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What is Cannabinol (CBN)?

What is Cannabinol? And, why does this lesser known cannabinoid, found in only trace amounts in the plant, sound so oddly familiar to your ears?

Think for a second about the full name for THC. You may not know it off of the top of your head, but it’s likely that at least once in life, you have heard the word “tetrahydrocannabinol,” as the full scientific label for THC. Pull the word tetrahydrocannabinol apart, and you will spot the mention of our title cannabinoid, CBN, right there at the end. This is, of course, not a coincidence, as cannabinol (CBN) is a molecule that is not made directly from the cannabis plant, but instead, actually comes from the chemical breakdown of THC.

Cannabinoid molecules in the cured raw (unheated) plant occur in their acidic forms (CBGA, THCA, CBDA, CBCA, etc.). The process of applying heat to these acidic molecules initiates a chemical reaction known as decarboxylation, which will then transform the chemicals into their active forms (CBG, THC, CBD, CBC). The oxidation (exposure to air) of THC can then convert THC into CBN. In other words, decarbed weed, exposed to air over time will accumulate higher levels of CBN. The second way to convert THCA to CBN involves an oxidation reaction first, and then a decarboxylation. Exposure to air converts THCA into CBNA, then, by heating this degraded bud, you will break the acid chain and end up with CBN.

CBN has some very mild psychoactive properties and only seems to partially interact with the endocannabinoid system. However, very little research has been done on CBN on its own, therefore very little is known about its properties and its metabolism in humans.

What Can CBN Do?

THC and CBN differ by only 4 hydrogen atoms, and consequently the compounds tend to be quite similar in certain ways. Like a lot of other cannabinoids, including THC, CBN is beneficial as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-convulsant, pain-reliever, and appetite-stimulant. There is also evidence that CBN might help promote the growth of bone cells, and hence could speed up healing in bone fractures. CBN also has benefits when applied topically; it seems to have a cooling effect on burns, and it could also be responsible for a lot of the positive effects that cannabis topicals have on regulating skin growth in psoriasis.

However, there are a couple of ways that CBN differs greatly from THC. The psychoactive THC molecule is known to produce very stimulating effects, THC will make you feel euphoric and excited, make your heart race, and keep you quite stimulated. CBN on the other hand is known to be very sedating and has effects that will decrease your heart rate and relax you. This means, that similar to CBD, CBN has properties that are friendly to insomniacs. Also, as I have mentioned before, CBN is not known to be especially psychoactive, and its cerebral effects should be limited to some mild disorientation or grogginess.

Why CBN … and not CBD?

If CBN is scarce, obscure, and hard to find, why is this particular cannabinoid even important? That is, if most of the properties of CBN are already present in either THC or CBD, AND if THC and CBD are both easy to find in today’s legal market, why should one care to be informed about CBN?

The answer to this lies in CBN’s unparalleled sedative abilities. Even though CBN is found in only trace amounts in cannabis, it is the cannabinoid that is most responsible for the plant’s ability to put you to sleep (and keep you there).

According to some research from Steep Hill Labs, with respect to its sedative abilities, one 5mg dose of CBN is about as effective as 10mg of diazepam (Valium). What this means for sufferers of insomnia, is that 5mg of cannabinol has the ability to be a potent and side-effect-free alternative to many potentially harmful sleep aid medications.

The best possible way to use cannabis as a sleep aid, is to look for strains that are high in THC, high in CBN, and high in the terpene myrcene. This combination of cannabinoids and terpenes will produce the most sedating results possible from cannabis flower.

Where Can I Find CBN?

Even though CBN is relatively rare, if you have been following along in my text, you will have possibly deduced some potential sources for it.

CBN results from the degradation of cured cannabis, or in plain nonformal English, it comes from old weed. If you understood the science of oxidation and decarboxylation, you would note that there are two ways to get CBN from your bud over time. The first would be just to let your unused bud sit exposed to air for a significant period, and then burn that dried up schwag when you’re ready for some good rest. The second would be to decarb your bud by vaping it, letting those decarbed buds sit over time, and then either re-vaping, or preferably, cooking with it.

However, even though you don’t know me, you should know that I am much too much of a connoisseur to smoke musty old herb, and I have some more refined sources of CBN as well…

One of my recent favourite bed-time treats has been a high-CBN extract known as Cherry Oil.

And when my brain really needs a knockout punch, the best possible solution is a potent medical concoction of CBN Phoenix Tears.

