Oil extraction: Cannolator

The Cannolator Extractor is a slightly ‘weird science’ looking thing, but it’s a relatively quick and effective way to make smaller amounts of cannabis oil. The Cannolator kit costs roughly $100/€100/£90. You will almost certainly have to order it from Holland, I haven’t seen it elsewhere. Try Dutch Head Shop or Health Treatments or search online.

You’ll need the following things in addition to your cannabis…

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Dosing

When you have your medicine ready – whether you’ve made ‘Mike’s Milk,’ your own blended oil, or bought ready-to-go cannabis oil, the obvious question needs to be answered: how much do I take?

In general, the answer is ‘as much as you can comfortably tolerate.’ This will be relatively low to begin with but will rise over the course of a week or two if you have some every day…

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Drying and curing

Once you’ve harvested your plants the maturing stops. Don’t get taken in by the myths about hanging it upside down to control movement of liquid or anything along those lines, that’s simply incorrect. All life, activity and cell development stops once it’s cut down.

It IS true that curing properly can improve the aroma and flavor, but as we’re doing this for medical oil-producing reasons that’s not really a concern. All you need to do is trim off the large leaves (often called the ‘sugar leaves’) and hang the rest somewhere to dry slowly. The conditions should be a little cooler than when they were growing; normal room temperatures (60-70°F, 16-21°C) rather than the 77-82°F, 25-28°C of growing conditions is good.

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Harvest time – early or late?

We’re growing for medicine rather than making dime bags for weekend parties, but the THC cannabinoid that produces the so-called ‘psychoative’ effects is an important part of the medical effects – both symptomatic relief and the actual treatment. Because of this it’s a good idea to understand how this medicine is likely to affect you and how your harvest timing can influence this.

A fair number of people know the basic differences in effect between Sativa and Indica varieties – that somewhat buzzy effect of Sativa and the heavier couch-lock effect of Indica – but very few know that harvesting plants early or late can affect the, er, ‘effects’ even more than the underlying plant type.

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Planning ahead

So you’ve read Growing Your Own Medicine and you’re keen to get started? Great – but don’t hang about! Cannabis is very fast growing, but even the quickest strains (you can search for quick growing types in any good online seed shop) will take over two months to go from seed to harvest-ready plant.

Tip: if your need is urgent then perhaps buying an ounce of ready-to-consume grass from some friendly local smoker while you’re tending to your crops is a good idea.

You’ll need to allow for up to a week to germinate some seeds and get ready to be put into small inert propagation plugs, then up to a further week while the roots grow and start to push through the outsides of the plugs. From then you can put the plugs into larger cubes. Rockwool is a good medium for this; it’s inert, it holds water well, and roots can penetrate the material easily.

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Growing your own medicine

Growing your own cannabis may sound a bit on the extreme side. If you live somewhere where it’s legal to buy marijuana for medical or recreational use, why bother growing it? And if you live somewhere that criminalizes weed, growing it may seem a bit foolhardy. But look at this from another angle: growing it instead of buying it on the black market means you’re disconnected from the ‘street seller’ process. This won’t save you if you get busted but it might well help your argument that it’s only for your health. It’s also safer than making shady deals on street corners.

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