I am still such a happy old hippy. I just can’t help myself…. I seriously take great joy in living part time in a state where Marijuana is barely criminalized, but definitely enjoyed by a huge percentage of the local population openly and freely on a fairly regular basis. Indeed ,Cannabis needs absolutely no introduction to anyone who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s and I don’t think that it’s popularity has ever dwindled regardless of the mass prohibition and vilification that this incredibly helpful herb has had to tolerate for the at least last 70 years. Its remarkably fragrant qualities and euphoria producing tendencies make it a very attractive and comforting intoxicant for those who really don’t like to drink but want to enjoy a relaxing state of being that really doesn’t produce a nasty hangover in the morning or leave you wondering if you said or did anything that you shouldn’t have!
My own history with this fairly notorious little herb goes way back to the early 1970’s when I was coming of age as a teenager. Quite frankly I loved it and I found smoking a joint or two with my friends around a bonfire to be a lovely way to pass an evening. We weren’t causing much trouble at all, unless you can call a bunch of reasonably intelligent kids sitting around listening to Yes and discussing politics, existentialism and quasi pagan philosophies well into the night trouble. It was only when we began to add alcohol into the equation that it began to get a bit complicated. And…who needs complications when you can just have a simple bit of harmless fun and a brownie or two?
To understand the politics of Marijuana you truly have to look no farther than the corporate interests that widespread use of hemp and Cannabis would impact. Hemp one of the Cannabis cousins is an incredibly useful plant with nary a fraction of the “enlivening” components of Cannabis Sativa. It also makes fabulous paper, cloth, food, oil, and can be converted into energy. By now everyone knows that the original Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper and that Jefferson , Washington et al. were hemp farmers. One doesn’t need to read between the lines to see that the reintroduction of legal hemp farming across the United States would completely impact the timber, cotton and paper industries.
It’s that simple and it’s the powerful impact of industrial hemp farming on other industries that keep it from widespread legalization here in the United States. In 1938 the Dupont Corporation had already patented the processes for creating paper from wood pulp and many of the powerful industry captains of that time were heavily invested in the factories that would be creating paper products. There were studies done at the time showing that paper made from hemp instead of wood pulp was not only a better and more stable product, but was easier on the environment. The processes used to produce hemp products are much less toxic than the ones used to produce paper and it was widely known that hemp was incredibly useful. However the enormous wealth of men like William Randolph Hearst enabled them to persuade our government to outlaw it because of the vast amounts of money that they stood to lose at the time.
The many incredible health benefits of using Cannabis Sativa wisely as medicine are well documented. There are studies now that show the ability of marijuana to help children and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder gain focus in their lives and the effects Cannabis on Glaucoma have been well understood for years. People with cancer and fibromyalgia use it to find relief from pain without the horrendous side effects and addictive tendencies of traditional pain medications. Crohns patients and those with IBS and other inflammatory bowel diseases who are fortunate enough to live in states where Cannabis has been decriminalized can find easy relief from the painful and completely debilitating pain and intestinal spasms that they experience daily as part of their disease . There are even new groundbreaking studies that show that breast cancer can be put into remission by a daily dose of cannabis and patients suffering from the horrific side effects that chemotherapy produces can easily and safely find relief by ingesting a simple THC med strip, a sublingual delivery system that dissolves under your tongue and has the pain relieving properties of two Vicodins without the terrible side effects.
Personally I look forward to the day when marijuana is as legal and as easy to purchase as a bottle of vodka, which I consider to be far more damaging. Living in San Diego part of the time, I experience daily the really scary stories of the murderous drug wars that are raging on approximately 45 minutes from my lovely coastal home. At a dinner party last year I met a government agent who had been brought into San Diego specifically to help secure the Tijuana border. His made his feelings very clear, that Americans need to insist upon the legalization of marijuana immediately in this country. Regulate it like alcohol, tax it (it’s California’s largest cash crop!) and shut down the need for the illegal trade that results in so much horrific bloodshed along our Mexican borders.
Perhaps I’ve said enough of the reasons that I believe that Cannabis should be decriminalized in this country. It’s never made sense to me that I could go out and legally drink myself silly, potentially leaving myself open to reeking some real havoc on some unsuspecting souls life forever yet if I wanted to indulge myself by smoking a bit of pot and relaxing in my living room I could really get into some serious trouble for it. That finally seems to be changing in this country and perhaps it is as simple as all the boomers are coming of age. The last staggering statistic that I heard on National Public radio was that approximately 54 percent of American seniors still admitting to smoking it and perhaps that is why we are many steps closer to finally demanding its legalization. At this point in California and many other states, medical marijuana is available in all forms to the lucky residents and all you would need to procure it without risk to life and limb is a qualifying diagnosis from your physician . There are strictly enforced dispensaries where those lucky enough to enjoy the privilege will find all sorts of ways to indulge themselves. There are fancy edibles like lollipops, ice cream and brownies and even sodas made with cannabis for those who wish not to smoke their medicines.