Although, it will be some time before high-potency extracts such as hash oils and Phoenix Tears make their way over to the legal/recreational market. And so, for the time being, non-medical insomniacs may just have to rely on their stale buds to get them through the night.

Harpreet Samra

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Can you Fly with Cannabis in Canada?

In Canada, it is now legal to fly with cannabis. Travelers can carry up to 30 grams on domestic flights either packed in checked or carry-on baggage.

Laws are different in each province, so it’s important to look into this before travelling. For instance, Quebec and Alberta area the only provinces where the legal age for cannabis is 18 and not 19.

The laws are still the same regarding smoking; you cannot smoke or vape cannabis or any other substance on flights.

Something to keep in mind is that cannabis oil is subject to the same regulations as liquids; they must be under 100 ml and in a clear plastic bag. It is important to check if your flight has a lay-over in the United States as the laws of their country still apply. Even if you are not planning on landing in the US, extreme weather or another emergency might require a flight to divert and land in a US airport. In this case you could be criminally charged and/or get a lifetime ban from the country. Even if you’re coming to or from a state where cannabis has been legalized, you cannot bring the product with you when you return to Canada. Transporting medical cannabis between different countries is also illegal.

Next time you travel, instead of bringing your cannabis with you, you may want to purchase some legal product at your destination to avoid legal consequences.

Travelers are responsible for learning about the laws of the countries they may be visiting or potentially land in.

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What is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short is a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis. It was first isolated in 1964 by a scientists Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

THC is what is known as a cannabinoid. These are chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with receptors in the brain and body. There are many cannabinoids in cannabis, but THC is the most widely known. It is the psychoactive compound in cannabis and is what gets you high.

Humans (and many other animals) have receptor systems that THC binds to. This system is called the endocannabinoid system. THC works by binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system.

THC is almost structurally identical to a natural chemical in our brains called anandamide, which is the human body’s natural occurring cannabinoid. Because THC structurally mimics an anandamide, it can affect regions of the brain associate with things like behavior and mood, memory, thinking, coordination, concentration, movements, and time perception.

THC also floods the brain with dopamine, which can make some users feel relaxed and euphoric. However, it affects everyone differently, while some users may experience feeling calm, it may increase anxiety levels for others. The reasoning is because everyone’s body chemistry is different. As well, different strains will contain varying amounts of THC, and will therefore affect the user differently. While one strain may have an unpleasant outcome, there many be another strain that could affect the user in a positive way.

THC Ingestion

THC is non-intoxicating unless it undergoes a process called decarboxylation, this occurs when you heat cannabis.

THC can be ingested or used in many ways. Some ways include: smoking, vaping, edibles, tinctures, creams and topicals (for ant-inflammation of joints and muscles.)

Important Note: Ingesting too much THC can lead to many adverse effects and an unpleasant experience. It is recommended to go low and slow when starting to ingest THC. Remember that a cannabis high will eventually wear off.

Medicinal Benefits of THC

Here are a few conditions that THC may help treat:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Inflammation
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • PTSD
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Nausea
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Endometriosis

There are many more conditions that people use cannabis to treat. As research continues to progress after legalization, it is the hope that more will be learned about the many medical benefits of cannabis.

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How to make Pot Brownies

Pot brownies or space cakes are probably the most well-known and popular edible.

The first step is to make canna-butter. See our How to Make Cannabis Butter article to learn how to make your own delicious butter! As well as How to Properly Dose Edibles.

Here’s how to make them!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of pot butter
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a pan with cooking spray.
  • Mix the dry ingredients: cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl
  • Melt butter down in a saucepan, but do not let it boil.
  • Mix sugar and vanilla into the butter (when mixing you will want your butter warm but not hot.)
  • Next mix the dry and wet ingredients together along with your eggs.
  • Beat the mixture in your mixing bowl until velvety.
  • Pour the brownie batter into your baking pan.
  • Put the brownies in the oven to bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.
  • Use a toothpick to check if it is done (if there is no batter on the toothpick after poking the brownie, it is ready!)
  • Allow brownies to cool and add icing if you desire!

Protip: An easier approach is to buy store bought brownie mix. Add in your canna-butter and cook as per the box’s instructions!

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How to make Cannabis Butter

Marijuana edibles allow you to consume cannabis in a more desecrate way. They are also a healthier alternative to smoking pot. Edibles last longer than smoking THC as well as the effects come on slower and last longer.

The great thing about cannabis butter is you can infuse it into multiple recipes, whether savory or sweet.  You can add it into brownie mix, cookies, gummies, potatoes, chicken – basically anything you can put butter on/in, you can use canna-butter!

