When you smoke or vape cannabis flower, the THC or CBD molecules are quickly absorbed in the bloodstream which goes directly to those receptors in your brain and deliver the psychotropic experience.
Edibles work differently. Eating something infused or made with cannabis will send those same molecules on a different path through the body, passing through the liver which will metabolize, say, Delta 9 THC into 11-hydroxy-THC. Those metabolized molecules will then find their way to the brain. This process takes a while, but will hit the receptors quicker and harder, resulting in a deeper and more relaxing experience that lasts quite a bit longer.
Everyone’s probably tried the ubiquitous gummies, and old timers remember parties where cannabaked cookies and brownies were popular.
But before jumping into the culinary delights of cooking with cannabis, there are some rules of the road to master first.
Decarboxylate. It’s an odd word that chemists can probably translate, but what it means is that before cooking with cannabis, one needs to prepare the weed to unlock its special effects.
Think of it this way: When you smoke or vape your weed, you are adding high heat to your flower. It is the heat that transforms the THCA molecules into THC.
Before you start cooking with weed, you need to do the same kind of unlocking process. That’s what decarboxylate does.
It’s a very simple process, but absolutely necessary in order to get a good experience with your edibles.
Take your weed (how much is up to you) and sprinkle it loosely on a baking sheet covered in tin foil or parchment paper. Bake the weed in a coolish oven (215 to 230 degrees) for 45 minutes to an hour. Your goal is not to blacken or cook the weed, but simply to use the heat to unlock the THC properties. ‘Toasting’ is a good way to describe the process, as your nice green weed will come out browned. In most recipes, this toasted weed will be ground into powder.
Once its been decarboxylated, you can proceed to use your weed in any of the recipes and processes that follow.
Now, most recipes we’ve seen for various kinds of edibles are less than exact about how much toasted weed to use. That’s because each strain is different, and so is every person’s reaction to the edible experience. That means you’ll have to do some testing to find out what ratio of weed amount to recipe comes out best …for you.
But here’s a good rule of thumb. A gram of dried flower contains approximately 1000 mg of dried weight. If the strain you’re using has about 10 percent THC (which is about average), you can assume that your gram of toasted weed yields 100mg of THC.
Colorado, a 420-friendly state, has mandated that a single serving of a cannabis-infused edible contain no more than 10mg of THC. So if you use a gram of weed (decarboxylated, of course) in a brownie or cookie recipe, you can figure out how many mgs there are in each serving. (100 divided by number of brownies or cookies).
Then you can test and see what results you get. Most home cooks recommend going slowly at first. Eat half a cookie and see what happens. If you don’t notice an effect in 30 minutes or so, eat the other half. Eventually, you’ll learn how much to use in each recipe.
To get started, most home cannabis cooks start with some basic foodstuffs used in other recipes. Make a batch of cannabutter or canna=oil and use that when making brownies or cookies, or anything else. These are the building blocks for the home edible chef.
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
½ cup of water
1 cup of ground, decarboxylated weed
In a slow cooker or crockpot, add all the ingredients and set on low temperature (around 160°F or 70°C). Let the mixture cook for 8-12 hours. Check on it now and then and give the mixture a good stir to keep it from scalding.
Alternatively, you can cook the mixture in a heavy saucepan or a double boiler and simmer for 2-3 hours. Just keep an eye on it and stir from time to time so it doesn’t boil or burn.
Let the butter cool down after cooking and then pour into a bowl lined with cheesecloth, or strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. You want to filter out the plant material as much as possible.
Pour the butter into a container and let it cool in the fridge for about an hour. You will get a solid infused butter with a little brown liquid left behind, which you can discard.
You now have a nice infused butter product that you can use with any recipe that calls for butter.
The process for making canna-oil is similar.
Combine an ounce of ground, toasted bud to 2 cups of oil. You can use extra-virgin olive oil, but most canna-chefs recommend coconut or vegetable oil instead.
Add a little water (maybe ¼ cup) to keep from burning and heat the mixture so that it will simmer without boiling. Let it simmer for about six hours.
Then, after cooling down, strain the bud pieces from the oil, again using a sieve or cheesecloth, pour the infused oil into a suitable container and store.
Again, if your brownie recipe calls for ¼ or ⅓ cup of oil, use your canna-oil to get great brownies with a nice kick. Or toss your garden salad with some balsamic vinegar and your infused oil.
Everybody loves bacon, right? Now you can kick it up a notch.
To make weed bacon, sprinkle some ground, decaroxylated flower on bacon slices laid out in a baking sheet. Bake at 275°F and flip after 10 minutes. Sprinkle more on the other side and bake another 10 minutes.
Super good. And reserve the bacon grease, which is now infused, and use in other dishes that call for cooking in hot oil. Yumm!
These simple snacks are easy to make and delicious to eat. And they come with the extra addition of a nice high.
Peanut butter, Nutela, or chocolate sauce
Ground decaroxylated flower
Spread the peanut butter or other spread on a graham cracker and sprinkle with weed in the amount you desire. Put another cracker on top. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake in a 230° oven for about 45 minutes.
They’ll come out gooey and delicious and full of fun experiences!
Brewing a cup of herbal-herbal tea is no more difficult than regular herbal tea. And its extra relaxing and enjoyable.
You can simply add some decarboxylated weed (about 2 teaspoons) into your regular favorite herbal tea and let them steep together in hot water. Using this method, you’ll get the flavor, aroma and terpenes from the flower, but, even toasted, the high will likely be muted. THC is not water soluble.
To kick your tea up, drop in a small spoonful of cannabutter and mix until dissolved. That will add that something extra you want. And you can still add honey, ginger, sugar, lemon, milk or cream.
Again, making infused chocolate couldn’t be easier.
Start with your favorite baker’s chocolate. We recommend dark and bittersweet chocolate, but you can use any kind you like. Melt the chocolate down in a saucepan or double boiler until soft and creamy and then add your flower, decarboxylated and ground into a fine powder (you probably don’t want little bits of flower in the texture, so grind it well).
Alternatively, you can just add a heaping spoon of cannabutter to the melted chocolate to get the same effect.
Once mixed, you can pour into candy molds, spread it out in a baking dish to make a fudge (go ahead, add some nuts!) or use a spoon and make little shapes on a parchment sheet. Then cool, in the fridge if possible, and voila! Canna-Chocolat.
Those are just a few ideas on cooking with cannabis. Once you have a supply of butter and oil, you can use them as substitutes in any recipe and you will notice the wonderful after-effects to your favorite meals.