Better than Gold, Perfectly Decarbed Weed, An Alchemist’s Dream.

I vow to do my best to keep this information as simple as I can, but I do need to get a little “sciencey”.

After all, we are talking about alchemy, the art of changing something that is perceived to be relatively worthless into something valuable.

I know that it may seem odd, sacrilegious even, to infer that weed could take a form of lesser value, but when it comes to making cannabis infused edibles … it is shockingly true, so don’t get your tie-dyed knickers in a knot and let me explain further.

In its raw form, or dried flower buds, the psychoactive molecule, 9-THC does not exist.

Instead, it contains a molecular component called THCA. To change this molecule into the “holy grail” of active cannabinoids, 9-THC, (the gem responsible for the “cerebral or body high”), heat must be added to the equation.

With the correct temperature of heat applied, for just the right amount of time, carbon dioxide is released from the dried flower buds. This is when the magic happens and THCA is converted into 9-THC, becoming psychoactive.

The process of loosing carbon dioxide molecularly, changes the cannabinoids and they all change from their raw forms into their more active medicinal forms.

This process is called decarboxylation.

Some would argue that it is the most important step required to produce a potent and psychoactive edible. Sadly, it is often skipped, simply because it isn’t commonly known or because it is brushed off as being a waste of time and not important.

It’s important, very important. “Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200” important.

Do not skip decarbing, ever. Period.

If you do skip it, just like a marathon session of “Monopoly”, it’s anybody’s game.

Will you have a potently “high” producing edible, at the end of hours of work in your kitchen, or not?

(After the investment of time and money, this is a risk or chance I simply am not willing to take.)

There are 2 main methods used to decarboxylate weed effectively.

The first is the “in oven method”.

It requires a covered casserole dish, an oven set to 240 degrees F and an ounce or 30 grams of dried bud.

Here’s what to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 240 F.

2. Lay your bud, a single layer deep in the bottom of a casserole dish. Not ground or busted.

3.  Cover the casserole dish with its lid.

4. Place that casserole dish on the middle rack of your oven and bake it for 40 minutes.

5. After 40 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and let it cool completely. Do not remove the lid. This lets all of the volatile oils, cannabinoids, terpenes and flavinoids settle back down on the buds and will give you the whole benefit of the strain profile from the strain that you have chosen to decarb.

6. When the dish is cool enough to touch, it is safe to handle the decarbed bud and it can be stored in an airtight container until you are ready to infuse and bake with it.

There are two main issues with this method.

The first one being that temperatures inside ovens can fluctuate substantially. Due to this fact, it requires frequent monitoring for the entire duration of the 40 minute decarboxylation process. You must make sure your buds stay within a 230 degree F to 250 degree F range. This is the ideal temperature range, in which THCA and many of the raw cannabinoids change into their medicinally active forms.

CBDA is a little bit different. It requires a higher temperature range to decarboxylate effectively and transform into its active form, CBD. The range, for this conversion, is from 295 degrees F to 320 degrees F and it requires 75 minutes of baking time.

The second major issue is the smell.

It smells. It smells very strong and no amount of ingenuity on anybody’s part can camouflage it…not even adopting a surfeit of skunks and trying to convince all your neighbours that you’ve opened a rescue sanctuary for wayward Pepé Le Pews.

Embrace the stench or try the second method of decarboxylation, referred to as “Sous-Vide”, (pronounced sue-veed).

Sous- vide is a French culinary term that translates to cooking “under a vacuum” and the benefits are that the temperature remains constant and the smell factor doesn’t exist.

The credit for the discovery of this form of cooking goes to Sir Benjamin Thompson, the Count of Rumsford, who invented the procedure in 1799. ( It sure makes you wonder how the Count would feel about his discovery being applied to activate the medicine in cannabis, some 200 years later.)

(Sir Benjamin Thompson, the Count of Rumsford)

The Sous-Vide method requires a pressure cooker, a metal lid off of a jar, an air-tight tempered glass or air-tight stainless steel container, 2 litres of water and 30 grams or 1 ounce of cannabis.

Here’s what to do:

1. Place the cannabis buds into your air-tight container. Do not grind or bust it up, but make sure the lid on your container is sealed properly so that no moisture will get on or into your plant material.

