Capsule Warning: The AVB Experiment That Went Wrong

A few days ago, after I wrote that article about AVB, I decided to eat some straight AVB, without benefit of a meal or extraction into oil, so it would just be the AVB itself with no lipids to help or hinder it. I wanted to see how that would affect the absorption speed and whether it would be as strong as eating it with fatty food. Since I knew it would taste kinda bad, I put it into a capsule. And since my wife can only use capsules or edibles, I tamped it way down into the capsule, just to give me an idea of how much would fit in there if she needed a larger dose.

Well, I learned a lot from that experiment, including that it can take four solid hours to feel the effects and that it’s not necessarily THC, dehydration, or low blood sugar that cause you to green out!

Here is the exact log I wrote during the experience, followed by plenty of explanation:

OK oso as an experiment I took 1/4 tsp of ABV at 6:15 pm in a capsule, not near a meal.

Almost nothing happened until an hour or so ago, complained to my wife that it wasn’t nearly enough because i only felt around a [2] and there’s less chance of getting high with ABV, so I could easily go to a [4] without worrying about being too high.

Now it’s 10 pm and it just kicked in. holy shit, my body is a [7] and my head is about [4], but my perception is way off. my body feels weird and my arms look skinny and time dilation. the whole package feels like a [8.5], but not uncomfortable just rather weird.

The worst part is I just ate another 1/4 teaspoon on my salad 5 minutes ago!

(it tasted great BTW)

Some elucidation is needed here. I ate more than an hour before taking the capsule and didn’t eat for at least an hour afterwards, to let the capsule get digested at its own pace as much as possible. I do have to eat every two hours or so, and I ate and drank at regular intervals. I was totally feeling fine (and continuing to get higher) until nearly 11 PM. Point is, I wasn’t dehydrated or overly hungry (most people report at least one of these conditions after every greenout).

A bit after 11 PM, I started to feel decidedly bad. Like approaching greenout. I alerted my wife and sat down on the kitchen floor. She got my handy-dandy blood pressure tester and I managed to record an astoundingly low 88/48 right before I couldn’t sit up any more.

I kept breathing very slowly and carefully while laying on the floor, and luckily did not pass out (my wife would have called 911, you betcha). But it was pretty damn scary, and the closest I’ve ever come to passing out without actually doing it.

I can say this categorically though: if I had been anywhere near this high, I would have passed out for sure. The fact is (neuroscience nerds alert) that because of all the THC burned off in the pass through my vaporizer, I wasn’t actually feeling any higher (in my head, that is) than a [4].  Normally, when I do go up past [7], almost any kind of little physical problem will cause my mind to go into a panic feedback loop and make me feel like I’m about to pass out. Yet there I was, lying on the floor and calmly coming up with ideas for my family to help me with (cold washcloths on my forehead and stuff like that). But this time it was “just physical”. I was having these physical problems from some kind of overdose-like effect (which I will explain presently), but I wasn’t high enough for them to trigger a panic attack.

Hell, just looking up “human digestive system” on Wikipedia for some extra information today made me queasy.

Oh, and the extra dose on my salad? I felt that kick in around 2 AM, but it wasn’t a big deal. I can’t really quantify it, but it was more or less what I would have expected from 1/4 teaspoon of loose AVB sprinkled on my salad (rather than tamped down tightly into a capsule).

Anyway, I had some suspicions about what caused this — it certainly wasn’t the dose itself, since 1/4 teaspoon of AVB should not do this to me at all — so I had to do a number of experiments. Double-blind they are not, but the results make sense.

The first thing I did was to simply try the exact same dose — 1/4 teaspoon of AVB — on my pizza, to compare it to the 1/2 teaspoon I had used to test dosing for the Pot Pizza article. Sure enough, it was a light [3] or so, about half the results of the larger dose. No problem.

But my hypothesis is that it wasn’t the amount of the dose, it was the physical characteristics. Except for some powdered hash capsules I tried two years ago, all the capsules I’ve been taking have contained either one of my coconut oil extractions (aka Canna Caps), or  loosely-stuffed plant dregs from one of my oil extractions.

This time, the AVB was tightly packed and almost like a powder. And I think that it all tended to hold together in my gut, so it all hit my bloodstream in a rush (Update: chem_monkey on reddit explains how this could work). My Canna Caps never work that way; in fact, they reliably work in 45 minutes every time for me with no surprises and consistently get me to the same level, again every time.

So today I put 1/8 teaspoon of AVB into a capsule, trying to pack it in tightly. Then I realized there wasn’t even enough AVB for my tamper to reach the top of the pile. So I poured some Spirulina powder down there to fill the gaps (it’s not good for your head, just good stuff in general :-) And I took it, and I waited.

Not a damn thing for three hours.

