That’s right. Did you know you can get all the high-flying, fall-off-the-floor, who-are-the-Grateful-Dead-and-why-are-they-following-me goodness that you expect from your doobies in a convenient little pill? We know. Mind blown, right?
No more tell-tale smell. No more coughing and hacking. Just the wondrous benefits of THC without all the drawbacks. That’s great news for your lungs and your health overall because you won’t be inhaling any strange substances. Just pop a pill and off you go. What could be simpler?
But before you start swallowing THC pills like candy (don’t do that), you ought to know a little about what’s inside and what makes them better than other delivery methods. So that’s what we’re going to discuss in this article. We’ll start with the most basic fact you need to know about THC pills.
What Is THC And Why Does It Need Heat To Work?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short, is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes you feel euphoric and high. THC exists in raw cannabis plants as the non-psychoactive THCA, which won’t get you high until you add heat to decarboxylate it.
You can pop your bud in the oven, set in on fire, or even hold it under a magnifying glass in the hot sun for a while. Just be sure to inhale the smoke on those last two.
If you’re going to use your bud in something else (like an edible or a pill), we suggest going the hot-oven route. Pretty much every other method of decarboxylation will destroy your ganja in the process. You don’t want that now, do you?
Once your grass is decarboxylated, you’re ready to think about making your own THC pills.
What Are THC Pills?
Even though THC pills are pretty simple in theory, there’s still a lot of confusion in practice. That’s because many people also refer to Marinol and Dronabinol (the legal synthetic versions of THC) as THC pills as well.
Because of the controversy surrounding THC pills, choosing the right chill pill can be a bit stressful if you’re new to the cannabis game. Never fear! We’ll help you understand how popping synthetic THC pills differs from smoking wonderful weed. That way, you’ll understand the advantages and potential pitfalls of putting your pot in a pill vs a pipe, vape pen, or dab rig.
We’ll even wrap things up with a few tips on how to make your own custom THC chill pills at home!
The Truth About Marinol
Dronabinol is the active artificial THC-like ingredient in the prescription brand-name drug Marinol, which is given in pill form to AIDS and cancer patients for pain and nausea when all other alternatives have failed.
Marinol has proven to create a similar high, which has been shown to take effect slower but outlast the pain-relieving effects of a joint of combusted cannabis. But Marinol is not always a perfect alternative. Here’s why.
Adverse Side Effects Of Marinol
Feeling high, dizziness, confusion, or sleepiness, according to the Marinol website. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) also lists weakness, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, memory loss, and hallucinations.
About one-third of Marinol patients reportedly experience adverse Marinol side effects of drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, changes in mood, muddled thinking, perceptual difficulties, coordination impairment, irritability, and depression from anywhere between four to six hours, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Marinol can give patients a marijuana overdose even more severe than the one that NY Times Columnist Maureen Dowd had when she “overdowded” by eating too much weed edible.
And in case you’re wondering what “overdowd” means, it’s a slang portmanteau of the words “over” (as in overdose) and “dowd” (the last name of journalist Maureen Dowd).
Some years ago, while writing a piece on the burgeoning marijuana industry in Colorado, Ms. Dowd consumed too much of a cannabis-infused candy bar — despite prior warnings — and went on a really bad trip.
She wrote about it in her column, but the event still earned her the dubious honor of having a semi-derogatory, completely mocking word “named” after her. But enough of the history lesson. Let’s get back to the topic at hand.
Marinol, much like natural THCA in cannabis plants, transforms into a completely unique THC compound called 11-hydroxy-THC. This is why Marinol, much like natural THC Pills and weed edibles, is stronger than the typical Delta-9-THC compound you create from combusting or vaping cannabis.
Researchers have argued that doctors have just as difficult a time prescribing adequate and safe doses of Marinol as they do getting the THC dosing of edible cannabis correct due to a lack of adequate data. This lack of data-driven research is in part due to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s position on pot as a drug with no known medicinal value.
Marinol, the legal alternative to medical marijuana, is even more dangerous to drive on than a weed edible, let alone combusted cannabis (contrary to what Businessweek writes) because Marinol completely lacks the sobering anti-psychoactive qualities as well as all of the health benefits of cannabidiol or CBD.
According to the NLM, dronabinol, the active ingredient in Marinol, may also be habit-forming, leading to abnormal drug-seeking behavior with withdrawal symptoms, specifically including irritability, trouble sleeping, restlessness, hot flashes, and diarrhea if you suddenly stop taking it. Cannabis is not known to foster adverse drug-seeking behavior, unlike Marinol.
Popping THC Pills VS Smoking Pot
Based on findings from a landmark 2013 study in The Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Businessweek was able to conclude that legalizing cannabis in its natural smokeable form is unnecessary because it is widely (yet incorrectly) assumed that smoking cannabis is every bit as dangerous a cancerous health risk as is smoking nicotine cigarettes.
