Terpenes: Medicinal Benefits and Characteristics

dank budTHC has often been the chief concern of growers, patients and connoisseurs for decades but experiments have shown that Cannabis can contain dozens of active cannabinoids and hundreds of another class of active chemicals known as ‘terpenes.’ Though often overlooked, terpenes have long been known to possess powerful medicinal properties (they are the molecules responsible for many of the odors we know and love) and recent studies have suggested that they may play a more important role in the beneficial effects of cannabis than previously thought.

The cannabis community has always reinforced the anecdote that more odorous (my personal favorite term is ‘louder’) buds tend to be more potent but it wasn’t until 1998 that a scientific connection was be made to identify the synergistic effects between terpenes and cannabinoids. After over a decade of research, an article was finally published in the well-respected British Journal of Pharmacology outlining the potential medicinal properties of terpenes found in cannabis. We’ve outlined his work for a few of the more prevalent terpenes below:

D-Limonene:

  • Has a strong ‘citrusy’ scent and is responsible for the smell of citrus fruits, this is the second most common terpene found in nature.
  • Shown to have strong anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects
  • Being tested as treatment for breast cancer
  • Treats gastro-esophageal reflux
  • Demonstrated to have effective ‘antioxidant’ properties

β-Myrcene:

  • Found in hops, bay leaves and eucalyptus and fresh mango
  • Strong anti-inflammatory properties
  • Shown to prevent liver cancer
  • Has a sedative effect that may be associated with “couch lock” when combined with THC

α-Pinene:

  • The single most common terpene found in nature, responsible for ‘piney’ odors.
  • Insect repellant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Bronchodilator at low concentrations (opens breathing passages in the lungs)
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotic properties with ‘prominent activity against MRSA’
  • Appears to aid with short-term memory by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (a neurotransmitter)

D-Linalool:

  • Responsible for the scent of Lavender
  • shown to have strong anti-anxiety properties
  • Sedative properties
  • Effective local anesthetic
  • Anti-convulsant

β-Caryophyllene:

  • The most common terpene found in decarboxylated cannabis extracts, has a ‘black pepper’ scent
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Shown to be effective in treating stomach ulcers
  • May have anti-malarial properties

Nerolidol:

  • Found in lesser concentrations in orange peels
  • Used to fight colon cancers
  • has strong skin-penetrating properties and may be useful in treating fungal growth

Caryophyllene oxide:

  • Common to lemon balm and Eucalyptus, this terpene is responsible for the scent detected by drug-sniffing dogs
  • Strong broad-spectrum anti-fungal
  • Shown to be an effective anti-coagulant in vitro

As you can plainly see, cannabinoids are not the only factor at work when it comes to the real medicinal properties of cannabis. Still, many growers and “concentrate artists” still take little care to ensure that these volatile terpenes are preserved during processing (they begin to decrease in concentration as soon as a plant is harvested and over purging only accelerates that process). Armed with the information we now have, it’s up to providers to ensure that these compounds are preserved and it’s imperative that the federal government remove Marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act so that more research can be done.

How To Make Your Own Hash Oil Capsules

canna capsulesConsuming cannabis orally is one of the most effective ways to benefit from its medicinal properties. In contrast to smoking or vaping where a majority of cannabinoids remain unabsorbed by the lungs, edibles allow the body to absorb ~95% of all active cannabinoids which allows for less material to be used to achieve the desired effects.

While there are many different edibles available in all kind of forms and flavors, there’s no denying the simple medicinal qualities of a tasteless, odorless hash oil capsule. Hash oil capsules are essentially that– cellulose/gelatin capsules filled with a measured quantity activated hash oil. These pills offer the most simple, medicinal approach to edibles as they don’t require refrigeration, have more consistent potency and are easier to dose than traditional baked edibles (they also tend to be hypo-allergenic).

Preparing Your Own Capsules Making your own hash oil capsules is a very simple, straightforward process. The main ingredients you’ll need are:

  1. Medicinal Cannabis / Keif / Hash
  2. Empty Gel Capsules (available at your local health food store, #00 is the biggest and easiest to work with)
  3. Coconut Oil
  4. Crock Pot / double boiler / a pot and a metal bowl that fits inside

It’s also advised that you have the following to avoid a giant sticky mess:

  1. A syringe for dispensing your oil into capsules (available at your local drugstore)
  2. A capsule “filling machine” or holder to hold your capsules in place while you fill them, should be available where you find the gel caps.

Similar to our cannabutter tutorial, you need to activate the THC (via decarboxylation) before it will be effective orally. All you have to do is combine the coconut oil and cannabis in your crock pot and heat it around 220°F for between one and two hours. If you don’t have a crock pot, you can just add the ingredients to a metal bowl and carefully immerse the bottom of that into a pot of boiling water for the same amount of time; water boils at ~212°F which is an optimal temperature to decarboxylate over about an hour and a half. Some people opt to use cheesecloth when using ground bud in order to strain the final product but I’ve found this to be an unnecessarily messy step that has little to no benefit on the final product and may actually adversely affect potency.

