Seeing through the smoke

Christopher Gallagher

Get that cannabis trim ready for use in oils, butters, tinctures

Ar 170629638
Associated Press
Ar 170629638
Associated Press

It would appear that our boy, AG Sessions, is otherwise occupied this week with activities that include “not recalling” and “lawyering up,” so we are free to get on about the business of making plans to use our trim come October-or-so in order to make some delicious concoctions that will be certain to leave smiles on our faces, limberness in our muscles, and a pleasant little fuzz in our minds.

There is nothing quite like an edible preparation of cannabis. Done correctly, it will transport you to a state of bliss so complete that the world around you becomes engulfed in a happy glow and it becomes unclear whether the source of that glow emanates from some place within you or if you are gathered into a field of sensorial harmony: food tastes delicious, music sounds even more heavenly sourced, a primal warmth envelops you akin to floating on the surface of a tropical sea as the sun cascades on your face. This nearly-perfect feeling can be achieved by ingesting the prototypical brownie or cookie, but today we are going to backtrack the process and focus on the component parts of said edible creations. We’ll blow the doors off the creative restrictions contained in eating weed in the form of those delicious but slightly overdone ol’ faithfuls with an eye toward sparking your individuality to create a new cannabis-infused cuisine. Think of not only desserts, but appetizers, soups, salads, and main courses, all infused with cannabis according to your individual palate and creativity.

First, a bit of science (because I know you love it when I get all sciency). When we discuss the high associated with cannabis, we are discussing the effect on our brain chemistry of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. But, in raw undried, uncured cannabis, this psychoactive compound is present only in small doses. A chemical called tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA, predominates and the conversion of THCA (which does have health benefits but will not get us stoned) to THC takes place by way of the removal of the carboxyl (COOH) part of the molecule through the addition of heat, usually in the form of a flame applied to smoked flowers.

Since we are not going to smoke our trim, here is a simple process by which we can decarboxylize it in order to make it viable for use in oils, butters, tinctures, and the like, which we will then have available to us for any number of culinary applications. This is done at a low temperature for a fairly long period of time and requires only a few basic supplies. (It’s done this way to preserve a high percentage of the terpenes, which contribute to what is known as the “entourage effect” of whole-plant medicine, as opposed to the laboratory-isolates peddled by pharmaceutical companies.)

You will want to work with trim that has had a couple days to lay flat and dry so that it’s easier to work with. First, chop up the trim (you can definitely add the underdeveloped “popcorn buds” form the lower/interior sections of the plant) so that it can be easily spread around.

Lay the chopped product into a baking pan (Pyrex is best) to a depth of about one inch (slightly deeper is OK but do not go over an inch-and-a-half as it may cause inconsistency in heating) and place the pan in an oven preheated to 240 degrees.

Heat the pan for an hour, moving the contents around every 15 minutes to ensure even distribution. Turn off the oven and allow everything to cool until you are able to remove the baking pan with your bare hands.

And, just like that, you have decarboxylated cannabis trim ready to be applied to any variety of uses, some of which we will begin to investigate next week. Enjoy watering and loving your beauties that will give you this bounty ’til then, friends.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at chrstphrgallagher@gmail.com.