Here’s how to make it!


The first step is to decarboxylate.

To activate the psychoactive potential of cannabis, it should be heated slowly at a low temperature to yield the best results. Skipping this step will result in a weak or inactive finished product.

The temperature and how long you bake will depend on how much weed you are using and what kind of oven you have. Here are some general instructions for how long and what temperature to decarb your cannabis at:

  • Preheat your oven to 245 degrees F (depending on the type of oven you have this may vary)
  • Line a baking tray with some parchment paper
  • Grind your cannabis and spread thinly on the tray
  • Bake the cannabis for approximately 40-60 minutes

Note: This recipe uses butter, but you can use other oils such as; olive oil, coconut oil, or other fatty oils.

Another important thing to consider is dosing.

How much cannabis should you put in? When dosing edibles it’s best to start at around 5-10mg per serving till you learn how your body reacts. It’s also important you wait approximately 1-2 hours after ingestion before trying anymore.

Using the cannabis cooking calculator by THCoverdose you can quickly plan the dosage of your recipe.

You can do the math on your own too. For starters, you need to know the amount of THC that is in your flower. Cannabis that is sold at licensed producers will have the THC/CBD percentage on the label. As an example, let’s say the recipe you are making will make ten cookies, you want to use 2 grams of cannabis, and your bud has a THC percentage of 10%. To figure out how strong your cookies will be you multiply 2 (amount of bud) by 1000 to get the total milligrams, then multiply that by .10 (THC percentage), and you’ll have the total amount of THC you’ll be using. Divide this number by the number of servings, and you’ll find that your cookies will each have 20mg of THC.

If you’re new to cooking with cannabis, you need to remember to take it slow and be patient. Start low and go slow in order to test what is the best dosage for you.

For more details on how to calculate dosing  Click here.

What Strain to Choose?

When choosing a strain, consider the effects of each strain. Typically, indicas are more relaxing (think “in-da-couch”) while sativas tend to be more stimulating.


Cooking the Canna-butter

You will need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 lb of un-salted butter
  • 1 oz lightly ground bud or trim

Directions:

Mix your decarbed weed and butter in a pot with the water (this prevents the butter from burning). Heat on low and simmer for 3-6 hours. Another easy way to do this is to heat in a crockpot for 6 hours.

After this time let the mixture cool enough to handle (but not enough to set) strain out the plant material. A good tip is to line a strainer with cheese cloth, strain and then squeeze the butter out of the cheese cloth.

Discard of the plant material (all the good stuff is in the butter). Put in the fridge for 4 hours to harden, or overnight.

Remove the hardened butter from the remaining water and there you have it; delicious canna-butter!

Now you can add it to any recipe your heart desires! What’s your favorite way to infuse canna-butter? Share your favorite recipes in the comments!

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Why You Need A Cannabis ID Card

Over the years, medical cannabis (and cannabis in general), has grown to become more widely accepted in Canada. We have been experiencing a lot of historical changes that are paving the way for other global movements to eliminate the ban on cannabis, both medically and recreationally. With this, come a lot of changes that people may not always be aware of.

One of those is how law enforcement is adapting to a rapidly-changing ruling of how cannabis is distributed, stored, and possessed. This brings forth the question: how do I prove that I’m legally able to have cannabis on me without being arrested? The reason why this is such an important question is because it has different answers depending on who you are. What I mean when I say that is: you can possess more on your person in public if you are a medical patient than your average recreational smoker. But how will law enforcement know if you’re a medical patient if you’re pulled over or stopped in public?

There are two main ways that will help support or prove that you’re a patient, using medical cannabis as a treatment. The first is all that anyone would ever legally need to prove that you’re a medical patient, and that is your prescription bottle. This is the same for any other pill, capsule, or liquid. Your prescription bottle, legally entitles you to the medical use of that medication, as prescribed on your bottle.

The other way that can oftentimes help in proving that you’re a medical patient is a cannabis authorization card. This is similar to a driver’s license in that it has your address, birthday, and photo, however, it also carries information about your prescribing clinic, your prescription amount, and the duration of your prescription. Some members of law enforcement prefer to see this because it tells them all that they need to know about your prescription, and it even has a phone number on the back for a nurse on staff 24/7 for verification that you’re a patient. We’ve found that it can be useful in other situations, as well.

