Many recreationally oriented cannabis users don’t like the idea of pre-ground cannabis flower.  They insist that they should buy intact buds so they can inspect the quality, color, structure, humidity, etc.  While recreational users are entitled to their opinions on how they judge the quality of cannabis, their view is actually an impediment to accurately determining the cannabinoid content of cannabis flower. 

If we truly believe (as I do) that cannabis is medicine, then dosing is king.  With all medications, taking the right amount, the right way, at the right time, is crucial to getting the best benefit with the least side-effects.  When it comes to dosing cannabis by inhalation, there are a lot of “best practices” that go into using it for medical purposes.  Knowing the THC (and other cannabinoid) content of the flower is a key piece of this equation. 

As it turns out, being a plant and all, cannabis doesn’t grow buds that are all equal.  The cannabinoid content of buds vary from plant to plant, but also from bud to bud in the same plant.  Some buds are higher on the plant and get more light, so naturally produce more cannabinoids.  There are other factors involved as well. 

When a dispensary or grower sends cannabis flower to be tested, they do it on a batch basis and use “sampling”.  This means for a batch of, say, 10 pounds of cannabis, they “randomly” select 3 buds to send to the lab.  Even if this were truly random, it would still be quite inaccurate, but of course, some dispensaries may try to select samples that make their product test well. 

So how do we improve the accuracy?  By grinding and homogenizing the cannabis flower before testing and sales.  It’s very simple.  By grinding the flower to a consistent consistency and the mixing it all up, we achieve a nearly homogeneous mixture. 

Imagine adding frozen mixed vegetables to a pasta dish.  If we just pour in the veggies and take a bite, we’re likely to get a lot of veg or only pasta.  By mixing it in, we can ensure that we get even dispersal, and both pasta and vegetables in every bite. 

Instead of having one bud test at 21% when most of the rest of the batch is really 15%, but grinding it and mixing it before testing, we find the true result is somewhere around 17%.  This allows us to be much for precise in our dosing. 

But doesn’t grinding it “damage” the flower?  Nope.  It’s certainly true that some trichomes (the cannabinoid-filled sacs) may fall off the plant material during grinding, but so long as that kief is kept in the batch, all is well.  Further, pre-test grinding is no more damaging than grinding it yourself prior to using it in your vaporizer (notice I didn’t advise smoking).  The objections to pre-test grinding are simply aesthetic and not applicable to a medical situation. 

Further, in the medical context, there are many patients for whom grinding cannabis flower themselves presents an undue burden.  Patients who are older or have illness that make their hands less agile, like Rheumatoid Arthritis, have trouble with the grinding and filling aspects of vaporization.  Pre-grinding alleviates at least one major roadblock. 

In my experience, pre-ground cannabis flower is as useful and effective as whole bud, and the pre-grinding makes it much more uniform and easy to use.  Coupled with the vastly superior precision of testing, and I would argue that pre-testing ground, homogenized flower is the only way that cannabis flower should be sold to patients.

Consult with a Qualified Boston Medical Marijuana Expert Today

Those considering using THC, CBD, or any type of medicine found in cannabis to help manage their condition should consider speaking to a trained medical expert who is knowledgeable about using cannabis therapeutically. Massachusetts medical marijuana doctor Jordan Tishler, M.D. sits on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and has years of experience helping patients treat pain and other ailments using cannabis. He and the team at InhaleMD stand ready to assist patients in determining whether medical marijuana is right for them. For more information, or to set up a virtual consultation with the team at InhaleMD, call us at (617) 477-8886 today.

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