There is a lot of information online about how to decarb THC flower (marijuana). There is less information about decarbing CBD hemp flower. There is almost no information about decarbing CBG hemp flower. If you want to add CBG to your edibles or topicals you will need to decarb it first. This heat converts CBGA to CBG. CBGA may have its own health benefits, but like most raw cannabinoids it has not been studied a much as its activated molecule.
We do have some hints about decarb temps for CBG. A 2016 study looked at different decarb temperatures for different cannabinoids. Hidden deep within the study is a very interesting table that compares THC, CBD, and CBG when heated to different temperatures. The researchers found that 20 minutes at 130 degrees Celsius (260 degrees F) were sufficient to convert almost all of the CBGA to CBG. 40 minutes at 110 degrees C (230 degrees F) did almost as well, producing slightly less CBG from the material.
It would be reasonable to assume that 30 to 40 minutes at 240 to 260 degrees F would convert CBG hemp flower into active CBG to be used in edibles and topicals. Interestingly, this is the same temperature that some people are using when they decarb in a mason jar inside an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker.
Why would you want to decarb CBG flower? CBG has health benefits and it seems to intensify the effects of CBD when the two are taken together. Edibles are a way to take cannabinoids as medication and avoid any possible damage to the lungs. The effects also last longer when the medication is taken orally.
The website CBD.how created a stir on Reddit this month with their prediction that the United States Food and Drug Administration will ban CBD (cannabidiol) isolate products in 2020. I will embed their video in this post below. When I first saw this video I was skeptical. CBD is everywhere. How can the FDA put the genie back in the bottle?
The FDA does have a history of banning substances that are being sold as supplements if the same substance is being used (or studied) as a drug. Pyridoxamine is a form of Vitamin B6 that has been shown to reduce “age-related glycation end products” (AGEs). In this way it may protect the cells of diabetics from damage caused by high blood sugar levels. In 2009 the FDA retroactively banned pyridoxamine from sale as a dietary supplement because a company was studying it as a potential new drug. Several companies were selling it as a supplement and had to stop. In this case the FDA banned a vitamin. It almost seems like the FDA only bans the really effective supplements.
Like pyridoxamine, CBD is being sold as a dietary supplement by multiple companies. CBD is also available by prescription as Epidiolex®. Doses recommended for children with epilepsy are much higher than the products you see in stores and online. For example, a U.S. dosage calculator recommends 227 to 554mgs per day for a 50 pound child. At these higher doses elevated liver enzymes were found in some research subjects.
The FDA can ban chemicals but not whole plants. (Only Congress can ban plants federally and it’s the DEA – not the FDA – that enforces these bans.) Full spectrum and broad spectrum hemp oils contain multiple ingredients and are quite different from CBD isolate. These oils usually contain many cannabinoids, sometimes including trace levels (below .3%) of THC. The FDA may have more trouble banning these products, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and hemp derivatives. The FDA arguably does not have the power to make hemp derivatives illegal again.
I don’t have a crystal ball (and neither does the guy from CBD.how.) If the FDA does step in and ban some CBD products I agree that the CBD (cannabidiol) isolate products are the most vulnerable.
Virginia is one of the first states that is able to tell hemp from marijuana in the field. The Virginia Department of Forensic Science purchased 16,150 kits that accomplish this and is distributing them to law enforcement agencies in the state. The officer in the field will first use the existing test, the “Duquenois-Levine field test”, to determine if suspect plant material is actually cannabis. (Hemp and marijuana are two different forms of cannabis.) The new test will then be used to determine whether the cannabis is hemp or marijuana. The video below was produced to instruct local law enforcement agencies in the process.
Interestingly, North Carolina has taken a totally different approach to the problem of distinguishing hemp from marijuana. They simply outlawed “smokable hemp.” The new North Carolina law could go into effect in December of 2020. Hemp was made federally legal with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Virginia and North Carolina have diverged politically in recent years, and this different approach to a Federally legal plant highlights these differences.
These new test kits are not perfect. There is no way to tell what will happen if they test the new CBG hemp flower (which contains no CBD and a tiny amount of THC). There is no test for CBG “plant material.” Hemp may be a moving target as new cannabinoids are targeted by seed companies, but the Virginia test kits are a step forward – especially compared to North Carolina’s approach. If prohibition is overturned this may be a moot point in the future.
