Cannabis takes root as either seedlings or cuttings (clones). Later, male plants are cut out of the garden to prevent pollination. Female plants grow to full maturity before being cut and harvested. About 75% of the fresh weight is moisture that is lost in the drying process.
"[T]he quantity possessed by the patient or the primary caregiver, and the form and manner in which it is possessed, should be reasonably related to the patient's current medical needs."
— California Court of Appeals,
People v. Trippet (1997)
Almost half of the dried plant matter is stem; only about a quarter (18% to 28%) remains after the herb is cured and manicured into medical-grade bud. This bud portion of the plant has a coating of resin glands that contain cannabinoids, the active compounds.
Since different kinds of cannabis have distinct medicinal benefits, genetics are critical. Breeding is preferably done through selection from among very large numbers — hundreds or even thousands — of individual plants. The list below shows just a few of the ways cannabis is prepared or converted and utilized by patients, care-givers, collectives and cooperatives.
Inhaled cannabis: smoked, vaporized, converted
Bud: the dried, manicured mature female cannabis flower
Sinsemilla: seedless cannabis bud
Kef: (keif, kif, kief): powdery resin glands (trichome)
Hashish: compressed resin glands
Oil: (Hash or grass) liquefied resin glands
Eaten: oral ingestion
All the various forms listed above can be heated and eaten Butter: used for cooking or baking edibles Tinctures: ethyl alcohol (liquor)-based, by the dropper Food: Pastries, candies, sauce using any of the above Mari-pills: encapsulated cannabis in oil Marinol: Dronabinol, synthetic THC sold by prescription
Topical use: external, transdermal application
Salve: cream or oil-based compounds or suspensions Tincture: ethyl alcohol (liquor)-based suspensions Liniment: isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol-based or DMSO-based suspensions
Pending means of ingestion
Sativex: cannabinoid inhalers (similar to asthma inhalers) GW Pharmaceuticals product (not available in USA)
Mature female cannabis plants, like the one shown above, produce buds with the concentrated medicinal compounds. Male plants are unusable, and so are promptly removed and destroyed unless pollen is desired for seeds. After the first appearance of their flowers, it typically takes months for female bud to fully mature. According to the federal Cannabis Yields study, only about 7% of the freshly cut mature plant weight becomes dried, manicured medical-grade bud.
"Only the dried mature processed flowers of female cannabis plant or the plant conversion shall be considered when determining allowable quantities of marijuana under this section."
— California Health and Safety Code 11362.77(d)
Patients often roll cigarettes well over 1.0 grams. In this case, a single dosage unit weighed 1.6 grams.
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