Ask Old Hippie: How Do You Make Green Dragon?

Dear Old Hippie: For a while now, I’ve heard rumors about the legendary Green Dragon that can get you high anywhere without smoking, yet I’ve never heard of anyone selling it. What can you tell me about this fabulous beast?

A: The Green Dragon — and his consort, The Gold Dragon — are indeed real. The reason it’s hard to buy from your typical weed dealer is that generally you must make it yourself. Medical Marijuana patients with access to well-stocked dispensaries can find such products on the shelf. So what’s the big deal about it? Read on.

You can’t just smoke anything anywhere any more, and most edibles are too strong to use on a regular basis for many people. So the appeal of the Dragons is that you carry around a discreet little brown bottle, put a dropper in your favorite drink, and you’re comfortably medicated. Consider the recent popularity of liquid-based natural sweeteners like Stevia and you’ll realize that you can safely medicate even in a restuarant with two large CHP officers watching you, as I once did.

Dropped in your drink, it will generally take effect in anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. But if you take it sublingually — under your tongue — you will feel it within 30 seconds, with the full effect coming on in 5 to 15 minutes.

Green and Gold Dragon are technically tinctures or extracts of cannabis. You’ve heard of tincture of iodine and vanilla extract? Both are made by simply soaking or dissolving the material in alcohol. That’s what we’re doing here. You may be interested to learn that Tincture of Cannabis was a standard pharmacy item in this country for far longer than it’s been illegal.

Of course, you have to use the right kind of alcohol, which is ethanol (the kind you drink). The higher the alcohol content, the more efficient the process will be, so most people use Everclear, which is available in 190 or 151 proof, depending on your state of residence. Here in California, you can get good results with the 151 proof, or visit any neighboring state for the “real stuff”. Any liquor of 80 proof or more will work, but most people prefer to use vodka or Everclear because they don’t add any additional taste of their own. You can always add some flavoring later if you want.

There are a number of non-chemical problems with using alcohol. For one thing, alcoholics can’t use it, and for another, it burns like hellfire if you put it under your tongue. If you use this method, I recommend holding your mouth open until the burn goes away, and perhaps having a drink of something else handy. This burning sensation is why some people prefer using lower-proof tinctures based on vodka, or else vegetable-based glycerin (which also solves the problem for alcoholics). My experience with glycerin-based Dragons is that they don’t work at all, but some very careful people have had good results with them.

What’s the difference between Green and Gold? Green simply uses fresh marijuana, and Gold uses marijuana that’s been decarboxylated. Green Dragon often tastes of chlorophyll and other things found in and on the plant. Decarboxylating cannabis only involves baking it in a 250°F oven for an hour, but it can make your kitchen smell like the proverbial pot party. Gold Dragon is generally stronger and tastes mellower in my experience.

You don’t even have to use your precious buds to give this stuff a try. If you have access to dried fan leaves, they will work fine for Green Dragon. AVB (Already Vaped Bud, also known as Already Been Vaped or duff) is what’s left in a vaporizer after it’s been used. Since vaporizing also decarboxylates the weed, you can use this to make Gold Dragon.

You obviously have to use more AVB than normal bud (start with 50% to 100% more depending on how dark you vape your weed) for the same highness level, since AVB has lost much of its THC, but AVB tinctures are generally preferred for some medical conditions (pain or anxiety, for instance) for that very reason. Both fan leaves and AVB are often thrown away by people who don’t realize how useful they can be, so it’s an excellent example of recycling!

So here’s the safe and easy way to make it:

  1. Crush, crumble, or grind up your cannabis, however much you want to use. I recommend at least an 1/8 ounce.
  2. Put the material in a suitable size glass jar with a tight-fitting top. I use a Mason jar for larger quantities, but cleaned condiment jars (think pickles, relish, mustard) are perfect for normal use.
  3. Pour enough of your chosen drinkable alcohol into the jar to easily cover the cannabis.
  4. Close the cover, and shake it up, baby!
  5. Now comes the hard part: put the jar in a warm, dark place for at least a month. I’ve found that the longer you go (I try to go 8 to 10 weeks), the stronger and better it will taste, up to a point. Shake it every day for at least two weeks.
  6. When the time is up, simply filter it through a coffee filter to remove the dregs (and squeeze to get every last drop out).

Warmth helps the process along, and darkness (or using a dark-colored jar) protects the THC from degrading. The perfect place is in the exhaust path of a computer fan, because you’re recycling heat. If you have a completely opaque jar, it’s also cool to leave it in a sunny window for free solar power.

When you try it, start with 1/4 dropper under your tongue. Wait 15 minutes, and if it’s not strong enough, try another 1/4 dropper, and so on until you feel it. You’ll quickly figure out your own correct dosage. If the liquid isn’t dark, or it takes more than a dropper to feel results, it might be too diluted. In that case, leave the jar open overnight so some of the alcohol will evaporate, and try again.

As you can see, this isn’t all that hard to do. Actually, the most difficult part might be next: finding a 1 to 4-ounce, dark-colored glass dropper bottle to carry your Dragon around in. You may have to make the rounds of drug stores, or recycle a bottle of Stevia, but you have a month to do it!

Got a question for Old Hippie? Send in your questions to him here or post a comment below.

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http://gplus.to/OldHippie Old Hippie is a father of two boys and thankfully living in California where all this kind of thing is legal. He started smoking marijuana in 1967 in high school, experimented with mind-expanding drugs of all kinds, and then straightened out 15 or so years later to become an airplane pilot. After being diagnosed with depression in 2000, he lost his job and most of the following decade to prescription medications (such as antidepressants) which sapped his energy and will. Finally, a chance conversation with a friend led to a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana (MMJ). This changed his entire life, health, and outlook for the better. BeyondChronic.com is his continuing story. It’s also his way to provide experienced advice on using medical marijuana effectively and responsibly, as well as advocacy, activism, and support for others. Old Hippie teaches about safe use of cannabis edibles, Canna Caps, vaporizers, dosing, and even microdosing.

