Marijuana in pill form, typically used as a vehicle to administer medication through ingestion. Capsules can contain any form of cannabis, even decarboxylated flower. Capsules range from single cannabinoid to full-spectrum or strain-specific oil, providing consumers with myriad cannabis products to suit their needs. These often function as safer alternatives to vaping or smoking cannabis.
“Try this capsule; it works just like an edible, only tasteless and easier to consume.”
What are Capsules and Why are They Preferred by Some Users?
Patients often opt for capsules instead of combustible flower or vaporizable products because capsules offer an easier and more convenient method of ingesting medication compared with combustion. Capsules also provide patients with exact dosing information, which allows them to plan for consistent effects. Typically, capsules containing cannabis are not cultivar-specific and are labeled by their cannabinoid contents, such as THC capsules and CBD capsules.
How to Take THC Pills and How They Work in Your Body
Immediate-release capsules work identically to edibles. They enter the body through the mouth and are absorbed through the stomach. The absorbed compounds are then metabolized in the liver. This is where THC is metabolized into a compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which has a longer half-life and can have more of a sedative effect than THC alone.
The liver's metabolizing mechanism is unique to each individual, which is why edibles and THC capsules can produce different effects among people. But in general, if you're wondering how long do THC pills last, the entire process can take between 45 minutes to to 3 hours.
Timed-release capsules follow the identical path of digestion, but the delivery of their contents can be delayed or drawn out over a period of time depending upon the capsule shell's ingredients. Those engineered with liposomes and drug-polymer conjugates, such as hydrogels, allow for the timed release of their contents. Time-release THC capsules use these protective and inert ingredients to neutralize stomach acid for slower methods of release.
As a rule, the Cannabis genus contains two types of plants: hemp and marijuana. Hemp, which lacks robust terpenoid and cannabinoid spectrums, is grown for fiber and seed oil while cannabinoid-rich plants are grown for their full range of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, THCA, etc.) and other medicinally beneficial compounds. Both industrial hemp and marijuana are used in cannabis capsules and THC pills, but harvesting industrially grown hemp as a source of cannabidiol (CBD) is far from optimal.
THC Pill Effects
Because cannabis capsules are ingested and metabolized the same way as edibles, the effects are also more or less the same. After traveling through the digestive system, the cannabinoid is metabolized by the liver and directed into the bloodstream. Basically, you can expect to experience whatever effects are linked to the cannabinoids present in your capsules.
For example, consuming capsules that contain intoxicating amounts of THC will result in a stoned experience. Similarly, consuming capsules high in CBD will give you access to the purported medicinal and therapeutic benefits produced by that cannabinoid.
Ground decarboxylated flower
Some THC pills contain ground-up decarboxylated flower for oral ingestion. Cannabis flower requires decarboxylation for its THCA to become active THC, which is what allows patients to tap into cannabis' benefits in a non-combusting way.
Crystalline is a powdered substance visually like table salt or sugar. Crystalline capsules contain nearly 100% pure powdered cannabinoids, often in THCA or CBDA-only formulas that allow patients to ingest their cannabis medication without the intoxicating effects associated with THC. The extraction process used to create crystalline strips cannabis of excess terpenes and other plant chemicals to leave only the desired molecule behind.
Distillate is a runny liquid that is similar to crystalline in that a distillation process is used to produce it, but its purity can run anywhere from 85% to 95% as the cannabis plant's terpenes are often reintroduced into the final product.
Distillate's cannabinoids are decarboxylated and are capable of providing users with some of the intoxicating effects associated with inhaled cannabis or ingesting edibles containing THC. Typically, distillate is devoid of a plant's fats and waxes, thereby providing patients with refined THC or CBD in precisely dosed capsules without additives.
Some cannabis capsules contain one variety of cannabinoid, in which case patients can find them labeled as “CBD” or “THC.” These varieties do not contain any of the other medicinally beneficial cannabinoids or terpenes.
Capsules that contain mixed percentages of THC and CBD work to enhance the medicinal effects and modulate the psychoactive effects to meet patients' individual needs. Capsules that include CBD can reduce users' blood pressure response to stress, among other medical benefits. CBD-infused capsules deliver relief to patients while mitigating THC's potentially adverse side effects, making the medication more tolerable to new users.
Cannabis capsules labeled as “full spectrum” include all of the cannabis plant's available biomolecules — terpenes, cannabinoids, and everything in between. Full-spectrum cannabis capsules can contain decarboxylated flower or infused-oil bases and allow patients to feel the effects of cannabis without any additives.
Additional nutraceuticals are often added to capsules to tailor their effects. Additives such ginkgo root, astragalus, or maca root generate energy; spirulina, chlorella, or turmeric add nutritional value; and powdered valerian root, skullcap, lemon balm, or hop flower deliver sedative effects.
Most capsule shells fall into one of three categories: gelatin, hypromellose, and pullulan. Gelatin capsules are made from animal byproducts derived from beef, while vegetarian options hypromellose and pullulan are made from non-toxic plant derivatives and fungal fermentation, respectively.
How to Make Cannabis Capsules at Home
(Disclaimer: Much of the information provided within this page has been transcribed directly from credible sources. Again, methods described and ingredients listed may be illegal in your area. Any action you take upon the information provided here is strictly at your own risk, and Weedmaps and its affiliates will not be liable or responsible for any action taken based on the information and content provided on this site.)
Capsules made at home start with infused cannabis oil or decarboxylated dry cannabis flower. Those with sensitive stomachs should stick to oil. Otherwise, cannabis capsules containing raw flower are faster, easier to make, and just as effective as infused oil.
When creating cannabis oil capsules, the first step is to create homemade oil with coconut oil or olive oil.
If you aim to use raw flower, begin by preheating your oven to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, or 104 degrees Celsius. While the oven heats up, finely grind your cannabis. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your finely ground cannabis on top. Bake for 60 minutes, but do not let the oven's temperature rise above 250 degrees Fahrenheit, 121 degrees Celsius.
Once the oil has been infused, or the raw flower has been decarboxylated, you may then fill your capsules. A capsule machine greatly speeds up this process, but capsules can be filled one at a time by hand, too.
If you have a capsule-filling machine and will be using dry flower: Separate the top and bottom capsule halves (the bottoms are longer) and place the bottom halves into the base of the capsule machine.
Pour the herbal mixture into the pill maker and, using a card, evenly spread the cannabis across the capsule openings. Then use the tamper tool included with the kit to gently press the cannabis down. Refill the machine with more flower as needed. Once the bottom halves are full, fill the machine's lid with the capsules' top halves and then press them down onto the machine until the capsules are joined together.
If you have a capsule-filling machine and will be using an infused oil base: separate the capsules and load up the machine with the bottom halves. Use a syringe or dropper to carefully fill each bottom half. (Note: Coconut oil-based infusions should be warmed to ease the filling process, but not overheated.) Once each bottom half has been filled, place the top halves into the machine's lid and press them down until the capsules are joined together.