Leafly argues that THC pills are a more comfortable, convenient, and familiar option than the more traditional method of cannabis combustion. Cannabis and Nicotine to be clear, however, are not equally carcinogenic, and cannabis smoke has never been definitively linked to cancers associated with tobacco use in humans.
The stereotypes that people associate with smoking prevent many potential patients from understanding how smoking or vaporizing cannabis gives severely nauseated patients instantaneous awareness of pain relief.
This rapid onset of combusted or vaporized cannabis is the key advantage of these methods, as it provides the patient greater control to self-adjust the dose they need for pain relief by backing off and saving part of a dose for a later session or by taking additional puffs without fear of an 11-Hydroxy-THC overdose that taking too many THC pills can give you.
The major advantage of THC pills is that they are much more powerful and will last much longer than traditionally smoked or vaped pot if you can afford the patience for the 11-Hydroxy-THC to begin acting on your symptoms from your liver, giving you a groovy body high.
THC pills don’t require you to learn how to smoke, they’re more portable, and they don’t have that same unmistakable overpowering sweet smell, thus making them much more discreet than the traditional method of combusting cannabis.
We advocate the patient’s right to choose as well as experiment with their preferred method of smoking, vaporizing, dabbing, or ingesting their cannabis more so than we advocate any one method over any other. We strongly advocate utilizing a variety of cannabis consumption methods as well. We specifically suggest smoking, vaping, or dabbing for instantaneous relief and THC pills for longer-term relief.
A cancer patient suffering from acute nausea would probably want to take a THC pill right after smoking or vaporizing for an ideal combination of powerful fast-acting and long-term relief. A patient may enjoy the psychologically calming ritual of packing a pipe, also known as “packing a bowl” or perhaps rolling a joint for additional puffs as needed while waiting for the 11-Hydroxy-THC to kick in once it’s been eaten.
Extra hits off of a joint, pipe, or vape pen will calm the anxious body high that 11-Hydroxy-THC can cause should the dosage in your THC pill be too strong. Extra cannabis can supplement your THC pill if it’s not strong enough as well.
THC pills may be ideal for children who are not yet old enough to understand how to hit a dab rig or clear the chamber of a killer bong hit. Charlotte Figi is just such an example. Charlotte suffered from Dravet’s Syndrome and experienced over 300 seizures a week. A cannabis oil extracted from a strain now known as Charlotte’s Web changed all that.
Miss Figi now experiences only two or three seizures A MONTH thanks to the anticonvulsant effects of the marijuana plant.
The Real Costs
The other major advantage of real marijuana is that it will probably cost you less to smoke it than it will to take Marinol. NORML estimates that Marinol can cost anywhere between $200 – $800 out of pocket to very sick people depending on the dosage size.
WebMD even estimates that the standard dose of dronabinol costs around $678 a month compared to $514 a month to smoke two marijuana joints a day. A dronabinol prescription can cost you as little as $15 per month if you are lucky enough to have insurance.
Still, the ironically higher costs of legal dronabinol compared to black market cannabis is why many doctors don’t bother to recommend dronabinol and why many potential patients never bother to ask for or even try it, according to NORML.
How To Make The Ultimate THC Chill Pill
You can always ask for our Honest Marijuana THC Pills at your local dispensary if you don’t have the time or resources to make your own. However, we do suggest that you make your own with your favorite strain of our organically grown marijuana in order to best optimize your personal dosage.
Below, we give you two methods for making your own THC pills. The first is a detailed method that uses shatter as the base. The second is a more general process that uses dried and cured cannabis buds.
- Your favorite cannabis concentrate (e.g., shatter or wax)
- Olive, vegetable, or coconut oil (make sure to use the kind that’s liquid at room temperature, not solid)
- Food scale (with measurements in milligrams)
- Small metal measuring cup (½ cup will work just fine)
- Measuring spoons
- Oven mitts or pot holders
- 10cc syringe with blunt-tip needle
- Size 1 empty cellulose capsules (cellulose is vegan and lasts longer than gelatin)
A Few Notes Before We Begin
Just so you’re aware, one cubic centimeter (cc) is equal to one milliliter (mL). The goal of this entire process is to end up with the desired milligrams of cannabis in each 0.5-milliliter capsule (size 1 capsules hold 0.5 milliliters).
The concentrate you choose is not 100-percent pure. It’s probably somewhere between 50 percent and 80 percent THC (although it could be a bit higher or lower). If it’s a commercially bought product, check the label to see what percentage of THC the concentrate contains.
If it’s a locally produced, homemade product, ask the budtenders at your local dispensary (or the producer directly) what percentage you’re dealing with.
The purity (or THC percentage) of the product becomes important when calculating how much concentrate to use to get the right dosage.
Getting the right THC dose is a vital step in making your own THC pills. Without crunching the numbers, you could feel nothing or you could feel too much. We don’t want either of those. We want you to have the best experience possible.
So take a few minutes to figure out the milligrams in each THC pill according to your needs. Here’s how.
