Curing and potency -- do you cure?

Discussion in 'Cooking With Cannabis' started by Humanrob, Oct 16, 2017.


    Humanrob Well-Known Member

    Beyond the better flavor and lack of harshness when smoked that comes with proper curing, I've also read that the cannabis gets stronger over time (up to a point) as it cures. Is that a fact? Are there known chemical changes that happen over time that increase the THC or other high-inducing elements?

    I'm going to make more tincture, and I'm wondering if it would be of any benefit to cure the bud for a couple of months (or use older bud from the stash) when making a tincture? Obviously with a tincture how smoothly it smokes is not an issue, but the profile of the high is.
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    cannetix Inc

    cannetix Inc Well-Known Member

    There are a number of chemical processes that occur when you "cure" cannabis. The main reason the smoke is less harsh is that, over time, sugars, lipids, and amino acids are oxidized and degraded. These compounds, especially amino acids, can make smoke more acidic or "acrid". The same thing occurs in tobacco when it is air cured. Also, Oxygen in the air naturally decarboxylates cannabinoid acids to some degree through a process called 'Oxidative Decarboxylation'. Aroma becomes stronger as chlorophyll breaks down and releases Phytol, an aromatic diterpene. Naturally occurring terpenes in the cannabis plant can also be converted to other terpenes via partial oxidization during air curing. When you heat Cannabis during smoking/vaping, decarboxylation does occur but this process is not 100% efficient. This is one of the main reasons curing increases potency. Usually with a tincture, when it is properly made, it is heated for at least an hour to be forcefully decarboxylated. This converts non-psychoactive cannabinoid acids in the plant such as THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD. The heating process also forcefully causes many of the same reactions that would occur during curing to occur, such as the breakdown of Chlorophyll, and the reduction of sugars/amino acids as they react in a process known as the milliard reaction.

    In my personal opinion curing isn't really necessary if you do not plan on smoking the bud or making a smokable concentrate. I use freshly harvested bud to make edibles and tinctures regularly with great results (after proper decarboxylation, of course) Decarboxylation Study of Acidic Cannabinoids
    Medicinal Cannabis: In Vitro Validation of Vaporizers for the Smoke-Free Inhalation of Cannabis Some information on the chemical processes that occur when Tobacco is air-cured
    More information on the chemical processes that occur when tobacco is cured Phytol Oxidative Decarboxylation Food Processing and Milliard Reaction Products

    There is also some evidence that 8THC, a more potent form of THC forms when Cannabis is aged but I am not sure of the facts behind this. I do know that 8THC and 11THC are formed in the liver when 9THC is ingested orally. Tinctures are generally taken sublingually and will bypass the liver much like smoking or vaping, so IF it is true that curing converts 9THC to 8THC then it may result in a more potent tincture.



    Humanrob Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the thoughtful and comprehensive reply! I've been making tincture for a couple of years and along the way have gotten different advice and information. The greatest diversity of input has come in regards to decarboxylation. At first I was told not to let it go above 220º, later it was not above 318º, and the amount of time it should be heated varies from 20-60+ minutes. I tend to decarb for 25 minutes at 250º, and the tinctures I make "work", but perhaps they could be better. Even at those temps/times the whole house fills with the smell of cooking cannabis, and I feel like I'm going to vape it if I go any hotter or longer. Feelings aren't science, but sometimes we go with out guts. Damn this being human thing....


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    cannetix Inc

    cannetix Inc Well-Known Member

    No problem, happy to help! :bigjoint:

    250 (Fahrenheit) seems perfectly reasonable to me, I generally use the chart below. I bake edibles at 275-315 and get very strong effects, but I generally cook with butter or oil that i "steep" for 30 minutes - 1 hour at approximately the same temp before baking, usually for another 30 minutes to one hour. I wouldn't change your temps but you might try decarboxylating for longer. Also, what are you using as a base for your tincture? Alcohol, Glycerol or some kind of oil?

    As far as I know, Cannabinoids are most soluble in fat as opposed to Glycerol or Alcohol, but someone might be able to correct me on this.

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    Humanrob Well-Known Member

    I have made a bunch of budder, and based on the original recipe an old stoner gave me I don't let the butter (or coconut oil) get above 180º, but that simmers for 3 hours. And then of course it bakes in whatever confection I'm making.

    For tincture we mostly use 151 Rum. I just recently read about giving the tincture a warm prolonged bath, I've never done that. I also read about giving it a second alcohol rinse, makes sense but so far I've never done that either. I fill a jar about 2/3's with ground up decarb'd buds, cover it with rum, give a shake once a day (or so) and let it soak about 60 days and then strain it in a French press coffee maker. Perhaps not the best way to do it, but the tincture that results gets us high.

    Until recently I've always had more bud than I needed, and haven't kept my shake or small buds, just used the main buds for everything (budder, tincture, smoking) and composted the rest. That gave me a lot of room to be sloppy in my process. I'm growing less than I used to, so I suppose with more limited quantities I'll need to start learning techniques for more efficiently getting all of the THC out.
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    WayFarGone Member

    I'm in the same boat, in my case you can file the cause under "moving sucks!", so learning more efficient techniques is why I'm reading this. We've got a batch of budder going atm. Thanks for the info on your tincture, I'm gonna give that try.
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    Glenn38 New Member

    useful topic.thanks for sharing

    chiqifella Well-Known Member

    fed heavy for more weight, cured longer to fix the errorbongsmilie

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