Suddenly, there it was. And it wasn’t anywhere near the next-to-nothing [1.5] or so I could reasonably expect from a tiny dose as this, but definitely around [6].  Note: I’m talking about an estimated “total experience level”, since as I’ve noted, AVB’s “head effect” is lessened due to the removed THC, so you’re getting nowhere near as high per se as you normally would. In fact, I had to lay down for awhile before it went away.

So, even though this is all kind of rough estimates, it still make sense. If “compressing the charge” in a capsule gives this turbo effect as if you took four times the actual dose, what would the same effect applied to 1/4 teaspoon have? Answer: it would be the equivalent of a full teaspoon, or around level [12]! That fits, both in terms of what actually happened to me, and my highness level the last time I greened out (which was not on AVB, but also at least [12]).

Of course, if you’re a recreational user, a light bulb probably just lit up over your head. But MMJ patients, and anyone over 40, should be careful with attempting to stuff AVB into capsules.

TL;DR: taking AVB plain, or even in a capsule,
doesn’t increase the effect — but tightly packing it together does.

Note: I don’t want to worry people unduly, because (a) I am more susceptible to this problem due to my delightful vasovagal sensitivity and (b) I am also on beta blockers and lots of other things that lower my blood pressure. But if either of these might apply to you, or you’re in some kind of poor health, be very, very careful with stuffing capsules too tightly!

P.S. Uptokes to my wife and son for looking after me…my son even stayed up watching TV with me until 4 AM to make sure I was OK!

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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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22 Comments

  1. Hilti said:

    Hey OldHippie!

    I’ve been reading your articles about vaporization and medical marijuana with great interest. I’m surprised however that ingesting AVB without cooking it in something fatty can actually be absorbed by your digestive system – i’ll probably have to try it myself one day.

    As you noticed, one can easily underestimate the cannabinoids left in the AVB so i agree with you: dose carefully! To emphasize that fact, i’d like to share my personal experiences eating AVB with you: My preferred method of eating my AVB (from the volocano) is one you haven’t mentioned in your last article: i like boiling it in wholefat milk for about 30 min while stirring constantly, then strain out the remaining AVB and add a little honey so all i’m left with is: honeyweedmilk! And to my surprise, in spite of using AVB the milk tastes delicious, just like fresh bud! And it’s potent beyond imagination. The first time i had a little too much with a buddy of mine. I dosed a lot (about the tenfold dose of the normal herb i would usually consume) AVB in 2 portions of milk thinking “there can’t be too much left in there, about 10% i guess”. We consumed it at 8p.m. and by 10p.m. we were heavily euphoric with an enormously strong body sensation (not passing out at all thogh, it might really have been your beta blockers, hippie!). By 2 a.m. we went to sleep and when we got up at 10 a.m. the next day both of us could still clearly feel the effects of the honeyweedmilk (after about 12 hours!). At 4p.m. that day the effects started to fade away slowly so we could feel the effects for a total of about 18 hrs. – longer than i ever thought possible on marijuana. During subsequent experimentation i dosed way less AVB into the honeyweedmilk which made it a nice daytime medication: 1 gulp of honeyweedmilk in the morning, nicely medicated all day long without really being high with the effects fading away towards the evening – perfect.

    cheers
    Hilti

    • Rory said:

      G’day Hitli! I was wondering if you could give me some more detailed info about your honey milk AVB method if possible. It sounds delicious and I would like to be able to dose somewhat carefully. Cheers.

      • Hilti said:

        Hey Rory! I guess you’re wondering about what amount of AVB to put in 1 portion of milk. Of course the method of vaporization may vary and so will the remaining cannabinoid content in the AVB. I personally use a volcano vaporizer at 375F (190C) for all my bud and extract about 6 easy valve bags of vapor. The Bud that’s been vaped like this is pretty dry and smells roasted. The ingestion described above, when the effect lasted for about 18 hours, was with a dose of about 5g AVB, vaped as i just described. So to start carefully i’d recommend a dose of about 0.5 to 1g of AVB, you can work your way up from there. So your recipe would be the following:
        You will need:
        – 8 ounces of whole fat milk
        – 1g of AVB
        – honey
        You put your milk in a pan together with the AVB, cook it up while constantly stirring with a wire whisk (you don’t want that nasty skin to build up on your milk). As soon as it boils you start stirring harder and lower the temperature to about half the power of your cooking stove. You continue cooking and gently stirring for at least 30 minutes. After that time you pour the milk in a different container filtering out all the remaining AVB with a strainer. To finish it up you add some honey and you’re done.

        I hope this helps!
        cheers
        Hilti

  2. Storm Crow said:

    Hi hon! Actually, by eating about an hour before, you primed yourself for a more intense high! I know that is counter-intuitive, but here is how it works. When food enters an empty stomach, your stomach goes on a feeding frenzy. It grabs food (and THC) and send it directly to the liver where it is broken down. THC is broken down into less psychoactive compounds in the liver.

