How to Use Your Dried Flower
Despite the notable rise in popularity of oils and concentrates, dried flower is still what comes to mind for most when using cannabis. Dried flower is exactly what it sounds like—the flowers, or ‘buds’ of the cannabis plant. Buds are harvested, dried and cured before they are packaged and sold as dried flower. As with other forms of medical cannabis, your physician or nurse practitioner will prescribe the specific recommended daily dose of dried flower, usually starting with a lower amount and then slowing increasing until an ideal dose is reached.
In order to release the cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis, the dried buds must go through a heating process. This heating process—whether it happens through a portable vaporizer or your kitchen’s oven—is called decarboxylation. Cannabis can be smoked, however it is important to note that smoking is not recommended as a suitable method for medical cannabis consumption by Health Canada or our GrowWise Health Educators. Physicians and those in the medical community prefer patients to use vaporizers. Also known as vaping, vaporizing heats the dried cannabis to a temperature below its combustion point, but still hot enough to release the medicinal compounds
One of the benefits of vaporizing over smoking is the ability to create a controlled heat. You can set a vaporizer to a specific temperature, customizing your cannabis experience every time. And this is important because heating your cannabis to the perfect temperature means getting the most from your medicine. Heat it too low, and you are not getting enough of the effects. But if the cannabis is overheated, you can burn your bud, affecting both the flavour and effects. Keep in mind, like finding a strain and dosage that works best for specific needs, the optimal temperature you heat your bud can vary. Similar to testing out your best dosage, we recommend starting on the lower end of the heating spectrum and moving up.
Generally speaking, lower heating temperatures (between 154°-166°C or 310°-330°F) create a lighter, milder effect. This is ideal when you want to be awake and productive. Moderate temperatures (between 166-188°C or 330°-370°F) offer a more balanced experience. And high temperatures (between 188°-227°C or 370°-440°F) can create the most intense results and can be best when you are pretty much done being a productive member of society for the day. When going hot and high, make sure to stay below 235°C or 455°F, at which point you will burn the bud. Some vaporizers allow for incredibly specific temperature settings and other are fairly vague or come with multiple pre-set options. If exact temperature control is important, you will want one you can set to your tailored preferences. Finally, it is important to know that cannabis consumed through inhalation starts working quickly in the body, though the effects will not last as long as when cannabis is transmitted through the gastrointestinal system via oils or edibles.
Baking / Edibles
Foods that incorporate cannabis through cooking or baking—known as edibles—are incredibly discreet and can be made at home using either dried flower or oils. Unlike inhaling cannabis, where cannabinoids enter the body through the lungs, edibles and oils introduce cannabinoids through the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in long-lasting and intensified effects. It will take longer for the effects to start, but once they do, they will last longer than when using a vaporizer. Depending on how your body metabolizes the cannabis, it can take between 30 minutes and two full hours before you notice the effects. Remember, as with all modes of consumption, “Start Low and Go Slow”—we do not recommend consuming more than your initial dose before the entire two hour window has passed. The oral consumption of cannabis is one of the strongest ways to experience the herb and it is very easy to overdo it, especially for new users. And always remember to clearly label your edibles after baking and make sure to keep them in a safe and secure place, out of reach of children or pets.
Finally, if you have any questions about how to use your dried flower, our nurse educators are always available to assist you. No query is too small and your safety is our number one priority, so do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can get in touch by emailing the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling our toll-free patient hotline at 1-844-456-1515.