Whether you’re a medical or recreational cannabis user, things are getting pricey out there and boosting your cannabis flower’s power can save you money.
A recent survey by Statistics Canada found Canadians on average pay less than $7 a gram for cannabis. But you’d be hard-pressed to find those kind of prices in storefront dispensaries in Toronto. It is far more likely to find strains that cost double that.
The results of the Stats Can survey suggests most Canadians are still purchasing cannabis from the illicit market to save money.
While some Licensed Producers (LPs) offer compassionate pricing programs for medpot users, many patients are paying far more for their weed than they can in the illegal market. Cannabis has become more expensive since legalization, with the feds introducing an excise tax on recreational and medical cannabis.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your weed and bring your cannabis costs down.
1. Boost the fatty acids in your diet – wait, what?
If you’re not getting enough Omega 3, you’re not feeling the full effect of your cannabis.
Our bodies would not be able to process all the therapeutic (and fun) effects from cannabis without our endocannabinoid system. You can keep it healthy by making sure your diet includes plenty of Omega 3. These essential fatty acids are used to produce cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids, two key components of the endocannabinoid system.
Fish is a key source. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, try an Omega 3 supplement.
2. De-carb your Cannabis flower
Smoking is actually one of the least effective ways of getting marijuana into your body. You can save money by de-carbing and eating your cannabis flower.
When cannabis is digested rather than inhaled, more of it is converted to 11-Hydroxy-THC, a metabolite considerably more potent than THC.
Eating raw cannabis will not produce the psychoactive effects smoking does. That’s because the body cannot process the acidic form of THC (THC-A) present in unprepared flower. However, if the cannabis flower is heated up to just the right temperature, this decarboxylation process as it’s known, allows the body to process the THC through digestion.
The problem is decarboxylation is difficult to do efficiently with the most commonly-used methods – ovens, crock pots and toaster-ovens.
Boston company Ardent has been marketing the NOVA Decarboxylator, which looks like a large travel coffee mug and is designed specifically for decarboxylating.
I purchased one earlier this year. The potent de-carbed cannabis is perfect for smoothies, and can be put in capsules or sprinkled over meals.
3. Feel the burn
Getting more exercise can also improve the efficiency of your cannabis.
There are a few different theories as to why this is true. In 2013, a team of researchers in Australia found THC stored in fat is released into the bloodstream as it’s being burned during cardiovascular exercise. Think of it as nature’s way of encouraging you to exercise more.
4. Make mangoes your best friend
Mangoes are generally awesome. They are a good friend to those in the cannabis community as well because they’re high in myrcene, an organic compound also found in cannabis.
While there hasn’t been a lot of hard science, many cannabis users report increased and longer-lasting highs after eating mangoes. The theory here is that the increased myrcene helps THC pass the blood-brain barrier more efficiently and optimizes our cannabinoid receptors.
Note: since myrcene is processed through digestion, the mango needs to be eaten 45 minutes to an hour before you smoke or vape.
If, however, you’ve taken my earlier advice and de-carbed your cannabis flower, you can simply put your weed and mango in a smoothie and digest them at the same time.
5. Take a break from your bud
Vaping or smoking marijuana sends everything to your lungs and bloodstream. Eating cannabis sends everything to the liver and digestive system before it heads to the bloodstream.
These two systems develop different tolerances depending on how often someone uses one method versus the other. This is why even hardened marijuana smokers have a low tolerance for edibles if they don’t regularly ingest cannabis this way.
For those looking to boost the effects of weed, take breaks from using. This can be tricky for patients who use marijuana for pain-related issues, sleep or mental health reasons. But switching it up is sometimes enough to reduce your tolerance.
6. Choose the right strain for the time of day
This tip may not improve the potency of your cannabis but it will help ensure you are getting the most out of it.
Before different strains of cannabis were made available to the public, users were often left to accept whatever a dealer had available.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case and we are finally better able to distinguish between strains meant to be consumed during the day and strains meant to be consumed at night.
For those purchasing from an LP, a CBD-rich strain is often best for the daytime and will not leave you feeling as sluggish later. A CBD-only strain won’t get you “high” in the typical sense, so some users may choose strains with equal amounts of CBD and THC.
Storefront dispensaries operating in the gray area, usually don’t have information on CBD and THC levels in their strains. But as a general rule, sativa strains are better for daytime than indica. It won’t hurt to ask the person at the counter for a recommendation.
7. Move to Quebec
No other province in the country, not even weed mecca British Columbia, has cheaper cannabis. According to the Stats Canada survey, Quebec consumers pay on average only $5.89 per gram. The bad news is that Quebec is one of only two provinces (Ontario being the other) opting for government-run cannabis stores under legalization, so prices have nowhere to go but up.