2. Place the metal lid in the centre of your pressure cooker. (This is used as a riser, to keep your air-tight container up off the bottom of your pressure cooker.)

3. Place your cannabis loaded, air-tight container on top of the metal lid in the centre of your pressure cooker.

4. Add 2 litres of water to your pressure cooker.

5. Secure the lid of your pressure cooker by locking it in place and placing the rocker weight in its place.

6. Bring your pressure cooker to a gentle boil. The weight should be briskly rocking back and forth. Once brisk rocking of the rocker weight is achieved, the internal temperature inside the pressure cooker will be the perfect decarboxylation temperature range of 230 degrees F to 250 degrees F and it will consistently stay in range.

7. After 40 minutes of pressure cooking time, turn your stove burner off and remove your pressure cooker away from the burner so that it has a chance to cool.

8. Once cooled the pressure will be release from inside your pressure cooker, allowing its lid to be safely removed.

9. Using an oven mitt, remove your air-tight container from your pressure cooker and let it cool until it returns to room temperature and is comfortable to handle.

Your cannabis is now perfectly decarboxylated and activated. They only smell that is detectable occurs when you open the air tight decarb container. It’s minimal and requires you to stick your nose close to the buds to smell them.

The decarbed buds can be stored in an air-tight sealer jar until you are ready to infuse it into an edible.

From its raw form to its activated form in under an hour…a true Alchemist’s dream.

The Perfect Trifecta: An Aging Population, Medical Marijuana and Steem Cryptocurrency


Haven’t you ever seen a cannabis leaf that has turned golden yellow and develop a few brown edges with age?

I admit it. I hadn’t witnessed this either, until today. We usually see magazine quality pictures of beautiful plants in their optimal condition, but this… this spurred me to think and take action.

As a result, I bought a new domain name:  “Gone to Pot Retirement”.

You see, I am a Maverick.

I’m not afraid to cross the line of conformity which, I think, is a common trait shared by anyone involved in cryptocurrencies and medical marijuana.

I also happen to be able to identify good business opportunities when I see them.

And, I see a perfect trifecta of opportunities in the making:

An aging population;

medical marijuana;

and Steem cyptocurrency.

As of August 13th, 2016, the currently, population of the United States is 324, 227,000 million people.

Of that, 14.4% or 46.2 million people are over the age of 65.

This translates to 1 out of every 7 Americans and this population segment is expected to grow to 21.7% by the year 2040.

In Canada, the senior population is expected to more than double over the next 21 years to 10 million people. By 2036, a 15% growth in the number of people over the age of 65 is forecasted.  This translates into a quarter of Canada’s entire population.

That’s approximately 60 million North Americans, over the age of 65, in less than 25 years.

I think we can all agree that, 60 million, is a lot of people.

The key issues, identified as being the most important to these people are:

1. Outliving their savings;

2. Remaining active;

3. and being able to access different levels of care as their needs change.

Medical marijuana use is on the rise as well. Currently, there are 25 legal medical marijuana states in the USA and all of Canada is legal for anyone who possesses a Health Canada approved license.

Some of medical marijuana’s key benefits are:

1. It blocks pain receptors;

2. It lowers inflammation;

3. It regulates blood sugar;

4. It regulates sleep cycles and increases the amount of time spent sleeping;

5. It elevates mood;

6. And it regulates intraocular eye pressure.

Cryptocurrencies are also on the rise and some of their key benefits are:

1. A vehicle to store wealth;

2. They aren’t subject to any interest rates, surcharges or fees;

3. They aren’t affected by the rate of inflation, so won’t diminish over time;

4. They offer anonymity and data related to purchases, aren’t tracked;

5. And accounts and funds can’t be frozen or garnished.

To recap, we have a huge aging population that is concerned about having enough funds to live comfortably for their remaining “golden” years. They also want to remain as independent and as active as they can and be able to access different levels of care as their needs change.

This requires a solution and that solution will be a “golden opportunity”, for the individuals who get it right.

I think, that a retirement facility which offers a medical marijuana program and allows payment in the form of cryptocurrency is just that solution and like Steemit it’s also a utopia. We have ten years. It’s golden, I tell you.

Dissolving Social Stigma: The Earth is Round, Cannabis is a Super-Food and a Medicine.