Let’s say you want a THC pill that contains 15 mg of THC. And let’s say you find out that your concentrate is 85 percent THC. So the question becomes, “How do you get 15 mg THC out of 85-percent pure concentrate?”
The simple answer is math (stay in school, boys and girls, and you’ll learn some useful skills)! Here’s the equation to figure it out:
Dosage You Need / Percent Of Concentrate = Amount Of Concentrate To Use Per Capsule
So, inserting our numbers, we get:
15 mg THC / 0.85 concentrate purity = Amount Of Concentrate To Use Per Capsule
Plugging and chugging gives us:
17.647 mg = Amount Of Concentrate To Use Per Capsule
We’ll be the first to admit that 17.647 mg is a pretty precise amount. Even if we rounded off to another decimal place, 17.65 mg is still a bit OCD for our tastes.
Instead, we recommend rounding off in half-milligram increments (even whole-milligram increments are okay). So if you’re really feeling adventurous, round up to 18 milligrams. If you want to play it safe (as you always should when you’re first starting out), round down to 17.5 milligrams.
Number Of THC Pills You Need
Now that you know how much concentrate to use per capsule (17.5 – 18 milligrams), you need to decide how many capsules you want to make.
For this example, we’ll make 14 so we have a two-week supply (at one capsule per day) or a one-week supply (at two capsules per day). You then use this number to determine how much total concentrate to use in the recipe below. In our case, here’s the equation:
Number Of THC Pills Needed x Concentrate Per Capsule = Total Concentrate
14 THC pills x 18 milligrams per pill = 252 milligrams total
Now that you know the total amount of concentrate you’ll need to make 14 THC pills, you’re ready to get started.
- Measure 252 milligrams of concentrate on a food-grade scale.
- You’re making 14 THC pills and each capsule holds 0.5 ml or liquid. Quick math shows you that you’re going to need 7 milliliters total for this recipe. That measures out to about 1.5 teaspoons (1.42 teaspoons to be exact).
- Pour 1.5 teaspoons of your favorite oil into a metal measuring cup.
- Place the 252 milligrams of concentrate into the metal measuring cup.
- Turn the burner on your stove on low (as low as possible). This is important because high heat can break down the cannabinoids in your concentrate and render the whole thing less potent. And no one wants that!
- Don your oven mitt and place the metal measuring cup on (or over) the burner.
- When the concentrate begins to dissolve, stir the mixture with a small spoon.
- Heat and stir until the concentrate completely dissolves in the oil. Be sure none of the concentrate is stuck to the walls of the measuring cup or the surface of the spoon.
- Remove the measuring cup from the heat.
- Turn off the burner (don’t want to burn your house down).
- Let the mixture cool until it’s at room temperature. You can use a food thermometer to test this, or just dip your finger in the oil (it should feel cool because room temperature is 20 or so degrees less than your body temperature).
- With the syringe, suck up all the oil out of your measuring cup.
- If you’re not ready to fill your capsules, store the syringe in a cool, dark place until you are. Both gelatin and cellulose will begin to break down (cellulose more slowly) when they come in contact with the THC oil, so feel free to wait to fill the capsules until you need them. That said, it’s going to take a while for the capsules to completely break down, so don’t be afraid to fill all 14 at one sitting.
- When you’re ready, squirt 0.5 milliliters (0.5 ccs) into one capsule.
- Put the cap on the capsule and proceed to the next.
We’ve said it already (extensively), but it’s essential to remember that any ingested cannabis product (e.g., an edible, weed tea, a THC pill) takes longer to act than an inhaled product (joint, blunt, vape pen, dab).
If you’ve done the math correctly and followed the recipe above, one pill is plenty. Just be patient and you’ll eventually feel the effects. Enjoy!
Weigh out your marijuana first. Everyone needs a different dose, so try taking the amount of medicine you would ordinarily consume from a joint, bowl, or bong hit and use that as the amount you will use per capsule.
Multiply your amount of medicine for the cooking process based on how many capsules you want to make. Cut your usual amount in half if you are a new cannabis user since the same amount of smoked Delta-9-THC can give you a much stronger high as ingested 11-Hydroxy-THC.
You then bake the amount of cannabis you want to use in an oven-safe bowl with aluminum foil for 20 minutes in a 225-degree oven to decarboxylate your cannabis. The oven-warm cannabis is then ground into a fine powder and combined with olive, vegetable, or coconut oil and heated in a crock pot for three to six hours.
Once the liquid has cooled, it can then be injected into gelatin capsules with an oral syringe and stored in your fridge to enjoy at your convenience!
THC Capsules Are Cool!
It’s also important to keep in mind that marijuana becomes a stronger chemical compound when you ingest it than it is when you smoke it. This is why smoked or vaporized marijuana will give you faster-acting relief but THC pills will give you longer-lasting relief.
The key difference between combusted/vaporized Delta-9-THC and ingested 11-Hydroxy-THC is also the reason why you shouldn’t compromise and why you should mix the advantages of smoking/vaping with those of THC pills!