The medically valuable cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, and the accompanying terpenoids such as Myrcene and Linalool are found in the resinous crystals of the hemp buds and leaves. These crystals are called trichomes.
When preparing medicinal hemp, the goal is to preserve these trichomes in as intact a shape as possible and not to break or knock them off of the bud of the plant.
Cold Extracted Hemp
There are various methods of extracting the trichomes without heat so that the cannabinoids and terpenoids remain in their raw, acidic forms. THCA and CBDA, for example, are collected and suspended without decarboxylation.
Essential Oils are made by using a solvent such as butane, CO2, or O2 to knock the trichomes off of the plant. The solvent is then removed using a variety of purging techniques that usually involve heat and sometimes vacuum pressure. The various techniques of extraction produce a variety of consistencies and the resulting products contain high concentrations of cannabinoids. Note: often the terpenoids are lost in the (heat) purging process. Essential oils are typically consumed by using a vaporizer, but they may also be utilized in making hemp edibles.
Heat Extracted Cannabis
Hemp can be infused into virtually any food or drink. Usually the hemp is dissolved by heating in fats, butter, or oils that can then be used in any cooking recipe.
Some edibles may be made with specific dietary needs in mind (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc.). They may be made with specific strains with the aim of achieving specific therapeutic effects. Dosing, however, can be difficult as metabolizing the hemp takes longer and goes via the liver.
Slow heating hemp into oil. Products like Full-Extract Oils or RSO (Rick Simpson’s Oil), are made using alcohol to extract the cannabinoids and terpenoids. The alcohol is then cooked off, leaving a thick oil. Other methods of making hemp oil involve slow cooking the medicine into olive or coconut oil.
The practice of steeping leaves from various plants, including hemp, into hot water and then drinking it has been around for thousands of years. This has been done in multiple cultures, and the simplicity of making tea out of hemp leaves and or flower can be a relaxing, soothing, and therapeutic experience. It is harder to dose the amount of cannabinoids and terpenoids being consumed, but adding milk or cream can increase the amount being dissolved into the liquid.
These are a liquid suspension of cannabinoids and terpenoids, typically in alcohol or glycerine. Before prohibition, tinctures were the most common way of consuming hemp as medicine. Sometimes other medical herbs and botanicals are added to the tincture, making for a medicine with a wide range of effects.
These are creams, lotions, salves, and patches that are useful for many skin, muscle and joint ailments such as general aches and pain, inflammation, psoriasis, arthritis, and even skin cancer.
Creating topicals is a simple process – the hemp (essential oil) is heated at a low temperature into an emulsifier such as beeswax or coconut oil. Other herbal remedies may also be mixed in during the process, making for countless possible products!
Although not available everywhere, hemp suppositories can be a helpful means of administrating hemp when smoking, vaporizing, or oral digestion is not possible. Absorption is quick and bypasses liver metabolism. Suppositories are usually made with cocoa butter.