Infusion, in the context of cannabis, refers to the process of extracting the beneficial compounds, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, from cannabis plant material and infusing them into a carrier substance, typically an oil or butter. This technique is commonly used to create cannabis-infused products, including edibles, topicals, and beverages.
The origins of cannabis infusion can be traced back to ancient times when various civilizations discovered the therapeutic properties of cannabis and developed methods to extract its medicinal compounds. Throughout history, different cultures have employed infusion techniques using different solvents and carrier substances to create cannabis-based remedies and preparations.
The infusion process typically involves decarboxylating the cannabis plant material before extraction. Decarboxylation is the process of heating the cannabis to activate the cannabinoids, converting the inactive acidic forms, such as THCA and CBDA, into their active counterparts, THC and CBD. This step is crucial for achieving the desired psychoactive and therapeutic effects.
After decarboxylation, the cannabis is combined with a carrier substance, such as oil or butter, and heated over a low temperature for a specific duration. This allows the cannabinoids and terpenes to dissolve into the carrier substance. The infused oil or butter can then be used in various recipes or applied topically, depending on the intended use.
Common carrier substances for cannabis infusion include olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and vegetable glycerin. Each carrier substance has its unique characteristics, such as flavor, texture, and absorption rate, which can influence the final product’s qualities.
When infusing cannabis into oils or butters, it is essential to choose a method that maximizes cannabinoid extraction while minimizing unwanted plant material. Popular techniques include using a stovetop, slow cooker, or specialized infusion devices designed specifically for cannabis infusion. These methods often involve low heat and prolonged periods of time to allow for thorough extraction.
The infused oils or butters can be used in a wide range of culinary applications, such as baking, cooking, or as a topping for food and beverages. They can also be incorporated into homemade skincare products or used as a base for topical cannabis preparations, offering localized relief for various skin conditions or muscle soreness.
It’s worth noting that when consuming cannabis-infused products, the onset and duration of effects may differ from other methods of cannabis consumption. The effects can take longer to manifest, typically ranging from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on factors such as metabolism and the individual’s tolerance. Therefore, it’s important to start with a low dosage and wait for the effects before consuming more.
Infused products allow for precise dosing and offer an alternative consumption method for individuals who prefer not to smoke or vaporize cannabis. However, it is crucial to label and store infused products securely to prevent accidental consumption, especially in households with children or pets.