Once your oil has been properly decarboxylated, all one needs to do is set up some open capsules in the capsule filler/holder and use the syringe to fill the capsules with anywhere between .05g and .1g of hash oil. These capsules can be very potent so be careful when trying them for the first time, if you find you’ve made them too potent simply dilute with more coconut oil and re-cap. With edibles, less is more (one can always have a second or third) so you may want to start with approximately 1g of hash or kief (2g of bud) for every 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and adjust to preference from there. Get Medicated While some people get fancy with additives like soy lecithin, this recipe offers the most basic, simple, effective method for creating your own odorless, flavorless hash oil capsules.

Remember that it’s always best to eat something before taking hash oil capsules to stimulate the digestive tract and be sure to wait an hour or so after trying one to determine if you’re medicated enough… these capsules can creep up on you pretty hard!

Vape Pen Review: Smooth 2 Loaded Vaporizer Gold (Wax & Oil Pen)

vape pen

Now that you’ve been well versed as to how vaporizer pens work and operate, we wanted to review one of the best, and shockingly, most cost effective marijuana concentrate or dab vaporizers on the market to date.  The Smooth 2 Loaded Vaporizer Gold (Wax and Oil Pen), sounds like tongue twister when you first say it out loud, but once you use it, you realize it’s one of the better vape pens for wax, oil, dabs, etc., that’s out there currently.

Smooth 2 Loaded Vaporizer Gold (Wax & Oil Pen) setup

When you buy this pen you get one 650mah Battery, one 2 loAded Atomizer, one packing tool (dabber), one wireless USB charger, and one user manual

What Makes This Vaporizer Stand Out?

One thing that I find disconcerting from some vaporizers on the market today is the fact that they take FOREVER to use. Some require you to hold a button for five minutes, wait half an hour for the damn thing to load, or read a set of instructions that when you’re done reading, will have you thinking…..”WTF did I just read? I wanted to vape, not join N.A.S.A.” The great thing about this pen is that there is none of that.  A matter of fact, the pen comes with barely any instructions at all and you kind of have to be in “the know” as to how the heating element works, because in the end, it’s the speed of the heating element that makes this pen stand out from the pack.

The Heating Element

heating element

If you’re like me, you like your vape pens to be quick and stealthy, especially when your blazing your dabs on the go. Unlike other concentrate vaporizers that can sometimes take minutes to heat up, this one heats up your dabs in less than a few seconds. All it takes is a double click from the vape pen’s button and you’re ready to inhale.

How to Use the Smooth 2 Loaded Vaporizer Gold (Wax & Oil Pen)

  • Make sure pen is fully charged before using (the pen comes with a USB charger that you can plug into a laptop or PC)usb charger
  • Once you know the pen is fully charged by the green light indicator, you can screw the titanium GR2 coil on top of the base which had previously been charging.titanium GR2 coil
  • When the titanium GR2 coil is screwed on top of the base, you can add your dabs, but not too much as to over-fill or block                                      the flow of air to the mouthpiece.

dab

  • After your dabs have been placed on top of the coil, you can seal the deal by screwing the 2 loaded atomizer on top and then placing the glass mouthpiece over it l like so. vape pen
  • Now, simply double click the button on the device while inhaling and enjoy your dabs!

All and all, this is great pen at a surprisingly great price, but since it’s our first review we’ll give it a 9/10 instead of the 10/10 since we’ll be reviewing some more products for dabs.

The Vape Pen Primer

vape basics banner

Pen-style vaporizers have been around since Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik first created the e – cigarette in 2003. Originally intended for tobacco use, vape pens have become all the rage in the marijuana industry. And for good reason, vapes are stealthier and healthier than smoking weed. They are also portable and very easy to use.

If you’ve considered purchasing a vape pen, but aren’t exactly sure where to start then this is a good read for you. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

vape penWhat is a Vape Pen?

A vaporizer pen is a hand-held, portable device used for inhaling nicotine, cannabis concentrate (wax, oil, dab), dry herb, or flavored oil vapor. Vapes are portable, battery powered, and usually pen shaped, hence the name “vape pen”.

How Do Vape Pens work?

Vape pens are made up of three basic parts; a mouthpiece, an atomizer (heating element), and rechargeable battery.There are a variety of portable vaporizers on the market today, but they all basically work the same. To use a vape pen, assuming that you are interested in vaporizing cannabis concentrates or dabs, you simply place your wax or oil in the chamber which connects to the atomizer, then press a button to start the heating process. The heating element heats up between 350-400 degrees just before the point of combustion, creating a vapor, which can then be inhaled.