Beginning with the 2019 Fall harvest the online market has seen a new type of Cannabis for sale. CBG (Cannabigerol) hemp flower refers to the female flowers of hemp plants that are bred to produce primarily CBG rather than CBD. The flowers actually contain CBGA – the acid form of CBG (just as THC flowers contain mostly THCA and CBD flowers contain mostly CBDA). Heat is needed to convert these acid forms of the cannabinoids to their bioavailable forms (without the A). Most people know about marijuana flower, often called bud. CBD hemp flower is also becoming popular since the 2018 farm bill legalized it. The difference between these plants has to do with the dominant cannabinoid that they produce. Marijuana flower is highest in THC, while CBD hemp flower is highest in CBD. The new flower is highest in CBG.
CBG is sometimes referred to as the “stem cell” cannabinoid. Cannabis plants produce CBGA relatively early in their lifespan and much of it is converted to THCA and CBDA as the plant matures. Plant scientists have bred new strains of cannabis where this conversion has been blocked. Flowers from these plants are high in CBG once the plant material has been heated (decarbed).
When using cannabis medically the goal is to consume enough to get symptom relief without becoming intoxicated or impaired. THC flowers (marijuana), when consumed in enough quantity, make you high (intoxicated). CBD flowers relax you without making you high. CBG hemp flowers are drier than the more traditional CBD flowers and they produce different effects, which are difficult to describe. If THC gives you a “head high” and CBD gives you a “body buzz,” then CBG might be said to give you a “mind-body buzz”. Some users report that CBG flowers enhance the effects of CBD when both are consumed together. These CBG flowers are so new (as of this post in November 2019) that there is no real consensus as to their effects. Some early users of CBG flower report a clear-headed sense of relaxation without the sedation that accompanies some CBD flowers, but others do report sedation. As with all cannabis, the terpene profiles may also influence the effects. CBG itself is known to fight some forms of cancer, to reduce intraocular pressure, and to fight some infections.
I believe we are still in the early days of understanding these natural healing substances. Hemp that is high in other cannabinoids may be right around the corner. Innovative companies like PotLuckExpo and Kanabia are already offering hemp-based products featuring exotic natural cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, and THC-V. I have updated the shopping section to include note of places to buy GBG Flower Online.
We also have information on how to decarb CBD hemp flower.
The stereotype is that marijuana makes you stupid. This certainly seems to happen in the short run. Marijuana has been shown to negatively impact cognitive processes in adolescents. Short-term memory suffers in adults too; as pot smokers forget things – why they just entered that room, for example. In medical cannabis this is considered “the negative side-effect of impairment.” When dosing medical cannabis the goal is usually to dose low enough that impairment is minimized. Research has shown that in some cases cannabis is neurprotective. It may prevent damage to brain cells. Can medical marijuana help improve cognitive functioning?
A 2016 study led by Staci Gruber, Ph.D. suggests that medical marijuana may actually improve executive functioning in adults. Dr. Gruber works at the McLean Hospital Imaging Center in Belmont, Massachusetts and is on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School. She and her colleagues followed 24 certified medical-marijuana patients over a three-month dosing period. Their cognitive skills were measured with a battery of tests that included the Stroop Color Word Test and Trail Making Test.
Subjects in the research improved in their speed of performance on these two tests and their accuracy remained constant. The authors acknowledge that there is a possibility that this improvement in speed is due to “practice effects.” We tend to do better on a test when we have taken the test before. The authors cited past studies that people taking these particular tests don’t usually improve, even with weekly “practice.”
The authors note that the medical marijuana patients participating in the study also reported improvements in many of their symptoms.
You can read the full study here:
Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function
It’s a good idea to tell your doctor about anything you are taking that might influence other medications. If you have been told to avoid eating grapefruit with a medication, for example, then you may need to use caution with CBD as well. A recent study looked at the in-depth issues when taking CBD with other drugs. They explore the cytochrome P450-complex enzymes in particular. It turns out that the interactions are complex but usually mild. The authors conclude that CBD is usually a very safe substance.
My doctor was supportive of my taking CBD. She reported that it has helped some of her patients and that she has even recommended it at least once. I see other doctors for a couple of chronic illnesses, and they showed no interest in the fact that I take CBD.
