The Harvest and Beyond, Part II - Ya mon! I just came back from the HighTimes Cannabis World Cup in Jamaica and the one overall thing that I have experienced regarding Jamaican herb, is that their drying/curing techniques can definitely be improved, even with little adjustments, for example: not drying in the open sun but in a covered dark well ventilated shed. Don’t get me wrong, their cannabis is really fire and I have met great cultivators or ganja farmers in Negril! But the drying conditions there are not ideal because of the high humidity levels, and setting up a professional drying room with air-conditioning (and dehydrator) is just too expensive.
So I showed some growers my blog and gave them some tips on drying and curing, so next year I will hopefully smoke properly dried/cured Jamaican herb. But for now, I will resume where we left off ‘The Harvest and Beyond II”, further in the newsletter you will find some World Cannabis Cup Jamaica news/pictures. I hope that everyone enjoyed/is enjoying/is waiting to enjoy their harvest. Most of you have everything jarred up for consumption and while it sits in the jar it is ‘curing’ or ‘ripening’.
Some of you already consumed their harvest but the patient ones know that their weed will be perfectioned after the cure. But why do we cure and how do we cure? How to get that clean, white ash? I will help! After explaining about curing cannabis, I will also reveal some personal secrets regarding to post-harvest. I will show and describe some amazing things you can do with your trim, wet-trim as well as dry-trim.
So yeah, where did we left off; curing cannabis, the last but not less important part of the cannabis harvest. Curing can be described as the process during/after drying where all excess moisture is released from the cannabis buds. During the cure the metabolic processes of the cannabis cells continue, to make sure that carbohydrates are converted to sugars and pigments like chlorophyll are broken down.
If buds are dried too quickly without curing them, they will retain more chlorophyll. You will end up with a harsh ‘green tasting’ smoke. Also the smell will be less intense if you don’t cure your cannabis. Curing cannabis will make sure that all the inner moisture of the bud is pulled out from the inside to the outside.
Properly cured and slowly dried cannabis, I repeat SLOWLY, will result in a smooth, clean and tasty smoke. For a proper cure and to avoid mold issues, open the jars daily so that they can ‘burp out’ all the excess moisture.
Cannabis Drying & Curing Essentials:
- Keep temperature at 15-22 degrees Celsius
- Keep humidity levels at 50-55% (use Dehydrator or Air-conditioning if necessary)
- Make sure that there is enough airflow in the drying area
- Dry cannabis until stalks snap when you break them and then put the buds in airtight jars
- Open jars with cannabis buds daily
- Cure for 2-4 weeks before consuming cannabis
If you chose for a wet-trim during your harvest, you ended up with fresh trim. If you put this trim into the freezer straight after harvesting each plant you end up with fresh frozen material. With fresh frozen trim you can make beautiful bubblehash also called ‘IceWax’ or ‘Fullmelt Bubble’, you only need bubblebags, water and ice. In the pictures you can see what I mean with fresh frozen material: the sugar leaves are still fresh when they get an icewater bath. The low water temperature and spinning/stirring (depends on hand stir or machine wash) will separate the trichomes from the leaves, you can say that the trichomes get knocked off the plant material, and they end up in the icewater. With the bubblebags you can filter out the trichome-containing icewater, because the bags have fine sieves on the bottom. Every bag has a different sieve-size; the sizes are given in different microns (=µ). The sizes on the bubblebags go from 220 micron to 25 micron and every sieve will yield different grades of hash. In my opinion the best grades of hash are found in the 25µ, 45µ,73µ,90µ, & 120µ.
If you chose for a dry-trim, you ended up with sugar trim that is completely dry now. This trim should be covered in trichomes, because if there are no trichomes it means that there is nothing to extract. But what the f*ck is trimrosin? Rosin or SHO (Solventless Hash Oil) is an extraction of cannabis essential oils with heat and pressure. With heat? Yes with heat (high temperatures) and pressure only. #RosinTech is an extraction technique where a hair straightener (or another heating element like a t-shirt press) is used to squeeze out the essential oils from cannabis(-trim) with heat and pressure. All you need is:
- Hair straightener (preferable with adjustable temperature)
- Parchment Paper
- Glue Clamp
- Oilslick Pad
- Dabber tool
Making TrimRosin can’t get any easier, just follow these steps:
Step 1: Take a bit of trim and squeeze it into a ball with your fingers (wear gloves, cause it will/should be sticky), if there are enough trichomes on your trim the squeezed ball will stay like that. You make a ball of the trim because you want all the plant material to stay in one place.
