This post a guest post by Andrea Meharg, Cannabis Wellness Coach and Educator at www.revealcannabis.com
Have you ever been around someone who spilled a glass of wine and then shouted, “Alcohol abuse!” as they frantically mop it up?
That’s how I feel every time I see someone spend their hard-earned cash on cannabis flower, only to waste it by not taking care of it. And let’s face it unless you’re growing it yourself, this stuff is expensive. In Ontario, where I live, grams on the legal market run from about $9-18 a pop. In this article, I’ll teach you the easiest four ways to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck after you get your cannabis home.
I cringe when I think back to how I used to store my cannabis when I first started using it to help dig out of a deep depression. I kept it all in the baggie it came in, stuffed into a drawer or sometimes hidden in the freezer under the frozen berries. You don’t have to make those mistakes.
The part of the cannabis plant that contains all the beneficial compounds like THC, CBD and more are the sticky, resinous glands called trichomes, and they’re insanely delicate and fragile. Storing your flower properly allows you to preserve the trichomes instead of damaging them.
When you get your cannabis home, immediately transfer it to glass mason jars and store them in a dark place like in the back of your cupboard. Some of the compounds in cannabis can actually degrade plastic, so storing in a plastic bag is never okay.
Add a Boveda Pack
Keeping your cannabis at the right humidity level is key. If it dries out, you’ve lost some of the medical benefits and if it’s too wet, you’ll get mould. Luckily, you don’t need to invest in a humidor, you can just pick up some of these inexpensive little 2-way humidity packs and pop one in your mason jar. They keep your herb at exactly the right humidity so that you’re getting all of the benefits with little waste. They last for a long time and just harden up when they’re done so you know it’s time to replace them.
You put lots of things in the freezer to preserve them, so it might make sense to pop your cannabis in there too. Don’t do it! If humidity is the death sentence of cannabis, then the freezer is the executioner. You know how bread gets covered in ice crystals when you freeze it? The same thing happens to your pot and when it thaws, you have damp cannabis that will go moldy in an instant.
Use it quickly
Even if you’re storing your herb in mason jars at the back of the cupboard with Boveda packs, it doesn’t last forever. In fact, the beneficial compounds start to degrade as soon as the buds are cut from the plant. That’s why cannabis you’ve been storing for half a year won’t have the same effects that it did when you first got it. Ideally, you’ll be able to consume what you purchase within a couple of weeks. However, if you won the cannabis lottery and have way more than you can use in that time, it’s time to process it into something else.
You can achieve longer-term storage of cannabis if you make it into oil, butter, edibles or a tincture. My favorite method is to make Corinne ’s simple cannabis-infused coconut oil that I can add to my coffee or cooking. Because all the good stuff is bound up in the oil, you can extend the life of your bud for a much longer time.
Surprisingly, there are guidelines to keep in mind when grinding your cannabis flower as well. First of all, only grind what you’re going to be using in the next day or two. Remember, as soon as you start damaging those resinous trichomes, the clock starts ticking. So if you grind enough weed for a week, by the time you get to day 7, the cannabis has lost some potency.
Be gentle! Get a grinder specifically designed for pot. Unless you’re processing a big batch to make oil or something, busting out your coffee grinder for a joint is overkill. And tearing buds apart with your hands is a terrible idea too. You don’t want the sticky goodness on your fingers, you want it in you! So if you don’t have a grinder, use a pair of sharp scissors. And however you chop it up, make sure you’re cleaning your equipment often with some isopropyl alcohol.
Let’s get to the fun part … ingestion! An overwhelming majority of cannabis users prefer to smoke it. Unfortunately, it’s also the least cost-effective way of medicating. In fact, it’s estimated that about half of the ‘good stuff’ goes literally up in smoke. Let’s look at two other methods that are friendlier to the wallet.
First up is the vaporizer. A vape can be used with dried cannabis, concentrates or both, but we’ll stick with dry flower vapes here. They have two main advantages over smoking when it comes to the almighty dollar.
First of all, because vapes don’t actually combust your weed (they get hot enough for the compounds to vaporize, and you inhale the vapor) you’re not losing all of those awesome trichomes in flames. After packing the bowl of the temperature-controlled vape, you essentially boil off all the compounds, at all their various boiling points and get the benefits each of them. In contrast, when smoking a joint you’re destroying some of the more delicate cannabinoids and not getting hot enough for others.
Many people get several sessions out of one packed vape because they use it at the lowest temperature setting and then go back later to turn it up a bit. And as a bonus, you can use the spent material to make into canna-butter, oil or a tincture. It’s not as potent as cannabis that hasn’t been vaped, but it still packs a punch. This is the tried and true method I use.
There is, however, an upfront cost associated with purchasing a good vaporizer. To get an adjustable temperature dry herb unit with a decent warranty you’re likely looking at $200-$300. But if you use cannabis on any kind of a regular basis, your investment will pay for itself quickly.
Oils, tinctures, and edibles
The other extremely cost-effective way to medicate is by using oils, tinctures, or edibles. Three things work in your favor here. Because you infuse the whole plant into the oil or alcohol to make your concoction, you’re getting the benefits of all the compounds. There’s no loss.
Secondly, when you consume cannabis and it has to be processed by your liver, the THC changes into an even more potent compound. That’s why when you’re starting out with oils and edibles that you must start low and go slow. You may find you need significantly less cannabis when you consume it than when you smoke it.
Finally, because the effects last so much longer (6-8 hours or more), you may not have to give yourself as many doses throughout the day to achieve relief.
And that brings us to how to save some cash simply by changing our relationship to the plant and how we consume it. Instead of hauling back a huge joint, or eating the whole cannabis cookie, I’d like to introduce you to the money-saving (and dare I say life-transforming) practice of microdosing. It simply means that you find the smallest possible dose that relieves your symptoms and repeat that dose throughout the day so that you’re ALWAYS feeling better. Yup, always.
The difference to your wallet can be significant. Obviously finding a small dose that works will save you loads of money. Many people who use cannabis to feel better actually need far less than they think. Figuring out your “Goldilocks Zone” takes a bit of time and patience, but once you find it, you’ll wonder why you ever waited until the end of the day to get relief. Because you’re having better days, you don't want or need a big dose to help you feel better.
Combining a great vape with microdosing might be the absolute best way to stretch your dollar when it comes to cannabis. And that means you have a little extra cash leftover to try out some new strains or products.
What are your best money-saving tips? Share the love in the comments below.
Andrea Meharg is a former elementary school teacher turned Cannabis Wellness Coach living in Ontario, Canada, where cannabis is legal!
Two years ago, she suffered from a major burnout from her stressful teaching job and fell into a dark depression that lasted months. She credits finding cannabis with not only lifting her out of that hopeless place but with allowing her to make some massive life-changing decisions.
Now, she’s in the best physical and mental shape of her life and is on a mission to ensure that mothers all over the world know about the transformational powers of healthy cannabis use.
Along with posting weekly YouTube videos about using cannabis to live your best life, you can find her on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re interested in working with Andrea to change your life, reach out at www.revealcannabis.com