At this point I think most of us who live the cannabis lifestyle have found ourselves on the receiving end of our fair share of disapproval for our lifestyle choices. I think, being female, in a predominantly male dominating culture, adds an extra layer to this general social disapproval.  People struggle to figure out why you would choose to stray from the comforts of social acceptance.

This act of judging others in a disapproving way is not a new human trait.

If you understand this, you will be better equipped to help other people “wrap their heads around it”, if you wish to help them change how they think.

To illustrate this point, please let me introduce you to Giordano Bruno.

In his day, Bruno was a mathematician and an astrologer. He insisted that the earth was, in fact, round and that nobody was going to fall off the edge of it, they simply would just keep following its contour if they sailed beyond how far they could see with their eyes.

In 1600, he was burned at the stake for openly sharing what he thought. The people of his time couldn’t make the paradigm shift; that is, change from one way of thinking to another.

We are in the middle of a cannabis revolution and a massive paradigm shift.

Lots of people just aren’t their yet with their ability to critically think for themselves and get beyond the negative smear campaign that was the agenda of “Reefer Madness”.

So, the key to dissolving negative stigmas is through education.

When I find myself in a social situation where another person is expressing negative disbelief about whether cannabis has value beyond recreation, I make the following statements:

“You know when someone is diagnosed with diabetes they often require insulin because their pancreas isn’t producing it well.” Generally the person will say, “Yes, I understand that.” Then, I say “Well it’s the same thing with cannabis. My body doesn’t produce enough of its own endocannabinoids. I have what’s called an endocannabinoid deficiency. The cannabis plant produces cannabinoids and my body needs them to function without disease. Just like insulin can keep people alive who have advanced diabetes.”

If the person still can’t get it or refuses to accept my gentle nudge towards a different way of thinking, then I respond with:

“I am sure when people first heard the earth was round, they felt the same way. Unfortunately, the early educators were persecuted for sharing what they knew. Then science caught up with the supporting evidence and the creation of books helped to share the correct information.”

This is the same thing.

If that is met with more negativity, I generally remove myself from the situation.

I have done my piece being a gentle “Agent of Change”, for that person.

Perhaps they are a little slow, (insert sarcastic tone here), or they require 20 more Agents of change to deliver a similar message before they will understand.

Over time, with enough Agents of Change doing their part to educate, the cannabis paradigm shift will become complete.

My favourite Canadian Cannabis Agents of Change are: Rick Simpson, Jodie Emery, Marc Emery, Jason Wilcox, Dana Larsen, Bruce Ryan and Fabian Henry.  All of these people are pioneers in the cannabis movement and are wonderful educators.

All of them have been heavily persecuted for sharing their knowledge about the cannabis herb.

(This is a picture of Jodie and myself at the Lift Cannabis Expo in Toronto, May 2016. Marc is standing in the background talking to another agent of change.)

Bruce Ryan and I, May, 2016.

Take home message: The earth is round. Cannabis is medicine. Educators are needed.

With Glowing Hearts We See Thee Rise…

 O Canada, do you think that’s what Dana Larsen had on his mind when he launched his “OverGrow Canada” campaign? The True North strong and free! I think he absolutely did.

(So, for all of you who may not have caught the significance of the phrases about glowing hearts and being strong and free, they are direct lines from Canada’s national anthem.)

Dana Larsen is a well known, Canadian cannabis activist, politician and author.  In February 2016 he created a movement, that he fondly named: “OverGrow Canada”.

It was a call to action.

Specifically: to educate and increase awareness  about cannabis legalization across the country.

His marketing angle was brilliant. He promised to send people “free cannabis seeds” as long as they paid a few dollars for shipping and agreed to plant the seeds in open public spaces where they could be seen…seen growing alongside all the other weeds.

I ordered my seeds.

It was a way for many of us “would- be” cannabis activists to come out of the closet and engage in a very gentle expression of civil disobedience. Show our support to those folks who sacrificed and were convicted and incurred criminal charges and even incarceration for being open cannabis advocates.

I was in the first few thousand people, when Dana planned to give away 1 million seeds.

We all planted.

As a country, we ALL grew.

Dana gave away 2.3 million seeds to over 25,000 Canadians. In 2017, he plans to give away 5 million seeds. You can check back with him in January for more news at

True North Strong and Free.


SPECIES: cannabis sativa

 (What I wished I would have known when I first embraced cannabis as a medicine.)