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15 Comments

  1. Anonymous said:

    Thanks for this. I’m going to begin my first tincture on Wednesday.

    It’s my first jaunt into the world of mmj. Still having seizures. I see the dr on Thursday and will tell him I still “someday” want to do this and gauge his reaction. Three plus seizures a week for a million years after trying everything else (including 3 brain surgeries and a brain “pacemaker”) is enough.

    I was approved for SSDI first shot, no appeal. That says something, I think. Very rare. I’m thrilled.

  2. Edgar. said:

    OldHippie, why do you say alcoholics shouldn’t use tinctures? In your experience, could you actually get drunk if you take a full dropper? It’s just that I don’t enjoy my high as much when it gets all muddly with alcohol.
    Thanks, great guide!

    • Old Hippie said:

      It’s just that in my experience, alcoholics are adamant about not touching alcohol again in any form. The ones I know won’t even eat rum cake, even though all the alcohol is obviously cooked out! Just another reason we’re working on a glycerin tincture recipe that does work. Nugs and hugs!

  3. Anonymous said:

    this looks like a great method. I was thinking about heating the jar with warm water and get the alcohol to the boil level. I don’t want my house to smell and this looks like a smell free method. Once I make the mix, I will leave the jar in the attic for a month and hopefully it works.

  4. Inka said:

    Thanks for your really useful site. I paid way too much for an oz of Hemp oil CBD extract. It helps with pain, sometimes, but it could be stronger. If I WANT the THC to degrade, and just leave CBD, would it do to use a clear bottle? Or, does light harm CBD, too?

    • Old Hippie said:

      Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately, you are working under a number of misapprehensions. THC degrades to CBN, not CBD. Also, if you have CBD extract, there shouldn’t be any THC in it anyway. Finally, although CBD does work against “generic” pain without psychoactive effects, it is most effective against neuropathic pain. If you don’t have this specific type of pain, then THC is generally considered to be much more effective in general.

      I’m not sure if UV light degrades CBD, but it’s safer to assume that it does.

      • Inka said:

        Sorry; I’m in so much pain and the Lyrica makes me stupid. Not clear. I meant that I wanted the THC to degrade, IF I made Green Dragon. That remark merely followed the comment about the CBD extract working but me wishing it could be stronger, which I opened with as a way of indicating why I want to find a a way to maximize CBD and minimize THC……in a duff extract. The steam distilled Hemp CBD extract is too expensive, so I was thinking of making an extract of my own. Yes, I know the Hemp extract has no THC; that’s kind of the point of it. I have pot I can vape, if I want some THC or just have to put up with it to get the rest of whatever helps the pain. Also, the Hemp CBD extract does have a psychoactive effect (dare I write that, lest the feds find it?); it relaxes me (and my friend who tried it) in a pleasant, slightly trippy, way. She felt the relaxation, but it didn’t help her overall horribleness, diagnosed as fibro, but really very complex (as is fibro,I guess).

        Also, I do have terrible neuropathic pain, evidenced by several things, including that both Gabapentin and Lyrica take it down from mind-bending to merely horrible (900 of Gabapentin let me garden from time to time, but to get that much pain relief, I had to weather gnarly side effects), not to mention the neuropathy that’s begun spread over that side of the body.

        The CBD extract sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t correlate strongly with activity, which would indicate a possible connection to non-neuropathic pain. I had a low-frequency laser ablation of the nerves from the SI Joint last Wednesday, and underwent 5.5 days of exacerbated pain. Two days ago, despite the 2x Naproxen dose (okay with a lot of water, if not all of the time according to the doc), Norco (nearly useless, but you know how Dr’s are these days), Lyrica, Taurine (small but noticeable effect for about 2 hrs, and it has been healing the neuropathy), and Tibetan Pain Tea (really works, btw, it’s called Loong Tea, but in my condition, it’s a barely noticeable improvement….It worked up to about a year ago, so some of your readers might benefit from it. You can google and order it.)…..I was lying in bed, still, controlling my breath to prevent panic from the pain (which describes 80% of my time for the past 1.5 years.), and then moaned. I draw the line at moaning. So, I had a dose of the Hemp CBDs made by Dixie something. Within 45 minutes, the pain melted a bit and the panic subsided. I was sane all night and could move without inwardly wincing. It does help neuropathic pain. I have no idea where you got your data on that.

        Anyway, now I have one more question: Is it any more effective to make the Green Dragon than to just vape the heck out of the weed? I’m still in too much pain to do anything extra (actually ATE today, which is something extra, if that gives you any idea what I mean by that.) If it were just for convenience, I wouldn’t make it. I just want to find a way to avoid having to dig up $160 for the next bottle of CBD’s, when I’m not even on disability, yet, and my house is going into foreclosure.

        • Old Hippie said:

          OK, sorry for the misinterpretation! I see what you are trying to do now, but you can’t destroy one cannabinoid without hurting another, unless you’re going to try fractional distillation. And I’m pretty sure that you and I are having some severe communications problems, but I’m going to chalk that up to Mercury being in heavy retrograde right now. Even though I don’t believe in astrology, I’ve seen this kind of thing happen over and over again with Mercury!

          I’m really sorry to hear about all the terrible pain you’re in, but you’re way past my knowledge curve when you’re talking about most of that other stuff.

          As far as your last question, vaping is probably more efficient…also, if you have good temperature control, you can “burn off” some THC so that what’s left has a higher CBD:THC ratio. Hope that helps. Nugs and hugs!

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