anywhere for the following half day, at least.
If you are prone to sunburn, make sure that you’re covered after taking it because you may find yourself waking in a puddle of drool outside some hours later.
The starting dose for ingesting RSO is one half a grain of rice (go to the cabinet, open up your container of rice, and take out one grain of rice; a piece of RSO that size is way too much; think about that for a minute).
But, if you need a powerful medicine to combat the conditions listed above (or the others being discovered daily as cannabis research expands worldwide) or you decide to take some time to commune at a deep level with the Green Goddess (and you will experience the equivalent of “tripping” on THC should you choose to ingest more than a grain of rice-sized hunk without slowly building up a tolerance), this is your method.
One ounce of primo dried flower will make approximately one-eighth of oil. You will also need a food-grade plastic bucket or large glass bowl, two mason jars, a wooden spoon-type utensil, a strainer, a funnel, a few coffee filters, and approximately one liter of grain alcohol to be used as a solvent. There is a wide range of solvents that can be used, but Everclear is widely available, inexpensive, and relatively safe (though not without a risk of flammability); at least one fan; a cooking pot, a rice cooker, a little bit of water, and, for the final step, a small glass Pyrex bowl.
First, roughly rip up your dried bud and place into the bucket or bowl. Lightly wet the bud with the solvent and pummel it well with your utensil. This will begin the process of removing the trichromes (where the THC resides) from the plant material. If large chunks remain, rip them up with your hands. Submerge and soak the plant material in the solvent for about 15 minutes, agitating it occasionally (not much agitation is necessary; the solvent does the work).
Next, pour the liquid through the strainer and funnel into the first mason jar, then through the funnel and a coffee filter into the next mason jar. This is the liquid that you will then cook down in your pot at low heat. When cooking, create bubbles but do not be in a rush, as this will take at least a couple hours. Have plenty of ventilation and at least one fan blowing over and around the process at all times until the solution begins to take on a more viscous consistency – think “soup to stew.”
This is where the rice cooker comes in. Once the liquid has been reduced by approximately three-quarters, pour the liquid from the pan into the rice cooker, as it is a safer option and will not burn your oil – the chemistry at play will continue to thicken the oil toward its final state. Like before, be certain the fan continues to provide ventilation (I run the rice cooker outside on the back porch to provide maximum ventilation). The rice cooker allows for an immediate removal from heat should the bubbling accelerate rapidly. There is a short window of about 10 minutes toward the end of the process when the oil has left a liquid state and become a thick, gooey semisolid. When this happens, add a few drops of water, stir constantly and don’t be afraid to slow things down by lowering or removing the oil from the heat.
To finish the process, pour the almost-complete oil into the small glass bowl and place it in an open oven at 180 to 200 degrees. This will allow the last bit of water to evaporate from the surface and the oil to finish decarboxylation. The remnant oil from the pot and the rice cooker can be warmed into olive or coconut oil for later use.
Voila! You now possess your own superpotent cannabis oil. Store it in the same glass bowl or transfer to a silicon container. Use it wisely, my friends.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.