Before this post starts to turn you off based on its technical feel, please let me reassure you that it will be worth your while, to read further.

Especially, if you want to start pulling more medicine out of your favourite herb; cannabis.

Cannabis has approximately 480 different components. Those consist of 111 known cannabinoids, over 100 known terpenes, and over 100 known flavonoids. The cannabinoids are components that most people associate with the psychoactive component referred to as THC or, tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD, which stands for cannabidol, which is prized for its pain relieving qualities without producing any psychoactive effects.

Please note that THC and CBD are only 2 medicinal cannabinoids. There are 109 more, just as important, plus hundreds more terpenes and flavonoids. These are responsible for cannabis’ very distinct flavours, tastes and colours.  All the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids work synergistically to augment our body’s own endocannabinoid system. This triad powerhouse of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids is fondly known as the “entourage effect”. Often, your method of ingestion determines the strength of the plant medicine and the duration or how long the effects will last in your body.

In my opinion, smoking is the least efficient ingestion method. On average you can pull about 25% of the available medicine out of your plant material by choosing this form. Vaping dry herb and using it to make a tincture pulls out about 46% and an edible can pull out almost 60%. There is always some loss from one molecular form to another.

Once you have dry herb in hand, you are basically in possession of a plant that can change from its raw form, into 2 completely different molecular forms, each more potent than the one before.

(With that said, I am in no way, knocking the raw form of cannabis. Many of us, using the plant medicinally, greatly value its raw form as a “Super Food” and it offers many benefits to our health in its raw form.

The second molecular changes occur when heat is added. If we only look at THC, the psychoactive component, for example, it changes from its raw form: THCA to the molecule known as 9-THC. This process is called decarboxylation and refers to the lost of carbon dioxide.

When a person smokes cannabis or vapes it, they are “decarboxylating” the THCA molecule and changing it into the psychoactive molecule, 9-THC, as they go.

(Now, remember that I told you that smoking cannabis only pulls about 25% of the available medicine out of the plant.) Smoking might be the least efficient ingestion method, but it is the fastest.

Most people feel the medicinal  effects of smoking almost instantly. This is a huge benefit for someone who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or for someone suffering from anxiety attacks. In both these cases, we would want to give the suffers” instant relief” and would be quite willing to give up efficiency for quicker symptomatic reduction and restored system balance.

The effects of vaping tend to be felt in about 10 to 15 minutes. This is a great option for those who don’t want to smoke. Vaping generally adds more control to the experience. It’s definitely easier to administer the medicine because you can ingest it one inhalation at a time, without wasting your plant material. This brings a whole new meaning to the adage: “up in smoke”, when you think about it.

When a person wants to make an “active” edible containing cannabis, they must decarboxylate their raw plant material first. One way you can do this is by baking it in an oven, in a covered casserole dish, at 240 degrees F for 30 minutes. This will change the THCA molecule, (its raw form) to 9-THC, (its psychoactive form).

Once you have successfully decarbed your plant material, it is now ready to be turned into an oil infusion, a tincture or  baked goods, like a cookie, for example.

When a person eats a medicated edible or medible, as they are often referred to, another molecular change occurs. The edible travels all the way through the digestive tract, from the stomach, to the small intestine, then to the large intestine, then to the liver, where it is mixed with pancreatic enzymes and converted to 11-THC.

11-THC is ten times stronger psychoactively, than 9-THC and is the longest lasting. Often lasting 6 to 8 hours. This makes it phenomenal for anyone who has an increase in their pain level while they try to sleep or for those who suffer from insomnia or need longer lasting pain or symptom regulation.

This ingestion method takes the longest amount of time until the medicinal effects are felt. Often taking up to 2 hours. This is very important to note, because it is one of the biggest reasons why people can “over medicate” and breach their personal comfort level. An hour after they eat, they think their edible isn’t working, so they eat another one, then an hour after that, they are just starting to feel something and they want to increase the feeling of ” bliss” they are feeling, so they eat another one and before you know it, in 2 hours time, they have ingested three doses, and now are securely locked on their couch, wondering if they are in fact, going to die. (Not to worry, nobody has ever died, you just have to wait it out. You can also eat vitamin C rich fruit or drink a glass of orange juice to reduce the “high” and minimize the sensation that you aren’t in control.