Many physicians are not familiar with the fact that our bodies produce natural cannabinoids that seem to help maintain balance or “homeostasis”. The endocannabinoid system has been studied since the first endogenous cannabinoid was discovered in 1992. Anandamide was discovered by Raphael Mechoulam (the scientist who earlier discovered THC and CBD) along with NIMH researchers William Devane and Lumir Hanus. It attaches primarily to the CB1 receptor in our bodies. In 1995 Mechoulam discovered the second major endocannabinoid “2-arachidonoylglycerol” or “2-AG” which attaches to both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Supplementing our natural endocannabinoid system with phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) has some risks. These risks are seen mostly with THC. It’s probably even more important to tell your doctor about any THC use. Heavy users of marijuana can develop tolerance, with higher and higher doses needed over time to get the same effect. Very heavy THC use can also lead to a rare disorder called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. The most troubling symptom of this disorder is severe bouts of vomiting. Persons susceptible to psychosis should probably avoid THC because there is evidence that it can contribute to a psychotic episode. As noted above, CBD has not been found to have such risks.
Many people who live where marijuana is illegal do not report THC use to their doctor. They may fear that such a disclosure will become a part of their medical record and that the information will eventually make its way to their insurance company or someone else. It’s probably a good idea to report THC use in any case, but it is especially important if you have any symptoms that may be related to such use.
If you are interested in edibles there is one really easy way to get started. The easiest edibles are “firecrackers.” These consist of graham crackers, peanut butter and cannabis. Chocolate graham crackers work well, and I’ve also seen recipes that use Nutella instead of peanut butter. If you are using decarbed hemp cannabis (cannabis with <.3% THC) you can probably start with a level teaspoon of decarbed “trim” or “shake” plant material. You can also use ground flower, but start with a little less. If you are using high THC cannabis (marijuana) you should definitely start with less, and eat only a small portion of the resulting product – waiting at least an hour to gauge the effects. (I haven’t personally tried this with high THC cannabis.)
Cover one side of the graham cracker with smooth peanut butter. Sprinkle the cannabis onto the peanut butter and close the graham cracker carefully. As long as you decarbed the cannabis first, you are ready to eat!
A firecracker made with chocolate graham crackers and peanut butter.
If the cannabis is not decarbed then you need to heat the firecracker in an oven or toaster oven for around 20 minutes. Wrap the little sandwiches in aluminum foil and place in a pre-heated oven. The temperature should be at least 300 degrees but not over 350.
Edibles can take between 1 and 2 hours to reach full effects and the effects last longer than inhaled cannabis. With CBD you won’t feel much, but possibly a deep feeling of relaxation, sometimes referred to as a “body high.” You may need to experiment with how much plant material to use. Even decarbed hemp flower contains some THC along with the CBD. It’s possible to become impaired (high) eating firecrackers made with hemp if you use too much.
You can even use ABV (already been vaped) plant material in a firecracker – but you will need to use more of it. When you vaped your cannabis you heated it, but you probably didn’t evaporate all of the CBD or THC. Using this ABV material in an edible allows you to get the rest.
It has been known for some time that THC may make psychosis worse in persons who are at risk for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. There have also been studies finding that CBD decreases the risk of psychosis in these people. The mechanism of this antipsychotic property has been elusive. A team of researchers from King’s College in London Performed an interesting double-blinded placebo study that was published last year in JAMA Psychiatry.
The authors studied 33 persons deemed “at clinical high risk” (CHR) for psychosis and compared them to 19 health control participants. 16 of the CHR subjects received a single 600mg dose of CBD and the remaining 17 received a placebo. Control participants did not receive anything. According to the researchers “All subjects were then studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing a verbal learning task.”
This design allowed the researchers to see what is happening in the brain in real time while participants are using their brains to perform a standard task. They found that “Cannabidiol [CBD] may partially normalize alterations in parahippocampal, striatal, and midbrain functions associated with the CHR state.” They believe that these brain regions are involved in psychosis and that the CBD acted as a therapeutic agent to normalize brain function in these areas.
All subjects had been asked to avoid alcohol, cannabis, and other recreational drugs prior to the study and a urine test was performed to confirm that they complied with these instructions. They performed some fairly complex statistical analyses comparing the different groups – control participants, placebo participants, and CBD participants. In general the participants at high risk for psychosis showed brain patterns intermediate between the placebo participants and the controls. CBD apparently partially corrected the problems that were developing in their brains.
Will CBD ever be used as a treatment for psychosis? That’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. High dose CBD (in the form of Epidiolex) is already FDA approved to treat certain seizure disorders. It could certainly be studied as a treatment for psychosis as well.