Note- I am not a medical professional or scientist. Information contained here is purely anecdotal and not to be construed as advice. This information is not intended to promote illegal activities. Be responsible.
I got into marijuana edibles when a friend of mine was in home hospice care. He had a prescription for marijuana and was able to grow a limited amount, but he couldn't smoke due to chronic bronchial infections. He was prescribed Marinol, but it doesn't have the variety of cannabinoids that naturally grown plants do and he didn't find it as effective. I'm a baker, so I made a variety of cookies and muffins with cannabis butter. He was happy with baked goods until his health deteriorated to the point that he wasn't able to eat much.
I started experimenting with making cannabis extracts and tinctures. I started using a polar solvent process to extract very strong cannabis oil. This 'hash oil' could be metabolized pretty well. This meant it could be eaten without dissolving it in fat and baking with it. Another benefit of the oil is that it was soluble in alcohol. This meant it could be used to make stronger tinctures.
I made a murky, thick tincture and gave it to my friend. He liked the strength and quality, but the alcohol irritated his lips and gums. Back to the drawing board...
After a bit of experimentation I came up with cannabis oil infused rum raisins. Bingo. The raisins had several advantages- they tasted good, they were small and the low dose per raisin allowed him to easily meter his dosage. I don't make any claims that marijuana is a miracle drug, but it stimulated his appetite a bit and made him comfortable in his final days. Everyone deserves that.
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Step 1: Determining the Material Amount
Cannabis oil infused rum raisins are made by dissolving hash oil in strong alcohol, using that alcohol to macerate the raisins and then re-dehydrating them.
The first step was to determine a rough idea of potential dosage. I used a type of extract called wax. I estimated an effective dose as roughly .015-.020g. this means that .25g would be around 12-16 doses. This isn't an efficient process. There will be a bit of thick sugar and oil laden rum left over so not all of the cannabis oil will be absorbed. This will reduce the number of potential doses.
This is further confounded by two biological factors. First of all everyone metabolizes cannabinoids in a different way. Some folks will feel the effects within an hour while others may take hours. Eating it also tends to produce subtler effects over a longer time. Ultimately, it's best to start with a low dose and see what happens.
Step 2: Dissolving the Wax in the Rum
I used Bacardi 151 rum to dissolve the wax. You want to use at least 151 proof alcohol- anything lower won't dissolve the wax as well. I poured 1 tablespoon of rum into a small jar with a lid and added the wax. I used a lab spatula to break up the wax and gently agitated it until the wax was completely dissolved.
Step 3: Macerating the Raisins
Now it's time to add the raisins to the alcohol. Soaking things in alcohol is called maceration. Of course, I realized that I was out of raisins after I started the project so I picked these out of some trail mix. I counted out 50 raisins and poked each one through with a toothpick. This helps the alcohol and oil to absorb into the raisin. I added about 30 of them to the jar with the alcohol, put on the lid and shook it vigorously. I propped the jar in a rectangular ceramic dish and poured boiling water over it. I changed the water and rotated the jar every thirty minutes or so for the rest of the afternoon. After a few hours I checked the jar and there was still plenty of alcohol so I added the rest of the raisins and continued to soak them in the hot water bath. This could have been done much quicker in a double boiler, but I don't have one.
Eventually the raisins began to swell up with absorbed alcohol. I removed it from the water bath and put the jar on it's side on my workbench. I let it sit for a week, rotating the jar a few times a day To keep the raisins wet. After a week was up I repeated the hot water bath for a few hours and then the raisins were ready to dry.
Step 4: Drying the Raisins
You could use a dehydrator to dry your raisins, but I just used the oven. I removed them from the jar and drained them on a large slotted spoon. I spread them out on a piece of foil and put them on the top oven rack. I placed a thick clay pizza stone on the bottom rack to even out the heat. I set the oven on the lowest possible setting and left the door slightly open. I left them in the oven, checking them every hour or so, until they were dried out and raisin-like again. When they were done I let them cool and stored them in an air-tight container.
There is a bit of thick alcohol, sugar and hash oil solution left in the bottom of the jar. This stuff is pretty potent! It can be used as a tincture or dissolved in more rum and enjoyed in a cocktail. My plans involve drizzling some over a hot fudge sundae.
Note- Be careful consuming cannabinoids dissolved in alcohol! I have no research to back it up, but it's been my experience that cannabinoids dissolved in alcohol tend to have a stronger effect on people than just smoking or eating them. I believe that the alcohol allows the active compounds to be absorbed into the system faster. While it's nearly impossible to OD on THC, it can be very uncomfortable and disorienting to consume too much. Use good judgement.
Step 5: Conclusion
These hash raisins are a great way to carry and take medical marijuana without raising suspicions or drawing attention. They present an alternative dosing option to smoking, vaporizing or bulkier edibles and they allow for scaleable dosing.
They also make the best rum raisin cake ever!
Follow up- Last night I administered a few drop of the leftover juice under my tongue. This was a more than adequate dosage and I slept like a baby. This afternoon I ate 5 raisins. After about 30 minutes I felt the first subtle effects and it strengthened over the next half hour or so. This was a few hours ago and I'm still pleasantly affected. I'm confidant that I could cut the dosage in half to 2-3 raisins and still get a satisfying effect.