All over California http://freeculturemag.com/ is offered in coffee shops and other gathering places and conversation among white collared executive types about their medical marijuana is as relaxed and easy as a conversation about men and chocolate in Paula Deens kitchen.
In honor of that sort of sanity (and chocolate!) I’d like to offer a recipe or two!
I am told that the best way to make anything delicious with marijuana is through the use of something called “Cannabis Butter”. This does seem a bit easier than the first time that I tried to make anything with marijuana back in the 70’s. A dear HS friend of mine (who’s probably reading this and laughing a lot) and I decided to help her sister harvest the two marijuana plants that somehow she’d managed to grow unnoticed in her closet. Friday night the exciting phone call came…the parents were out and it was time to dry the goods! Having never done this before, we decided to use the oven and we put leaves, buds and all on two cookie sheets in a 300 degree oven. Within 10 minutes we knew the mistake we’d made. To salvage the project we tossed the whole thing into two boxes of Betty Crocker brownie mix. Let me tell you….all of the room spray in the world couldn’t remove the sweet smell of the evidence in time. To this day I have no idea why we didn’t get caught. Goddess that was fun!
Try the butter recipe. It seems much easier!
The following (and the above picture) is a recipe that seems to get a lot of great accolades from a fun little site called http://bestmarijuanabrownierecipe.com. Marijuana butter is very green and looks like something that is straight out of the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham”. However, I must admit that it does sound quite delicious melted over a loaded baked potato or a simple Dijon encrusted filet of sole with fresh asparagus…both recipes that I saw in the “Culture” magazine that I was reading last week! Careful though, I’m guessing that it is fairly potent stuff!
The amount of butter and cannabis used can vary depending of how potent you want the end product to be. A batch of brownies typically calls for a 3/4 cup of butter, for use in brownies I recommend at least 3.5 grams (1/8 Ounce) of cannabis be used. For best results I’d use anywhere from 14 grams (1/2 ounce) to an ounce (28 grams). But once again this can vary greatly and in the end it all comes down to personal preference.
For simplicity’s sake we’ll use 1 lb of butter and 1 ounce of cannabis.
1. Melt the butter in a pan/pot (pun intended). Finely grind or chop the cannabis as small as possible without it being too small that it will fall through our strainer later on.
2. Once the butter has started boiling we can turn it down to a simmer and add the cannabis.
3. Stirring occasionally wait until the butter has turned green from the marijuana. (The longer the cannabis is being cooked in the butter the more time we allow the THC to be extracted resulting in a more potent result)
4. Once the butter has turned green we can now remove the leaves by pouring the butter through the strainer.
And we’re done!
At this point we can either freeze/chill it for storage or we can use it as an ingredient in another recipe.
How about this delightful recipe for Strawberry Banana Brownies that I found on the “Culture Magazine“ website?
Strawberry Banana Brownies
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups sliced strawberries
1 ripe banana, mashed
*1 cup marijuana butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a double boiler, allow to partially cool, and then transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Puree 1/4 cup of the strawberries and whisk into the butter. In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, sugar and flour. Add to the butter-egg mixture and fold thoroughly. Add the remaining strawberries and banana and fold until well mixed. Pour into greased 9-inch baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
I am also told by excellent sources that the best marijuana brownie recipe ever is a simple adaptation of the classic brownie recipe from the book “The Essence of Chocolate” by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg.
In order to achieve the crackled top and fudgy texture of classic brownies, this batter must be beaten by hand until it pulls from the sides of the bowl. This sounds like a task, but it’s not; there’s something homey and satisfying about stirring this thick, glossy batter yourself.
Tbsp. (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus more for the pan ( Substitute Cannabis butter)
oz. 70-percent bittersweet chocolate
cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
cup all-purpose flour
cup toasted walnut halves (optional)
▪ Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
▪ Cut an 8-by-16-inch piece of parchment paper. Lightly butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan and line it with the parchment, allowing it to extend evenly over the opposite sides. Butter the parchment, including the paper on the sides of the pan.
▪ Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
▪ With a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, beat the sugar and salt into the chocolate mixture. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour and mix vigorously until the batter is very glossy and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
▪ Break the nuts, if using, into large pieces over the batter and fold them in.
▪ Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan bottom on the countertop to level the batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out moist but clean.
▪ Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove the brownies from the pan using the parchment “handles,” and cool completely on the rack before cutting into 2-inch squares.
Be sure to go over to Roxana Villa's utterly gorgeous Illuminated Journal to read; http://journal.illuminatedperfume.com/2010/03/perfume-illuminated-cannabis.html
And.....While your brownies are cooling here’s a bit of Bob Marley for you !
Please note that these recipes are listed here for sheer entertainment value and are intended for use only where the use of medical marijuana isn’t in violation of any state law. I don't need to go into the legalities of this issue, everyone knows them. Also, please note that edibles made with marijuana can really vary in potency and in other words can really be potent depending upon your height, weight and general state of health. Please use as much care and intelligence as possible!