    If you eat about 45 minutes to an hour before having an edible, your stomach would have done its feeding frenzy trip and settled down. The edible slips on through the stomach almost untouched.

    Then the capsule or edibles hits the intestines. They start grabbing stuff (like THC) but they dump it directly into the blood and lymph systems. The liver isn’t involved. You get much higher.

    The finer particles would have increased the surface area, which also increases absorption. Packing it tightly may have kept the mass intact until it was well into your intestines.

    “Intestinal lymphatic transport enhances the post-prandial oral bioavailability of a novel cannabinoid receptor agonist via avoidance of first-pass metabolism.” is the title of one of the studies that discusses this effect to avoid the liver’s breaking down cannabinoids.

    Ps- this has been included in my January 2013 List!

    • Old Hippie said:

      Wow! I haven’t heard from you in awhile but this is outstanding! I’ve been wondering what the actual course of events was, and why this happened, and this makes so much sense…thank you!

      I was (mis?)informed that edibles are always processed by the liver. That clearly seems wrong now…and it might explain so many anomalous results of getting higher than normal, or delays in feeling effects, and obviously this situation of full vs. empty stomach.

      Thanks so much again!

  3. pretzable said:

    hey old hippie! i’ve got some abv saved up and have been trying to find a good way to use it. would you recommend i make gel capsules like these, or should i extract with coconut oil and then insert into caps?

    • Old Hippie said:

      I wouldn’t do this again myself, it was frightening. Extracting into oil, and then making capsules from that, is the most repeatable and controllable method I’ve found.

        • Old Hippie said:

          Oh! Well, it’s pretty much the same as the way I do it in the Canna Caps article. But the main trick for getting any extraction or infusion as strong as possible is to use just enough solvent (oil or melted butter or alcohol or whatever) to cover the plant material. For a run of about 50 capsules, start with 2 or 3 grams of ground bud, or perhaps an 1/8 ounce of AVB (AVB weighs less, so you’ll be using a lot more than you think) to about 2 or 3 tablespoons of solvent.

          • pretzable said:

            i’ve heard it is not required to add heat to the avb/oil mixture, is this true? and if so how long would you recommend letting it sit?

          • Old Hippie said:

            Actually, it’s not. It’s true you don’t have to heat AVB to eat it directly, but to get the cannabinoids to dissolve into the oil, you always have to mix and heat them together. I recommend an hour at 180 to 220F.

  4. Mason said:

    It’s not a problem! When you vape weed, you get the thc. But it leaves most cannibinoids behind! Cannibinoids are the things that hit you heavy physically, and those are obtained through things like ingestion. Cookin it into food is generally the main way, but I think this capsule idea is brilliant! Gonna try it now, sounds like a beast body high

  5. bhksk8r said:

    Just found your website from grasscity and just wanted to say thank you!! Marijuana is the key to the stability and future health and economy.

  6. Sol said:

    Hey Hippie,
    I noticed that you said that you deal with anxiety or panic attacks when you reach certain levels of highness. Have you discovered any tricks to dealing with this? Have you found that indicas are significantly better for controlling this? I smoked for years but with ever increasing anxiety. It’s now been almost a year since I’ve dosed and I really miss it. In my area I can’t really get access to quality indicas, but I have a pretty decent grasp of simple chemistry and botany and was thinking about growing my own. Thanks in advance!

    Sol

  7. Kurt said:

    I wish I would have read this first. Body at 8 after 4 hours duration and still there and about a 6 after about 10 hours. An acquired taste I am sure but altogether not unpleasant. Jut goes to show when you think you know all there is and wham you learn something what I took from this is never take for granted the awesome power that the medicine has.I have a renewed respect and reverence and love.
    Thank you from one old hippie to another
    Imagine whirled peas

  8. Sharper said:

    Hey guys. I recently made some coconut canna caps and something strange is happening when I take them. When I first started I took about 1 pill and didn’t feel anything so I kept on going up in strength. I now take 3 to help me relax at night but the feeling is no where near as strong when compared to the feeling from other edibles. I’m sure there’s a reason to it, but I only feel truly high after working out for an hr on the treadmill. The effects last a good 5 hrs ( where the first 3 hrs i’m at a [9] as far as body and mind effects go) after my workout and I’d be very grateful to figure out why this is happening.

    • Old Hippie said:

      Coconut canna caps seem to store THC (or more likely, one of its metabolites) in the body where it’s released due to physical or emotional stress. As far as comparing to edibles, that also makes sense because they’re designed to be more “medicinal” in dosage, whereas many edibles are insanely overdosed (100 mg or more).

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