Background

Author of “Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts”, Ed Rosenthal, is a leading cannabis horticulture authority, educator, social activist and marijuana legalization pioneer.  The laws and progression in the world of cannabis would not be what they are today if it wasn’t for this man.  He works diligently to eliminate the negative stigma attached to the marijuana plant. Ed Rosenthal believes in cannabis wholeheartedly, and makes his voice heard across the world.  Mr. Rosenthal has written a multitude of cannabis-related books.  In 1985, he published “Marijuana Grower’s Handbook: Your Complete Guide”.  With his expertise in the field, Ed shares to the reader how to grow a perfect marijuana plant.  His guide is conveyed in such a simplistic, yet thorough way, and can be utilized by an experienced grower as reference—and also for individuals with novice knowledge who desire to grow his/her first marijuana plant.  From seed to harvest, Ed will walk the reader through the necessary steps to cultivate a flourishing cannabis plant, tailored to an individual’s needs and growing situation.  Hence why Marijuana Grower’s Handbook is a required textbook for Oaksterdam University, America’s first cannabis college.  We will delve deeper into the concepts of this book in a separate narrative, but that is beyond the scope of this analysis.

Recently in 2018, Ed Rosenthal published another book, “Beyond Buds, The Next Generation: Marijuana Concentrates”.  This piece of literature ‘piggy-backs’ the information and topics discussed in Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts”—the book in which we will go into detail on today.  “Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts” was written in 2014.  As the “Marijuana Grower’s Handbook” discusses the marijuana flower (buds), Mr. Rosenthal proceeds his examination of the plant, going a step further beyond buds.  If an individual is eager to learn more about the cannabis plant and its wide variety of administration capabilities that extend beyond combusting the plant material, then Beyond Buds is the go-to piece of literature.  Beyond Buds will give the answer to all of your marijuana extract questions, as we will learn by the end of this analysis.  “Beyond Buds” by Ed Rosenthal explains in-depth a range of topics pertaining to marijuana extracts—including but not limited to—hash, dabbing, and edibles.  He provides an abundance of applicable information on these complex subjects, in an extremely thorough, yet simplistic manner.

Ed breaks the book up into five major sections: Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines.  Before we go further, it is imperative to understand that most of the the effects provided by the cannabis plant are not due to the plant material, but from the glandular bulbs encompassed inside of and surrounding the plant matter.  Fan leaves possess 1% to 3% of the THC content in the whole plant, and trim leaves hold 2% to 6% of the total THC content. Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, is the main psychoactive cannabinoid present in marijuana. THC is what induces the ‘high’ feeling when marijuana is smoked, vaporized or ingested.  These glandular bulbs in cannabis—also known as trichomes, kief or resin glands— are used by the plant as a defensive mechanism from pests. They contain THC, other cannabinoids and terpenes—the compounds responsible for the effects produced when consuming marijuana.

 

What is Hash?

Hash is the resin collected from the flowers of the marijuana plant.  When heated, hash is more potent than smoking marijuana flower Ed walks the reader through various forms of separating kief from the flower, beginning with proper selection and collection of plant material.  He then describes in detail three methods of engineering hash: Kief/Dry Sift, Water Hash and Advanced Hash.  “Kief, also known as ‘Dry Sift’ is composed of the unpressed glands scraped from dried mature flowers using a screen.  It is very popular because it is easily gleaned from leaves and trim. Kief is the easiest marijuana product you can make.” (Beyond Buds p. 13).  Mr. Rosenthal presents meticulously three dry sIft techniques: Manual Screening, Machine Screening and the Dry Ice method.  Following the exploration into kief/dry sIft is the water hash approach. “Water hash is a favorite method of making concentrates all over the world.  Its name comes from the efficient process that is used to collect glands from the trim, leaf, and bud bits.” (Beyond Buds p. 31).  In this section, he discusses the water hash basics, various methods of making water hash, and how you can make it at home.  Advanced hash is detailed next in Beyond Buds.  “Concentrated cannabis may be the future of marijuana as a medicine and as a recreational substance.  You’ve read about how water and ice can be used to mechanically separate trichomes from the plant, and filters can concentrate the glands into unpressed hash.  Now you’ll see these processes are further refined using machinery and tighter control of temperature and humidity to yield the strongest nonsolvent concentrates.” (Beyond Buds p. 49).  These latter techniques are geared toward more astute individuals in the world of cannabis, but certainly can be perfected by beginners through sufficient practice and with proper equipment.  Hash is only one method of consuming cannabis. Ed continues his discussion by delving into vaporizers.

 

Vaporizing Cannabis

Vaporizing cannabis is more efficient than smoking because nothing goes to waste.  When combusting marijuana, the extreme temperature introduced to the plant material’s glandular bulbs may destroy their properties.  Whereas when vaporizing, the temperature is precisely hot enough to evaporate the resin, while still keeping its properties intact.  That’s not to say smoking cannabis isn’t effective, as it certainly is, but vaporizing the flower is more efficient.  “Vaporization is a fantastic innovation based on the principle of evaporation.  The temperature at which THC and other cannabinoids evaporate is lower than the temperature at which plant material burns. Vaporizers heat marijuana to the point where volatile THC and terpenes evaporate, but below the temperature at which plant material burns.” (Beyond Buds p. 65).  In this chapter Ed describes various devices used for vaporization.   Numerous handheld devices, desktop vaporizers, portable devices and vape pens are all discussed here.  Next up on Ed’s list in Beyond Buds is dabbing.

