Over the last couple of years I have had a few aches and pains show up. Some are arthritic type pains and I have had more than a few people suggest I try an ointment with CBD in it. I really have never been exposed to marijuana having never been a user, and even as it has become legal haven’t really tried any of it. The thought of purchasing gave me enough pause, and I have never done it.
Planting a seed in my Brain
Spring 2022 we spent a month in Virgin (just outside Zion National Park) and a month in St George. There were 4 days in the middle that we had to find a place to stay, so to fill the Gap we went to Mesquite, Nevada, just over the border from Utah. (Lovely town, BTW, with great pickleball courts and a number of friends). On our last night in Virgin, our friends (Jeremy and Robyn) threw a bon voyage party. We were ALL leaving the next day as well as 80% of the RV’s in the park, because the park rates changed to summer rates the next day. Robyn invited folks that we had come to know through Pickleball.
One such gentleman, Adrian, heard we were going to Mesquite, and insisted that we had to go to this great dispensary called “Native Roots”. This sparked a whole discussion about CBD. He gets a CBD ointment that he swears by at that store. And his wife takes a tincture (1 part THC to 5 parts CBD) that helps her sleep. Mike has ALWAYS struggled with sleep. I became intrigued.
The next day we headed to Mesquite, and the RV park was 1/2 a mile from Deep Roots Harvest! Bike riding distance! I felt like it was a sign I should go. Mike wasn’t compelled. We visited 2 sets of friends that afternoon and when I brought up the topic of CBD they all started pulling CBD Product out of their medicine chests. We couldn’t believe it. This stuff is popular!
The next day I went to the store. It was MASSIVE, at least for what I think most cannabis stores are. Sadly, but they were out of the sleeping tincture. I bought some CBD Ointment. Immediately I felt guilty. It was expensive, especially for something I wasn’t sure about. Before I got home, my sister, Nancy, had agreed to buy it from me if I didn’t want it. I thought I’d give it a try, but honestly I don’t have any aches and pains (the arthritis is gone now… thank you Carnivore!). Mike has aches and pains but is still uncomfortable with using marijuana, legal or not.
So, I sold Nancy the ointment. But I wasn’t done yet. It occurred to me that Mike makes all his own personal products tooth powder, lotions, soaps, etc. What if I made my own CBD? Maybe we both might feel more comfortable with it after seeing the process.
But Can I grow Hemp (CBD) in Montana?
When I got to Montana, we asked the park managers if they would have a problem with us growing some plants for CBD. They said it was legal in Montana, so they had no problem. She even offered to give me some seeds she had, but in the end, it turned out they were tobacco seed. So, I started learning and searching for seed.
I learned that CBD comes from the Hemp plant. Hemp and marijuana are, taxonomically speaking, the same plant. However, the have different names for the same genus (Cannabis) and species. Hemp and marijuana even look and smell the same. The difference is that hemp plants contain no more than 0.3 percent (by dry weight) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance found in marijuana. By comparison, marijuana typically contains 5 to 20 percent THC. You can’t get high on hemp. In other words, Cannabis plants with 0.3 percent or less of THC are hemp. Cannabis plants with more than 0.3 percent THC are marijuana. It is illegal to sell hemp seed that produces plant that give higher than 0.3 THC content.
Back in the 70’s the two plants were a lot closer, but they have been bred to make marijuana high in THC and low in CBD. CBD and THD are cannabinoids of the plant and the chemical components that make the magic happen. CBD has the same (or debatably more) health properties as THC but no high. Since the 70’s, the Hemp plant has been bred to limit the THC in the plant. I really wanted to start with “clones” which are clippings, but I couldn’t find Hemp clones (easy to find marijuana clones). It took a while to find the Hemp seeds so I couldn’t plant as early as I hoped. But I planted by mid-June, and watched them grow, and grow, and grow all summer. The plants got lots of attention from the guests at the park!
And then the Harvest
I had to harvest by the last week in September because we were getting ready to leave. It was still too early. I likely could get higher CBD yield if I could have waited another 2-3 weeks. But we had to dry them after we harvested, and I wasn’t sure how to do that on the road. When I harvested I only had 10 days available for the drying.
It is supposed to dry in the dark, hanging upside down. I decided to use the Bike tent to do this. We set up a 4-foot ladder in there and hung the plants on that. Ideally it would be dried in a temperature and humidity controlled area, but COME ON, MAN!!! They are not supposed to dry too fast, and so without lower temperatures in Montana, that wasn’t likely. I also wanted to be careful that they did not mildew or grow mold. I hoped the low humidity in this part of the country will take care of that.
Unfortunately, by the time we left they were not dry. I had to trim them short and devise a box to hang them in that could ride in the car (No way was Mike letting me bring it in the RV).
So we left Polson, Montana, on October 7th, towing a car with our cannabis drying in the back seat! Within two weeks they were dry. I trimmed the blossoms up and started planning for decarboxylation.
Processing the CBD
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that results from heating a cannabinoid to the point of removing a carboxyl group, thus enhancing the cannabinoid’s ability to interact with the body’s receptors. Basically it makes the THC and CBD “active” and improves the ability for our bodies to be able to use it.
There are many ways to “Decarb” the cannabis, but I was most intrigued by the low-tech – Crock-pot method. Think hippies in the 70’s decarbing their pot in their kitchen. Well, I guess it was a lot like that! But instead I used and Instant Pot, and I did it outside to avoid smelling up the house. Also, I did not wear any tie-dye (sorry, Donna).
Basically, I put the Cannabis flower into mason jars (with lid to keep the plant dry), put into the Instant Pot on the trivet. Added 4 cups of water and “pressure cooked” it for 90 minutes (Instant release). The blossoms were then ready to use in CBD product.
The next step is to infuse the CBD into a carrier. I could at this point put the CBD directly into edibles, but I haven’t done that.. yet! For all of my products I infused the cannabis into oil or Alcohol I put the cannabis in a mason jar and put it in water in the instant pot on “slow cook” for 4 hours. Then strained off the plant matter.
The final products
I had fun with the products. And as I still have about a dozen quart jars full of dried blossoms, I will continue to have fun. I made CBD infused butter, to eat like regular butter. Although I still haven’t eaten any of it! I made a CBD tincture using Everclear. I then reduced that Everclear by evaporating the alcohol off to about 1/2 volume… Probably should do that again as it is still too strong of alcohol. And I made CBD infused MCT Oil.
The oil can be used topically and Mike is using that for some elbow pain, and I am using it for toenail fungus. The oil can also be used as drops under the tongue, or the tinctures can be used that way for systemic pain relief or sleep aids. I also plan to make some gummy bears with the tincture. and I also want to infuse some regular coconut oil and have Mike use that to make a lotion or salve.
Anyhow, both of us learned a lot through this project. Very interesting. I don’t know that I’ll do it again, and I’m still not 100% on board with using CBD.. especially as I have very little to treat. But that being said I love knowing more about it and if I had a use I would not hesitate to consider using the products.