Cannabis medicines: THC and CBD capsules.

Stephen Andrews
30 Sep 2021

One of the numbers of ways to consume marijuana is in capsule form. This may particularly benefit those who abhor the idea of smoking. Antibiotics and other prescription drugs are often sold in the form of capsules. Since pills and capsules are rooted in Western medicine, medical users are very well acquainted with how this form of drug works.

Capsules are billed as an alternative method of marijuana consumption, different from smoking, vaping or munching edibles. Patients who are curious to give a go to medical marijuana but shy away from it as they don't have knowledge in common consumption methods - can find comfort in cannabis capsules. Exact dosing, long-lasting effects, and discretion are some of the benefits medical users have when taking cannabis in capsule form. 

Capsules can contain either THC or CBD or both and have an immediate release or time-release effect. Immediate-release pills work the same as a regular edible. Cannabinoids enter the body via the mouth, travel into the stomach, and process in the liver, which creates by-products of the cannabinoid that can last longer and are typically more potent than the original cannabinoid. 

Time-release capsules take the same route in the human organism but generate delayed effects. Capsule shells can contain hydrogels or liposomes, which take some time to break down and unleash the THC or CBD contents. For instance, US brand "Wana Caps" has a slow-release capsule formula that delivers the first dose contained in each piece right after ingestion, but its second dose activates approximately four hours later. 

THC pills substitute other THC-containing products. This type of pill generates a similar effect as would THC-dominant flower strain or regular edibles. THC pills can help the medical user with pain relief, insomnia and restlessness, or make them feel more alert and euphoric, depending on the variant strain used. A single THC capsule will wear off within a few hours. Users are advised to wait at least two hours before ingesting a second capsule. 

Depending on the pills' potency, the price will also change. A pack of more potent capsules can cost over $100 in legal states like California and Colorado. A 20-pack bottle with up to 25 mg THC per capsule however, can cost around $30.

Full-spectrum labelled capsules include all chemicals found in the marijuana plant. They can contain decarboxylated weed or are infused with cannabis oils. Pills filled with ratios of THC and CBD work to enhance potential health benefits and can give the medical user the entourage effect. When CBD is found in the content of the pill, it can diminish THC's potentially adverse side effects while offering relief to the patient who might not have been exposed to THC before. Or who is simply not tolerable to THC.

While ground, decarboxylated flower is used in cannabis capsules, some manufacturers opt for crystalline or distillate solutions. Crystalline tablets contain powdered starch-like substance, which is nearly 100% pure cannabinoids. Other cannabinoids, terpenes and similar compounds are purged from the powdered solution, and the result is a clean chemical, either THC- or CBD-only.

Distillate-based capsules are similar, although the liquid substance contained in the shell has relative 90% purity. Pills are also served only with one cannabinoid, either CBD or THC. The capsule content is clean of other compounds, except sometimes terpenes, and is labelled as broad-spectrum.

As with every other cannabis product, it takes a bit of time before a person figures out the ideal dose for them. With CBD capsules, the recommended beginner-level dose is no more than 25 mg per capsule. 5 mg THC pills are recommended to those new to THC.

DIY cannabis or hemp pills 

Pharmaceutical companies may take advantage of manufacturing pills and capsules containing marijuana, but you can also do it yourself. Olive oil, coconut oil, and cannabis oil tinctures can all be used when preparing home capsule remedies. Cannabis flower requires decarboxylation to activate its dormant THC and CBD acids, so this is a necessary step when you decide to make some canna capsules at home. 

Here's how to go ahead in the kitchen:

  1. Preheat your oven at 220°F (104°C)
  2. Grind the amount of marijuana flower you want to use for capsules (or hemp if you prepare CBD capsules)
  3. Spread the ground flower in your baking pan lined with a baking sheet with parchment paper 
  4. Bake the raw cannabis for half an hour
  5. Add the baked flower to a simmering pot of vegetable oil and simmer for at least one hour
  6. Leave the concoction to cool, after which you can use a dropper to fill empty gelatine or vegetarian capsule shells 

You can accelerate this entire process by simply acquiring a ready-made cannabis oil tincture and dose the empty shells as you prefer. For instance, supply a stash of pure CBD refined extract to prepare pills that contain only CBD. 

Make sure you test how strong your capsules are while at home and when you have no other plans for the rest of your day or evening. It's good to know how potent your home remedy is before you attempt to use them while doing other activities. Don't drive when you are under the influence of cannabinoids, and finally, don't forget to enjoy your new medicine!

Stephen Andrews