Recently, we brought you an article on many of the health and medicinal benefits of the cannabis root, bringing this ancient healing tool to the attention of a new generation that was previously focused on the flowers and seeds of the plant. This has been a popular topic lately, but many are still wondering, ‘exactly how do I use the roots to get the described benefits?’ Well, today we are going to go a bit further, and discuss in more detail how to prepare your cannabis roots for consumption, as well as some of the best recipes for various teas, salves, balms, and tinctures.
Step 1: Preparation of the roots
Before you use the roots for any of the following recipes, you must first ensure they are clean and dry. When choosing cannabis roots for medicine, be sure that they have been grown organically and in soils or growing mediums free from contamination by heavy metals. Cannabis sativa is an effective biological control in soil restoration with the ability to remove large amounts of heavy metals from the soil, which are stored primarily in the roots. So, cannabis grown in fallow fields or reclaimed land should not be used for these purposes, instead, home grown cannabis or that grown in fields with little to no history of soil contamination are ideal.
The first step will be to pull the roots out, this is best done when the soil is moist and loose so that the small fibrous material of the hairy root mass is removed intact. Next, you can use a solid surface to tap the root ball against and remove most of the loose soil particles. From there, a soft bristled brush and warm water can be used to remove any dirt particles from the root mass in a similar fashion as with ginseng. This can be tedious and take some time, but ensuring a clean starting root will ensure a high quality end product.
It should be noted here that you should only clean the roots if you intend to dry them immediately afterwards. This is because the roots with soil still on them contain a microbiome that will protect them from rotting of infection. Cleaning removes this microbiome and opens the roots up to infection from other pathogens such as bacteria and fungus. So, once you have washed the roots in warm water, then you should immediately start to dry them.
Step 2: Drying Cannabis Roots
Drying can be done in a variety of ways depending on the climate and resources available, often hanging in a well ventilated area, in the oven at about 80°C (180°F), or using a food dehydrator on a low setting are the preferred routes. Another popular method, if using only a small quantity, is to put the roots into a large paper bag for about 48 hours and close the bag. Once most of the water is out of the roots, they will be more stiff and the thinner parts will break upon bending. At this time, you can begin to prepare the roots for storage or use.
Step 3: Storing Cannabis Roots
Once dry, the roots can be stored in any airtight container, preferably in a cold place with a desiccant. Alternatively, the roots can be made into a powder by mashing with a mortar and pestle or putting into an herb or coffee grinder. They should then be sealed in an airtight container out of light or heat just like the whole, dried root matter.
Using the cannabis root
Below we present three recipes for using cannabis root, all of these recipes can be customized as suits you resources and needs.
Cannabis root tea
The most popular, and simple way, to get the health benefits from the cannabis root is to extract them with water, in a tea. This can be done using either the shredded of powdered, dried cannabis root prepared in the steps above. The amount used can differ according to needs, but generally about 60 grams are used to make 1 liter of tea. The recipe can be customized to taste and needs. But generally, the procedure is as follows:
- Heat 1.5 liters of water in a crock pot, slow cooker, or rice maker
- Add 60 grams of dried cannabis root (shredded or powdered)
- Allow to remain on medium to high heat for 12-24 hours, or until enough liquid has evaporated to leave 1 liter of tea/infusion.
Add in some complementary herbs such as black pepper, red clover, anise, cacao, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, oregano, rosemary, lemongrass, hops, bay leaves, lavender, or citrus. You can also mix with green or black teas to add the health benefits of catechins. The herbs you add will reflect the medicinal or health benefits desired, whether it be for inflammation, anxiety, pain, or any of the other benefits attributed to consuming the cannabis root orally.
To improve bioavailability, you may also add a lipid source, such as coconut oil, creamer, or butter. This will improve absorption of the plant ligands within the body and facilitate transport to the liver.
There are also reports on the internet of a type of tea or beer consumed in Korea made by placing cannabis roots, cinnamon sticks, and anise into a clay pot, boiling for 12 hours, straining, then allowing to cool before consuming.
Cannabis Root Tinctures
Cannabis root tinctures can be taken internally, or used externally. They are a more concentrated version than the tea, and are easier to store, transport, and consume.
To make a tincture, add about 20-30 grams of dried cannabis root (shredded or coarsely powdered) to a sealable vessel, such as a mason jar. Next. Fill the jar with a high proof grain alcohol such as Everclear, rice whiskey, or vodka. Allow the vessel to sit for about 4 weeks or longer, shaking occasionally.
Next, place a coffee filter or cheese cloth into a funnel, and pour the solution through it to strain out all solid plant matter. Retain the liquid and dispose of the solid root matter as most of the beneficial compounds will already be removed.
Next, you can either consume this product as is, or further reduce it to allow for consumption with a dropper bottle. To condense it further, work outside (vaporized ethanol is EXTREMELY flammable and can cause fires or explosions in your home) and add the liquor to a double boiler, crock pot, or rice cooker. Heat the liquid for several hours until it is reduced to the desired concentration. A fan blowing over the cooker can speed the process and help to remove any volatile fumes. Once the desired concentration is reached, use a small funnel to transfer to a tinted glass bottle with a dropper and store in the refrigerator.
A cannabis Salve/balm
A very popular way to use cannabis roots is in the form of a salve or balm, where it can be applied to a wide range of skin issues such as burns, rashes, and acne. The procedure to make the balm or salve depends on the desired end consistency; if coconut oil is used then a thin salve will be created that can be applied like lotion or ointment, and if beeswax is used than the end product will resemble a Tiger Balm consistency.
The first step is to add 30-50 grams of dried cannabis root powder to your slow cooker. Next pour in enough water to just cover the powder, and steep on medium heat for about 12 hours. Next, use a course filter such as cheese cloth to strain out the solid plant matter from the liquid. Discard the solid plant matter.
Add the liquid back to the slow cooker, then proceed to evaporate the water until only a thick sludge is left at the bottom of the cooker.
Next add this to your warm coconut oil or beeswax until you reach the desired consistency, transfer to a sealable container, and allow to cool.
One increasingly popular technique is to ‘upgrade’ your Tiger Balm by slowly warming it using a double boiler, then mixing in the cannabis root residue as above.
If time is limited, or in an emergency such as with minor burns, you can also mix the cannabis root powder directly into the coconut oil or antibiotic cream and apply directly to the skin, however the efficacy of this technique will be less than that outlined above.
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