Vaping is a Healthy Alternative to Smokingvaping smoking

What makes vaporizing so much healthier compared to smoking has a lot to do with the level of heat involved. For example, when you smoke a joint, you are directly igniting your weed with an open flame, which can get as hot as 1000 degrees. This process is called combustion. Combusting (burning) marijuana produces carcinogens. Also, smoke is just dirty, and is essentially soot which can irritate your lungs and cause shortness of breath, coughing and asthma. On the other hand, vaporizers use a process called conduction heating. Conduction is an indirect way of heating your cannabis concentrate, allowing your concentrate to become vapor rather than smoke. Vapor is a much cleaner than smoke, and has virtually none of the toxic compounds, carcinogens, and carbon monoxide associated with smoking weed.

Types of Vape Pens on the Market

There is an ever expanding variety of vape pens on the market these days that can be categorized into three basic types depending on the product used. These are wax, oil and dry herb pens. There are also pens that can be used with a combination of products, such as wax/oil, or dry herb/wax/oil. Vape pens range in price from around $20 to $300.

Wax pens – This type of vape pen is designed for use with “wax”, which is a  concentrated extract of cannabis. Wax vape pens usually have a small chamber with a screen, which protects the wax from direct contact with the heating element.

Oil Pens – Similar to an e-cig these pens use a liquid chamber which can be                   filled with hash oil prepared at home. They can also be used with purchased                   cartridges that are pre-filled.

snoop dogg vapeDry Herb Vaporizer – This style of vape pen uses a heating coil which is specifically designed for dry cannabis flowers. Some dry herb vapes use what’s called a glass dome atomizer, which is great for vaporizing hash or BHO.

So, now that you’ve got the scoop on vape pens, stay tuned to Daily Dabs for more info on vaporizers, vaping, and anything dab related.

If you’re looking for a great selection of vapes be sure to check these out!

How to Make Quality BHO Shatter in 5 Easy Steps

How To Make BHO Shatter Now that you’ve been properly versed on “what is a dab?”, as well as “how to do a dab in 4 easy steps”, it’s about time to head into the kitchen to learn how to make your very own dabs.

Update: Since this article was written back in 2014, there have been a number of cleaner, safer methods for making dabs, some of which we have covered in more recent articles. Please check out the latest: How to Make Closed Column BHO and Live Resin.

What you’ll need: 

(Butane Canister: one can of butane typically should be sufficient to extract a full tube of material) Marijuana ounce Step 1: Gather Greens Gather an ounce of high quality uncut marijuana that has been dried. It’s good to note that about an ounce of dried weed will produce 3.6 grams of shatter if you use 12 ounces of butane and a double wash. BHO Plastic Tube

Step 2: Pack Extraction Tube Stuff your marijuana in an extraction tube that is made of thick glass and is relatively clean. It’s important not to have excess residue in your batch which can degrade your dabs. If air pockets begin to form inside the tube, this can be prevented by gently packing your bud until it is firmly packed in the tube like so. Drip Butane

Step 3: Butane Drip On the opposite end  of the extraction tube that you used to pack your marijuana in, you now want to begin dripping your butane through, in a slow yet controlled manner. On the opposite end, attach coffee filters tightly around the tube, so that the liquid which runs down will have to go through it. The drippings should fall onto a collection dish.

Caution: Note that it is best to do the extraction process outside as there is less chance of explosions or bursts of fire in case the butane is dripped too fast.  bho drain Step 4: Drain O’ Weed Once your butane can is spent, and you feel you have inundated all of the cannabis in solvent, remove it and let the excess butane still in the tube make its way down through the filter and into your pan.

Step 5: Evaporate Next is the evaporation part of the process. Your pan should be filled with a golden brown liquid similar to the one here. Take your collection dish and place it in a larger frying pan filled with hot water and your mixture should begin to bubble. Change the water as needed if it cools and don’t expose it to the hot water for a long time as your product will become dark and degraded. Once the oil stops bubbling you are done. You can take the left over marijuana concentrate and place it on a non-stick silicone parchment paper to dry, or you can place it in concentrate containers.

Safety Note: Butane is HIGHLY FLAMMABLE and ALL extractions are to be done OUTDOORS only, doing extractions indoors is extremely dangerous. Butane gas is heavier than air and will pool in low areas. If left to collect butane gas becomes flammable. Wear eye protection, as well as gloves and always keep a fire extinguisher near by. Never smoke and avoid having an open flame around when doing any kind of extraction, even outdoors.

Rule of Green Thumb:  When the liquid dripping from the extraction tube appears completely transparent, that’s your indication that all the THC oils from the cannabis have been extracted from the tube. A proven way to test this is to put one or two drops on the dish next to your BHO “puddle”, to see if it immediately evaporates or if it  leaves a thick bubbly residue on the dish. If the drops of oil leave a thick residue, you should inject more butane into your tube and continue extracting. If the oil evaporates away quickly and cleanly with little to no residue, that’s your sign that the extraction process is over.