 

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing takes the efficiency of vaporization flower to another level.  “Dabbing is the act of vaporizing concentrated cannabis.  Most often people use special pipes designed or modified to consume concentrated cannabis products.  The term “dabbing” presumably comes from the tiny amount (“dab”) of concentrate needed for a single dose.” (Beyond Buds p. 95).  One way of comparing the effects produced from concentrated cannabis to marijuana flower would be comparing it to a shot of liquor and a beer.  The shot, or dab, is much more potent due to its higher concentration—whereas a beer or bowl of marijuana flower—is less concentrated, so more volume needs to be consumed to match the potency to that of a shot or dab.  Don’t worry, Mr. Rosenthal will guide you through all the ‘ins and outs’ of the dabbing world.  He will also walk the reader through different methods of these marijuana extracts, such as: the butane extraction technique and CO2 extraction method, and differentiate between the byproduct each procedure yields.  Next up on Ed Rosenthal’s marijuana administration application checklist are consumables.

 

Ingesting Marijuana

There is a wide range of ways to ingest marijuana.  Tinctures, edibles, and capsules are all popular methods.    “Before cannabis prohibition tinctures were the most common way of buying and consuming marijuana in America.  Recently, they’ve been making a comeback.” (Beyond Buds p. 147).  Tinctures are drops that are placed under the tongue, utilizing the sublingual glands’ rapid absorption rate.  They can be made by using vegetable glycerin or alcohol as the carrier method for the concentrated cannabis, both of which will be detailed in depth in this book.  Tinctures are arguably the simplest way to consume cannabis—drops go under the tongue—and about 15 to 20 minutes afterwards the effects are provided. Tincture absorption rates differ from that of a capsule because tinctures enter the bloodstream via the mucous membranes in the mouth and upper throat and do not pass through the digestive system.  Capsules, another form of ingesting cannabis, do not employ the sublingual glands, but rather are absorbed via the digestive system in the body.  They can be viewed somewhat as an ‘extended release’ method of consumption.  Depending on the individual, after ingesting a capsule the onset of effects take 30 minutes to upwards of 2 hours to have the effects felt.  Ed discusses how to make capsules and what to expect from them.  Capsules and edibles are very similar, especially when considering the absorption rate of each—both of which must pass through the digestive system.  Capsules and edibles are methods of consuming cannabis that bear the most longevity, with effects lasting  4 to 8 hours after the onset of release—and sometimes up to 12 hours. On the contrary, when smoking or vaporizing cannabis, the ‘high’ lasts for 2 to maybe 4 hours, depending on the potency of THC and and also the individual.  Mr. Rosenthal chronicles the preparation, recipes and usage pertaining to edibles, devoting a chapter of his book to this method of consumption.  He will instruct the reader how to make cannabis butter for edibles, sharing some scrumptious dessert and entree recipes along the way. (For example, Ganja Guacamole, how delicious does that sound?)  

 

Medicine

Unfortunately for the reader, Beyond Buds has to end somewhere. Ed decides to finish the book on a high note with a discussion on marijuana medicine, focusing on topical uses of the plant. (As a friendly reminder any of the uses of marijuana described in this book can be used as a guide for a medical patient—it really comes down to preference for the individual.)  Cannabis topical solutions are used as more of a ‘spot-specific’ treatment method.  They are applied directly to the area of arthritis, pain and/or inflammation, and they skip liver metabolization, so there won’t be any psychoactive effect produced from a cannabis salve   “Marijuana’s active ingredients—cannabinoids and terpenoid essential oils—are absorbed through the skin for direct therapeutic effect.” (Beyond Buds p. 199).  Salves, lotions and other topical solutions are detailed throughout this last chapter.  Ed gives examples of each kind and explains how topical methods work.  The final page of Beyond Buds is dedicated to Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), a form of cannabis oil used to eliminate skin cancer and administered for other serious medicinal purposes.

 

Conclusion

If an individual holds any uncertainty regarding marijuana extracts, Beyond Buds will clear the confusion for the reader.  Whether having novice level knowledge and experience with marijuana, or as an expert of cannabis—and everything in between—this book will enlighten the reader.  Ed Rosenthal is surely a trusted source of information for cannabis.  This man eats, sleeps and breathes cannabis, and has been doing it for the past 30 years. From serving as a columnist of High Times Magazine in the 1980s to being arrested in 2002 for the cultivation of cannabis by federal authorities—and having his charges dropped—he believes in marijuana.  As a master grower, pioneer of the cannabis movement, and activist of the plant, he knows a thing or two about marijuana to say the least.  Experience pays, and Ed shares his first-hand experiences and expertise in a simple, yet thorough manner. Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts”  by Ed Rosenthal is certainly a must read for all cannabis enthusiasts!

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