 

For more information about how you can get your cannabis ID card, call MMC at 1-844-312-5143 or email associates@medmc.ca

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4 Cannabis Infused Holiday Cocktails

Winter is here and everything around us is changing. The snow is falling, city streets are decorated with festive assortments, and shopping malls are playing Christmas music. I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite ways to wind down during a snowy night is to relax with a glass of something to keep me warm. This brings me to cannabis and alcohol. Cannabis has been known to have many different effects when mixed with alcohol. CBD specifically, mixed into a drink can have benefits like: less of a hangover, enhanced flavours, and less anxiety. With that being said, here are some of our favourite cannabis-infused holiday cocktails to enjoy this season.

Canna-Cane Cocktail

This concoction has a special place in my heart. It’s a fun and festive way to loosen up and spread some holiday cheer with those around you. Originally found in Grasscity Magazine, this cocktail is sure to turn some heads.

  • 2 ounces of cannabis-infused vodka
  • 1 ounce of peppermint schnapps
  • cranberry juice
  • candy canes (crushed, garnish)

Take 2 ounces of cannabis vodka, 1 ounce of peppermint schnapps and add cranberry juice to taste. Shake the mixture well with ice and pour the final product into a martini glass. This drink is best topped with a candy cane, which will add a bit of festive fun to your drink while adding subtle flavor as you sip.

White Christmas Mojito

Have you ever smelled or tasted something that brings you back to a place you’ve been long ago? Sipping this Christmas creation brings me to the warm and breezy tropical beaches down south due to its flavorful coconut taste. This clever craft is giving me all kinds of good vibes with its rich pomegranate garnish and sweet smell of mint leaves. With a few adjustments to the original recipe from Half Baked Harvest (like infusing cannabis into the rum), this recipe really has us wanting more than one glass.

  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cannabis-infused white rum
  • 1 tablespoon coconut rum
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • sparkling water for topping
  • pomegranate arils and mint leaves (garnish)

In a glass, muddle the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves until the leaves have broken down. Fill the glass half way with ice. In a blender, combine the cannabis-infused white rum, coconut rum, and coconut milk and pulse until smooth. Pour over the ice and stir to combine. Top with sparkling water, mint and pomegranate.

Gingerbread Canna-nog

 

Forget summer or autumn — I always say that Christmas is my favourite season of the year. What reminds me most of Christmas is the taste of cinnamon and the smell of gingerbread. Luckily, this drink has both and it has the warm potential to be the best spin-off of eggnog I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying. While it didn’t start out to be a notable cannabis-infused cocktail, by infusing the rum in this recipe by The Spruce Eats, you can have some really great flavours and effects, all in one glass!

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (granulated)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon dark molasses
  • 1/4 cup cannabis-infused rum

After you have separated the egg yolks from the whites, add the yolks into a medium sized bowl. Add in the sugar. Begin whisking until the mixture is a light yellow and looks creamy and smooth. This can also be done with a hand mixer or stand mixer.  

Place the cinnamon stick in the milk. Heat the milk on the stovetop in a large saucepan until just simmering. One cup of the milk can be replaced with heavy cream. This will create a thicker eggnog. Add the spices, vanilla, and molasses.

Carefully ladle a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly as the milk is poured over the eggs. This will temper the eggs so they do not scramble. Repeat 2-3 times.  

Add the egg mixture into the rest of the milk mixture on the stove. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Place a candy thermometer in the mixture and turn off the heat when it reaches 160 degrees.

Place in a large glass bowl and cover. Chill for at least four hours. Mix in the cannabis-infused rum when the mixture has chilled.

Cannabis Colada

The cold winter months are the best time to escape to warmer places if you’re like me and can’t stand the cold. The best way to do that without eating at your savings is to create a tasty illusion instead. This colada is sure to have you thinking of the sun while you brave the cold winter that’s ahead. The cinnamon and nutmeg add an unexpected festive twist on this tropical classic, and it’s become my new favourite go-to beverage! Grasscity Magazine has more great cannabis-infused recipes like this one to choose from, as well!

  • 1-2 oz. cannabis-infused vodka
  • ½ oz. coconut cream
  • 1 oz. milk
  • 1 egg
  • pineapple juice
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • coconut shavings (garnish)

Take 1-2 ounces of cannabis vodka and add it to a shaker with coconut cream, some pineapple juice, milk, an egg, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Top up the shaker with ice and shake well to ensure the egg is properly beaten into the mixture. Once poured into a glass, top the drink with coconut shavings and cinnamon. If you’re feeling tropical, garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple.

***

What are you waiting for? Start infusing your alcohol and have a taste for yourself! Let us know which one had you feeling extra festive, and remember to consume responsibly! Happy Holidays!

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