Step 2: Put a trim-ball between parchment paper and make sure it all stays in that position. You want your trim centered in one place on the parchment paper, because this is where you eventually will squeeze on with the hair straightener. The squeezing (pressure) and heat (temperature) will get the essential oils out of the trim-ball.
Step 3: Place the piece of parchment paper with the trim-ball inside between the hair straightener so that the heating elements will cover the parchment paper from above and under, exactly where the trim-ball is placed. The hair straightener’s temperature shouldn’t be too high because else you will lose terpenes and essential oils will vaporize. My recommended temperature is around 130-150 degrees Celsius. When everything is in its place you should press the hair straightener as hard as possible on the position of the parchment where the trim-ball is placed. You can reinforce that pressure with a glue clamp, which you should place on the hair straightener. You will hear a sizzling sound from the oil that is squeezed out of the trim-ball, squeeze for around 10-20 second en release the clamp so that you can take out the piece of parchment. Gently remove the pressed trim-ball-chip (after pressing cannabis buds or trim, the leftovers from plant material are called ‘rosin-chips’) so you make sure that no plant material will stick in the oil that surrounds the place where the trim-ball was placed.
Step 4: Now start collecting all the oil (this is called Rosin) off the parchment paper, you should use a dabber for this. When you have the first piece of oil stuck on the dabber, all the rest will stick to this aswell. So move your dabber over all the oil and do this with short fast gentle pulling when the oil on the dabber touches the oil on the parchment paper. When all the oil is collected from the parchment paper on the dabber, bring it to the Oilslick pad and collect it on there. Now repeat these step-by-step instructions over and over, every time you finish with a trim-ball, use a new piece of parchment paper and a new trim-ball. The collected oil on the Oilslick Pad will increase subsequently and after 30 minutes of squeezing you will have a nice piece of TrimRosin, enjoy!
Extracting essential oils from dry cannabis trim can be done in various ways. One of my favorite ways is to use coconut oil. Coconut oil contains fats and fats are able to extract cannabinoids from the plant material. I always decarboxylate my cannabis before using it in a coconut oil extraction, this makes cannabis coconut oil that is completely activated. When you do this, you should not use your coconut oil for further cooking where heat is used. The cannabis infused coconut oil should be used as an addition to drinks or food (for example: you can add it to smoothies, fresh juices, milkshakes etc.). Once decarboxylation has taken place, the cannabis or cannabis infused coconut oil shouldn’t be heated to high temperatures anymore because this will result in a loss of already active cannabinoids. Decarboxylation is essential when eating cannabinoids, because it activates all the non-active cannabinoids. Decarboxylation occurs naturally with time and temperature (drying cannabis), but happens faster when temperatures are being raised, so by adding more heat we can completely decarboxylate cannabis before extracting it with the coconut oil. I personally recommend putting your dry-trim in the oven (on parchment paper of course), oven on 120 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, that’s all. After this step your cannabis is ready to get extracted:
- Wrap the cannabis in a cheesecloth
- Put a pan with some water on the stove (make sure the water won’t boil, it just have to be a warm water bath)
- Put a glass bowl in the pan with water (‘au bain marie-style’) this will make sure your coconut oil will only melt and get warm, in this way it can extract the cannabinoids from the decarboxylated cannabis trim.
- Put 250 ml raw coconut oil in the glass bowl and let it melt (I prefer odorless coconut oil from http://www.royal-green.eu/en/food/coconut-oil )
- Add 300 ml water to the melted coconut oil
- Place the cannabis wrapped in the cheesecloth in the coconut oil so that it is totally submerged
- Let the cheesecloth wrap stay in there for around 4-6 hours (make sure to add water to the pan that serves as warm water bath every hour)
- After 4+ hours you will see that the color of the coconut oil has completely changed, the cannabinoids are extracted from the trim into the coconut oil
- Put your glass bowl with cannabis coconut oil solution in the fridge for a few hours so that the added water will separate from the coconut oil again. After a few hours you will see a clear separation of stable hard (green) cannabis coconut oil and water at the bottom of the glass bowl. Make a hole in the cannabis coconut oil so that you can drain all the water out.
- Now you have your pure, fully active cannabis coconut oil. Save it in de fridge and use it whenever you like! Cheers!
Note: If you would like to use your cannabis coconut oil for further cooking with higher temperatures like baking, grilling, frying etc., then you should not decarboxylate your cannabis before extracting it with coconut oil. In this case decarboxylation will take place when you are actually baking, grilling or frying because in all these types of cooking temperatures are being raised very high.
#Trimrosin can be used to make edibles or any other medicated food. An easy and healthy recipe, is the recipe for medicated fruit leathers, I call them HERBSstrips.
Next time I will describe step by step how to make these delicious and healthy medicated fruit strips.